National Green Goblin

December 1, 2010

gp01310_riffs_vv_gg_nrEVERY NOW AND THEN, A GUITAR comes along that has been so highly customized by the original owner that it makes you step back and admire whatever vision they were trying to achieve. In the case of this National guitar, it’s hard to tell what they were going for, but whatever it was, it was green! This guitar has been given the nickname the “Green Goblin” simply because this author doesn’t know what else to call it.

The original guitar was some short-scale Valco product from the late ’50s/early ’60s, as indicated by the National brand metal shield on the back of the headstock, but it’s been so modified it’s hard to be sure. There are a few odd features on this guitar, including the Vac-U-Form plastic pickup covers, wild-shaped pickguard, German carved top, Rickenbacker bridge, and wacky homemade vibrato (sadly missing the arm) that suggest that a California guitar innovator such as Paul Barth or Semie Moseley might be responsible, but the end result is a little too crude to blame on these gentlemen. The Green Goblin plays like a typical Valco product of the era, definitely not Fender or Gibson quality but decent for the original bargain price. It actually sounds really great—I sure wish I knew what lurks inside those Vac-U-Form pickup covers!

The green theme doesn’t stop at the green metalflake paint or the green pickguard or the green jewelry glued to the headstock and vibrato, either. The case is covered in lime green metal-flake Naugahyde and lined with green felt. Inside the case, naturally, is a green guitar strap. It’s enough to make your guitar-collecting friends, well, insanely jealous.

If you have any information about the Green Goblin, please email the author at

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