National RM1
2011 National Resophonic RM-1 Vintage, tobacco sunburst. $2,400.
The National Resophonic RM-1 is a revolution in resonator mandolin design and tone. Rather than the pinched, harsh, overly metallic sound you get from resophonics of yesteryear, the RM-1 sounds a lot like an acoustic mandolin—just louder. It stands out in a crowd but still manages to be sweet and expressive. This example is in very good condition with not much player wear to speak of.
     When introduced, the RM-1 came in a single configuration: a walnut body with a maple top and a contemporary cover plate. After a few years, National debuted the RM-1 Vintage, of which this particular mandolin, so National tells me, is the very first example.
     Solid maple body with maple top and neck; spiral-embossed spun cone with biscuit bridge. Sunburst finish. Nickel steel vintage-style cover plate, Gotoh tuners, and art deco tailpiece. Currently set up with flatwound strings, which do take a little more edge off the tone. If you want to play the blues, or hold your own with a set of bagpipes, or just have the coolest mandolin on the block, this is the one to get. It uses the standard 13.875" mandolin scale, and doesn't have any of the intonation or playability problems associated with vintage resophonics. Comes with a hardshell case, which is good condition with the exception of a 2.5-inch gash in the Tolex cover and a white mark along one edge.
     I have, but have not installed, a brand-new National "hot plate" attachment with a Jason Lollar pickup. I will include it for the same $395 it would cost if purchased from Elderly Instruments, and you can choose whether to have it preinstalled or just included in the box. See more photos, call 425/772-0231, or for more information. $2,400 plus shipping.