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Vintage Duolian Autopsy

Hi, here is a very early Duolian 12 fret steel bodied round neck guitar. This is serial # C110, meaning its the 110th Duolian produced. We will find some interesting features not found as time went on.

National Guitar Autopsy 1

duolian 101

Hi, here is a very early Duolian 12 fret steel bodied round neck guitar. This is serial # C110, meaning its the 110th Duolian produced. We will find some interesting features not found as time went on. As you look at this body, notice how nice the Duco crystal paint is below where the fingerboard was. Also notice the smaller duco crystals in the ligher section of the paint by the F holes. These were not evident in later Duco finished, as the flakes became consistently larger as seen in the under fingerboard section. Also notice the well, you can see that no cloth or felt was ever used in it. You can also see the circular overspray inside the well.
National Guitar Autopsy 2
Here is another example of the smaller duco crystals amongst the larger ones. Although most Duco's are considered some shade of green or grey, the earliest advertisements for the model call it Dark Walnut. I'm green brown colorblind, so I haven't a clue, but my gal says this is NOT what you'd call green!
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One more look at the duco crystals

under the fingerboard...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, crystally!

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Get out the scalpel...

Here you see inside the body of the duolian looking from the top down. Notice why this body is different/ special?

Look close at the seams that are soldered inside. Most Duolians have a 2 pc. body, with the top and sides as one piece formed as one and the back soldered on. Note the top seam, it's also soldered. This is a 3 piece body, only seen on very early National models. See the solder seams at the top and bottom of the side piece? Cool eh? One givaway is the sharp corner on the front to side edge, not rounded like most Nat's. See next pic...

National Guitar Autopsy 5

View from above, more nice crystals on the body. Note the outline the heel makes on the body. Also observe how sharp the angle is from the top piece to the sides. Normally this is more rounded due to the top and side being one piece.

 

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Check this out.... Here is the body along with both it's original neck, with the fingerboard removed. It's on the left, the neck on the right is from a 32-33 duolian 12 fretter. Notice the lack of truss rod in the first early neck, then the addition of a steel tube truss rod that is pressed and glued into the routed slot shown. The rod is pressed in along w glue, then the little wooden cover strip goes over it. Most of these rods are no longer functional, but the neck is straighter on the rod neck than no rod in this case.
National Guitar Autopsy 7
Ok, not a great pic, but look closely at the headstock stamps. Number C110 on the left has a very early and cool shield logo stamped into the headstock, unlike the standard NATIONAL DUOLIAN that is stamped in most as time went by. A cool early feature.
 

Yeah BABY!!!

One of the great suprises is opening up your vintage Nat and seeing what shape the original (if it's still there) cone is in. Well, this one is a real beauty. This has already been cleaned up, but it was in perfect shape, accompanied by several golf ball sized dust bunnies, usually a good omen that your Nat has been sitting a long time! This is about as nice as they come...

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So there you go, every National has a story, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Hope you found this interesting, I hope to provide future similar rundowns on various models w interesting features.

Best, Lenny