Gibson 1938 Console Grande

1938 Console Grande. 2nd version, #28 of 34, first year of production.

The Console Grande, new to the electric line-up in 1938, was very unique. It combined the brilliant tone and elegance of a maple body Electric Hawaiian guitar and doubled it. The actual piece itself measures 12" x 31" and 3 1/4" at its highest and 1 1/4" at its lowest heights. It is an absolute beautiful piece of craftsmanship.

Lynn Wheelwright states that this particular Console Grande 'shipped 12-16-1938, was one of the few triple layer CG's built and one of the first to have the mutes installed.' Mr. Wheelwright did mention that the very first model variation was made with no mutes or legs. He estimates that fewer than 5 were made. He goes onto explain that this model pictured is from the second variation with the triple deck, mutes and no legs. He also mentions that of this variation, 'there were approx 34 shipped in 1938 (and) this is approx #28 shipped.'



Serial #DGE-5392 stamped upside-down on the left bottom side.
This Console Grande, serial #DGE-5392 was shipped 12-16-1938. Above ledger courtesy of Lynn Wheelwright.
First appearance of the Console Grande in the 1938 Gibson catalog (printed on green paper). Note the photo shows the triple deck C. Grande with no stand.
A revolutionary concept.....2 Electric Hawaiians, each with a separate tuning, built into a single instrument.
Note the first ad (1938) mentions that a stand is available for the C. Grande. The next version (in 1939) will come with removable legs.
No hardware except for the exposed bar pickups and pots.
Hardware from the Console Grande
Deep grooves which will house two cast metal boxes, each holding 4 Kluson tuners for a total of 8 tuners. Note the 3 small screw holes per groove.
Cast metal boxes which will house the Kluson tuners.
Gears and posts for the Kluson tuners. Note the posts appear to have been cast in a large batch. The base of each post has rugged edges as if each post had been 'snapped' off from a row (sort of like snapping off pieces for building a plastic model car).
Kluson tuners are mounted to the side of the cast metal boxes before being inserted into the Console Grande.
Horseshoe pickup is installed on both sides of the Console Grande. Each pickup has 8 poles on this model. Note the 'ground' wire coming from the upper right corner of the pickup.
The bobbin (housing the wire coil and sporting the Charlie Christian look) lifts completely off of the pole pieces for access to the Horseshoe magnet.
Two sets of four pole pieces are attached from the underside by separate screws onto the Horseshoe magnet.
Left side wires are attached to the bobbin while the bottom right shielded wire runs from the Horseshoe magnet to the pots(volume/tone). The hard wire at the top is the 'ground' wire which is screwed under the bridge.
Note the 'ground' wire is soldered to the shielded wire above. Note the screw on the right. This screw, along with one on the left side is used to adjust the height (up/down) of the entire pickup. The screws can be adjusted on the bottom of the instrument
Mutes are added to the C. Grande very soon after the models introduction. They work to silence a set of strings while the opposite set is being played.
Up-close look at the mutes. Note that when one side swings up to mute the top strings, the bottom green felt piece will swing down to automatically allow the lower strings to be played.
Roughly 34 models are estimated to have the triple layer deck.
Felt bottom providing a non-slip surface for the player. Note the 4 screws on the right. These 2 sets of screws are used to adjust the height of the pickup/poles thus, allowing enhancement of the instruments tone.
Streamline look at the triple layer deck. The 3rd version of the CG will slant the middle layer to match the slanted layer on the right. This will give a much smoother look.
1939 Catalog AA(sepia tone page) provides a glimpse of the new version of the CG. This version will have 3 removable legs, 2 deck layers and mutes. Note the photo top rt shows the older model CG.