These instruments were first created in the era of the Hawaiian and Jazz Bands, prior to electrical amplification. All sorts of musicians, Hawaiian, jazz and blues, wanted louder guitars: to be able to be heard alongside horns; to project out into music halls or smokey night clubs; or, to be the loudest guitar on the street corner. In response to this need, the mechanically amplified resonator guitar was created.
John Dopyera started the National Stringed Instrument Co. in the mid-1920's in Los Angeles, California, which produced the first National resonator guitars. George Beauchamp, his partner, also is credited with resonator guitar innovation. National's mechanically amplified heyday came to an end in the mid-1930's when the guitar of choice for many of these musicians became electric.
Not until the late 1980's was the National style resonator guitar made again by Don Young and McGregor Gaines who formed National Reso-Phonic Guitars, dedicated to re-creating the look, the sound and the feel of the old Nationals and, in addition, creating new looks and louder sounds than ever before. Our instruments are used by slide players and finger-pickers in many musical genres: Hawaiian, blues, country, bluegrass, folk and world music.
National Resophonic Web Site