46035: Elvis Presley Played And Signed National Style "
Elvis Presley Played and Signed National Style "O" Model Resonator Guitar, Serial Number S5245 (1934). A 1950s Country & Western band from Harrisville, Rhode Island, named Uncle Jim and the Westones sometimes played gigs at county fairs in Tennessee, appearing on the same bill with a young upstart named Elvis Presley who occasionally sat in with them. After an occasion where Elvis played this very same resonator guitar, he signed it for its owner, Westones leader Jim Riley. The signature is between the slots on the headstock of this beautiful, original instrument. Presley apparently used a blue ballpoint pen and he pressed down hard enough to break though the varnish and leave a deep, permanent impression into the wood. Careful viewing shows much of the blue ink remaining.
This metal-bodied instrument is a 1934 vintage National Style "O" single-cone resonator guitar with a 12-fret neck. The body and resonator are both nickel-plated brass with rolled upper f-holes and a sandblasted Hawaiian scene on both front and back. The National decal is still present on the peghead and the guitar appears to be all original. This style of guitar was invented by National in 1927 in the pre-electric era to answer the need for a guitar that would play loud enough to be heard over brass and wind instruments in the dance bands. They were very popular with both Hawaiian and Blues musicians of the period. This example has certainly been played based on a few scratches and dents, but has been well taken care of. We suspect that it probably has quite a few Blues licks left in it. A vintage case is included (handle off but present).
Accompanying the guitar are copies of the provenance from the previous owner. A letter states, in part: "...From what my grandmother had told me, there was a band called Uncle Jim and the Westones who played in Nashville, Knoxville and the Grand Ole Opry. [They] used to stage with Elvis and Elvis would sit in with Jim and he had played the national guitar. Then Jim had Elvis sign the guitar for him as a friend and fellow performer. When Jim had died he willed the National guitar to my grandmother. She then placed the guitar under a chest of drawers. When my grandfather had died in 1971 she moved and the guitar went back under a chest of drawers for 25 years until she dug out the guitar and had given it to me in 1996..."
Any 1934 National Style O in this state of preservation is desirable as a collector's item or playable instrument. The fact that it was played and signed by the King raises its desirability factor exponentially. Don't let this one pass you by. We can just about guarantee you'll never see another one like it. COA from Rich Consola.