This is a fabulous National Glenwood Model 99 made in Chicago in 1962. The National Res-O-Glas guitars of the 1960s remain some of the most impressive examples of vintage American electric guitar design, an utterly unique concept even 50 years on.
With a moulded fibreglass body, aluminium-cored neck and electro-acoustic “Silversound” pickup built into the bridge they certainly did not lack for innovative features, even at the peak of electric guitar design. In the end, the line was perhaps more overtly stylish than entirely practical, and after a production span of only about three years they emerged more as collector pieces than player favourites. Which is a shame because this one is screaming out to be played.
While they do have the cachet of funky blues/trash culture connotation today, these Nationals were actually quite expensive when new, and were marketed as top professional instruments.
The Glenwood 99 was the top-of-the-line guitar in this series, with a striking white finish on the sculpted “map” shaped body, fancy split-diamond and block fret markers and stock Grover Rotomatic tuners.
The striking look is enhanced by a clear back-painted pinstriped plastic pickguard with a “NATIONAL Val-Pro” shield logo, and the black edge grommet around the sides at the joint of the two-piece body. The look echoes American hotrod culture of the period and manages to seem sophisticated and downhome at the same time.
The most useful feature of this guitar is the provision of a full three pickup arrangement – two big sounding Valco oversize single coil pickups and the internal bridge unit. This is pre piezo technology, but this pickup sounds remarkably acoustic in its own way.
Each pickup has its own tone and volume controls mounted above and below the string line, with a three-way selector on the upper bout. The sound of the magnetic units is quite powerful with typical National/Supro raunch, while the “Silversound” bridge pickup offers a very different tonality.
This guitar is considerably more upscale than most of the similar but far more common period National and Supro models of the period. Iconic in its own way, a very cool and rather uncommon 1960’s guitar, always an epic attention-getter and utterly distinctive, despite more recent imitations.
Moulded Res-O-Glas body
Snow White finish
Overall length is 39 3/4“
15” wide at lower bout
1 3/4 “ body depth
Scale length is 24 ¾”
Width of nut is 1 ¾”
Weight is 8.5 lbs
This guitar has a fine back story in that it was owned for decades by a Canadian troubadour who earned his living via this instrument while exploring that country back in the 80s & 90s. There is a lovely letter included in the case, which refers to this guitar as his lifeline to survival.
This Glenwood 99 is very clean and original, with only some light wear apparent – a few scratches & dings here & there but nothing significant. The neck is super straight, and this is actually quite a very playable guitar – a claim not all 1960’s Valco products can make. Truss rod works fine, frets have lots of life left. The only features that may be non-original are the bridge saddle inserts, which actually add to the usability of this guitar.
It is owned by a member of a high profile Aussie band, and has been set up & maintained by a professional support crew. It is a solid instrument, comfortable to play, with a big chunky sound. While generally considered a collector’s guitar, the Glenwood 99 is absolutely one of the coolest of all 1960’s six-string creations, for show or go!
Includes the even rarer original shaped case in fine structural condition. It has had its tolex skin removed over the years, and is now stained an attractive dark natural timber colour.