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Left: A 1964 National Glenwood 98 in all its glory. The guitar’s unusual cutaways suggest a map of the continental United States.
Right-Top: Sporting seven knobs and a 3-way switch, the Glenwood 98 offers plenty of sound-shaping options. From a distance, you might mistake these pickups for humbuckers, but they’re actually large single-coils. (Inset) Art-deco touches on the pickguard add to the instrument’s classy look.
Right-Middle: The Glenwood’s bridge-mounted transducer was way ahead of its time.
Right-Bottom: The guitar’s Tone Switch actually selects between the neck pickup, bridge pickup, or bridge-mounted transducer.
Formed in 1926, the National String Instrument Corporation was known for making resonator guitars. National united with the Dobro Company in 1932, and eventually became Valco in 1943. Valco manufactured guitars and amps under its own National and Supro brand names, as well as for Gretsch, Silvertone, Oahu, and Airline.
In 1961, Valco came out with an innovative new style of electric guitar that had bodies made from molded Res-O-Glas—a fiberglass-like substance made by combining polyester resin and glass threads. The most striking of these Res-OGlas instruments were National’s map-shaped guitars—including the Glenwood, Val-Pro, and Newport models. The unusual cutaways on these guitars made them resemble a map of the continental United States.
The National guitar pictured this month is a 1964 Glenwood 98. It has two standard single-coils as well as a pickup mounted in the bridge itself. Three Tone knobs, three Volume knobs, and a selector switch control the pickups, and a Master Volume is located near the jack. The hardware consists of chrome Grover Rotomatic tuners and a Bigsby vibrato. The body is white, while the finish on the back of the neck is black.
Sources for information in this article include the writings of George Gruhn, including Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars by George Gruhn and Walter Carter, and valcopages.com, Noah Miller’s website dedicated to all things Valco. Check them out to discover more about these map-shaped instruments.
Dave ’s Guitar Shop
Dave Rogers’ collection is tended by Laun Braithwaite and Tim Mullally and is on display at:
Dave’s Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
Photos by Mullally and text by Braithwaite.