These wooden bodied instruments all date from the late 1930s. Louis Dopyera was running the factory, now located in Chicago. While the instruments may have been assembled there, the bodies and most other components were bought in from Regal, Kay and others.
Above. A Havana Spanish neck behind, a Havana Hawaiian in front.
Bound in white/black/white including the soundhole, apart from the Aragon which is definitely in a league of it's own, these are the finest of National's late period wood bodied instruments.
Made in Chicago, most El Trovadors were made under licence from National by Kay and have serial nos starting in K.
Note that while most of the El Trovadors have bodies and necks made by Kay, this one
has an identical body, though sadly stripped of the finish in this example but a different neck.
(Possibly made by Regal?)
NB This headstock decal is a modern generic replacement.
In the book, DOBROist's Scrapbook, on page 31, Bev King quotes John Dopyera as saying "While Brother Louis had the factory in Chicago, way before WW11, they put out a little guitar with an extra small cone and the name was Rosita. The bodies were made by Regal, and it wasn't made of plywood."
This is a fine early example of these, the only parlour guitar size body on any National I have seen, definitely different from the production model shown above which has a standard cone.
"Trojans can be found in two varieties. One has long cut "f" holes in the style of wood Triolians and carries a "K" serial number prefix (perhaps made by Kay?) and the other looks much closer to a Duolian but with smaller top bouts (always with a "T" serial number prefix). I imagine these were built by Harmony. (Mark Makin writes)
"My Trojans from 1934' & 1936 don't have any neckstick rod, they were built like ordinary guitars (Which can explain their lack of volume, other National guitars were built like banjos) Sometime in 1937, National did put the neckstick rod into them" (Pascal Mesnier writes)
Pascal Mesnier's 1935 Trojan, serial L10132. Refered to above.
My thanks to David Ace for sending in this picture of his circa 1938/9 Trojan which had a solid headstock.
Stuart Cumberpatch's late 1930s Trojan. Serial #C1686. Note the third headstock variant.
Finally, a page from the Tonk Bros Co, Chicago sales book
showing the Havana and a 'paddle' heastock Style 0.
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