Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #86790  by eric
 Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:32 am
Hey guys been checking this site for a while here but now im officially a member .I ve learned so much useful info here its unbelievable.. All you guys are great. .
This thread might cross many different topics , and ill have many questions along the way so just bear with me . I'm doing this from a newbie perspective .
Here is my deal: Ive decided that the only thing I want in life is a rig dedicated to just Jer tone So I'm completely starting from scratch. This def seems to be the best place for knowledge on this topic .. I will keep this updated until it is complete . Now this will not be a "no holds barred / money is no object sort of thing" Cause then i would just go grab a custom Alembic and my own wall of sound. My goal here is to build a custom guitar and pair it with a modded fender amp, to get the closest thing I can get to " The Tone " while not having to sell my children ( i dont even have any).

To start I just purchased a Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue . I want to throw the jbl e120 in there, but will it really make a big difference ? Any other ideas on simple mods or am I not even in the right ballpark for that side of the rig?
 #86796  by JonnyBoy
 Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:35 am
Yes a good speaker makes a difference if you plan on using a tube amp/analog setup. You can find a JBL E120 reasonably on Ebay. Beyma Liberty and Eminence Commonwealth use the same construction, identical spiders, 4" voice coil, giant ceramic magnets, aluminum dustcaps, LOTS of wattage and high sensitvity, paper cone. All these factors allow you to get close to a JBL with a new speaker. Stock fender speakers lend towards speaker breakup, some at low wattage, that is not desirable. Another god Jerry speaker is a vintage Peavey Black Widdow, old school with the dust cap, not the new ones.

Other fellers here have had great results with other JBL inspired speakers such as Webber Neo Mags. Lower wattage and MUCH lighter magnet. In conclusion, I will venture to say that the speaker is a big part of the tone you are looking for if you plan on using a vintage tube amp.

A lot of people have gone through this process and can help you not make costly purchases you will regret if you don't play in a band or medium venues. If this a bedroom, home practice tone thing, look up the bedroom tone thread here, there is everything from tube, solid state to modern high bit rate modeling amps that foot the bill well, most for under $400.

I would reconsider the reissue if you don't know how to replace parts and work on tube amps. Look for a vintage part to part version not built on a pre printed circuit board(computer chip looking board). Reissues are not impossible to mod, just a bigger pain in the ass and take longer to work on which means longer tech charges. Actually they are laid out very neatly and labeled well for easy identification, but easier to ruin with a novice hand and have to be dismantled somewhat to get to the tone stack.

Hope this helps.
Mucho Gusto y Bienvendido, JB
 #86798  by eric
 Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:00 am
wow! thanks
so , i y h o , for the 500 i could get if i hocked it on ebay or cl , would that money be better spent going for a ground up component build of sms-mc250-jbls. . Ive realized over the years now that not getting gear i want in the first place ,and just having to upgrade later at a loss , sucks . But once again, i'm looking to come the closest possible on a budget. even though i m competent with most electronics, computers, etc, I would not be comfortable tearing into a circuit board. Replace Speaker-yes, tubes- yes. I guess what im asking is should i just bite the bullet and sell this amp to fund the real deal? Or can i get away with it? Im looking for small venue loud ,Its def not for bedroom tone.
 #86801  by jdsmodulus
 Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:11 am
Welcome to the forum, IMHO you should hold out as long as possible and buy the best you can afford. I would say for sure the SMS>Mac>JBL is the best way to go. Its really not that much money to aquire that rig and in the end you will be WAY closer than a store bought Fender. All of the switching, effects and that you can get later on but you would have a serious rig.
 #86812  by JonnyBoy
 Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:40 am
JD is right! On the topic of amps, an SMS is a Twin custom made with all the Jerry tone mods we know of. It is made with high end components. Brad will take care of you, and help you build your rig like he has done for Stu of JGB and Jeff of DSO. He won't charge you 10K$ either. It is affordable relative to boutique amps or a fender twin RI.

A good cab to use would be a 1x12 JBL, A few guys here can make them or you can take a stab at that to same money. Guys here can help with that too. If I was to do it from scratch again, I would be using an SMS. I use a Twin RI preamped and I have had to do a bunch of work on it to get it going right and maintained. I didn't realize when I was building my rig that Brad has it all done for you for a reasonable price, plus makes them at his own shop, and will help you get it all together. Try getting that service at guitar center!
 #86815  by strumminsix
 Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:37 am
I'm a Bobby player but same principal applies:
Nothing is more expensive than having to pay for the same thing multiple times.

You will likely buy multiple amps and do multiple mods until you finally break down and buy either a vintage Fender or SMS+poweramp with a pair of JBLs to match.
 #100500  by eric
 Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:20 am
thanks again for everyone's help and took me almost 10 months to get it together. I'm really liking the HK right now but feel its only a matter of time before I go the SMS route.

Some pics of the setup as well as a couple randoms of the current ""Jam Room"




 #100501  by JustinJohn
 Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:48 am
Awesome!! Keep us updated on the progress of your project!

One note - I recently put my JBL E-120s in a 2x12 pine cabinet and - WOW - what an improvement in tone. It has a distinct presence, and I gained back a TON of high-mids that I didn't even know I lost.

 #100513  by JonnyBoy
 Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:05 am
Very Cool, John Kaledic uses the HK and seems to get some great tone too. Looks like you have done a great job putting it all together so far!! If you are diggin the tone, that's all that matters! (its mostly in the hands anyway, IMO) :smile: