1937 National "Exploding Palm Tree" Tri-Cone Resonator

$7,709.00

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Just in and with a wonderful history is this previously undiscovered National “Exploding Palm Tree” Tricone from 1937. These enigmatic and very rare instruments are hard to classify as they never appeared in any National publicity material so as such don’t conform to the companies usual naming model. As a result this style has become known to collectors as the ‘Exploding Palm Tree’ thanks to its art deco, abstract Hawaiian Palm tree design. Very few of these instruments have be cataloged with only 5 Hawaiian square neck and a further two round neck examples previously having surfaced. There is a photo of the legendary bluesman Bukka White holding a square neck ‘Exploding Palm Tree’ Triplate in the ’60 for his own publicity. Although synonymous with his use of Duolians and Style 0s he did play lap steel for some songs and it is not out of the question that he also owned that instrument.

This example, #A3612 until recently resided in Calcutta where it was discovered in the attic of a family home. Featuring a brass body with the decorative’ Exploding Palm Tree’ design etched into the nickel plating, the square neck is wooden and coated in metallic grey prismatic paint. The headstock features a highly figured grey pearloid facia with impressed art deco National logo. The rear of the headstock has an old sticker from the shop in Calcutta where it was purchased, Braganza & Co. The shop was founded in 1938 and is still in business at the same location. They specialised in the post war year in selling World War 2 surplus musical instruments. The guitar is in great original condition and has had little in the way of repairs in its 80 plus years. The plated finish is still relatively bright; there is minor scuffing and wear but no major plating loss. The tuners are the original three-on-a-side type with plastic buttons. The nut is correct and other than a small section of binding the neck is in great condition. Dot position markers are at the 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th and 17th with dual dots at the 15th and 19th fret. Correct internally and externally the Tri-plate features its original bridge cover and hand rest, aluminium T bridge and cones. The cones are in great shape given their age, the treble cone and the rearward bass cone have no issues but the foremost bass cone has a small amount of compression. We have decided to retain this cone to preserve the resonators originality but replacement cones can be readily sourced for a reasonable price if required. We have the resonator strung with D'Addario EJ-42 strings in GBDGBD tuning and it plays well with the smooth, deep and sustaining sound these Tricones are known for.

This well traveled resonator came into us without a case so we have paired it with a well fitting period case.