Van Halen Tone - 4x12 speaker help | Warehouse Guitar Speakers

Van Halen Tone - 4x12 speaker help

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08/12/2012 12:42am

Need help with my Egnater 4x12 straight bttm cab.

I'm a Van Halen tone chaser, (think Fair Warning-Mean Street, Unchained) and my 4x12 is loaded with Celestion V30.

But my 4x12 cab with the V30's has a serious MId and High spike and little to no punch and bottm end.
 Then when you eq the amp to get more bottom end, the upper mids and highs are weak and the amp is no longer sharp.
The cab just has an overall boxy, almost brittle sound.  I have been watching videos of WGS and it appears that either the Reaper or Retro 30 is what I need to load my 4x12 to get that VH tone, but Im not sure. Im only after that one tone and I can't take much more of the sound I have now. I have an amp that sounds awesome, but the V30 are making me hate to play.

I need help in making the right choice. Advice please.

Below link of a great tone - Retro 30 


Below link of a great tone - Reaper

08/29/2012 2:51pm

Please use the "Search WGS" box on the upper left corner for LOTS (!!!) of info on 4x12 cabs ... both here and on my blog.

To nail the EVH Brown Sound:

Roughly 75% of it was, of course Edwards technique ... so I assume you are talking about the other 25% :-)

Many great sources of info exist ... but most talk about the guitars and the Marshall heads.  Here is one good exception:

This site correctly identifies Edwards original Marshall cabs as being loaded with 2 stock Celestion "Green Backs" on the bottom, and two Fender/JBL D120f's on top.  This WAS his preference through the first three albums and on stage during that time.   Most folks miss the JBL's!  Since VH1 was mostly recorded "live" in studio ... with lotsa bleed all over ... the sound of that combo is unmistakeable ... no matter what individual speaker may have been miced.

So, what does that mean to you?  If you can find a good pair of JBL D120F's, buy them and add a pair of our Green Berets ... then, you will have came as close as humanly possible to nailing the original EVH speaker combination.  I would not recoment going with original 25-watt Green Backs, unless you can find a very healthy pair ... those gals rarely made it long without failing.  If you can't swing the D120's, then go with a pair of G12C/S.

09/01/2012 9:13am

How on earth do you know all this stuff?  When I got to your mention of Eddie using JBL's I was SURE you couldn't be right ... but I did some reasearch, and damn if you wern't dead-on!  Fantastic.  Now I've got to rethink my whole concept of early VanHalen tone.  Might just load one of my 4x12's with Green Berets and G12A/S and see what happens.  I don't think I'll strip the tolex off like Eddide did, though.

07/06/2015 8:23am

So what is a good 'stand in' from WGS range if you can't get D120s then?

07/13/2015 3:23pm

Yea ... the G12A/S ... or the G12C/S if you cant afford the AlNiCo!

08/16/2016 11:42am

I really like the Invader.

Can I use the Invader in substitue to Green Beret in addition to combining with G12C/s to get close to the "brown sound".

Both speakers are closer to each other in wattage.  does that matter??

Considering I like the Invader, would I be just as happy with Green Beret??  (I have EVH 5150 III Cab with Heritage GB's and I'm not happy with sound.  I play low volumes, so that could be the issue.)

08/17/2016 5:31pm

Yes ... probably more so ... but ... they ARE only a 25-watt speaker, so that limits them!  Their paper formers can burn out quickly over 25-watts.

I really like your Invader / G12C/S idea.

04/24/2015 9:12am

the fact that Vaugn knows something about EVH's JBLs and GB's is not a stretch.  Knowing about EVH's speakers to a student of guitar is like a physisist studying Einstein, or a Muscle Car enthusiast studying Shelby.


Now, if Vaugn knew what EVH likes on top of his pizza or what side of the bed he gets out from, that's another story.  We know he doesn't like Brown M&M's.  lol


I had an old Peavey Deuce for decades and I was always under the impression that Skynyrd recorded Live album through same Black Widows.  Imagine my disenchantment when I read they were likely swapped for JBLs.

05/03/2015 11:01am

FWIW, I had the multitracks of VH1 the other day in the studio.  They mic'd both the Celestion and the JBL to two separate tracks.  The Celestion sounded very much like a greenback, and the JBL was much brighter and fizzier.  What was even more interesting was that the bridge in Runnin with The Devil used to be twice as long - they chopped it in half after the mixed it!

Wm Anderson
07/14/2018 4:15pm


Last night while researching details on my next project ( home built Bluesbreaker cabinet with handwired JTM45 w/PPIMV Valvestorm kit and "probably" ET65 & Retro30 speakers ) I had wound up in this thread and subsequently watching this video:

It was 11PM and my wife had gone to bed and instead of watching just the first few minutes I wound up watching all 55 minutes. If you have the time it was a great interview IMO. Talked a lot about his immigration and childhood which was interesting and had some new info to me, and how he managed to do things in the early days, including how he initially controlled the volume of his amp using a lighting dimmer switch which was just one more thing he destroyed as he describes it.

Anyway, enjoy and LMK what you thought!!

07/15/2018 2:38pm

Cool interview of EVH ... our boy is (finally) growing up! :-)

04/27/2020 10:41pm

Is there one speaker the Warehouse Speakers make that could cover the greenback/jbl120 sound for the Van Halen 1 sound instead of using two speakers(greenback/jbl120) Thanks...

04/30/2020 5:54pm

Yes, the Invader ... or at least it's VERY close!

04/30/2020 9:04pm

That makes a lot of sense, and it won't take your head off on-axis. In a roomy closed cab back I presume?