Played A Sweet Custom Nati-horn

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MarkinSonoma's picture

I was at the first ever three day Berkeley Bluegrass Festival last Sunday and the headliner was The John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band with Herb Pedersen. Oh man - were they ever good. Ran like a Swiss watch.

 Not your typical "festival" per se, held indoors at The Freight & Salvage Coffehouse, a venue which only seats 220 people, but absolutely one of the best places to see music in Northern California.

Out in the lobby was a lady named Dana who is a traveling vendor of sorts that has a booth at various festivals. She sells straps, picks, bars, etc. I bought a cool new redesigned G7 guitar capo, it's already become my favorite. 

She had several instruments for sale including the dobro in the photos. Sorry about the quality - quick iPhone shots between one of the sets, they are not even close to doing it justice. 

The information Dana had was a little sketchy for a $4K plus resonator guitar but if anyone is interested I'm sure Eric Smith @ National Reso-Phonic can fill you in. And it's going for considerably  less. Dana was pretty busy, and during the evening I was getting some conflicting information when I talked to her between sets, but I believe she said this guitar had an original retail of $4200 and she has had it for a few months. There are a couple things slightly wrong with it and she can sell for under $4K, not sure how far under. You can't see them in my photos. On top are a couple of small bar dings on the bass side upper bout. A guy was taking it for a test drive at an earlier event and he dropped his bar! Dana said he was mortified and offered to pay for the repair, but after she contacted National she was told that it just wouldn't be worh the hassle. I think a buff job by a good lutheir would help hide the dings. And apparently there is a very short hairline crack on the back - neither of us could even find it but the lighting wasn't that great.  

It's cocobolo, and though she wasn't sure, it looked like a cedar top to me. I have played  cocobolo flattops from different builders and they have all been without fail great sounding guitars. 

National has produced a number of custom Scheerhorns beyond the three production models, and this is the first custom I have played. I have now played 9 or 10 different Nati-horns. The resounding champion IMO was the Ickes model that was at Gryphon for some time that I managed to play three times without pulling out the Visa and taking it home since it would not have gone over well with my wife. That Ickes to my ears was easily superior to the several maple and mahogany models I have tried. 

This custom cocobolo was there with the Ickes and might exceed it, but I couldn't tell you for sure unless I could do an A/B comparison. After the msuic was over on Sunday Dana let me take the cocobolo over to a corner and i played it for maybe 15 minutes and I didn't want to stop.  Along with being plenty loud, it was punchy - it has very clear note articulation. 

I don't know why I even put myself through this - playing cool guitars when I know that it just isn't in the budget to be able take them home. But I can't seem to stop! Interesting - Dana told me I was the only person to test drive the guitar during the 3 day event. 

For any of you west coasters or others going to Strawberry this weekend or the Father's Day Festival in Grass Valley, Dana will be there with this guitar if it hasn't sold in the past week. I told her I would put out the word. Or if you want, I can give you her contact information. I have misplaced her business card temporarily but I can find it shortly.

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