Vintage National Triplex Chord Changer Lap Steel Guitar Serial No. X28336. We just installed new tuning keys & strings. All electrics & mechanical parts were checked out, lubed & are functioning fine.
This innovative 1950s - 6 string instrument has a lever which can be placed in 3 different positions, which allows tuning changes: E7 (lever faces towards the headstock), C# minor (lever faces up), A major high bass (lever faces bridge as per picture). We refurbished this instrument, dismantling it and working over all the parts. The tuning changer mechanism was polished & lubricated. We are not sure if it functions as it should, as we're not familiar with this mechanism, but it's cleaned, lubed & all parts move fine. Kept properly lubricated it should last decades. If you are fortunate enough to find one of these, please take care and if the tuning select lever is stiff, then do not force it! The lever is a soft, fragile aluminum casting and will snap. Take the time to dismantle and lubricate the mechanism and it will work well. This has what I consider one of their best vintage pickups. A sought after fat wide Super Alnico with, (of course), fat wide sound. It's a p'up that many have swapped into their custom rigs. They also have a cool style and tonal feel. The pickup was up to spec. So other than cleaning and testing the electronics were tested & checked out. The output is as strong as new. This versatile lap steel is in great original condition with new tuner buttons. The originals suffered button failure & are in the case. This unique instrument is a collectible player. Comes with good condition OHSC & cord. The cord is old but works fine.
The Super Alnico pickups appear to be humbuckers, but it’s an external impression created by the wide case/housing which is part of the design's function — it’s a single-coil dressed as a dual-coil. Evolved from the Vista-tones, the Super Alnico’s internal configuration has magnets to the sides of a single coil, separated by a steel “keeper.” Its six pole pieces are height-adjustable screws. According to inventor Ralph Keller’s patent, “An object of this invention is to provide a pickup device which establishes a magnetic field extending for a substantial distance along each string, with the magnetic lines of force lying substantially parallel to the strings for the major portion of said distance.” The wide magnetic field spans the width of the housing, interacting with approximately two inches of the strings’ length. - Calvet describes them as “a really big sounding pickup. Single coil tone with focus yet a little knarley around the edges. Very much like a P90 type pickup but with a much bigger personality.”