WGS customers are a very cool bunch, and you have some seriously
cool and extremely varied taste in amps, too! Since we
launched this new website, and of course this exceedingly exquisite blog, we
have received a few really great questions concerning speaker choices. We really care about you, and we always endeavor
to provide the guidance you need as you maneuver down the path of your individual tone quest. Some of the questions are so
darn good that it would be a shame not to share them, in hopes that others of
you out there will benefit from being included in the conversation. So, here are a few email conversations I’ve
recently had with black-belt level tone-seekers. Okay, let’s get right to the good stuff.
Looking for some advice. I put an et65 in a extension cab for my deluxe
reverb and really like the contrast between it and the alnico Jensen
that’s in the amp itself. I want to put new speakers in my 2x12 cab for a
60 watt concert 2 (rivera) amp. Any suggestions for aggressive
blues/rock? thanks, Scott.
A:Hi Scott, Good
call on the ET65 with the Deluxe Reverb. I also have an original early
’65 Deluxe Reverb Amp with a factory Jensen - and you’re right, it really needs
a little something to beef up (and sweeten up) the bottom end!
Now, on to the Concert II - I currently own
two of these unique amps, a 1-12 and a 4-10. These Paul Rivera designed
amps are 100% good-old-fashioned hand-wired Fender tube amps (the last of the
kind), and possess amazing potential, but they suffer from a problem that I
would term "stiff". In fact, they do have very stiff filtering
capacitors, and very substantial solid-state rectification. There is no
doubt that the Concert II’s were designed as a direct response to the
Mesa-Boogie 1-12 Mark series, which were all the rave in the early 80’s.
Like the Mesa’s,
the tube saturation sounds are ... well, very 80’s like, if you know what I mean.
The good news is that these are some serious amps, with a lot of brute-force
tube whollop, and very respectable Fender clean tones, which respond very well
to a tube-screamer up front. The bad news is that they have absolutely
none of that glorious old Fender rectifier sag, not even any real tube
compression until they are insanely loud. My 1-12 came from the factory
with the massive EVM 12L, and let me tell ya, that speaker only intensifies
the stiffness problem. That speaker has no natural compression or breakup
at all. On the other hand, my 4-10 Concert II has four rather
light-weight speakers in it, and it sounds quite good, as those little tens
have the ability to compress and smooth out the amps overly authoritative
My gut leaning is towards a pair of Reapersbeing a good mate to a Concert II. The Reapersare surprisingly touch-sensitive and responsive speakers; they sound like
really good vintage speakers from the early 60’s. I’d be leaning towards Green
Beret, but I’m afraid they might have a tough time keeping up with the amps
60 tube watts. However, if you want a speaker that can really deliver
some compression, and in effect make the Concert II sound a lot more like say,
a cross between a Marshall plexi and a blackface Fender Super Reverb, you might
still want to try the Green Berets.
If you prefer a more traditional Fender/American tone, and
can swing the dollars, I’m sure you would be exceedingly pleased with a pair ofG12A’s,
or the G12C’s if your budget is tight.
Both would do a good job of transforming the overly stiff Concert II into a
warm and fuzzy vintage tone machine.
Will your 2-12 cab be open or closed back? I have aBurris 1-12 DC cab sitting here, which allows for nearly instant speaker
changes, and can be either open or closed back. I tell ya what; I’ll put
all of the 12’s through their paces in this cab, with one of my Concert II’s
driving it, and let you know what my final recommendation is. I’ll get
back to you in a day or so. Sound good?
[note: I haven’t
gotten around to the testing with the Concert II yet ... I will, and I promise to
post my findings here, hopefully with a youtube clip]
Q: Hi Vaughn! I've just read your article about mating of a speaker to an
amp. So can you give me an advice?
I have a Bogner Ecstasy clone amp (70wt
2x6550(kt88)) and I want to do a pair of cabinets for it. The
amp itself is a typical Fender (Twin, or Deluxe Reverb for
example) on clean channel, and (hotrod) Marshall on drive channel. The best of both
My biggest musical influences are Stevie Ray Vaughan, Paul
Gilbert and Nuno Bettencourt. The sonic range is very broad. So there is
no simple decision. I like open highs with strong lows.
The cabs are:
1x12 1/7 open back. This one is for easy transporting. My
choice is for this cab is Retro 30.
2x12 closed back. Vertical (diagonal) orientation because
our rehearsals room is tight on space. For this one I think is a Retro 30 on
top and Reaper HP or ET 65 on bottom.
Can you comment on this?
A: Hi Sergey, You’ve
certainly done your homework, and I think your heading down the right
trail. The clean and semi-clean tones of the Bogner Ecstasy, to me, sound
a lot like some of my favorite 2-6L6 classic Fenders, especially my beloved
blackface Bassman, only with a little more oomph. The Bogner breaks up
very uniformly, too, and it really can nail a vintage Plexi tone. Very
cool amp, although I’ve never heard one on 6550’s.
Personally, I love the sound of alnico, so my suggestion is
to at least consider a Blackhawk HP in the 1-12 cab if you can swing the cost -
alnico is spendy these days! Having said that, the Retro 30 is indeed a
fine choice. A big concern when running that amp on a single 12 is
ensuring that the speaker can gracefully handle the power all by its self, and
the Retro 30 should be able to do that. Another fantastic choice
would be the Reaper HP, but the Ecstasy may have a little too much horsepower
for it, but you would be extremely pleased with the tone; generally, the
Reaper and Reaper HP are the speakers I recommend most in a 1-12 open or
semi-open back cab. Oh, and be sure the cab has adequate physical volume
You’re dead-on with the 2-12 cab. Mate the Retro 30 to
the ET65 for a bigger bottom, or the Reaper for a more traditional sweet
vintage sound. Personally, I’d go with the ET 65 because I really love a
tight, juicy bottom ... speaking tone-wise, of course.
Q: hello, i have
been toying with the idea of changing the speakers in my peavey 5150 combo. its
a 2x12 60 watt combo, and i play modern metal tuned to drop C. im playing
prestige ibanez guitars, and occasionally ill toy with my universe 7 tuned to
drop A! i need a speaker that handles the huge low end and tames the highs a
bit in this amp. the traditional go to speaker in metal is a 4x12 of vintage
30s, but im very interested in the green beret or possibly the reaper. id
appreciate any recommendations you guys have, as i was told you were the best!
Thank you in advance, James D. Jones.
A: Hey James, I have a good buddy with a 5150, so I know
that amp well. I wouldn't recommend the Green Berets unless you are
looking for a speaker that will make the amp sound like it's
"cranked" even when it's not. Otherwise, the Green Beret will
most likely compress too early for you. The Reapers would probably make
you very happy. They are, in fact downright magical in their level of
touch sensitivity and responsiveness.
All in all, however, given your musical style, I'd have to
say that your best choice in the 5150 combo would be either a pair of Veteran
30's, or Retro 30’s. This is the
classic metal sound, although a bit more refined for more of a tone
coinsure. Plus, these speakers can easily take everything the 5150 can
Q: Hello Vaughn, I enjoyed you text on matching speakers and
amps. I have a couple of questions:
I have a Egnater Rebel 20watt amp head. I have built two,
2x12 speaker cabinets using ¾" birch plywood (31 x 22 x 12.5)so, I am
looking at purchasing 4- 12" speakers. I like all kinds of 60’s and 70’s rock
but favor the earlier stuff (Hendrix, Cream and so forth.) So far, I am
considering the Reaper-30 12" speakers. Is that a good choice for my set up?
Could I mix Reaper-30 and Reaper-30 55Hz?
I have already requested information from WGS on speaker
mounting but, so far, have not received an answer. I am building speaker
cabinets for the first time and I am not sure I understand the dimensions that
are published for the Reaper-30:
I see that the cutout size is 11.1" (ok)
Overall size (diameter) is 12.2" (ok)
Mounting Slot PCD 11.7 (what is this? Is this the
measurement from the center of the speaker to the center of the mounting hole?)
Thanks for your help.
Regards, Bret Widdifield
A: Hi Bret, Yes,
the Reaper-30 would be an excellent
choice for the Egnater
Rebel 20 with a 2-12 cab. Mixing a Reaper with a Reaper 55Hz would be a fine idea
if you want the tone to be just a slight bit meatier, with just a little bit
less sparkle. Another good choice, since your head is only around
20 watts, would be a Green Beret. The Green Beret would give you a good bit of vintage Marshallesque cone breakup and compression,
even at fairly low volumes. This may not be at all what you are looking
for, but I wanted to just throw it out there. And, in case you want a
more American (ie Fender) tone, you should certainly consider the G-12Cor G12A,
these are the best American speakers that have been made in at least 40 years.
Oh, and don’t worry, when the website says that it sounds like a Jensen G12C,
we mean one of the sweet sounding real-deal vintage models, not one of the
harsh and stiff sounding new repro models.
I know I threw out a bunch of options for you there!
Sorry, I’m just that way. Having said all that, the honest truth is that
it’s almost impossible to go wrong with the Reapers. Many great boutique
builders now consider the Reaper their go-to speaker, and I concur!
Oh, and the 11.7" PCD dimension is simply the distance from
the center of one mounting hole (slot) across the speaker to the one on the
other side. The mounting dimensions on all the WGS speakers are industry
standard, just be aware that most of the WGS guitar speakers employ the vintage
4-mounting hole pattern, as opposed to the 8-hole pattern that became somewhat
in vogue with the big honkin’ cast frame speakers of the 80’s.
Okay, back to today’s blog!
What did I tell ya? Good
questions, right? Well, now it’s your
turn. If you have questions rolling
around in your tone crazed head, just ask me,
or one of the other tone doctors here at WGS.
Like I said, that’s what makes us special, we really care, and take time
to listen and respond. Ain’t that just
the way it’s supposed to be? Makes me
feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I know this weeks blog was a little long-winded if you made
it this far, you deserve a reward, so, check this out: