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1104 Guitars

1955 National 1104 "Town and Country"

Color: Natural, Rating: 9.00, $0.00 (ID# 02119)
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A Fine Early 1955 National Town and Country
In it's Heyday a Worthy Challenger to the Les Paul Standard

 

1955 National 1104 "Town and Country"

This very early 1955, 12 1/8-inch-wide, 1 3/4 inch deep solid maple bodied guitar with a 1/8 inch cream plastic overlay 'protector' on the back, weighs 8.10 lbs (similar to a Les Paul Standard). One-piece original black finish over maple neck with truss-rod adjustment at neck-end, a nut width of just over 1 5/8 inches, a scale length of 24 3/4 inches and a really thick profile with a soft V at the nut, filling out to a chunky C in the higher registers. Single-bound rosewood fretboard with original brass nut. 22 original thin frets and inlaid pearl parallelogram (with pearl / abalone / pearl at the 15th fret) position markers and small black dot side markers. The square abalone insert at the 15th fret ingeniously masks the screw that holds the neck to the body. Single-bound headstock with onlaid white plastic "National" script logo. Closed-back Kluson deluxe 'single-line' 'no-name' strip tuners with 'oversized' cream plastic tulip-shaped buttons. Serial number "X56878" on metal plate, secured to back of headstock with two pins. Two perfectly balanced Valco, 'humbucker sized' single coil pickups with large ceramic magnets and outputs of 11.05k and 11.00k. 'Humbucker style' metal covers and cream plastic surrounds. Black plastic guard with 'silver frame' secured by three screws. Raised cream plastic pickguard with "Town and Country" screened in black, secured by two screws. Six controls plus a three-way 'bank' switch that engages either or both pickup units in the order, neck/bridge/both. For each of these three positions there are separate tone and volume controls which can be preset with no fear of interaction. The potentiometers are stamped: "304 447" (Stackpole, November 1954). Original cream Dakaware control knobs with ribbed sides and black dot marker on top. Rosewood bridge with pre-set compensating saddle on height adjustable rosewood base. Original 'trapeze' tailpiece with three horizontal ridges and later? aluminum tail bracket secured to body with three screws. Aside from the replaced tailpiece 'bracket' this sixty-four year old 'Les Paul Style' guitar is in exceptionally fine (9.00) condition with just a few small marks on the top and a tiny area of surface loss on the back of the headstock just beneath the serial number plaque. The guitar sounds amazing and has definate 'Telecaster' tones. Housed in the original 'Lifton' four-latch, shaped brown hardshell case with maroon plush lining (8.75)

"This fine National professional guitar sets a new standard for distortion free response and amazing ease of performance. From the sharpest treble to the deepest bass, each note is clear and firm and National's adjustable locked-power units capture the full tone at every position. There are no "dead spots" on the accurate 20 fret scale and the new "Super-Slim" neck affords feather-touch playing action with hand-fit comfort. The multiple control system, similar to that of National's deluxe No. 1105, offers maximum convenience in switching rapidly to any style of playing. The three way bank switch engages either or both pickup units and for each of these three positions there are separate tone and volume controls which can be preset with no fear of interaction. The body has a radiant natural finish contrasted with black, nickel and ivory trim and the bound rosewood fingerboard in inlaid with pearl. The back of the body is protected from clothing buttons and buckles by a rich plastic overlay and an adjustable leather strap is furnished with the instrument." In 1954 this guitar cost $197.50 and an additional $37.50 for the case!
(Original Chicago Musical Instrument Co. specification sheet).

In 1954 a new Les Paul Standard was priced just $37.50 more at $235.00!

National officially became Valco in the early 1940s. The roots were the National and Dobro companies from the west coast who merged and moved to Chicago. Primarily considered a budget brand manufacturer along with Kay and Harmony who were the other big Chicago music houses, Valco supplied instruments under various house brand names to the catalog giants, Sears and Montgomery Ward, as well as smaller mail order houses. National released their first solid body guitars, the Model 1105 Glenwood and the Model 1104 Town and Country in 1954, four years after Leo Fender had introduced us to the first solid body guitar. With a body width of 12 1/8" and two metal covered pickups, the Town & Country was National's answer to the Gibson Les Paul which had been released just two years earlier. By 1958 the Town & Country, with a larger body, offered three pickups just like Gibson's Les Paul Custom.

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