By Sarah Broughton. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 08:18:06 AM.
JBL and Electro Voice speakers were both made in the United States. The Electro Voice speakers are still available, but the JBL's are no longer being made. Fortunately, Eminence makes a speaker called the "Commonwealth," which is an excellent copy of the JBL e120 (12") and e130 (15") speakers (those are the ceramic magnet versions of the d120 and d130 speakers). Weber also makes a speaker called the "California," that sounds similar to a JBL, and another called the "Michigan," that sounds similar to the Electro Voice. If you want bullet proof reliability at high volume, you cannot go wrong with a JBL or EV speaker. They weigh a ton but they can handle a lot of power. Also, they handle bass sounds well and produce a smooth treble tone that is especially well suited for guitars with humbuckers, like the Gibson Les Paul and Es-335.
Another thing to consider is the location in the amplifier of the preamp tube you are replacing. The preamp tube that is located the furthest away from the power tubes will generally have the greatest effect on the tone of the amp; and the preamp tubes that are closer to the power tubes will have the least effect on the tone. So you could put a premium Tung Sol or Mullard in V1, but then a less expensive JJ or a Chinese tube might make more sense in V2. Even if you find a long plate too noisy for any of those positions, a long plate tube might still make a good phase inverter tube for the V3 position (or whichever position is closest to the power tubes).
Among single coil pickups and humbuckers, there are many variations in how they are constructed and how they sound. Basically, a pickup is a row of magnets wrapped in copper wire. So changes in the magnets and the wire affect the sound. Alnico V magnets are commonly used in single coil pickups, like Fender's Texas Special pickups for Stratocasters and Telecasters; they are stronger magnets and have a sharper sound. Alnico II magnets are more common in humbuckers, like Gibson's Classic '57 pickups; they are softer magnets and they have a smoother tone.
So what you can do by pairing different pickups with different strings is try to get a nicer, balanced tone from the guitar. For example, you might find that rollerwound strings go well with brighter, vintage style single coils, like Fender Custom Shop '54's. But the same strings would probably be way too dark for a Gibson Les Paul equipped with '57 Classics or Burstbuckers (i.e. roundwound strings would sound better). On the other hand, if your Gibson is something like an ES-175 with the same classic humbuckers, and you are looking for a smooth jazz tone, you'll probably like flatwounds better.
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