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Post new topic My new mid-30s National 7 string
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Author Topic:  My new mid-30s National 7 string
David Wren


From:
Placerville, California, USA
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2019 12:54 pm    
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So, I first was given this steel guitar to do some research on, for a friend... a few months ago. Short story, I just loved it, and after a trade for a Carvin solid-body 12 string, well.... now I get to decide what tuning to put on it Smile

Wherever it has been stored, it has been very well protected. Original hard shell case in great shape too!

The electronics work just great, only defect is a missing tuner button on string 7. I intend to manufacture my own, rather than replace all 7 tuners.



Looks like my new hobby Smile
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Dave Wren
'96 Carter U12,7X7;1936 7 string National; Quilter "Steelaire"; Milkman "The Amp"; Boss "Katana" 100 Head w/Line 6 Cab; Fender "Twin Custom 15" ('65 reissue); Telonics VP.
www.therandomstrangers.com
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David Matzenik


From:
Cairns, on the Coral Sea
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2019 2:49 pm    
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The long scale should be good for sustain and harmonics, and the seventh string fills out the chords, compared to six string guitars. You will get a lot of recommendations for C6th tuning, which is great. Personally, I go for A6th with the major triad on top. That being said, if you put a G string on top of C6th, you have the CEG triad, but the G string is kinda skinny. For straight non-pedal steel guitar I think you need some bite available on the top string.
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Bill Creller


From:
Saginaw, Michigan, USA (deceased)
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2019 3:03 pm    
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Wow ! you really scored ! And a 7 string too!! Very Happy Beautiful instrument !
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Aaron Johnson


From:
Lemoore, CA
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2019 3:09 pm    
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Wow! What a beautiful steel!
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David Wren


From:
Placerville, California, USA
Post  Posted 25 Apr 2019 3:27 pm    
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Thanks guys! Yeah, I'm like a school kid again... spent the afternoon refreshing myself on all I ever knew about tunings and string gauges Smile

Looks like I'll be going with the A6th, I love the swing sound of the 6th stuff.
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Dave Wren
'96 Carter U12,7X7;1936 7 string National; Quilter "Steelaire"; Milkman "The Amp"; Boss "Katana" 100 Head w/Line 6 Cab; Fender "Twin Custom 15" ('65 reissue); Telonics VP.
www.therandomstrangers.com
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Chris Clem


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 26 Apr 2019 8:46 am    
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Looking good David. I also have one of these (slightly different) I play it everyday.Great sounding,playing and never seems to go out of tune. I keep mine in C6th but mine is a 6 string. If mine were a 7 string I think the A6th would be a good way to go.

Those tuner buttons on these are prone to getting loose. I had 3 that were loose. I pulled them off and epoxied them back on. They have held up well over the last year.

This is my first aluminum body steel and I found they are ice cold in the winter. But have a sound all there own,loving mine....Chris
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 26 Apr 2019 9:16 am    
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I have a homemade all aluminum hollow body lap steel. It is always flat till it sits on my lap for 5 to 7 minutes.......has to warm up to me........then, it's right on the money!
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Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post  Posted 26 Apr 2019 9:27 am    
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Congratulations on scoring an amazing, uncommon, and wonderful old instrument! (Attention Mike Greer!) Enjoy!

Myself, I would trade twelve 12-string Carvins for that thing.

I concur with A6 tuning on a 7-string, with a low A and a high E. That's what I have on my rescue Gibson Ultramaster 7-string.
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 27 Apr 2019 5:46 am    
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David, I believe that you will certainly enjoy playing your new steel.

I would like to share a little historical information about the first lap steel owned by a very special departed friend.

Mr. Charlie Norris 9/13/28-2/7/15
Inducted into the Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Fame (1995)
President of the Texas Steel Guitar Association (2002)

My first meeting with Charlie was at his music store, Norris Family Music in Mesquite, Texas. Several of his guitars were at the store and he would play for me when I visited. He played pedal and lap steels and had recorded on both. His steel guitar that interested me most was a 1935 National Electric Hawaiian 7 string, shown below.

1935 NATIONAL ELECTRIC HAWAIIAN 7 STRING


After talking with Charlie, I soon learned why he prized this steel so much. He had purchased it as a teenager and picked cotton for $0.03/lb. (2,265 lb.), after school, to pay the cost of $67.95. The guitar was purchased in Las Cruces, NM. The Hawaiians came by his home once a week, and he took lessons for $1.00/wk, paid in eggs (3 dozen /wk.). Before going into the Marines, he sold the guitar in Roswell, NM. The guitar was then bought by a man from Colorado. A man brought the guitar into Norris Family Music in 1985, and wanted to trade for a pedal steel. Charlie recognized his old steel that he sold in Roswell, NM, and immediately made a deal, getting his old steel back. I tried to purchase the steel from him for several years without success. Finally in 2004, as he was nearing retirement, he agreed to sell the steel to me. I was really pleased to become the owner of this historic steel.

This is a great sounding steel which I enjoy playing.

C. E. Jackson Smile
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Michael Greer


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 27 Apr 2019 1:08 pm    
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David

Congratulations on an excellent find.....As Jack Hanson said it is a rare guitar....I have seen very few of the 7 string variations of National Cast guitar.

Based on the reference material I have your guitar appears to be a late 1936 model based on the tone/volume pots and their location.
Also the decorative handrest would indicate late 1936.

For comparison , attached is a picture of the late 1935 National Cast and in my opinion it’s fancy brother the late 1935 Dobro Cast .
Note the single control knob and shorter scale.

Enjoy your new guitar.

Mike



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Chris Clem


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 27 Apr 2019 6:59 pm    
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Well, I guess I better show mine.





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Eric Dahlhoff


From:
Point Arena, California
Post  Posted 28 Apr 2019 7:13 am     Natl Elect
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I love mine too! And I'd love to have a 7 string version - you were smart to jump on it!
They were only made for 2-3 years I believe, but there is a lot of variation.


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David Wren


From:
Placerville, California, USA
Post  Posted 28 Apr 2019 9:09 pm    
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Wow, this is such fun. Although I was weaned on early pedal steels (my mom had the first D-8 Sho~Bud in NorCal)…. I have always had a huge interest in all things steel guitar.

Love all the pics of your aluminum lap steels, and Mr. Jackson... that's one great story! Thanks for sharing.

To date I have roughed out a brass tuner button for the 7th string tuning machine, after I finish it I intend to either silver solder, or braze it onto the stem of the existing tuning machine, and then have the button plated with either nickel or chrome.... working with a very gifted friend of mine who has a great history of restoring old instruments.

As my friend says, "We are only the temporary custodians of these very unique instruments."

Pure love.

More news as things advance.
_________________
Dave Wren
'96 Carter U12,7X7;1936 7 string National; Quilter "Steelaire"; Milkman "The Amp"; Boss "Katana" 100 Head w/Line 6 Cab; Fender "Twin Custom 15" ('65 reissue); Telonics VP.
www.therandomstrangers.com
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David Wren


From:
Placerville, California, USA
Post  Posted 30 Apr 2019 12:07 pm    
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So, I have a couple of pix of the replacement tuner button (7th string) I'm making... just sitting on the tuner, not attached yet. Hoping to nickel plate it when I'm done.


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Dave Wren
'96 Carter U12,7X7;1936 7 string National; Quilter "Steelaire"; Milkman "The Amp"; Boss "Katana" 100 Head w/Line 6 Cab; Fender "Twin Custom 15" ('65 reissue); Telonics VP.
www.therandomstrangers.com
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Bill Groner


From:
QUAKERTOWN, PA
Post  Posted 30 Apr 2019 12:36 pm    
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David Wren wrote:
Wow, this is such fun. Although I was weaned on early pedal steels (my mom had the first D-8 Sho~Bud in NorCal)…. I have always had a huge interest in all things steel guitar.

Love all the pics of your aluminum lap steels, and Mr. Jackson... that's one great story! Thanks for sharing.

To date I have roughed out a brass tuner button for the 7th string tuning machine, after I finish it I intend to either silver solder, or braze it onto the stem of the existing tuning machine, and then have the button plated with either nickel or chrome.... working with a very gifted friend of mine who has a great history of restoring old instruments.

As my friend says, "We are only the temporary custodians of these very unique instruments."

Pure love.

More news as things advance.


Another option to attach the tuner to the shaft (provided you have about .001 clearance between the hole and the shaft) is Green Permanent Loktite. There would be no heat involved.
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C. E. Jackson


Post  Posted 30 Apr 2019 4:08 pm    
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David, glad you enjoyed the story about Charlie Norris.

C. E. Jackson Smile
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My Vintage Steel Guitars
My YouTube Steel Guitar Playlists
My YouTube Steel Guitar Songs
A6 tuning for steels
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David Wren


From:
Placerville, California, USA
Post  Posted 17 May 2019 11:41 am    
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Well, yesterday I nickel plated the brass tuner button, and then epoxied it onto the 7th string tuner... all came out just great. I used a Caswell "home" electro-plating kit, and it was super easy. For epoxy I used J-B Weld, original slow setting formula... it was rated very good for metal to metal.... seems like a super strong bond.

Played the lap steel with a new set of strings (A6th) for 4 hours this morning.... never owned a better sounding steel guitar! Amazing sustain, full bodied tone, no noise whatsoever... and great string separation!


I'll have to post new pics, and sound files when I get time.
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Dave Wren
'96 Carter U12,7X7;1936 7 string National; Quilter "Steelaire"; Milkman "The Amp"; Boss "Katana" 100 Head w/Line 6 Cab; Fender "Twin Custom 15" ('65 reissue); Telonics VP.
www.therandomstrangers.com
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Andy DePaule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Harrisburg, Oregon
Post  Posted 17 May 2019 8:53 pm     Lucky find & nice restoration...
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Hi David,
Lucky find & nice restoration you did on the tuner.
I'd love a 7 string for A6th because I hardly ever get to the 8th string anyway. Laughing
Best of pickin'
Andy Very Happy
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Inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th; http://luthiersupply.com/instrument-gallery.html
2017 Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 Polished Aluminum covering.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners.
Clinesmith Triple 8 Console, Birdseye Maple.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Short A6th.
Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel Long E6/9th.
1950's? Blankenship D-8 6&3 PSG Restored.
1956 Dewey Kendrick D-8 4&3 PSG, Restoration Project.
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David Wren


From:
Placerville, California, USA
Post  Posted 1 Jul 2019 8:57 am    
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A good friend of our band, Kris Thayer, took this picture yesterday of our stage between sets. I thought it was a nice view of the National... if you look at the space between the Carter and the National there is a small green glow... this is a Volto 3 battery power supply, which I mounted on a small board with an A/B switch, and a MXR 6 band EQ pedal.... just funny using space age electronics with a 1936 lap steel... but it all works and sounds just great!


The handsome red tele is our guitar player, Larry Park's, the same one he played at all the "Boy Howdy" gigs.
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Dave Wren
'96 Carter U12,7X7;1936 7 string National; Quilter "Steelaire"; Milkman "The Amp"; Boss "Katana" 100 Head w/Line 6 Cab; Fender "Twin Custom 15" ('65 reissue); Telonics VP.
www.therandomstrangers.com
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