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Aluminum vs. Copper for a chassis?

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Fretts, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. Fretts

    Fretts Member

    Nov 20, 2003
    Santa Monica, CA
    Old TV/Radio guys swear the last word in chassis material is straight copper. Guitar amp guys say Aluminum is the ticket. If I'm going to build a one-off, the difference in metal cost isn't going to make or break it. Neither of these metals are magnetic, so what is the verdict? Or who would know, so I can go ask them?
  2. dragon

    dragon Guest

    I've tried 2 bassmans from the same year/circuit/tubes/ect, on a fender chassis and the other aluminum, the aluminum won out. In a word, it sounded smoother.
  3. Fuchsaudio

    Fuchsaudio Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    Bloomfield, New Jersey
    To my knowledge, Fender never made anything in an Aluminum chassis. I guess you heard a "clone" in an aluminum chassis, or a Fender who's guts were moved to another chassis ?

    Most Fenders are steel, which is then plated. The plating techniques changed over the years, but the base material did not (to my knowledge). Steel requires a coat of copper, then a nickle or chrome overcoat to protect it.

    Perhaps these amps had circuit, tube type or transformer differences.

    IMHO Aluminum sounds best over steel as it is totally non-magnetic and this can play a big factor in tone, especially when using tubes. Aluminum must be painted or anodized to protect it from corrosion.

    I would imagine copper could offer similar sonic benefits (being non ferrous), and possibly having a little more strength/weight ratio than the same thickness of aluminum. It would also require plating or painting to protect it. I don't know how available copper stock is, but a web-search of metal suppliers should provide an answer.

    I know Alessandro builds from both materials, maybe a shout-out to George could add some insight.
  4. dragon

    dragon Guest

    The "other" chassis was aluminum and not a fender, but had the same setup for comparison. Perhaps there was a difference other than the chassis material,there's always that chance, they were bassman's from the same year and one was changed over to an aluminum chassis. They sounded similar prior to the switch.
  5. nateco

    nateco Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    North X North East.
    I would tend to think that copper and ali are pretty simmilar in tone,seeing as they are pretty close on the periodic tables.Copper is a better conductor if that makes diference.

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