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Starter DIY Speaker for Rock Lead Guitar

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  • Starter DIY Speaker for Rock Lead Guitar

    I am looking to help my son build a cabinet for two 12" guitar speakers. Is this a good place to start? Any recommendations? What about drivers? Eminence vs Celestion?

  • #2
    You could start almost anywhere with a guitar cab, 1 10-15" or 2 12"s is fine. Maybe build the cabinet so it's easy to swap out driver, because he may wish to experiment. I like the Eminence GB128 I couldn't get what I liked from the 1258. If you have any old 10-15" drivers (from home speakers or whatever) give them a try. The Ted Weber Gray wolf has a nice aggressive sound, if thats what he's looking for.

    Nice looking DIY 2x12 build with buyout drivers:


    • #3

      Do yo know what style of music your son likes to play? It might help guide the responses in terms of design.

      If he's a blues, jazz, country type of guy, those folks seem to dig the open back cabinets. If he's into rock and metal, a closed back cabinet might be the way. Genz Benz made a g-Flex guitar cabinet years ago that was a ported 2x12. Still one of my favorites.

      Going back to his music preferences, the manufacturers have a bunch of descriptions of the speaker characteristics. Matching what he wants to sound like to the speakers might be good. I'm a big fan of Celestion Vintage 30's. I like the mid-range of them. Some folks hate them for the same reason. Musicians are a picky lot....


      • #4
        He plays Rock and Punk Rock. He is going to talk with some of the people he plays with for their thoughts also.


        • #5
          We are probably going to start with one of Bill Fitzmaurice's plans. I have confidence that he knows what he is doing. We will wait a bit on the actual drivers.


          • #6
            Are you talking about the XF series?

            Interesting design, no doubt. Seems to deviate quite a bit from the traditional designs for guitar cabinets. Makes me wonder why 99% of the guitar amp manufacturers choose not to build their cabinets in a different way.

            Given that he's a fan of Rock and Punk, I think a closed back cabinet might be more appropriate. Do you know the amplifier he's running?


            • #7
              Yes, I believe it is the XF212. He is going to buy an amp by a brand called Orange. About 20 watts.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jason_The_Angry View Post
                Makes me wonder why 99% of the guitar amp manufacturers choose not to build their cabinets in a different way.
                When people will continue to buy the same thing that's been on the market since 1969 why spend money on R&D to come up with something better? They don't change what they sell because they don't have to.


                • #9
                  Thank you, Bill


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
                    When people will continue to buy the same thing that's been on the market since 1969 why spend money on R&D to come up with something better? They don't change what they sell because they don't have to.
                    That is part of it, to be sure.

                    Some people want to sound like their guitar hero. One way is to buy similar gear, manufactured in a similar way. I also think that the design requirements and intent are quite different between accurate reproduction (as typically found in this forum) compared to viewing the guitar cabinet as an integral part of a "tone chain". Many of the things that might make a guitar cabinet sound good are the same things that audiophiles might cringe at (driver distortion, strange frequency response contours, cabinet resonance, etc.).

                    That said, your design is spot on with respect to the inherent "directionality" of the traditional cabs. If you're playing without a PA, it's really nice to be able to hear yourself on stage.

                    I look forward to hearing about Howard's progress.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jason_The_Angry View Post
                      Some people want to sound like their guitar hero.
                      For sure, but chances are they've never heard their guitar hero's rig. They may have heard a recording of it, they may have heard it through the PA at a concert. In neither of those instances is the gosh awful dispersion pattern of a stack, or even a 2x12, apparent. Where the tone of the drivers is concerned that's a different matter entirely. If you load an XF212 with Greenbacks they'll sound like Greenbacks in an AC30. All that differs is that you won't have to be within a tiny sweet spot to hear their full frequency range.


                      • #12
                        As far as the drivers, there are SO many choices nowadays its not clear cut at all. Eminence and Jensen make dozens of different models - ( I found a site that had many clips , but unfortunately can't find it ATM; will post if i do)

                        Also remember: there's no law that says you must have 2 of the same speakers. You can pick a couple that complement each other.

                        And I'd wire the cabinet so that you can easily switch from one speaker to another , or both. Keep in mind you have check your amp's preferred ohmage. My Fender Twin came with 2 x 8 ohm speakers in parallel, but it also supports a single 8 ohm ( usually a safe change) . Of course the speaker has to be to handle the full power. but with your 20W Orange that should be fine.

                        Celestion Greenbacks are famous for their cone breakup (intentional distortion) at moderate volumes. So its usually a better choice for a rocker than a clean country picker.
                        But tone is a very personal thing. For maximum versatility, some people prefer a fairly clean sound and then dirty it up to taste with overdrive and fuzz pedals .

                        I've got a Greenback, plus a new Eminence Texas Heat. This has a bit of that cone breakup, but is a little meatier and not as forward. Plus it can handle the full 100W!. (Could be a good choice for you)

                        Also kicking around is an old JBL120 - loud and clear with extended bass and bright hi's. But for me (a rocker) this is overkill with my Fender and Stratocaster

                        Currently I considering adding a Hemp type cone ( eg Cannibis Rex), which are said to have warmer tones.

                        Since I have more speakers than amps to put them in, I've got a cab on the drawing board. Its going to be about the size of a large 1x12 combo amp. On the back panel, the middle section will be removable, so it can be sealed or open ( I think Bill has this is his designs too). I'm also going make the front baffle removable so I can try other speakers ( eg 10's etc).

                        Also as far as the materials, I wouldn't go overboard on heavy, dense stuff like we do on a hifi speaker. There's no need to build oak furniture or 1 1/2 inchMDF baffles here.
                        The box is part of the sound and many very classic amps have been built with lighter, thinner materials that have their own resonance.
                        BEER: Proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

                        I've measured many things I cannot hear; and heard things I cannot measure...


                        • #13
                          Are you set on building? I've seen used loaded 2x12 cabs for less than $300. Wood, grille material, Tolex, hardware, time, etc, all add up. Unless you're picky about the speakers you use or have something in particular you want, id just buy used.
                          *Guitar warehouse used to have good inexpensive speakers but they've gone up in price over the last few years. Eminence and Celestion are still pretty popular mid priced speakers. On the amps I build, Ive switched over to NEO speakers because I like the weight savings I like the Eminence 12" Legend EM12N.

                          I forgot to add - you probably already know this, but with a 20 watt amp, if he wants to be loud and clean, high efficiency speakers will make a pretty big difference with is clean headroom. High efficiency guitar speakers are in the 99-103db range.


                          • #14
                            Electric guitar drivers with less than 98dB sensitivity are rare. As for clean, that's usually not what guitar players want, especially for rock lead. They want it dirty, and to that end most electric guitar drivers have xmax of 1.5mm or less.


                            • #15
                              Rare?? Not even.

                              What I should have said is - A kid playing in a punk rock garage band with a 20 watt amp would definitely benefit from a high efficiency speaker.