Instruments & Gear: Instrument Demos

National Reso-Phonic El Trovador and ResoRocket

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Mike Dowling demonstrates his pair of Nationals.

by Teja Gerken
August 25, 2015

Blues guitarist Mike Dowling owns and plays a lot of guitars, but his primary performance tools are a pair of Nationals. Dowling’s main instrument is his signature model, which is based on a 1932/1933 El Trovador. Built with an all-mahogany body, the guitar has a single-cone resonator and a long, 25 21/32-inch scale. Dowling’s other National is a brass-body ResoRocket N, which is similar to a traditional Style O, but with a cutaway and different coverplate and grill designs.

Both guitars include National’s Hot-Plate pickup system, which Dowling designed. Built into a custom-made replacement coverplate (and therefore requiring no modifications to the guitar), the Hot-Plate includes a single-coil Lollar Telecaster-style pickup, passive volume and tone controls, and output jack.

To see Mike play and teach the Mississippi John Hurt classic “Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me,” enroll in Peghead Nation's Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop now! 

El Trovador

SPECS: Mahogany top, back, sides, and neck. Ebony fingerboard. Single 9.5-inch resonator with biscuit bridge. 25 21/32-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width.


SPECS: Nickel-plated brass body. Hard-rock maple neck. Ebony fingerboard. Single 9.5-inch resonator with biscuit bridge. 25-inch scale. 1.825-inch nut width.

Category: Instruments & Gear

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