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Thread: We want a new national metal mando!

  1. #1
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    Hey, all you resonator mando fans, I need your help getting National to offer a metal mandolin again.

    In recent email correspondence with Eric at National about a guitar, I mentioned the fact that I ordered a Model 1 mando the moment they were announced. I told him I was surprised that they offered a wooden-bodied mandolin first, and asked if a brass mandolin might be in their future.

    He said the metal shop is working to capacity making guitars, and that's why they went with the wooden mando. He did say, however, that a metal mando wasn't entirely out of the question, but nothing was being planned for right now.

    So come on guys. Let's all get together and let National know how much we love their instruments, and how much we'd love to see a new metal-bodied mandolin.

    Thanks so much

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  3. #2

    Smile

    Here you go, all metal and it sounds pretty good.
    Commodium

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  4. #3
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    Very cool. And hey, if you don't want to play it, it'll probably work as a hubcap or maybe a replacement for a George Foreman hamburger cooker.

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    I have been wanting one and my wifes band buddy wants one. So I am going to see if I can get a break on buying a few. Who knows?
    Gibson A9
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  6. #5
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    you'd think if there is more demand, than the metal body shop can meet
    they would expand production.

    that is, normally, how businesses Grow, I hear.

    Do they still have the old stamping dies?


    posting the Who to lobby, & where,

    would, perhaps, advance your cause.

    For the OP, you will note that although you cannot drag the
    brand name National company away from their metal body sales to the larger Guitar market, several other smaller builders can supply your Mandolin brass nickel plated instrument dreams.



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  7. #6
    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Based on the energetic response, it's going to be a long wait. I'll pass on the Commode. Notice that I spelled pass with an a.
    Eastman 605, Strad-o-lin, and Kentucky 300e mandolins.

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  8. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Thing is, there are quite a few old metal Nationals around at prices less than or comparable to the new ones. I googled on Triolian (the painted steel-bodied ones from the '30's) and found several. Prices ranged from just a bit over $1K to maybe $2.5K.

    With the Johnson and Republic imports taking up the bottom tier, and the new wooden Nationals being fairly expensive -- plus the fact we're dealing with a pretty limited market -- it may be awhile before National decides to tool up for a brass or steel-bodied mando. They can't meet the demand for their metal-body guitars; dealere report a long wait for new ones. People who want a metal-body resonator mandolin may have to explore the "vintage" market, and it's not as scary as, say, vintage Gibson mandolin shopping can be.
    Allen Hopkins
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  9. #8

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    Hey any of you guys familiar with National ever seen an acoustic National guitar? My father bought one in around 1955 used and still has it. He has kept it all these years. A big red guitar. Bolt on neck with no heel.

    I read on Frank Fords site that they were made by Gibson-same as a J-50 I think. It has National on the headstock.
    Know anything about them?

    Edit- sorry I shouldn't have hijacked this post




  10. #9
    Registered User KanMando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Greenmando @ Nov. 30 2007, 20:14)
    Here you go, all metal and it sounds pretty good.
    Commodium

    I prefer the porcelain "bowl back" myself.

  11. #10
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (TEE @ Dec. 02 2007, 20:07)
    I read on Frank Fords site that they were made by Gibson-same as a J-50 I think. It has National on the headstock.
    Know anything about them?
    Gibson made guitar bodies for National for awhile, in the '50's I believe. The ones I've seen have been basically J-50 round-shouldered mahogany back-&-sides dreadnoughts, with a National neck bolted on instead of the Gibson dovetail joint, and a metal or plastic "National" nameplate on the headstock. They go for a good price now -- basically, it's a Gibson J-50 with an somewhat inferior neck joint.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  12. #11
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    Allen,

    It's interesting that with all the interest in mandos these days, there's been so little interest in this thread. Maybe National is smart NOT to tool up for for a metal mando. On the other hand, every time I see a Model One listed at Elderly, Gruhun, or on of the others, it's there a few days and then gone.

    I do own a Model One, and it's not really overpriced. At most it's right on. (But I wouldn't pay a dime more.)

    Dude, don't compare the Johnson mando to ANYTHING else on the planet. I owned one, and it SUCKED. It's long gone outta' here.

    And finally, yes, you can find vintage National mandos. But I own a vintage tricone and O guitar, as well as a modern tricone. I've also played several other new National guitars. Don't ever compare the old Nationals with the new. Modern Nationals are so much better, especially with intonation. Don't believe me? Check out Bob Brozman's web site. Even he recommends new over old instruments, especially when playing with other musicians when the "vintage" might not meet muster. I was hoping that National could work their vodoo on a new mando as well.

    Oh well, maybe I'll have to wait in vain.

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  14. #12
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Dave
    You're probably right about the intonation on the newer instruments being better than the old. Brozman may not be an entirely disinterested party -- I believe he's consulted with the new National Co. -- but he's undoubtedly the most expert person on vintage Nationals, and I would concur with his analysis.

    I own a 1936-7 Style 0 guitar, whose fingerboard I had to have re-planed and refretted to correct a severely warped neck. I have a late '30's Triolian mandolin, whose tailpiece needed replacement since it cracked in half. I just acquired a 1938-39 wood-bodied Havana, which appears to fret accurately, but of course Kay built the body and neck, and all National did was add the resonator assembly. Not to mention my National Dobro mandolin, which has had a neck reset, and probably needs another one. So I quite agree that if the new National Co. did build a metal-bodied mandolin, it almost certainly would be better than the old ones, at least in terms of wood selection and intonation.

    But the point I was making is that there may not be a niche for a new metal-bodied mandolin, since there's a supply of older ones out there, the wooden ones are selling as fast as National can build them, and their metal-bodied guitar shop is having a hard time keeping up with demand for guitars, let alone add mandolins. And with Chinese imports covering the low-end of the price range, National might only sell a few hundred of new metal-bodied mandolins, which might not be "critical mass" to get them to produce one.

    I haven't played one of the Johnson resonator mandolins, but I do have a Johnson resonator ukulele, and it's a good value for the money (around $250). At that price I expect servicability, not much more. I'm sure anyone who got serious about resonator mandolins wouldn't find a Johnson satisfactory. There's a British builder who makes guitar-shaped resonator mandolins; I've seen one here in Rochester -- haven't played it -- and it sounded decent. Price is around $5-600, as I remember. Older Nationals, as I said, aren't that rare, and the "silver" engraved ones get really good prices, though not in the vintage Gibson range.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
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    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
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  15. #13
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    What about Beltona?


    edit: not the OPs intent but maybe another (expensive) option.
    Jamie



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    Gibson made guitar bodies for National for awhile, in the '50's I believe. #The ones I've seen have been basically J-50 round-shouldered mahogany back-&-sides dreadnoughts, with a National neck bolted on instead of the Gibson dovetail joint, and a metal or plastic "National" nameplate on the headstock. #They go for a good price now -- basically, it's a Gibson J-50 with an somewhat inferior neck joint.

    That describes it. His has a metal nameplate. The neck on this guitar has always been perfect. Never moved a bit. In fact the action may be a tad bit low if anything. Just out of curiosity what does these things go for? He has always wondered- thanks[/QUOTE]
    [QUOTE]

  17. #15
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Here's a link to a discussion on a guitar forum, about seven years old. At that point the person posting found two quotes: from Elderly for $700, and from Mandolin Brothers for $2,500. Now there's a price range! I've seen the round-shouldered J-50's on eBay from less than a thousand up to over two thousand dollars, and I'd expect that the National "J-50's" might be somewhat similar -- they're a lot rarer, but the bolt-on neck is a drawback.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Thanks Allen- My father said that at the time he could have bought a Martin for around the same price. He actually wanted a Gibson but saw this instead and bought it.

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