In 1927, the National String Instrument Company began producing the first resonator instruments. Over the years, the National brand became so synonymous with resonator instruments that many blues players who prefer their unique sound simply refer to any resonator as a "national guitar." Intended to offer players a louder voice, the innovative resonator produces an interesting, warm sound that you won't get from anything else.
In 1989, the National brand was revived when the National Reso-Phonic Guitars company began building resonator instruments again in Southern California. Inspired by many of the classic designs from the late-'20s and early-'30s, the modern production Nationals are impressive instruments, built with the all of the innovation and advancement in production techniques since the prewar era. Without question, these recent production National guitars are some of the highest quality resonator instruments ever made.
This National Estralita was made in San Luis Obispo, California in 2000. Based on the wood-body resonators of the '30s, the Estralita features a laminate Walnut body with a straightforward biscuit/9.5" single-cone resonator. With a slotted headstock, chunky V neck profile, and wide 1.8" neck profile, it certainly has the feel and vibe of a prewar original, and the bluesy tone it produces captures the sounds of yesteryear.
This 2000 Estralita has been played over the years, and it shows some scuffs and signs of use around the body (see photos). Most noticeable is a ding on the bass edge of the fretboard at the 2nd fret as well as some bumps on the bass side along the waist. Fortunately, no repairs, damages, or issues—just a good played-in resonator!
The previous owner installed a K&K Pure Resonator pickup, which has a discrete output jack by the strap button on the treble side. There is also a strap button installed on the heel. It is currently set up with Medium gauge strings and higher action to accommodate slide. There is plenty of room to bring the action down lower, but it's in a great place for anyone who wants to put a slide to work. This 2000 National Estralita includes its original hardshell case.