Heavy Plywood Headshells in 2005...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by LSchefman, Jul 28, 2005.


  1. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,448
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Guys, I know we're guitar players, and we're all traditionalists, and blahdy blahdy blahdy, but still, it's 2005 and we are still lugging around heavy plywood headshells covered with fake leather invented in the 30s for car seats?

    Les (that would be me) doesn't think so!

    Here's my idea: a carbon fiber headshell. No need for tolex. Nice and rigid. Would look cool.

    It wouldn't need the metal corners, wouldn't need tolex, and handles could be molded in on either side of the shell.

    And you could still put a fabric grille in front for airflow, although, let's face it, cooling slots could also be molded into the shell.

    I think it would look slick! Can I get an amen, brothers and sisters!
     
  2. aquadog

    aquadog Member

    Messages:
    1,281
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hmmm, makes sense to me.

    Light, easily portable, extremely durable, and would look interesting.

    Wouldn't it be expensive to use that much carbon fiber? I can honestly say I'm completely ignorant of the cost of this material. Otherwise, seems like it would be very suitable.

    If prices are actually affordable (somebody fill me in here), I wonder how it would work in terms of say cabs or combos- maybe it would absorb the vibrations better?
    It'd be great, heavy duty combos that aren't hard on the back to lug around and don't buzz incessantly when played with lots of bass or at high volumes.
     
  3. Killa-B

    Killa-B Member

    Messages:
    517
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    Razorback Country
    This is a cool idea, but cost prohibitive I fear. Carbon fiber itself is very costly and unique tools are needed to work with it. You also need a mold, especially to make a totally integrated shell as described. Molds are very expensive.

    So to justify the cost, the amp would either have to be mass produced to sell the required volumes to return on the carbon fiber investment or we are talking a VERY expensive amp even by today's standards. Then you may be getting less for your dollar under the hood.

    The components and materials used in the top end boutique amps of today are a substantial percentage of the total cost of the amp. Then comes the time needed by the master himself.

    I like a nice old pine box, looks great, plentiful, and light!!

    It would be really cool to hear a carbon fiber cabinet, good thinking!!
     
  4. BFC

    BFC Supporting Member

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    Montana
    The chassis is most of the weight (trannies). Head shells don't weigh much.
     
  5. G'OlPeachPhan

    G'OlPeachPhan Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Winneconne, Wisconsin
    it'd be sweet and modern, but that stuff's pricey... can't imagine that look would be for everyone either, but anyone into cars or bikes would probably dig it. still, I like the modern idea, and it's way less overdone in the modern guitar world than say.... diamond plating.

    if it ever becomes affordable and somebody comes out with carbon fibre head cabs i'd buy one.
     
  6. Killa-B

    Killa-B Member

    Messages:
    517
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    Razorback Country
    So true, but you could make that 50lb combo weigh maybe more like 40lbs which would be nice.

    I would be more interested to hear it as a speaker cabinet material for tonal reasons.

    Carbon fiber would definitely attract the Ducati/Ferrari lovers!! Maybe put a bit of brushed aluminum in there also.:)
     
  7. Killa-B

    Killa-B Member

    Messages:
    517
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    Razorback Country
    You will still need molds to make a quality plastic part. If it's polypro, it would likely be and injection mold. Injection molds for a Marshall sized head case could get into the 6 figure range.

    If you could pull it off with a vacuum mold (which is usually for thinner parts) it could be reasonable.
     
  8. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

    Messages:
    1,200
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    While that is very true, any weight reduction would be welcome especially considering the iron is so heavy.

    Yeah, I think it's a great idea! I'd be game for that on one of my amp creations. This solution might be ideal in a combo with some R&D to get the tone right.

    Kelley
     
  9. Killa-B

    Killa-B Member

    Messages:
    517
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    Razorback Country
    Just to give it a whirl, you could make your own molds from styrofoam and use fiberglass instead of carbon fiber. Just form a cube and cut out all the holes for the control panel and cord etc.

    You could then use piping or metal to conceal the cutouts to make a neat appearance. Your amp could have a ski boat vibe:cool:
     
  10. bluessyndicate

    bluessyndicate Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,493
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Or how about keep the old head shells...and line them with an airtight bladder and fill them with triple density helium He3+. Off camber inverted spinning high speed woofle nuts could be used to monitor the helium leakage and trigge auto-filling from the small helium bottles that we could take to gigs?

    or we could just use fiber glass? This would be cheap and lightweight and strong...this would probably launch an era of amp head customization as old 60's surf board customizers would suddenly be shaping and reshaping head boxes to spec....in their garages..which would be handy since alot of peole play in their garages.

    :cool:
     
  11. BFC

    BFC Supporting Member

    Messages:
    913
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    Montana
    Interestingly enough, my THD Flexi did not have a head shell in the traditional sense at all and was heavier than my Barber Echelon which does have a traditional headshell. So it greatly depends on the amp in question. However, the Flexi was more portable just because it was physically smaller, much smaller.

    I want to hear Neodymium magnet speakers fine tuned to sound exactly like traditional guitar speakers for combos and extention cabs. That would a major advancement!
     
  12. aeolian

    aeolian Member

    Messages:
    6,083
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA.
    Oh yeah, that metal flake Glastron look.

    Carbon fiber, or even fiberglass is far to brittle for something that gets the abuse an amp does. Polyethelene maybe.

    You could build it like a road case, frame and lightweight panels. Oh yeah, I've seen those. Butt ugly.

    Back to the drawing board. Hmm, aerodynamic amp heads like 1950's toasters...
     
  13. trisonic

    trisonic Member

    Messages:
    13,163
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2003
    Location:
    NJ out of England
    Someone beat me to it. Whilst it is very strong in some ways it can be brittle - which is exactly what you don't want in amp shell.
    Anyone know anything about modern ceramic materials? The stuff used in F1 brake discs?
    Magnesium? Keep it cool!

    Best, Pete.
     
  14. Killa-B

    Killa-B Member

    Messages:
    517
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    Razorback Country
    What do you guys do with your amp??:dude Chunk the guitar at it at the end of the gig!!

    I was thinking about it, and a carbon fiber look to an amp would maybe be.....sweet. Maybe you can get it in a sheet and apply it somewhat like a tolex for effect. That with some brushed metal would def look tougher than the fabled "chromed plastic diamond plate"!!:D

    I would like to see a carbon fiber Rocca...called the Bulletproof 100. The top handle would be Kevlar;)
     
  15. Riscchip

    Riscchip Member

    Messages:
    2,039
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Concord, CA
    A while ago I was thinking it would be cool for headshells / cabinets to made from a lightweight wood reinforced with a skin of epoxy sort of like Parker guitars (however they do it). Might sound cool, too (might not).
     
  16. Killa-B

    Killa-B Member

    Messages:
    517
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    Razorback Country
    YES!! A cedar head cap beefed up with epoxy!! I wonder if Bob Burt is listening?;) Sometimes anything different is really cool and interesting.
     
  17. JamesPeters

    JamesPeters Member

    Messages:
    1,397
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    Some plywood is lighter than others. :) My head shells weigh less than 10lb already. I can't imagine shaving off more than a couple pounds if I used carbon fiber, unless I also reduced the thickness too.
     
  18. Old Fuzzface

    Old Fuzzface Member

    Messages:
    680
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    Wouldn't filling an amp with Helium make the voicing go all squeaky?:D

    What's wrong with wood anyway? It's light, strong, smells nice, looks good and is a sustainable material.
     
  19. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,793
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Carbon fiber does not have real good impact resistance and is expensive. Molded plastic works, and has already been done. Downside is high set up cost for molds, flex, possible heat warping (look at any poly kayak sitting in the sun), and poor repairability (nothing sticks to it). Still hard to beat wood, pine or ply IMHO. If you really wanted to focus on weight reduction, something like balsa core used on boat decks may work, but joints would require a different approach.

    Fender Deco Tone
     
  20. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

    Messages:
    11,808
    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    There are all kinds of super strong fiber reinforced molded plastic that is cheaper (but not lighter) than CF. Even ordinary plastic is used in amp cabs now (my Cube 30) but I know that anyone who buys their $3.8K boutique Fuchner UG ODS Two Zirconium is not going to feel happy with anything but red snakeskin tolex over dovetailed sugar pine with electric blue anodized corner protecters, a hemp handle, a grille cloth woven from human hair and sterling silver thread and a purple jewel light. :dude
     

Share This Page