1962 National Glenwood 95

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: If you appreciate its charms, just about everything

Thumbs down: If you don’t appreciate its charms, just about everything

Decree: A unique, remarkable, distinctive and radical vintage design that polarises opinion but rewards the curious, maverick and audacious. Do you dig it?

Model Description:

The National String Instrument Corporation, based in Los Angeles, California was founded in 1927 by Slovakian immigrant John Dopyera and Texan Vaudeville performer George Beauchamp. The pair had ambitious plans to manufacture their now‑iconic acoustic resonator guitars. In 1928, Dopyera left National and founded the Dobro Manufacturing Company. By 1934, the two companies merged to form the National Dobro Corporation. The company was reorganised to become Valco in 1942. During its life, Valco manufactured guitars and amplifiers under its own brand names – National and Supro – as well as for a diverse range of customers including Airline, Gretsch, Harmony, Kay and Silvertone. No instruments were sold to the public using the Valco brand. In 1962, Valco introduced a radical line of space age ‘map‑shaped’ moulded fibreglass and resin (a.k.a. Res‑O‑Glas) electric guitars under their National brand, ranging from the basic Newport to the luxurious Glenwood. Patriotically, the body shape vaguely resembled the outline of the continental United States. The trendy art deco stylings add a distinctively cool 1960s aesthetic. Colours came in Vermillion Red, Snow White and Seafoam Green depending on the model. Contrary to what some may think, these were not cheap guitars; the top‑of‑the‑range Glenwood 99 originally sold at the same price as Fender’s most expensive model, the Jaguar. National also sold a cheaper, simpler wood‑bodied ‘map’ guitar, the Westwood, in sunburst finish. In 1964, National added a master volume control to the Glenwood, located near the jack socket. High production costs and premium retail prices forced the National Res‑O‑Glas models out of production by 1965. Valco went the same way and finally went out of business in 1968. Widely and erroneously regarded at the time as ‘plastic’ guitars, the vintage market has since re‑appraised the Res‑O‑Glas designs and, thanks to alternative artists like Jack White and Dan Auerbach, the Valco Res‑O‑Glas models have become highly collectable with vintage prices to match. A surge of interest in these archaic instruments led Eastwood Guitars to introduce a modern wood‑bodied, Airline‑branded homage to National’s original, distinctly now‑retro style ‘map’ guitars. While the lower cost National Newport range already command high vintage values, the rarer and arguably much cooler high‑class National Glenwood command premium prices, particularly the (over‑)complicated 3‑pickup 98 and 99 models.

Guitar Description:

Oh my goodness! Where does one start? Is it me or is this gloriously bright red 1962 National Glenwood 95 one of the coolest guitars ever made? There are certainly plenty of classic, expensive, rare and iconic instruments out there but this über cool and rare ‘Res‑O‑Glas’ bodied instrument just oozes 1960s futuristic/retro elegance from any angle. Made in Chicago and designed to give an impression 48 of the 50 states of the U.S.A., it screams roots Americana from every pore. This renegade beauty is all‑original and in remarkable condition for its age, including its even rarer original hard shell case, shaped to fit the body. The low cost National Newport is remarkable enough but the Glenwood takes the guitar maker’s art form to a different level altogether. OK, so it isn’t the top‑of‑the‑line model with the bridge‑mounted 3rd pickup but that’s fine by me. I also prefer the hardtail tailpiece for sustain. The large single coil Vista‑Tone pickups may look like humbuckers but they have their own gutsy charm, not unlike a warm P90. It takes a little while to get accustomed to such an idiosyncratic guitar, like the zero‑fret, chunky neck and narrow frets. However, the challenges only give it an inspirational feel all of its own. It demands to be played, rather than used as a technical practice instrument. The Res‑O‑Glass construction may polarise opinion, which some may disregard as a ‘plastic guitar’ with no traditional tone wood. However, Valco took the use of alternative materials seriously and the dense and quite heavy fibreglass and resin semi‑hollow body is both sonorous and resonant, giving it a unique tone as well as an exclusive aesthetic. It is no wonder that the rebellious likes of Jack White and Dan Auerbach have embraced these anomalous guitars for their inimitable characteristics, ideally suited to alternative, rootsy garage and swampy blues music. A mainstream rock or hardcore metal machine, it most definitely is not. Use it with appropriate partnering equipment and it can reward the adventurous player in spades. The National Glenwood is far from being a statement of style over content. In my very subjective view, it sounds great and looks fantastic; making it a very addictive proposition for those who want something a bit different from the well‑trodden and very predictable norm. Born at the time of JFK, the space race and The Jetsons, this upmarket National Glenwood is just so darned evocative of its era. Many may hate every aspect of the upmarket Glenwood and its ilk and that’s fine, it simply isn’t an ‘everyman’ guitar. This strange but very impressive guitar has become a fascinating part of our collective guitar heritage. You may have cottoned on to the fact that I think this is an achingly cool and resolutely rare guitar that has pride of place here at CRAVE Guitars. Overall, a copacetic experience. Now… where are my sunglasses?


  • Made by Valco in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. in 1962
  • Two‑piece ‘Res-O-Glas’ (fibreglass and resin) ‘map’‑shaped single cutaway ‘German carve’ body in opaque Vermillion Red with white vinyl gasket
  • Semi‑hollow construction with maple centre block
  • Non‑adjustable magnesium reinforced bolt‑on maple neck also finished in Vermillion Red
  • Nut width 1¾” (44mm)
  • Scale length 25″ (635mm)
  • White offset bevelled 3‑a‑side ‘gumby’ headstock with raised chrome silver National logo
  • Original individual chrome Grover Rotomatic enclosed tuners
  • Bound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with zero‑fret, 20 standard narrow frets and ‘butterfly pearl’ inlays comprising pearloid blocks with abalone diamonds
  • Fingerboard radius 12″ (304.8mm)
  • Original compensated mahogany bridge
  • Original art deco‑style stepped trapeze tailpiece
  • Original dual Valco ‘Vista‑Tone’ single coil pickups (no ‘Silver‑Sound’ bridge pickup)
  • Original electrics comprising 3‑way tone switch, 3x tone (bass side) and 3x volume (treble side) controls (no master volume) and jack socket
  • Original art deco‑style acrylic floating plastic scratchplate with full colour ‘National/Val‑Pro’ logo
  • Weight: 8lb 3oz (3.71kg)
  • Very rare and slightly tatty original fitted National hard shell case


  • Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys)
  • Randy Bachman (Bachman Turner Overdrive)
  • Bob Dylan
  • John Entwistle (The Who)
  • The Kim Sisters
  • Andy Summers (The Police)


Bob Dylan’s white National Glenwood, used during the second line up of the Rolling Thunder Review, is now part of the Hard Rock Café collection in London, England.

The top models in the National Glenwood range, the 98 and 99 versions, used an innovative magnetic ‘Silver‑Sound’ pickup (often incorrectly referred to as a piezo transducer) installed as part of the bridge assembly. This additional pickup was an early attempt to emulate acoustic guitar tones. This innovation was well ahead of its time and debatably successful.

As an alternative to the standard trapeze tailpiece, National Res‑O‑Glas guitars came with a variety of vibrato systems, including those from in‑house Valco, Burns or Bigsby.

The humbucker‑sized single coil Valco ‘Vista‑Tone’ (sometimes also referred to as ‘Vista‑Power’) pickup used in National and Supro guitars was designed by Ralph Keller and patented in 1952. Its internal construction comprises two magnets located to one side of a single coil bobbin. The unusual design, which has some similarities to the Gretsch ‘HiLoTron’ single coil pickup, has attracted quite a cult following over the years.

See Also:

For the geographically minded, why not compare the idealised ‘map’ body shape of the National Glenwood with CRAVE Guitars’ cool and rare 1983 Gibson USA Map (read the feature here…).

Detail Gallery:

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