Ca. 1939 National Sonora electric archtop

about 3 years ago
Noah Miller
Available on
Steel Guitar Forum
on the bass side of the lower bout

Up for sale is a National Sonora built around 1939. This is a very historically important guitar, as it was the first model to feature two pickups. It's also exceptionally rare; few were built, and even fewer survive.
The guitar features a 17" hollow body built of laminated woods; it was largely built by Kay, and National added the electronics and other hardware. Unusually for an old Kay, the neck remains at a perfect angle and does not appear to have been reset. The neck is also very straight; there's no truss rod, but the chunky profile has kept it from warping. There is only minor fret wear, so the guitar has excellent playability all the way up the neck. There are no cracks or other structural damage or repairs, just the normal finish wear you'd expect on a guitar in its seventh decade.
The original screw-on jack was replaced with a standard 1/4" jack. Like other National electrics of the time, the jack is located on the bass side of the lower bout. Other than some routine setup work, this is the only repair or modification that has been done. The pickguard is missing (as usual on these guitars), as is the original bridge; all the other hardware appears to be original. There is one volume knob and one blend knob that allows you to select either pickup or anything in between. Both pickups have strong output, and the pots both work very well. The sound is big, warm and woolly, like many of the classic jazz boxes of the period.
Altogether, a very playable, fully functional guitar, and a great piece of history as well.
Asking $2700 including Paypal fees and shipping within the continental US. the obscure side of vintage instruments.