By Sarah Broughton. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 18:30:59 PM.
Electric Guitar Tone: Speakers. There are basically three types of vintage speakers: Jensen speakers, JBL and Electrovoice drivers, and Celestion speakers. Jensen Speakers, alnico Jensen speakers came standard in Fender tweed amplifiers in the 50's, including the famous Tweed Bassman, which had four (4) Jensen P10R speakers (Jensen labeled alnico speakers with a "P" and ceramic speakers with a "C"; the "10" refers to the speaker size (10") and "R" means the speaker is low powered, while "N" would refer to a higher powered speaker). Ceramic Jensen speakers are sometimes associated with the later Fender tolex years, but the alnico speakers were included in those amps too. If you have ever heard anyone talk of an "American" sounding speaker, it's probably the tone of Fender (i.e. the tone of Jensen speakers in an amp powered by 6l6 or 6v6 tubes) that they are referring to. Jensens are generally bright sounding speakers (they have smaller voice coils and resonance frequencies around 100 Hz), and they have a very clear tone with great sensitivity. As a result, they work especially well with single coil pickups, like those found in a Fender Stratocaster. The original Jensen speakers were made in the United States, but the current re-issues that Fender is putting in its vintage reissue amplifiers now are made in Italy. Excellent Jensen clones are also made by Weber and Eminence. The Webers are called the "Vintage Series" and the Eminence speakers include the 10" alnico Legend 102, as well as the higher powered "Patriot Series" speakers. To my ear, the Italian reissues sound good at low volume, but the Webers sound better at full volume, and they handle overdrive better as well.
An acoustic guitar is so named because the hollow design of its body provides a natural means by which the acoustics can be optimized, so that the sound of the guitar is naturally amplified, and therefore needs no exterior or additional means of amplifying the sound. Electric guitars are quite different, and without an external, electrical amplifier, strumming or picking the strings will make almost no sound at all, and certainly nothing much more impressive than pinging a rubber band! It is for this reason that electric guitars do use external amplification, but there is a common misconception or misunderstanding as to what exactly the external amplification does.
If you want an nicer, vintage style clean tone or slightly distorted blues tone, the newer tubes Sovtek makes for Electro-Harmonix, Svetlana and Tung Sol are better choices. Each of those tubes has thinner plates that are separated, so you can see the space between them just like the original RCA 12ax7's. To my ear, the Electro-Harmonix 12AX7 is the best sounding lower priced 12ax7 out there (the Svetlana 12AX7 looks like the same tube, but I've never tried one). If you don't mind spending a little more, I think the Tung Sol 12AX7 "reissue" is even better (unlike the Electro-Harmonix version, the Tung Sol has a "halo" getter, just like the RCA). If you want premium tube with a real nice American tone, I'd recommend the Tung Sol 12AX7.
According to Schaller, the switch has to be used with a rwrp neck pickup, if you want all positions to be hum cancelling. This is a little different than a stock Strat switch and important to know when you buy the switch. According to the diagram on Schaller’s website, this switch has seven pads. This allows automatic splits in two, three and four, and keeps the sound hum-free in those positions as well. The split Stack pickup blends well with the Five-Two true single coil, and also sounds great with the split humbucker. The pickup combinations are pretty close in volume, which is what I was going for. Even cooler, the humbucker splits to a different coil in positions two and three.
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