I purchased a Republic tricone at the beginning of the pandemic. Over a period of a three or four months, I accumulated the parts I wanted to swap out the cones and the T-bridge with National parts.
The sound is excellent. This was a good instrument in the first place. When I ordered it, I asked the folks at Republic to do the "mushroom mod," which has to do with the placement of some of the innards of the instrument. This shows up in several topics here. I won't go into detail, but trust me, if you have a triclone, you want to do the mushroom mod. It won't cost you anything unless you damage a cone or something.
There were two surprises.
1) The National cones are a tad smaller in diameter than the "Continental" cones that come in the Republic. The edges of the National cones are finished better, and they weigh just a little less than the "Continental" cones.
On the other hand, the National T-bridge weighs about 20 grams more than the Republic T-bridge.
Here are the exact numbers -- Republic -- bridge 44g, cones 30g; National -- bridge 65g, cones 23g. I weighed the cones as sets of three. So each of the Republic cones weighs ca. 10 grams. Each National cone weighs a little less than 8 grams.
There were a few problems I needed to solve. One was making sure I got the slots right on the bridge. I had already purchased some good fret slotting files and a bridge sanding tool that made the process rather simple, although a bit time-consuming.
So here are the results. The guitar appears to have more volume and response than it did before the parts swap. It has nice highs and strong lows. I also added a roller nut to it. It makes the guitar feel similar to my Gretsch, which also has a roller nut. I may add a Doubleshot tailpiece to this instrument sometime in the future.
It has been out of commission for a couple of months now. I had forgotten what a nice instrument it is. Now it's even better.
One other thing. This guitar came with a Schatten T-bridge pickup. The Republic T-bridge has a flat surface at the intersection of the T, which is where you put the pickup. The surface of the National T-bridge is curved. I called Schatten tech support about this. They said that I should make a lightweight filler piece that would fit the curved area on one side and have a flat surface to attach the pickup to on the other. Since I don't actually use the pickup here, I opted to simply attach the pickup to a flat spot inside the guitar. I won't be using it for a while.
Edited by - Three_Eyed_Willy on 11/28/2020 09:57:57
Thanks much for the report. Where are the rollers: at the bridge or at the nut? Do you think the "scallops" in the National T-bridge give it more flex than the Republic T-bridge?
The rollers are on the nut. I plan to add a doubleshot tailpiece later. I wrote the original post very early in the morning. I have edited the original post to make sure that it reads correctly.
As far as the rigidity of the T-bridge is concerned, the National and the Republic T-bridges seem to be about the same. Cast aluminum in general tends to be very rigid. I think the scallops are to reduce the weight of the T bridge. It could be that the scallops optimize the weight of the bridge.
When you think of the combination of the bridge + the cones, they are actually pretty close. For the Republic, the bridge + the cones weigh 74 grams. The National bridge + cones weigh 88 grams.
Edited by - Three_Eyed_Willy on 11/28/2020 10:02:24
Cool you finally got around to doing it, glad you like it. Im still gonna keep mine stock most likely, well its mushoom modded and paint stripped off T bar but stock otherwise. Republic/ Aiersi Tricones are a great value, they dont "need" anything imo, but modding is fun and sometimes you do really notice the changes for the better.
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