Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby Jon S. » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:28 am

Sorry, I know this has been discussed here before. I can't find any on-point recent discussions, though, so thought I'd repeat the question.

I recently obtained an SSP Jerry 2X12 cab that I had built with Eminence neodynium Lil' Texas speakers, primarily because my back is suspect and I wanted to have a solid, clear tone while keeping the weight down. Well, now, 2 months later, the fact is I don't like the speakers for this application. They have a nice overall frequency response but could use a bit more low end and are breaking up some earlier than I'd hoped for.

Screw the weight issue, and focusing primarily on currently-made speakers (tired of chasing the expensive vintage stuff), what would you recommend?

Two options that come to my mind immediately are Weber neos (the JBL-voiced ones, though their web site has said for some time they can't build them now with paper cones and I'm concerned the aluminum ones will be too harsh on top) -or Weber Californias.

Like 'em? Suggest others? Thanks.
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:42 am

I think that the metal dustcap that was part of Jerry's JBL's over the years (D120's, K120's and E120's) is absolutely central to his tone. He NEVER played any other guitar speaker (to my knowledge) in his main rigs other than metal dustcapped JBL's. I've heard paper dustcapped JBL's, and they are definitely missing that characteristic presence and sparkle on top.

I've heard the Weber Neo magnet JBL style speakers are killer, BUT you have to break them in for a while. At first, they're quite hard and kind of bright sounding. But once the paper softens, they bloom. This goes for all new speaker cones by the way. You can never judge a new speaker cone. They seem to break in fastest in the hot humid summers. Played hard and loud and long in high humidity seems to get them in the zone the quickest.

Personally, I find it really hard to beat a D120f (the orange ones) or a K120 when it comes to JBL tone. If you play real loud, then the E120 is a safe bet too. They all have the same general characteristics, 4" voice coil, and the exact same JBL-curvillinear cone shape. An original coned D120 is the ultimate in tone, but they blow easy, and most that we find anymore have been reconed.

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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby Jon S. » Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:51 am

You're convincing re: the aluminum, I'll say. :)

If I do spring for the Webers, which cone, original curved all paper or cloth edged curved cone?

Available with paper or aluminum dome, original curved all paper cone, cloth edge curved cone, or cloth edge bass cone.


Thanks again,
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:18 am

For lower power levels, the all paper is pretty true to an old D120. The cloth (accordian) edge allows for easier excursion for louder playing and low frequencies. I guess I lean toward the cloth edge as an all around speaker. But if I were to put one in a Deluxe reverb, the all paper to the edge is pretty cool.

Absolutely the metal dustcap. Just look at any photo of Jerry's rig or for that matter, look at the gazillions of metal dustcaps staring at you in any Wall Of Sound photo.

The metal cap actually allows you to run your amp with a warmer tone. The presence off the metal extends the highs and rings a bit so you will always hear yourself thru a dense mix, and without trying to add extra cut with your electronics. It's not a harsh treble, just a sweet clarity and it enhances the nuances of picking. Check out all that classic early Allman Bros... Marshalls thru JBL's. Santana's classic tone was with an Altec with a metal dustcap. Chuck Berry still uses JBL's. SRV played that sweet tune "Lenny" thru a JBL with a metal dustcap. Jerry always used them.

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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby strumminsix » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:18 am

Jon S. wrote:You're convincing re: the aluminum, I'll say. :)

If I do spring for the Webers, which cone, original curved all paper or cloth edged curved cone?

Available with paper or aluminum dome, original curved all paper cone, cloth edge curved cone, or cloth edge bass cone.


Thanks again,


Jon, per Ted himself, "The 12's would be cloth surround, aluminum dome."

I love my Weber NeoMags. Love.

Depends, though, on how much you are amplifying. Under 100W, Neo's. Over, well then K series JBLs I think is what most would use.
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby NeebruM » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:19 am

I've heard the neos need a CLOSED back cab to give them some meat...

I'm thinking (per Webers recommendation) of one of their Michigans on the bottom (w/aluminum cap) for MUCH more bass and a Caleeforea on top, both ceramic. (as it was also recommended as the alnico's aren't really worth the difference in $$ for clean, he said: C.J. Sutton at Weber)

Of course my goal is to have mainly a good old Fender clean sound with some reverb and just tube break up when pushed. If you plan to overdrive the heck out of them the aluminum caps will sound brittle! (also per CJ)

I'll let you know how my latest 'scheme" goes...
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby hogan » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:29 am

Aluminium cap, cloth surround guitar speaker is what you want. The cloth surround takes a little longer to break in, but that's half the fun. Not this means all that much, but i've probably used, installed, bought more of these speakers than anyone on this board. They are a very good speaker. You should note that they are not currently making them at the moment. They are redesigning them so they are easier to build. I hope the get them back to market soon and I hope they are of the same quality.
It sucks, as I've got 4 2X12 cabs coming together at the moment and no speakers for 3 of them. The one that does have speakers is going to have e120's. Perhaps it's time for an extra whiney, nasaly phone call to Weber urging them to get on the stick regarding the Neo12's.
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby hogan » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:32 am

NeebruM wrote:I've heard the neos need a CLOSED back cab to give them some meat...

.



Not true. They sound pretty vicious in my open back cab.
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby keirweir » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:35 am

I just purchased a K-120 for this reason and now have a pair of the K's. Once I get my twin back from service I am plopping the K's in. I am hoping this is the move that gets me to where I want to be. Then again... its goes on and on and on but at least my back will get some relief...

Is anyone out there using 2 K's in a twin for Jerry stuff?
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby strumminsix » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:47 am

NeebruM wrote:I've heard the neos need a CLOSED back cab to give them some meat...


Not true. I own 4 (3 12s & 1 15) all open back and all totally awesome.

Break in time was not longer than any other speaker that I've ever owned.
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby Jon S. » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:53 am

hogan wrote:You should note that they are not currently making them at the moment.

Oh no - say it ain't so! :cry: All the web page says is no cloth surrounds. Doesn't say they're not making any now at all. I will indeed try a call or email to them so they know folks are chompin' at their bits.

EDIT: Just sent this message to Weber via their on-line questions form:

comments: Someone told me that you're not making any NeoMag speakers at all now, I checked your web page and alas: "We are currently working on redesigning the neo magnet circuit and will release several models throughout 2010." Your neos are the best (and likely only) neo option for many, many Deadhead guitarists seeking to cop Jerry Garcia's signature tone, myself included. Can you say when your JBL-like neo will be available again? PLEASE make restoring them to production a Weber priority! Jon S.
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby dleonard » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:07 am

Does anyone know why JBL doesn't make these speakers anymore?
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby Jon S. » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:11 am

"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby hogan » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:24 am



25# a piece. Goodtimes. You said weight doesn't matter anymore, it will when you jam up your back(again). Your 2x12 cab is now going to be in the 85-100# range.
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Re: Slight reprise: best speakers for Jerry tone?

Postby Imagined Days » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:29 am

I am using 2 K120's in a Birch cabinet I built similar to Hard Truckers style. I use a Twin Head. The K's sound great! With them I had to switch out the Super II's in my guitar to Super Distortions (Dual Sounds) because it was too glassy, but I really never liked the Super II's anyways.
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