Simply said, this is one great guitar from a company that makes a bunch of 'em. Each model has its own voice; and it's really up to a player's personal preference which is the right one for them.
I wouldn't hesitate getting another just like it.
Model Year: 1994
Price: $1700.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Stan's Guitar Shop Glendora, CA
National Resophonic's only factory is located in San Luis Obispo, CA. They don't "job out" any models; so you're assured a US made guitar.
The tricones are their upper line models; with 3 smaller resonating cones inside the body rather than one like their wooden body guitars, Style 0, Triolians, and Dobros have. The body style is a little smaller than a dreadnought; with rounder shoulders.The neck is maple with a rosewood fingerboard; and meets the body at the 12th fret. The tuners have a vintage Kluson look.
The "Polychrome" finish is baked on, and comes in Blue, Copper, Green, and Dark Gray. Mine is one of the earliest made (serial #P-26); and is a Light Gray Burst that I don't think is available any longer.
The usual setup on this and most Nationals calls for slightly higher action and Medium (or heavier) gauge strings; due to its most common use as a guitar for slide players. Even given that though, it's not impossible to adjust it.
I prefer heavier gauge strings for alternate, open tunings and slide work, and have mine set up with slightly higher action; but I can still comfortably finger chords and play single note leads (bending takes a bit more of a "manly" approach, however) :o)
Sound-wise....nothing sounds like a National tricone but a National tricone. Classic Delta Blues tone and unbelieveable acoustic volume. Listen to Johnny Winter for a great example of the tone of a tricone.
I compared it to the more expensive brass bodied Nationals- playing them side by side for days before choosing. Though there is a difference, I found myself liking the Polychrome's unique voice more. Why? I'm not sure. But I'm not sorry now after almost 9 years.
Live, I've been playing it in front of a mic; and I'm considering a Highlander system for amplifying it.
I've played this guitar almost daily for practically 9 years, and never even broke a string let alone had a failure of a part. It's a tank (and weighs almost as much).
Adjustments have consisted of two truss rod tweaks (once after its initial break in, and the other when I changed the set up to accomodate heavier strings). That's it!