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Fender cabinet construction

56_Special

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2,008
What are the different cabinet construction methods that Fender has used over the years? Sold Pine? Birch ply? MDF? When did thy use what methods and when? What is the timeline? Thanks!
 

quinnamps

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1,220
Old cabs are finger jointed pine. The baffles were almost always plain ply boards as far as I can tell. Not as full and void free like Baltic birch ply.
I haven't any real idea of when this stopped or even what they do now. I do have some cab from a some fender solid state thing and it is straight up compressed fiber board material. Total junk-ola.
If your building for yourself use pine with Baltic baffle and you'll have a happy Fender-ish cab. If I were building a marshall style closed back cab I would probably use all Baltic birch ply boards. Good luck.
 

aeolian

Member
Messages
6,308
Somewhere around the mid CBS era they started setting in the baffles (glued into grooves on the side walls, permanant parts of the cabinet) and then went to MDF wood. Stiffer cab with more bottom but less color. The early ones had the grillecloth wrapped around the baffle and then the baffle was mounted from the inside against the front of the cabinet (tweed) or pulled back against internal braces (BF). In either event, the grillecloth was pinched in between the baffle and the mounting. Making the baffle not completely rigidly mounted to the cabinet. Not a good hi-fi practice but the coloration adds a distinctive guitar sound.
 

56_Special

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2,008
According to this article, Silverface Fenders never had MDF cabs. At worst they used multi-piece laminated pine cabs. That doesn't seem like a very big deal. Just like multi-piece guitars aren't necessarily worse than one piece guitars. Damn, it's surprisingly hard to find information on this topic?
 

chaz

Member
Messages
1,556
According to this article, Silverface Fenders never had MDF cabs. At worst they used multi-piece laminated pine cabs. That doesn't seem like a very big deal. Just like multi-piece guitars aren't necessarily worse than one piece guitars. Damn, it's surprisingly hard to find information on this topic?
No, but they did have MDF baffles, yeech! The multi piece cabs do sound a little less lively, and they are a little heavier.
 

56_Special

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2,008
No, but they did have MDF baffles, yeech! The multi piece cabs do sound a little less lively, and they are a little heavier.
Yeah, but all BF amps had MDF baffles too. It's weird because I thought the baffle had the most influence on tone. I did notice that the weight of SF amps went up according to the Fender Amp Field Guide. I wonder why a multi-piece cab would be heavier?
 

chaz

Member
Messages
1,556
Yeah, but all BF amps had MDF baffles too. It's weird because I thought the baffle had the most influence on tone. I did notice that the weight of SF amps went up according to the Fender Amp Field Guide. I wonder why a multi-piece cab would be heavier?
I don't think all BF amps had MDF baffles, I think the earlier ones had plywood. The baffle material and how it's attached influences the tone as well as the cabinet. The earlier ones were just attached to cleats and solid pine cabs, while the later ones were fitted into a dado in the sides of a laminated cabinet. The weight thing is probably due to using many smaller pieces of less desirable wood i.e. lots of knots etc., and the fact you have all those glue joints.
 

56_Special

Member
Messages
2,008
From Greg Gagliano's article in 20h Century Guitar:

"Baffle boards were made of plywood from 1946 to 1962. Particle board (some call it MDF - medium density fiberboard) baffles debuted in 1963 and were used through the early 1980s. The baffle board was removable on amps made from 1948 to about 1972 and glued-in thereafter."

That would make all Blackface (which debuted in late '63) baffle boards MDF.
 

Oatman

Member
Messages
84
Looking into getting a BF or SF Fender Princeton Reverb. I'm looking into one that probably has a dado and glue baffle. I'd really like to replace the baffle and add a 12" speaker. Is this realistic with the dado baffles, or do I really need to look only for the 'floating' baffle amps made earlier (and more expensive on the used market)

Thanks. PS - a little info on what the 'floating' baffles are would help too. i know what a dado joint is, but not sure exactly what a 'floating' baffle means.

Thanks
 

67super

Member
Messages
1,506
From Greg Gagliano's article in 20h Century Guitar:

"Baffle boards were made of plywood from 1946 to 1962. Particle board (some call it MDF - medium density fiberboard) baffles debuted in 1963 and were used through the early 1980s. The baffle board was removable on amps made from 1948 to about 1972 and glued-in thereafter."

That would make all Blackface (which debuted in late '63) baffle boards MDF.
+1

I've got several BF Fenders and all have MDF baffles.
 

Wilko

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Messages
29
Yes the baffles are particle board, but it's a high density stuff, not Medium Density Fiber (MDF)
 

phsyconoodler

Member
Messages
4,315
Funny,I have yet to see an MDF baffle on any Blackface Fender amp.All the way into 1968.Believe me I have worked on hundreds of them,replacing grille cloth and speakers.I'm not trying to doubt the info given here,just noting my experience.All the amps that had removable baffles were made of plywood.Even the reissues are plywood.Wait,maybe the 68 Pro Reverb I have has mdf but it's still removeable.
All the dadoed in baffles in the later silverface amps were mdf.
 

sharpshooter

Member
Messages
4,004
The "floating baffle" thing is mostly just a bunch of marketing bs.
What it really was, was that the baffle, (with the grill cloth wrapped around it), was weakly fastened to the cleats from the rear, with only a minimum number of screws.
Any so-called energy transfer from the baffle to the cab is effectively negated by the layer(s) of grill cloth between the baffle and cleats.
It was/is just a fast/cheap method of mounting the baffle in a weak manner.
 

Axis29

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,430
My '69 Vibrolux has a finger jointed solid pine cabinet with a screwed in baffle (but, I can't remember exactly what it's made of... I'll go look shortly and report back)

My Princeton Reverb Reissue has a particle board baffle screwed to solid pine cleats that are glued and finish nailed to the cabinet. Interesting to me is that the grill cloth is neatly trimmed so that there is only one layer in the corners, glued down to the rear face and stapled. The glue is pretty thick and rubbery, but works well! It took great effort and care to get the grill cloth off without tearing it. I know because it developed a rattle and I am in the prices of tightening everything up and replacing with a plywood baffle.
 

cap'n'crunch

Member
Messages
1,400
The "floating baffle" thing is mostly just a bunch of marketing bs.
What it really was, was that the baffle, (with the grill cloth wrapped around it), was weakly fastened to the cleats from the rear, with only a minimum number of screws.
Any so-called energy transfer from the baffle to the cab is effectively negated by the layer(s) of grill cloth between the baffle and cleats.
It was/is just a fast/cheap method of mounting the baffle in a weak manner.

If anyone is building a BF style cabinet with a floating baffle the correct procedure would be to staple the cloth only to the edges of the baffle. Do not wrapped around and staple to the backside like Fender does/did. By stapling to the edges you'll still get wood to wood contact when the baffle is mounted to the cleats and transfer of energy to the cab.
 
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I have never seen a blackface fender with a mdf baffle . A floating baffle refers to how it is mounted tweed style amp cabinets were mounted top and bottom the sides float . Blackface mounted on the sides top and bottom float not so much on the top with the chassis . 3/8ths bc pine baffle the cheap 3 ply stuff crucial to the sound .Baltic birch is a great material but not for a fender baffle . Solid pine cabinet joined with 1/4 inch box joints on tweed and blackface. The tweed cabinets are notched out on the front top and bottom 3/8 ths up the top panel and 3/8 ths down the bottom and Another inch down the sides and a pics of plywood the same plywood as the baffle is glued into the notches to make the front panels . Although the cabinet is wrapped in tweed and the baffle covered with grill cloth plenty of vibration transfers into the pine . The magic is the age of the pine . Pine has sap sap crystalizes over time making pine as hard as oak maybe harder . I build cabinets . From spruce and pine and use hardwood for the panels extra tight joints and a few other tricks to get my cabinets to sound like the old ones . But without tweed or tolex for that reason I want to hear the wood . You can see plenty of pictures on my Facebook page tube amp cabinets shows close ups you can see how they are built . I have never even seen the cabinets with the dadoed in baffle but I have only had brown face and early blackface and mostly tweed era amps .
 

guitar007

Member
Messages
385
Yeah, but all BF amps had MDF baffles too. It's weird because I thought the baffle had the most influence on tone. I did notice that the weight of SF amps went up according to the Fender Amp Field Guide. I wonder why a multi-piece cab would be heavier?
My '64 Deluxe Reverb has a plywood baffle.
 

woof*

Member
Messages
7,488
From Greg Gagliano's article in 20h Century Guitar:

"Baffle boards were made of plywood from 1946 to 1962. Particle board (some call it MDF - medium density fiberboard) baffles debuted in 1963 and were used through the early 1980s. The baffle board was removable on amps made from 1948 to about 1972 and glued-in thereafter."

That would make all Blackface (which debuted in late '63) baffle boards MDF.
This is the correct answer. All the doubters need to double check their baffles. Every Super Reverb I have owned, 64-66...several, have all had particle board baffles. My current 66 has a wood baffle from Larry Rogers as the original had bad water damage. If you have a wood baffle its most likely a replacement.
 




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