Brass or steel National?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by gnugear, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. gnugear

    gnugear Member

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    What's your preference and why?
     
  2. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    i went with brass.
     
  3. Bluzsteel

    Bluzsteel Member

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    I have both and the steel seems a little louder to me ......in a good way, more honk. think Son House
     
  4. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    I have a Tricone- brass, and a Duolian- steel. The guitars have different resonators (3 vs 1) so any comparisons are tough to make. I think the steel is supposed to have a more brash tone suited for delta blues, while the braqss is supposedly more refined and polite, but more versatile.

    Go to http://vintagenationals.com/National Guitar Tonesamples.htm

    Tricone example pic and tone (others on site)
    http://www.nationalguitars.com/index_ie.html

    and you'll hear some samples of guitars with different materials.

    In ther end it boils down to the instrument, and what you intend to use it for.

    Cheers,

    JD
     
  5. mtcoolg

    mtcoolg Gold Supporting Member

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    I have owned both bell brass and steel models. It is purely a matter of your personal taste. IMHO, I prefer the sound of bell brass. Play as many models as you can until you find the one that suits you. Good luck:AOK
     
  6. clemduolian

    clemduolian Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree with jackaroo...depends on the instrument ('cause they're each a bit different in terms of feel and voice), your style of playing and how it sounds to YOUR ear. (always a good idea to listen while playing AND while someone else is playing it and you're out front ). In the end, I have kept a '31 steel Duolian because after a few different Nationals (steel and brass, single and tri-cone) this one has THE sound that inspires me to play bottleneck and sounds like a National should.

    Clem
     
  7. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Yeah - can't really say one's *better* than the other - I'd always thought brass would be best for me, but when I finally got down to playing a bunch of them back to back, it turned out that I prefer the harsher rasp of steel.. And they're cheaper, too!
     
  8. konavet

    konavet Member

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    It's definitely a matter of taste, but I love my brass tricone. Hard to beat the pure sweet (and loud!) sounds of the tricone and the deco styling is way cool. To me the tricones have a much more complex tonal quality. The overtones that pop up are truly amazing- sometimes I stop and look to see if someone else is playing.
     
  9. retro

    retro Member

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    Ears are the best guide I think. It's totally subjective IMO.
    And there is also as much or more tonal variation sometimes between the same models.

    But as a preference the best I've heard personally in metal bodies have been vintage German Silver bodied Tri-Cones. Fluid resonance with great harmonic overtones. Wonderful sustain. Loud and sweet. Dynamic. Great bass, mids and highs.

    I'm thinking of selling my National Vintage Steel Tri-Cone...
     
  10. konavet

    konavet Member

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    The new Nationals do rival (if not surpass) the vintage tricones. German silver is a nickel/copper alloy (no silver), sometimes with zinc, and is pretty similar to the nickel plating done on the newer models. I've played both and a really pristine vintage tricone will probably sound better than a new one, but many of those 70 year olds are pretty beat, not to mention priced in the stratosphere. Good luck- hope you find what you're looking for.
     
  11. gnugear

    gnugear Member

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    Thanks. From the descriptions it sounds like I'm leaning toward a tricone. Love the looks :)
     
  12. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    You might want to give the Steel Tricones a serious look - great balance of refinement and honk. And now that they have a cutaway...

    Don't discount the wood models - they can reall sound amazing. I have a steel Resorocket and I'm giving serious thought to a wood body. National told me they are planning a new wood cutaway model soon. If they build one in Koa this could be the thing divorces are made of!
     
  13. doc

    doc Member

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    German silver definitely sounds best to my ear. It adds a sweet, complex resonance, and is lighter as well. Having said that, the new ones are generally more playable and much more affordable and close tonally. If you want some complexity and smoothness go with the brass, and if you want a little more reverb and harshness go with the steel (steel probably best for blues). I wish they'd make a steel body with thinner steel similar to a vintage Duolian but a bigger body to give more bass.
     
  14. Zim

    Zim Member

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    I say get both! I liked both myself. But if I had to choose.....
     
  15. ricoh

    ricoh Member

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    The Brass Tricone "flows like a river" Each time I play mine I am in wonder at the tone!!!!!!!!!
     

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