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New National Mandolin

s.tuliebitz

quit smeckin' around
Messages
129
Thought this may interest a few of you...

Dropped in on Buzzy at Lark Street Music the other night- ended up walking out with a new National Resonating Mandolin!

Had no intention of purchasing anything that night, let alone an instrument I don't really know how to play... just happened to pluck a few strings as I was getting ready to leave. It made me do a double-take and immediately took it down for an inspection.

The tone, the volume (monstrously loud!), the looks - just a stunning instrument. Had to have it. Seriously one of the coolest, most beautiful sounding acoustic instruments I've ever played.
Its only been a few days now but I feel its already opening me up musically in a way only a new type of instrument can.
Highly recommended.

Here are some pics from Lark Street (notice the art deco tailpiece, and mineral streaking on the back):




y con mi el trovador:





Thanks for looking!
Sam
 

62Tele

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,688
I've had mine for a couple of years now and it's a great instrument. Might have to pop for the new mando hotplate to make it even more versatile - and louder!
Looks like yours is the all maple version - mine has walnut back and sides.
 

s.tuliebitz

quit smeckin' around
Messages
129
Thanks for the reply! I didn't realize they sold the hotplate for the mando as well- I've been considering grabbing one for my El Trovador.
I bet it'd be real cool to layer into some loops- thanks for the heads up!

Yes mine is all figured maple- I wonder about the tonal differences the body wood makes in an instrument like this... I don't find mine overly bright but its definitely capable of some serious highs. I wonder if we'd really be able to pick out noticeable differences in a side by side comparison. Any thoughts?

I'm big on attack and dynamics with my guitar playing but this thing takes that to a whole new level... it wants to be loud for sure, but with careful playing (which I definitely need to learn how to do better apparently) I can really take control in a new way.
 

62Tele

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,688
My guess is that the tonal differences are pretty trivial, but I'm just guessing so who knows. Regardless, I'm very happy with mine.

I think a lot of folks expect these to be metallic and plinky but to my ears that's not at all the case. Mine sounds very 3D, and has a gorgeous ring. Compared to my old Given's A-Style, it doesn't have the chop or "bubbly" thing a good archtop can get, but it has more than enough of its own qualities to compensate. My mando tastes are more along the lines of Ry Cooder's approach FWIW. I also love the wider nuts on these - with my big hands, the traditional mando nut width gets a little tight.

I just ordered a hotplate from Elderly - looking forward to hearing this one.
 

lamenlovinit

Member
Messages
3,827
Yes mine is all figured maple- I wonder about the tonal differences the body wood makes in an instrument like this... I don't find mine overly bright but its definitely capable of some serious highs. I wonder if we'd really be able to pick out noticeable differences in a side by side comparison. Any thoughts?
I'm going to assume, that like most of their guitar models, it's a laminate. Combine that with the cone, and you end up with the back of the body acting almost entirely as a reflecting surface, with very little impact on tone. I want a ukulele from them so baaaaaaad! If I played mandolin, I'd want a mandolin from them so baaaaad! :p
 

62Tele

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,688
I'm going to assume, that like most of their guitar models, it's a laminate. Combine that with the cone, and you end up with the back of the body acting almost entirely as a reflecting surface, with very little impact on tone. I want a ukulele from them so baaaaaaad! If I played mandolin, I'd want a mandolin from them so baaaaad! :p
Actually, pretty sure mine is all solid woods. The edges are exposed - the top is definitely solid and the back and sides appear solid as well. The website says the back and sides are carved out of two pieces of walnut. They state which pieces are laminates in their guitar descriptions, I would think they would do the same on the mandos if it were the case.

http://www.nationalguitars.com/instruments/rm1/rm1.html
 

lamenlovinit

Member
Messages
3,827
Actually, pretty sure mine is all solid woods. The edges are exposed - the top is definitely solid and the back and sides appear solid as well. The website says the back and sides are carved out of two pieces of walnut. They state which pieces are laminates in their guitar descriptions, I would think they would do the same on the mandos if it were the case.

http://www.nationalguitars.com/instruments/rm1/rm1.html
Yes, that's why I said "Most" of their guitars are laminate. Some of the newer mahogany have solid.

I am both surprised and impressed they went traditional. Makes it that much cooler!
 

s.tuliebitz

quit smeckin' around
Messages
129
JGM I agree with your thoughts on the tone- very 3d and beautiful sounding. Looking forward to hearing about what you think of the hotplate!
And yeah I'm also under the impression that its all solid unlike my el trov which is laminated mahogany (makes me appreciate the figuring on the back even more!).
lamenlovinit- I don't [or didn't] play mandolin either, it just completely blew me away. Definitely check one out if you have the opportunity (or don't if you'd rather not be tempted...).

Have a great day, guys!
Sam
 

zombywoof

Member
Messages
4,577
Never played one of the wood body National mandos - only the metal body ones. Looks like I might have to try and rustle up one of those wood body babies and take it for a test drive.
 




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