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—combined with an all metal body—produces a 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 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.
The National Collegian model is based on the 1930's Supro-branded Collegian series. Like the prewar originals, it features an all-steel body and a single-cone resonator with a Maple biscuit. Unlike the originals, the new production Collegians are built out of a thinner gauge steel, so while they still produce throaty steel-body growl, they're not nearly as heavy. Outfitted with period-appropriate three-on-plate tuners and a nickel-plated brass tailpiece, the Collegian produces that classic, delta-blues resonator sound.
This 2011 National Collegian is in excellent condition with minimal signs of playwear and use. It sports a hand-painted Galaxy Blue finish, and its solid Maple neck has a sunburst finish. Its current setup has nice, approachable low action that can still facilitate slide playing nicely. This guitar sounds fantastic for traditional Piedmont-style fingerpicking, but it can cover a wide territory with resonator growl in spades. It includes its original hardshell case.