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A number of electric archtop models were sold with bodies by Gibson, Harmony and Kay, but fitted with Valco-made pickups, hardware and necks.
Following the leads of Fenders Telecaster and Gibsons Les Paul models, Valco introduced its first solidbody Spanish guitars in 1952 under the National and Supro brand names.
National merged with the Dobro company, another maker of resonator guitars, around 1932 to form the National Dobro Corporation.
The company began producing electric instruments in the 1930s that included electric guitars, lap steels, mandolins and amplifiers.
The bound neck was bolted on and inlayed with fancy parallelogram fret markers.
The six knobs and two pickguards gave the instrument an appearance akin to a Les Paul in a tuxedo.
The Valco company has its roots in the National String Instrument Corporation, which was founded in 1927.
The company is famous as the first manufacturer of resonator guitars, which were hugely popular in blues and (a bit later) bluegrass music.
The top-of-the-line National res-o-glas models, such as the Glenwood series, are by far the most collectable Valco products ever made.
The first professional-quality Valco solidbody had arrived.
Part II: Apogee However, Valco was hardly a company to rest on its laurels.
These small guitars hand peanut-shaped bodies and chunky, 25-scale necks; the bodies were available with or without cutaways and with one or two pickups.
The National-branded guitars were available in a dark sunburst finish, while the Supro equivalents were at first covered in a plastic faux-pearlescent plastic commonly referred to as mother of toilet seat.