Style "O" review by National

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 10 (5 votes)
National: Style

Price paid: $ 3292.17

Purchased from: National Resophonic

Sound — 10
Great sound, nothing at all like a normal acoustic guitar. Very loud! Obviously due to the resonator. The sound is a little bit like a banjo on steroids! I have always wanted one of these guitars since being a lad and to be honest, I am not he worlds greatest guitar player and was a little in awe of this instument when I first recieved it as a suprise present. However, it seems to behave nicely to all styles of play, strumming can sound a little strange at first but picking sounds beatiful, sometimes when you strum chords hard, you can almost get a distortion sound echoing from the bowels of the guitar and the bass notes come through with a real grunt. Probably not the way a National should be played all the time, but hey! We all need a gimmick! The sound is bright and very loud. These guitars were invented before amplification so the guitarist could be heard in noisy bars, clubs etc along with singing and orchestral accompaniment. Mostly for blues and country guitarist's back in the day, when all music was new and fresh! They are around 5 times louder than any acoustic guitar you can buy, when played with a pick as oppose to fingers you can really hear the extra volume, when I gig with it, it is usually in an unplugged environment and I play with fingers to keep the noise level down below the singers.

Overall Impression — 10
Buying a guitar from this company is a pleasure and a privilege. If you're not sure that you really want a resonator guitar or that the sound will be of any use to you, you can get a cd from National that gives you an example of the sounds that come from all the guitars they make. If you're still not sure, go to your music shop and try some of the cheaper resonator models that most of them sell. Only four shops in uk sell nationals so the chances are you won't be able to try one out. If you like the sound of the cheaper models you can be garaunteed you will like the National. Play 'Romeo And Juliet' which Mark Knopfler wrote on his style O (and the reason I've always wanted one) and you'll never want to stop!

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will last a lifetime, the finish will no doubt wear and tarnish but I think it will be interesting to see how it looks after another say twenty years. I am quite sure it is just another part of the charm of these fine instruments. I'd never play a gig without a backup simply because of the chance of having a string break. This is a heavy guitar. Make no mistake, you don't need to worry about it's reliability, but you may have to worry about your own!

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Beautiful finish, nice action, suitable for picking strumming and my attempts at playing with a slide (painful) ha. I had a small scratch in the plating which was a bit of a dissappointment, however, when I told the shop who imported it for me they, sent me a nice compensation pack and I managed to polish out most of the scratch.

Features — 10
This is one of the new models since the company started making these again in 1992. I would wager that my model was manufactured at some time in 2003 serial no. 1529. It is a brass bodied nickel plated beauty with a hawaiian scene sandblasted onto the front and back. The neck is maple I believe, with an ebony fingerboard, slotted headstock with ivoroid trim and fret markers. It arrived complete with a hard case with a crushed blue velour interior, very plush!

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is a great guitar. I have always wanted one ever since I saw it on the cover of the Dire Straits Brothers in Arms album. The sound is unique to this type of guitar and I hope that someday I will eventually get to own one!
    I purchased a used National Style O recently. It is a 2004 model. Quite an incredible instrument. Since I've owned this I've been on the lookout for other resonators to compare and my National stands out way above the cheaper imports. You definitely can tell the difference in sound and playability between a quality instrument like a national and the cheaper imports. Additionally, you can see if you search the web, a national holds its value over time, which is a sign of a quality instrument.