1932 National Resonator Style O


The history of the National brand is closely linked to the invention of the resonator, a type of guitar that uses a metal cone to amplify sound. National has become a benchmark in the manufacturing of these iconic instruments.

National's story begins in the 1920s, when brothers John and Rudy Dopyera, of Slovak origin, developed the concept of the resonator. The Dopyera brothers were dissatisfied with the lack of sonic power of traditional acoustic guitars and sought a way to amplify the sound without electricity.

In 1927, they patented their invention and called it "Dobro", a word which means "good" or "good" in Slovak, but which is also a diminutive of their last names (Dopyera Brothers). The Dobro brand was created to market these new resonator guitars.

However, differences of opinion and contract disputes led to the Dopyera brothers separating in 1932. Rudy Dopyera left Dobro and founded a new company, National String Instrument Corporation, while John Dopyera continued to use the Dobro brand for its own instruments.

National quickly gained popularity and became a renowned brand for its resonator guitars. National instruments were used in a variety of musical genres, including blues, country and jazz, and were valued for their distinctive tone and powerful projection.

In the 1930s, National also introduced electric guitar models, anticipating the evolution of music and the increasing use of electric amplification. These electric guitars also featured resonators, which gave them a unique and interesting sound.

Over the following decades, National continued to innovate and develop new instrument designs. The brand was purchased by Valco Manufacturing Company in the 1940s, and National guitars were manufactured under this new entity.

National experienced a decline in the 1960s and 1970s, primarily due to competition from more popular electric guitar brands at the time. However, the rediscovery of blues music and renewed interest in vintage instruments contributed to the resurgence of the National brand.

Today, the National brand is still active, manufacturing faithful reissues of classic resonator guitar and bass models. National instruments are prized by collectors and musicians for their manufacturing quality, vintage sound and historical heritage.

The history of the National brand is marked by the innovation and major contribution of the Dopyera brothers to the evolution of musical instruments. Their invention of the resonator opened up new sonic possibilities and left an indelible mark on musical history.

Created in July 1930, the Style O designates guitars with a nickel-plated brass body with a single resonance cone. Although during the first year of production, some Style O's were made from steel.

There were at least 8 variations of Style O guitars between 1930 and 1941.
The 12 fret non-body models include 5 variations, and the 14 fret non-body models were modified 3 times from 1935 to 1940.
Concerning the 1932 National Style O, several specifications allow them to be recognized apart from their serial number, some of which are detailed here:
  • Nickel-plated brass body
  • 12 frets outside the body (the 14 frets outside the body having been produced from 1935)
  • The F holes are flat cut
  • The body border is not engraved
  • Background decorations: The intersection between the two palm tree trunks is blurry / Few clouds / 5 stars
  • The cover-plate of the cone with 4 embossed radiant lines
Technical characteristics :
  • Body: Bell brass nickel plated
  • Neck: Flamed maple/birdseye
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Width at nut: 45.5mm
  • Radius: Flat
  • Frets: 19 frets (12 frets excluding body)
  • Scale: 25" (635mm)
  • Profile: C
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Country of manufacture: United States
  • Year: 1932
  • Finish: Natural
  • Decorations: Natural / Tobacco Burst Handle
  • Details: Normal signs of wear given its age / Delivered in its hard case

Easy to play, this 1932 National Resonator Style O has a powerful, bright and balanced sound, perfect for blues or folk music. He will also be able to enrich other styles of music with his unique sound.

Like all our instruments, this National is fully restored and tuned (here by Mike Lewis) and completely playable.

It also has good, pleasant playing comfort.

Here is an authentic, remarkable piece of the history of National guitars and Resonator instruments, in superb condition that will delight musicians and collectors alike.

An expert-issued certificate of authenticity is included with this instrument.

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