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Best wood for a cab?

guitarman92

Member
Messages
1,323
So I've got a 59 reissue bassman. I've been thinking about giving it a complete overhaul and try to do as much as I can to upgrade the tone on it.

And I really love the way Curtis Kent has his milkman creamer with the walnut. So I was wondering what wood would sound best with a bassman? Would walnut work? How does rosewood hold up in a cab, or mahogany? I know its a lot of questions, and I've read that it doesn't matter, and soft vs hardwood. But I haven't seen too much specifically for my amp. Any answers would be appreciated!!
 

Black_Label

Member
Messages
4,552
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm more of a Marshall guy, but isn't part of the old classic Fender sound the pine cabinets they used?

There are a lot of other modifications that will affect your tone more - speakers, open/closed backing, tubes - but the cabinet material will have some influence on how the amp will sound.
 

Geeze

Member
Messages
2,423
First question - what is the current cab made from? You seem to specify a couple of goals - tone upgrade and I believe an appearance upgrade if you are going without tolex. More questions - will weight be an issue? Do you plan to gig with the cab? How do you want to change your tone?

I believe speakers are the filet mignon of tone and the wood is the seasoning on the meat. The rub here is every speaker is unique [models operate within certain range of parameters] and will vary based on atmospheric conditions. This is a tricky area as it is based on subjective data that will not sit still for an apples to apples comparison. I don't know of anyone who has built the same cab configuration with different woods and then recorded [using the same speaker in a an atmospheric controlled environment] each one for a blind comparison.

In short - if you want it to sound different - change speakers. Look different - figured wood [maple, walnut, khaya - African mahogany, cherry, paduak, oak, etc].

Russ
 

pine

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
831
Hardwood are generally brighter in tone, like maple or cherry, woods like mahogany are darker in tone. If you use a ply, it should be void-free like baltic birch 13-ply (have no idea where to get this) Pine has always worked for me. I made a cab out of some really old dried up barnwood over an inch thick, but it's light as a feather that sounds really good as well
 

guitarman92

Member
Messages
1,323
Thanks for the responses guys!

As far as the speakers, I'm fine. My reissue bassman is from 1990, and thus has the blue eminence made speakers. So I am not trying to replace those.

As far as the current cab, it's just random plywood s far as I know, then laquered tweed on top.

I've always heard pine has been good with bassmans. However, if the type of wood won't effect the sound that much, I'd probably just want to put a dark wood cab on the amp with a semi gloss finish on it or something.

But I do want to make sure that I won't be taking away anything from my amp by doing this.
 

-CM-

Something Clever Here
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,725
If you are going all out, how about making the combo into a head & cabinet setup? (assuming you have a combo now) Then you can design the speaker cab so that it can be an open or closed cabinet, which definitely affects the tone.

Edit to clarify: Design the cab with a removable rear panel (or panels) so that the cab can be easily opened or sealed.
 
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crazyneddie

Member
Messages
3,230
I love Pine cabinets. They resonate beautifully and I think it's a big piece of why old Fender amps sound so good. I used to have a 1990 BMRI like yours and that pine cab is a great sounding cab!
 

guitarman92

Member
Messages
1,323
Cm: I don't think I'd want to go that route simply because of the extra time it would take preparing that, instead of just doing a clone of my cab now. And having a combo is what I prefer in amps.

Crazyneddie: I thought these reissues only came in plywood, not the pine?
 

Faraldi

Member
Messages
1,373
I've been building a lot of pine cabs of late. They make for great resonance and tone (which is, of course, subjective). A lot can be done with pine re. finishes. Many of my orders right now have been dark walnut stain over clear pine. Back in the day, Fender sometimes slipped some knotty pine for their cabs which probably added to the uniqueness of the amp's tone in a small way.

Definitely consider the baffle in your overall tone quest, both material and how it's affixed to the actual cab.

Lots to consider but that's the fun.
 

rockinrobby

Senior member Professional musician ...
Double Platinum Member
Messages
3,533
Go w/ Pine !!! Birch works well but Mahogany / rosewood cabinets would work too but, it's very expensive and it will get all beat-up. Pine is light and will cover with Tweed cloth and sounds great!!
 

django49

Member
Messages
1,796
I like pine for the lighter weight as well as the sound. When I built my own, I used pine with birdseye maple veneer with solid walnut and cherry trim to create a nice look.
 

wrathfuldeity

Member
Messages
1,857
It depends on what you are going to do with the amp...Bassman clean with a bit of od...pine....Or cranked with pedals...birch ply. And also dependent on spkr arrangement...4x10/4x12 go with ply, if 1x10 or 1x12 pine. Additional considerations are open/closed, convertible, detuned or tuned port. So the basic question...what is you basic tone goal/range and then design around the intended function. And concur...take some time and consider baffle and its attachment...its a significant factor...there is attached, floating and tone ring.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,486
lightweight northern pine. jointed corners. 3/8 ply baffle for original bassman sound. 1/2 maybe ........... for a bit different sound.
Your original RI cab is ply right?
 
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B00gieMK2

Member
Messages
102
Depends on how much you want to spend. Cook Woods used to have some figured Redwood, light like pine. Would look killer. I had a Black Limba combo cab built for my Boogie. Very similar to mahogany. Unfortunately, the combo size is not set for some specific response, just fits the chassis and a 12" speaker. I believe the baffle thickness and how it is attached (floating versus dado) makes a noticeable difference. Did a dado in the combo, but noticed many boogie hardwood combos use floating. You can tune in or out some frequencies.
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,486
An interesting aside. I built a 4 x 10 jointed pine slant cab... kinda like a mini marshall top cab. I built it as small as I could and get 4 x 10 in it. Cleated baffle board like BF fenders. The back is open/closed optional. It is quite bass heavy tone wise. It's no deeper than a Super Rev cab though. It appears the baffle I used (out of an old Hammond tone cabinet) is the reason for the huge bass. The baffle is hardwood plywood (walnut?) which Hammond used on those cabs. Big thick plys of hardwood and 3/4" thick. Evidently the thick baffle creates a lot of bass.
Just thought I would pass that along.

If you look at a vintage tweed bassman baffle without the speakers on it... there is almost nothing there.. 3/8" thick and it's all air!.......and super flimsy.
 




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