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Author Topic:  Looking into buying my first console 8 string
Leo Grassl

 

From:
Nashville TN
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 11:40 am    
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Hey all,

I’m interested in learning some straight steel. I’ve been playing pedal steel for a long time. I’m looking for a console double 8 or maybe a single 8. What are some GREAT sounding guitars people like that are less expensive than say a Stringmaster or a Console Grande?
I love the sound of the Stringmasters and the Console Grandes of course and am leaning in that direction sound wise but am looking for a more economical choice.

Any advice is much appreciated! Thanks, LG
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 1:12 pm    
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National Grand Consoles seem to go for about 1/2 what Stringmasters and Gibson CGs go for. Coming from pedal steel, you may feel that the strings are too close to the fretboard. Pickup sound can be a bit of a crapshoot and they're difficult to repair. This looks like a nice one:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/224457074071?hash=item3442af2597:g:tagAAOSwhu5fQFJE

Stringmasters and CGs can still be found for under $1200 and are quite a bargain compared to other vintage guitars.
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Nikolai Shveitser

 

From:
Louisiana, USA
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 1:58 pm    
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I'm a big fan of the Guyatone Stringmaster copy. "Copy" may be an inappropriate term- it looks like a Stringmaster from afar but it doesn't sound like they were trying to copy one at all. It doesn't have the blend knob controls either. It's got its own thing that I like a lot though -wider string spacing than a Stringmaster and the tone holds its own.
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David Ball


From:
North Carolina High Country
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 3:11 pm    
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The Excel Jerry Byrd D8 console guitars are nice and can be found for a good price.

Dave
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George Piburn


From:
The Land of Enchantment New Mexico
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 3:16 pm     S8 Console
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Perhaps this 24.5 scale Sapelle Wood S8 Console might fit the bill. Made in USA
Features a SteelTronics B8 Custom Boxcar Pickup Made in USA.

Here is a little Video



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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 3:23 pm     Re: Looking into buying my first console 8 string
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Leo Grassl wrote:
What are some GREAT sounding guitars people like...


Clinesmith!! I have the frypan. Amazing guitar, such sustain. However, you did stipulate: "that are less expensive..." so probably not a good first guitar (but still reasonable for what you get IMHO).

For vintage consoles, a guitar that I think is a great guitar for the money is a Magnatone D8. You can sometimes find these for good prices (I remember seeing a triple neck for $700...I paid a bit more for my DCool. I like the tone more than my 57 Stringmaster, bit more midrange maybe?

On the budget end of the spectrum...you can get a serviceable import S8 in the SX model for around 200 bucks. Then if you aren't happy with the tone (I wasn't), spend another $100 for a Lace Alumitone 3.5 Bass Bar. Drops right in and sounds great, really high clarity across the range.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 4:18 pm    
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I also like the 50s Magnatones. I was the one who got that '53 T8, and it was about $900 with the shipping. It is a big and heavy sucker, shipping big stuff cross-country is crazy lately. But it sounds great. I agree on the "bit more midrange" than, let's say, a Stringmaster. But not muddy at all. I prefer the term 'sweet'. The pickups on mine look like a slightly fatter Tele lead pickup. The later version is slightly different. But every Magnatone I've played, including the cheapie MOTS 6-string laps, have sounded very good to me.

I like the lower-end Rickenbackers, although nothing much is low right now. I'm speaking of guitars like the earlier Model 59 with the 1-1/2" horseshoe, and the later NS, which I think came with 1-1/2" or 1-1/4" horseshoes, depending on year. Just a 6-string lap, and they are sort of overshadowed by the Bakelite and Frying Pan guitars, but I like them. But these aren't 8-strings. I had a mid-50s "Trailer Park Model" Rick 8/6/8 triple. It was not expensive and OK, but I thought a bit lacking in the sustain department.

I know a lot of players prefer the Stringmaster, but I really like the earlier Dual Pro D8 with trapezoid pickups. Every once in a while, one will come up reasonable. They can have issues - inseparable pickup cover which can interfere with blocking, sometimes interference between the strings and pickup cover, short 22.5" scale, and so on. But they really kick ass tonally, IMO. The original "Sleepwalk" was recorded on one of these in the T8 version. Not too shabby.

The National Grand Consoles are cool too. A different sound, to be sure. But they can often be found reasonably. I just sold mine to my band's guitar player for $500, he's trying to learn. It was not about making money - I guess they go for somewhat more than that these days, but they're not generally very expensive.

From the ones I've played, I have personally preferred the Gibson C530 Consolette over the mid-50s P90 Grande Console. I've had two of the Grande Consoles, and recently picked up a '57 C530 D8 with PAF humbuckers. I really like it. I'd like to compare to the earlier GC with the racetrack pickups, but honestly, I think I'm done in the Gibson department with the C530, the others are long gone.

Of all the lap/console steels I've played, the Clinesmith is the Cadillac as far as I'm concerned. I have a long-scale cast aluminum with Bigsby-style pickup. Just unreal.
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Gene Tani


From:
Pac NW
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 7:31 pm    
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For modern builders, a lot of whom are on the forum (and you can spec out pickups, string spacing etc:

https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=2998293
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Leo Grassl

 

From:
Nashville TN
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 7:57 pm    
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Wow,thanks to everyone for this excellent info and advice! I can barely keep up with researching all these options but I'm grateful for it. I'm still taking it all in.

LG
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 14 May 2021 11:48 pm    
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I meant to say earlier - I think a lot of this depends on what tonality and style of music you want to play. I think lap/console steels tend to be more individualistic than, let's say, modern pedal steels - I think, for example, the modern pedal steel sound has considerably less variance.

I also agree with Bill S. that the classic vintage lap/console steels are a veritable bargain in comparison to classic vintage guitars. I mean, if what you really want is a vintage Stringmaster or Grande Console to emulate the vintage western swing or country sound, feel, and look, it really doesn't have to break the bank. They're not exactly cheap, but they are chump change in comparison to any type of vintage classic Fender or Gibson guitar model.
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Glenn Wilde

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 15 May 2021 8:07 am    
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David Ball wrote:
The Excel Jerry Byrd D8 console guitars are nice and can be found for a good price.

Dave

That was my thought too, I've been ogling this one but its not in the cards for me right now, seems like a good deal.
https://www.musicgoround.com/product/41111-S000069701/used-excel-jerry-byrd-double-neck-lap-steel
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Bobby Burns

 

From:
Tennessee, USA
Post  Posted 15 May 2021 8:48 am     8 string console
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I have a double eight National I’ve been thinking about selling. Send me a message if you’re interested.
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D Schubert

 

From:
Columbia, MO, USA
Post  Posted 15 May 2021 2:16 pm    
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Short answer: Supro-Valco-National made some great-sounding guitars in Chicago, 1950's and 1960's. I have two Supro 8-strings and a similar 6-string console. I had a D-8 from the same factory, branded "English Electronics" that sounded just the same.
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G Strout


From:
Carabelle, Florida
Post  Posted 15 May 2021 4:12 pm    
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I second the Excel JB model. Excellent guitar and great tone! Comes in 2nd on my list. 1st.... I love the Remingtons. Excellent guitars and still available at a decent price point. The older guitars from the 40's 50's 60's are pretty cool. However, be ready to maintain them, or correct the DAPO mistakes.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 16 May 2021 3:31 am    
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I'm another fan of the Fender Dual Pro D8 (and Custom Triple) with trapezoid pickup over the Stringmaaster. I've owned both and prefer the earlier guitars. Having the strings go through the magnetic field like the traps or Ric horseshoes seems to do
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Tim Whitlock


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 16 May 2021 1:02 pm    
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Dave Mudgett wrote:
From the ones I've played, I have personally preferred the Gibson C530 Consolette over the mid-50s P90 Grande Console. I've had two of the Grande Consoles, and recently picked up a '57 C530 D8 with PAF humbuckers.


I too am an owner of a '57 Gibson C530. It is an unsung gem of a console D8. The PAF humbuckers are amazing and the effects buttons are cool. There is a nice one currently for sale at a good price on this SGF post: https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=369876
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Mike Ormsby


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 17 May 2021 8:51 am    
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Great 1947 Fender Dual Pro 8 for sale at Gryphon Strings: https://shop.gryphonstrings.com/products/c-1947-lap-steel-fender-guitar-dual-professional-54891
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Glenn Wilde

 

From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 18 May 2021 2:58 am    
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Mike Ormsby wrote:
Great 1947 Fender Dual Pro 8 for sale at Gryphon Strings: https://shop.gryphonstrings.com/products/c-1947-lap-steel-fender-guitar-dual-professional-54891

That looks great, i wonder if its leg sockets are still there. This one would be a good start imo.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 29 May 2021 6:38 pm    
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If you're still looking - killer deal on the forum for a National D8 Console - https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=370405

I know these are not the 'flavor of the month' as far as console steels go. But they're more than good enough to get started in the console steel world, IMO.
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Gene Tani


From:
Pac NW
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2021 5:41 pm    
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Still looking? How abou this one

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Epiphone/Vintage-1950s-DUO-CONSOLE-Lap-Steel-117085993.gc
_________________
- Rukavina and Sonny Jenkins laps, Carter
- The secret sauce: polyester sweatpants to buff your picks, cheapo Presonus channel strip for preamp/EQ/compress/limiter, Diet Mountain Dew
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