I hate to look stupid, but what does 'pre-Rola' mean?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by KissTone, May 10, 2008.

  1. KissTone

    KissTone Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,515
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Location:
    Pgh., PA
    'Pre-Rola doping' on speakers? Can someone give me the skinny on what that means? Heck, what is Rola? (I'm guessing that this is like a pre-CBS Fender thing or pre-Norlin Gibson or pre-Baldwin Gretsch or . . . but I'm not certain.):confused:
     
  2. rockytop blues

    rockytop blues Member

    Messages:
    54
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Memphis, Tn.
    It's a British word, meaning " hard to find".
    It also means before Rola bought them.

    Jesse
     
  3. The Last Rebel

    The Last Rebel Member

    Messages:
    12,450
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    Pre-Rola is a term that applies to Celestions. A Pre-Rola is one made before Rola bought Celestion. From what I've heard it's really more of a collector's term, and there's no actual tonal difference between a Pre-Rola and a Rola.
     
  4. bosstone

    bosstone Member

    Messages:
    3,405
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Location:
    Oakland CA
    I think most people think of the Pulsonic cone when referring to pre Rola Celestions. Some feel that these were the best cones. Of course, not everyone will agree. I like them but I am also partial to the Rola 1777 cones.
     
  5. KissTone

    KissTone Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,515
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Location:
    Pgh., PA
    Thanks all. In what year did Rola buy Celestion?
     
  6. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,181
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Upstairs, L.A.
    That's not actually correct. Celestion was bought by Rola around WWII. They owned Celestion for many years. However, the speakers we're familiar with were produced without the name Rola on the label for a long time. The ones made prior to the Rola name being used on the label are called "pre-Rolas". Someone will have better date info than me, but I think the Rola name was included starting in the early 70s.
     
  7. sinner

    sinner Member

    Messages:
    3,686
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    The Expanse
    Wasn't there a factory location change associated with the Pre-Rola fame as well? Meaning the Rola era were speakers made in another factory?
     
  8. Echoes

    Echoes Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,225
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    I have some 'transition' Rola greenbacks from 71' they have the Pre-Rola tabs but the very early Rola sticker....I think British Rola bought Celestion in 1947. The factory moved FROM Thames Ditton, Surrey TO Ipswitch, Suffolk in 1970 and that's when the sticker began reading 'Rola Celestion' Ipswitch, Suffolk...and the 'pre-Rola' legend begins...
     
  9. papersoul

    papersoul Member

    Messages:
    12,776
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    So anything made now is Rola? I am lost on this one! I see used G1265s on ebay that say Rola and some just say Celestion but both are early 80s.
     
  10. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

    Messages:
    4,961
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Location:
    VA
    Pre-rolla means "worn out".:eek:

    AVH
     
  11. papersoul

    papersoul Member

    Messages:
    12,776
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    What about Rola? I found a used 1983 G12-65, does that mean it will be worn out????
     
  12. HeeHaw

    HeeHaw Member

    Messages:
    4,961
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Location:
    VA
    Without hearing them....IMO, A crapshoot for sure. That's a pretty old speaker, but sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised. The pre-rolla greenbacks I had were about the nastiest sounding 2 speakers I ever owned. My only guess is that the 30+ years in age had taken their toll on them.
     
  13. telewacker

    telewacker Member

    Messages:
    2,265
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Clayton, CA
    Too bad. I have 14 or 15 of them and they are the best speakers I've ever heard. Beautiful detailed top end, rich vocal like mids, and the smoothest, creamiest breakup. They don't command high dollars and have a legendary rep for no reason.

    The tone is in the cone. The Pulsonic cones that were used in the 60s and earlier 70s are the defining feature of "Pre Rola" greenbacks, though in the transition years you can find speakers with Rola labels and Pulsonic cones.
     
  14. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,866
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    There are many who have got the Celestion label naming confused, so in an effort to straighten it out once and for all, here's how it goes.

    The term "Pre-Rola" comes about from guitarists/players coining this term to differentiate speakers that had labels that did not say "Rola Celestion" on them. The Pre Rola models were highly prized for their Pulsonic cones that had the "holy grail" ultimate Marshall tone, although they were also used by Vox, etc.

    Here's a "Pre-Rola" label, which was used from 1965 to 1971, although frequently these labels showed up as late as 1974 on some models (G12H30's, for example).

    So this is a common pre rola label on a G12M Greenback plastic magnet cover (hence the name Greenback, since the magnet cover is green in color).
    [​IMG]

    Here are other versions applied directly to the magnet itself...
    [​IMG]

    and to the G12H30 magnet cover (larger than the G12M).
    [​IMG]

    Then there was the transition label which showed up in early 1971. It had Rola Celestion at the bottom, but still had the large Celestion type reversed in a black block at the top.

    G12M transition label from 1971 (part pre rola, part new label design)
    [​IMG]

    This is the regular Rola Celestion label which started appearing as early as 1971, too, but became pretty much standard in 1973.

    [​IMG]

    So even though the construction of the cones, etc. was the same from 1965 (except the voice coils changed from paper to nomex) through 1973 (to possibly early 1974), collectors/players place more value on the early pre rola style label.

    Here's how the company name evolved. Taken from Celestion's site.

    Celestion began life in 1924 as a small company, designing and building loudspeakers. At around this time, the technology of radio was developing. The recently formed British Broadcasting Company - the BBC - had just started to transmit radio signals. And, as radio receivers improved and there were a greater number of transmissions, purpose built loudspeakers were needed so as to improve general intelligibility. At Celestion, we had found the ideal way to market our loudspeakers.

    Our products were always well ahead of the competition - they not only sounded much better, but looked very stylish in their walnut and mahogany cases. From early cumbersome horn speakers developed separate speaker cabinets. With their ornately carved wooden casings, these speakers were given pride of place in every home. Our first loudspeaker, known as the ‘Celestion’, was launched in 1925, receiving great reviews. To follow this, we developed a complete range of loudspeakers, comprising models A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5.

    As technology changed the radio from battery powered to mains, the receivers became smaller in size and were eventually housed in the same casing as the speakers. With greater demand for these receivers, the cabinet design gradually became less ornate and more functional. This increase in trade meant that a move to larger premises was needed - so in 1929, we moved to a factory at Kingston-upon-Thames.

    In 1932, a permanent magnet moving coil loudspeaker was developed, with greatly improved sound quality. This in turn brought about the development of the first twin loudspeaker system for the home, the Celestion Reetone Dual, with its separate bass and treble speakers.

    With the advent of television in the fifties, we knew our loudspeakers would be in as much demand as they were for radio. A series of loudspeakers was built, ranging from 2" to 10" in size, designed to meet the requirements of the television manufacturers - our newly developed HF1300 tweeter eventually became adopted by the BBC for use in their studios.

    During the late fifties, we introduced what is today one of the most famous guitar loudspeakers of all time - the Celestion Blue. It was an immediate hit with many of the up and coming musicians during this period. Toughened to withstand the demands of modern instruments and playing techniques, the Celestion Blue was developed from our existing range of high quality, general purpose 12" loudspeakers, which had been in production since 1936.

    The unique sound of the Celestion Blue loudspeaker was the overriding factor in its popularity. When combined with an overloaded valve amplifier, it produced a sound which distorted easily. However, with the speaker's slower response, this distortion was smoothed into the gloriously creamy overtones loved by the Beatles and their contemporaries. Sustained notes were easily achieved, and finger and plectrum noises became less obvious. Used in the Vox AC30 and Marshall guitar amplifiers, the sound of the Celestion Blue was to change the voice of Rock & Roll in the decades to follow.

    With the development of Rock & Roll, audience sizes grew. And as a direct result, greater amplification was required - we needed to design loudspeakers which could cope with this increase in power. Our general purpose G12 speaker became available with different magnet sizes - from light to heavy. With much experimentation with different cabinet and driver combinations, we had produced a range of high quality guitar loudspeakers, used throughout the decades by leading artists including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones and Van Halen.

    Today, we manufacture guitar loudspeakers to suit every musical style and technique. From lead to bass guitar, and from eight to fifteen inches in diameter, our drivers are designed for the ultimate in sound reproduction. As demand rose further, we moved again in 1968 to the aptly named 'Ditton Works' in Ipswich. Production steadily increased, and by the end of the seventies, the name 'Celestion International' was chosen as our new corporate identity.
     

Share This Page