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 National Grand Letar

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James Schmitt
Rang: Administrateur
James Schmitt

Nombre de messages : 6063
Age : 103
Localisation : St Beat - Pyrenées
Date d'inscription : 04/07/2005

National Grand Letar Empty
MessageSujet: National Grand Letar   National Grand Letar EmptyMar 16 Sep - 17:40

Letritia Kandle with the Grand Letar...

National Grand Letar CRW_8908WE

National Grand Letar CRW_8909W

National Grand Letar CRW_8910W

Here she is with the Small Letar

National Grand Letar CRW_8914W

Here's Letritia Kandle with Paul Whiteman, who commissioned George Gershwin to write "Rhapsody in Blue"

National Grand Letar CRW_8907WE

Still steelin' after all these years - Letritia Kandle at 93...

National Grand Letar CRW_8921WE

National Grand Letar IMG_8758W

The Grand Letar is a quad neck instrument with a one piece fretboard,
(the widest one ever made?) comprising of 3 six string necks and
one 8 string neck divided into two courses of 4 strings each.

National Grand Letar IMG_8820W

Tuning is done with a lever similar to a piano tuning hammer.

National Grand Letar IMG_8821W

Blade style 1930s pickups

National Grand Letar IMG_8760W

While thats an unusual layout, the really unique nature of the Grand Letar is found
behind the mysterious louvre doors on the rear side of the instrument.
Built into the cabinet of the instrument are two 1930s Lansing field coil speakers , a tube amp and a dimmer.

National Grand Letar IMG_8767W

What's a dimmer doing in there, you might ask?
Its there to illuminate the multiple light sources inside the cabinet and below the fretboard
(which is translucent!)

National Grand Letar IMG_8768W

The Bakelite knobs look great!

National Grand Letar IMG_8823W

In addition to the Grand Letar, Letritia Kandle also had a Small Letar...

National Grand Letar IMG_8772W

The Small Letar is also from the mid 1930s, its a 29 string console steel guitar,
thats 3 seven string necks and 1 eight string neck.

National Grand Letar IMG_8791W

The tuning machines are straight through banjo pegs

National Grand Letar IMG_8794W

Thats one long pickup!

National Grand Letar IMG_8796W

Each neck has a seperate output via seperate Amphenol jacks

National Grand Letar IMG_8797W

National Grand Letar IMG_8815W

Letritia who is now in her 90s and retired from performing in 1950, was a classically trained musician and played jazz on these instruments from the mid 1930s right though World War II until 1950.
We will be helping Paul to restore the Grand Letar and hopefully it will soon break its silence for the first time in over 50 years.

[quote="John Norris"]The National-Dobro amplifier, which was integrated into the Grand Letar, has now been refurbished by Jeff Mikols...

National Grand Letar IMG_8978W

The tubes/valves used are as follows:

Preamp: 5 x 6A6 (including the drive tube)
Rectifier: 1 x 5Z3
Power amp: 2 x 6A3

There are four volume controls - one for each neck and two boost switches.
We added a fuse holder to replace the original which was housed in the mains plug and was hard to get to.

As you can see, the amp has a serial number but no model description...

National Grand Letar IMG_8979W

We rewired the two 12" Lansing Field Coil speakers two weeks ago...

National Grand Letar IMG_9003W

These speakers were built five years before the All Technical Service Company (Altec) bought Lansing in 1941...

National Grand Letar IMG_8994W

...forming Altec-Lansing, whose speaker systems went on to power Woodstock and the Apple iPod in later years.

Now that the amp and speakers have been re-installed in the Grand Letar...

National Grand Letar IMG_9001W
National Grand Letar IMG_9185WS

Some attention paid to the chrome, although its difficult not to damage other artifacts such as the original 1930s speaker grille cloth...

National Grand Letar CRW_9121WS

The biggest job which loomed large during this job was the built-in light-show, something which is unique to any instrument of this vintage. We believe it is the first ever instrument of any type with such a feature, certainly pre-dating the Rickenbacker light-show guitar by several decades.
When Paul first acquired this 1937 guitar from Letritia Kandle, there were four elements to it:
1. The quad neck National console guitar
2. The custom built 4 channel National amp
3. Some kind of dimmer rack
4. A mysterious looking padlocked box.

National Grand Letar CRW_9155WS

We first had a look at the dimmer rack...

National Grand Letar IMG_8858WS

Four large pots accompanied by rows of ON/OFF switches...

National Grand Letar IMG_8859WS 

The rear side of this unit had a number of A/C sockets and a matrix of banana sockets, which reminded me of hot-patches on old-fashioned dimmers I had seen in theatres in Europe and North Africa in my days as a lighting tech on tours.

Opening the unit revealed four separate rheostats and a mess of perished and decayed wiring...

National Grand Letar IMG_8864WS

Our lead tech at Peterson, Sue Haslam, soon had it rewired and polished up...

National Grand Letar IMG_8964WS

The next thing to do was to find out what was in the mysterious locked box beside the amp...

National Grand Letar CRW_9035WS

Paul had to use boltcutters to open it...

National Grand Letar CRW_9037WS

Inside was a motor driving a train of gears linked to two copper plates...

National Grand Letar CRW_9031WS of which had a number of wires connected to it...

National Grand Letar IMG_8856WS

Having a vague idea as to how this unique aparatus worked, we proceeded, Sue rewired the wheel, we ordered new banana jacks...

National Grand Letar CRW_9034WS

Using period correct 1930s StroboConn gear oil (used on the very first tuners made by us in the 1930s), we brought the motor back to life after over 50 years of inactivity...

National Grand Letar CRW_8899

The Bodine Motor Co. is still building motors today, still at the same location in downtown Chicago.

The more we dissembled the guitar, the more hidden lighting cavities we found, and the more rotten cable we uncovered...

National Grand Letar CRW_9007WS

National Grand Letar CRW_9006WS

Glass panel after glass panel revealed more and more lights...

National Grand Letar CRW_9009WS

All had to be checked and rewired...

National Grand Letar CRW_9008WS

...then we discovered 24 lights under the fretboard...

National Grand Letar CRW_9069WS

National Grand Letar CRW_9098WS

...we thought we were almost done, until another 64 were revealed all around the apron of the guitar...

National Grand Letar CRW_9045WS

National Grand Letar CRW_9157WS

After work lasting weeks on over 160 lights on several circuits, we were getting very curious as to how (or if) the guitar would perform, so after patching the various cable looms to the rheostats and, in turn, to the mysterious motor driven apparatus, we threw the power on ..........................DISASTER!....... one of the rheostats started to burn, we had made a mistake in the dimmer patch.
Luckily Sue was able to save it, so after correcting the patch and testing the fretboard...

National Grand Letar CRW_9166WS

We carefully started to re-assemble the restored Grand Letar...

National Grand Letar IMG_9188WS

National Grand Letar CRW_9132WS

...until every cable was connected and every screw and bolt was fastened...

Then holding our collective breaths, we turned out the lights, fired up the amp.... and then we threw the switch on the light-show ............................................................................................................SHOWTIME!!

National Grand Letar CRW_9202WS

As the mysterious motor began to turn, the lights began to alter their hue beautifully by themselves, and Paul stepped forward to play the first notes on the legendary Grand Letar, awakened from a slumber of 58 years...

National Grand Letar CRW_9204WS
The weight of the Grand Letar itself is 265 lbs.
When packed in the custom built original National case, we're talking close to 400 lbs...

National Grand Letar CRW_8929W

Many people seem interested in the amp, so here's more info:

National Grand Letar CRW_9012

Here's an overview...

National Grand Letar CRW_9014W

The power tubes are Raytheons, the preamp tubes are for the most part from Sylvania and the tube guards were built by the Fred Goat Co.  in Brooklyn NY...

National Grand Letar CRW_9017W

Here's a view of the amp's undercarriage and some of Jeff Mikol's work. The transformers were built by the Hadley Company out of Ventura CA, later of Los Angeles, CA...

National Grand Letar CRW_9015W

National Grand Letar LTZinn1W

National Grand Letar DustyNall1W

National Grand Letar Bert%20Rivera%20W

National Grand Letar Beatle%20BobW

Dernière édition par James Schmitt le Ven 31 Jan - 10:25, édité 2 fois
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Vincent le Bourdelles

Vincent le Bourdelles

Nombre de messages : 42
Localisation : Paris 15ème
Date d'inscription : 09/01/2007

National Grand Letar Empty
MessageSujet: Re: National Grand Letar   National Grand Letar EmptyMer 17 Sep - 11:51

Shocked Inouïe !!
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National Grand Letar Empty
MessageSujet: Re: National Grand Letar   National Grand Letar EmptyMer 17 Sep - 12:14

king Exceptionnel au niveau patrimonial, mais un monument de kitsch
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National Grand Letar Empty
MessageSujet: Re: National Grand Letar   National Grand Letar EmptyMer 17 Sep - 13:35

Où mets tu les saucisses sur ton barbecue? lol!

c'est impressionnant.... et J-Marie tu as raison HYPRA SUPER KITCH

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National Grand Letar Empty
MessageSujet: Re: National Grand Letar   National Grand Letar EmptyMer 17 Sep - 19:38

Jean Michel amène les saucisses , je débouche le Mouton-Rotschild!

Blageu à part, existe t-il des enregistrements de ce monument quelque part?
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National Grand Letar Empty
MessageSujet: Re: National Grand Letar   National Grand Letar EmptyJeu 18 Sep - 20:31

c'est fou ce qu'on pouvait faire.....
quand la main d'oeuvre était pas chere ! Idea

c'est vraiment splendide
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Fulvio LECCA

Fulvio LECCA

Nombre de messages : 201
Localisation : Argenteuil France
Date d'inscription : 11/07/2005

National Grand Letar Empty
MessageSujet: Re: National Grand Letar   National Grand Letar EmptySam 20 Sep - 21:46

j'en veux une, elle ira tres bien avec ma chemise cowboy en satin!
sinon je serai obligé de monter des guirlandes de noel sous ma stringmaster!
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National Grand Letar Empty
MessageSujet: Re: National Grand Letar   National Grand Letar Empty

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