#1
Ok I'm looking at buying a B-52 AT-100 head and if I bought that I would have no cash left over to buy a cab so I might want to build my own in my free time. I was thinking about either a 2x12 or a 4x12 cab. This would be my first build so naturally I have a few questions:

1 What is a good/cheap wood i should use? Is plywood ok?
2 What dimensions should I use for the frame?
3 Is a 4x12 cab even possible for an absolute noob to build?
4 What speakers work best for a 100 watt tube amp head? (I was thinking Vintage 30s)
5 (and probably most important) Would it end up costing more to build a cab than to buy one? (the B-52 cab is $400)

If I do decide to go ahead with the build I would love to keep a log (no promises though)
Quote by Invader Jim
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#2
1 What is a good/cheap wood i should use? Is plywood ok?

Yes, use either 1/2 or 3/4 inche ply. The bigger the stronger. Use screws/nail and wood glue also. Make sure you buy plywood that is one side good. It saves you alot of time and effort in the end, and your finished product will be better. Trust me on this one. Yes it is more expensive, yes you said you ran out of money, but if you are not willing to spring for the slightly more expensive wood, I wouldn't even start this project. A 4*8 piece is only like 30 bucks.

2 What dimensions should I use for the frame?

How ever big you want. I think marshals are something like 28 wide. I am making a 212 that is 32 wide. Just make sure you leave space so that on either side of the baffel there is room from the speaker to the edge so that it doesn't break.

3 Is a 4x12 cab even possible for an absolute noob to build?

A 412 is like building a 212, just twice as tall. Either way, you are building a box. Pretty simple. Just make sure you build it strong. This also depends on what you have for tools. If you are a noob, don't expect your box to be square. It wont be.

4 What speakers work best for a 100 watt tube amp head? (I was thinking Vintage 30s)

I thought you said you were broke. If you can afford to go out and buy V30s for a 412, just buy the box then. V30s are about 100 a pop. You could go with a lower rated speaker. V30s are good for 60 watts each. So 4 would handle 240 watts. If I remember correctly, for the older tube heads, you can take their wattage and times by 1.4 to get your minimum speaker rating needed. Because tube power is calculated to a degree of distorion that is relatively clean. And we push tubes father so we can get more out of them. I wouldnt use speakers rated any less then 30watts. Which is right where some of the cheaper speakers are rated. You can use even a single 30 watt speaker with the 100 watt head, You just wont be able to turn your amp up all the way. You will hear the speaker farting when it gets to much umph, and then you should back up on the power. I doubt you will ever need to turn you head up even past half way. 100 watts is just to huge, and too loud for 99% of the playing instances.

5 (and probably most important) Would it end up costing more to build a cab than to buy one? (the B-52 cab is $400)

You could build the box for under 50 bucks then add speaker cost on there. Say you cheep out and get cheep ones say, 40-50 bucks a speaker, by 4. Call it 200 dollars. That gets you an unfinished cab, filled with cheep speakers. You decide. If you build it your self you can do awesome things, but expect to pay, and dont expect the same quality of craftman ship as you would get from a store, especially for a nube.
#3
You should take a look at avatar cabs. I built my cab (a 2x12" with Warehouse Guitar Speakers "Veteran 30s") and materials cost me almost as much as a complete cab from that Avatar would have been, not to mention the time it took to build. I don't regret it, because it sounds and looks great, but I have had a fair amount of experience, and the help of my father who's been doing stuff like this his entire life. I'm not sure I would dive right in in your case, unless you know someone who's experienced, and have access to the proper tools.

If you do decide to build though, heed the advice above, and definitely take a look at www.warehouseguitarspeakers.com Great speakers at a ridiculous price.

Also, a solidly built 2x12 will sound much better than a shoddily put together 4x12, or a 4x12 with sub-par speakers. If it comes down to it, don't buy or build a 4x12 for the novelty of having a half-stack, you'll most likely be happier with what sounds better.

Best of luck either way!

EDIT: Sadly, warehouse guitar speakers just raised all of their prices I knew I should have stocked up when I had the chance..
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

Last edited by darthalal at Jul 12, 2008,
#4
I didn't buy the head yet nor do I need it at this point. I figured I would work on the cab as I'm saving for the head. The reason I asked about dimensions was doesn't the size affect acoustics? I want this to be a quality cab so yes, I am willing to spend more money. On the topic of acoustics, will adding corner braces have any effect?
Quote by Invader Jim
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#5
Thanks for the advice dathalal. That would probably make more sense than building a cab for a noob like me. How does the avatar 4x12 (or the 2x12) compare to the matching B-52 cab?
Quote by Invader Jim
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#6
Size does affect the acoustics of the box, as does whether the cab is open-backed or closed-back. There's a pretty good article somewhere I can try to find that gives you pros and cons of each. I personally made a closed-back cab, that's fairly deep. It gives it a very punchy response, with a good amount of bass, though if I were to do it again, I would have made it shallower (It's a bitch to carry!!).

EDIT: Found it: http://www.duncanamps.com/technical/speaker_cab.html
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

#7
Wow, I never knew there were so many things to consider when building an amp. I'm beginning to think I'm in over my head with this. I just don't want buy an amp head then have no cash to buy a cab.
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#8
Quote by dlabooda
Thanks for the advice dathalal. That would probably make more sense than building a cab for a noob like me. How does the avatar 4x12 (or the 2x12) compare to the matching B-52 cab?

I haven't played either, so I can't really compare them, but I have played an Avatar 2x12 and 4x10, and both were great. Like I said though, I don't have any experience with the B-52 cab.

Have you played the amp/cab together? What made you decide on the AT-100?
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

#9
I haven't played the B-52 yet. I probably rushed into saying I was getting that one but I am looking for a head with those types of features.
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#10
Quote by dlabooda
Wow, I never knew there were so many things to consider when building an amp. I'm beginning to think I'm in over my head with this. I just don't want buy an amp head then have no cash to buy a cab.

That's the same reason I initially decided to build a cab, but then I looked into it and found out how involved it was, and decided to do it anyway. I'm addicted to building things though.. I've so far built my own OD/Fuzz pedal, modded a few, built a pedalboard from the leftover materials from my cab, and I've just started modding my Valve Jr (that I picked up just to mod), as a "warmup" before I try to start building amps from scratch.

Have you looked into buying things used? I just picked up a Marshall JCM 900 head for $600 recently, and my head before that was a Peavey Windsor that I got for only $200. I just checked and there aren't any on now, but there are often B-52 heads on ebay for $400 or less if you keep an eye out. I'm not sure how much you have, or had planned to save, but if you go used, you can almost always get more "bang for your buck."

EDIT: You should always try to play things before you buy them, especially something like an amp, one of the biggest factors (besides your hands) in your sound. Look around, and don't buy something because people say it's good, buy it because you like how it sounds!
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

Last edited by darthalal at Jul 12, 2008,
#11
Yes size does make a difference on closed back cabs. Not as much though for guitar frequencies as for bass frequencies though. You can tune the cab using size and ports but why not go random, and make something your own, that no one can copy?
#12
Darthalal: Wow, did you get that Marshall JCM on ebay? Yeah, I enjoy building things, I figured a cab would be a better place to start than a head. What was the width and height of your 2x12? I figure that would be more practical than a 4x12.

painispower: I would like to go random but I want this to be a pretty good quality cab so I don't want to take too big of risks. I'm lost as it is.
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#13
Quote by PainIsPower
1 What is a good/cheap wood i should use? Is plywood ok?

Yes, use either 1/2 or 3/4 inche ply. The bigger the stronger. Use screws/nail and wood glue also. Make sure you buy plywood that is one side good. It saves you alot of time and effort in the end, and your finished product will be better. Trust me on this one. Yes it is more expensive, yes you said you ran out of money, but if you are not willing to spring for the slightly more expensive wood, I wouldn't even start this project. A 4*8 piece is only like 30 bucks.


So would the same piece of 3/4 inch plywood work for all of the sides?
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#14
Quote by dlabooda
Darthalal: Wow, did you get that Marshall JCM on ebay? Yeah, I enjoy building things, I figured a cab would be a better place to start than a head. What was the width and height of your 2x12? I figure that would be more practical than a 4x12.

painispower: I would like to go random but I want this to be a pretty good quality cab so I don't want to take too big of risks. I'm lost as it is.

I actually found it right on here not too long ago. It was modded with a larger output transformer, and with brand new tubes in it also. They usually go for $800 or more, depending on condition, but if you get lucky, and keep an eye out, you can definitely find good deals, like this here if you don't mind a little cosmetic damage: http://cgi.ebay.com/MARSHALL-JCM-900-50-WATT-4500-AWSOME-NO-RESERVE_W0QQitemZ320273185768QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item320273185768&_trksid=p3286.m14.l1318. Also, don't limit yourself to 100 watt heads, there are plenty of great amps out there that aren't 100 watts, and you'll rarely (if ever) use 100 watts. My Marshall is the 100 watt version, and has a switch to bring it to 50 watts. I play out, and I've never had the volume above halfway on 50 watt mode.

Anyway, my cab is 28" wide, 16" deep and 18" tall. Like I said, if I did it again, I would probably have made it a little shallower, probably 13" or a little bit more deep. I probably would have widened it to 28.5" also, since the JCM is about 1/4" wider than it. It might even be fun to make it taller (20" or more?) and mount the speakers diagonal, instead of side by side, to give the illusion of a larger setup. Designing is the fun part, you can do whatever you want! One piece of advice I have if you make your own 2x12 is to definitely use 2 handles (one on each side) instead of one on the top. The handle I used is plenty sturdy enough, but it's pretty heavy, and is very awkward to carry with one hand.

Quote by dlabooda
So would the same piece of 3/4 inch plywood work for all of the sides?

Yup, that's what I used. The higher density stuff will be more stable (though heavier and probably a little pricer), but you probably don't want the cheap stuff for something like this.
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

Last edited by darthalal at Jul 13, 2008,
#15
Here is a sneak peak at the cab I am working on. It started with a frame of 2by4 that was screwed and glued together. Then half inch ply was glued and nailed to that using roofing nails. Here is where I made the mistake. I used the cheapest ply I could and no side was good, so the out side was brutally rough, with no hope in sanding it down satisfactorily. So I started covering it in fiberglass resin. This thing is heavy, and solid. I am positive I could take a bat to it, and not hurt it. Dimensions are 31 by 12.5 by 21. I had to cut some of the front 2by4 to accomidate the speaker. I forgot 2by4 is really 1.5 by 3.5 and missed my calculations by a bit.

#16
Thanks for all the help. Today I'm going to Guitar Center to test out some amps and help my friend pick out a bass (then we can start a band with a few other friends) That's why I need to upgrade my amp in the first place. One reason I did like the B-52 head was that it had a triple rectifier. Do you know anything about those?
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#17
Quote by dlabooda
Thanks for all the help. Today I'm going to Guitar Center to test out some amps and help my friend pick out a bass (then we can start a band with a few other friends) That's why I need to upgrade my amp in the first place. One reason I did like the B-52 head was that it had a triple rectifier. Do you know anything about those?

It's actually a "tri-mode" rectifier, which I believe (though could be wrong) is not the same as what Mesa's amps are doing. Having 3 rectifier modes though I think is mostly hype; when I played the B-52 head, I didn't notice much of a difference between the three. It is a nice sounding amp though. Let us know what you think!
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

#18
You need to decide whether you want an open back or closed back cab. Most people go closed with a 4x12. The shape and volume of the cab is very important for a closed design. You want to design it to prevent destructive interference. Usually, this is done by insulating the interior of the cab. If you build it out of plywood, get the best quality you can find/afford. Usually plywood has lots of voids in it (especially the kind generally found at home improvement stores and used for general construction). Voids prevent the cab from resonating well (this is especially bad with an open back cabinet, not as important with a closed cab because you don't want resonance).
#19
On a closed back cab, is the back removable?
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#20
Quote by dlabooda
On a closed back cab, is the back removable?


On some, yes. You just take out a bunch of screws. This is normally how they are made.
Some times the back can't be removed.
#21
^ I'd make it with a removable back (for speaker access) but devise a way to create a good seal on the back while it's closed. Perhaps you could use rubber or vinyl flashing around the edge to create a seal.
#22
Quote by cedricsmods
^ I'd make it with a removable back (for speaker access) but devise a way to create a good seal on the back while it's closed. Perhaps you could use rubber or vinyl flashing around the edge to create a seal.


That's what I did with mine. The screw holes are concealed with plugs when the back is on. I'll try to find "during" pics of my build for you.
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

#23
Well I went to Guitar Center yesterday and played the B-52 and I loved it. So I'm probably going to go with that head. Right now I'm adding up all of the expenses and seeing if building the cab is worth it. Does anyone know a good site where I can find handles, grill cloth, tolex, etc.
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#24
Most of what you will learn is through trial and error. When I first got into building sub enclosures, I thought I was over my head. Just take your time to understand EVERYTHING before diving in. The more you know going into it, the better your final product will be. I don't suggest skimping on the build quality. A piece of standard plywood will run you $25-$30 but a sheet of Birch plywood (great quality) will run you $50 (I know, I just bought one). I've built a lot of enclosures and beleive me when I tell you that the build quality makes a difference. But in the end the choice is yours. Since you're short on cash, I suggest going with a 212. The box itself wouldn't cost you too much more for a 412; it's the speakers that are going to set you back. I also suggest going with a company like Warehouseguitarspeakers (I'm sure there are other companies, I just don't have exp. with them) so you don't end up paying $100+ for real celestions.

So figure for a 212, the speakers are going to cost you $130 plus shipping (if from WGS) and about $50 - $100 for building materials depending on the type of wood you get and misc. woods for bracing if you choose to do it. This is all assuming you already have the proper tools to build the cab. If you plan on adding tolex or carpet of some sort, you have to add that in as well. The good news is i found a great material that looks very similar to marshall tolex and it's only $7.50 for 2 yards at walmart. Then the spray adhesive for it is $10.

You could also build a 412 with a divivder like I did and just use one side till you get money for 2 more speakers. There are a lot of options here. You just have to do your research. You won't find a whole lot of info on building guitar cabinets online, but if youw ant to get a better understanding of everything, do some reasearch on car sub boxes and speakers. A lot of the principals are the same.
Guitar:
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I have built the most badass 212 that puts all others to shame
#25
Well I added up all of the costs and I don't think it's gonna be practical to build a cab right now. Before this all I've had is combos so I don't really know what I do and don't like in a cab. I figured I would buy a cab to go along with what ever head I get, then when I know what I really want I'll build a second. I'm gonna start another thread and get peoples opinions on B-52 heads. (I'm new to ultimate guitar so I don't know if your supposed advertise your other threads) Anyways, thanks for all of the help guys, it's much apprieciated.
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#26
Quote by dlabooda
Well I added up all of the costs and I don't think it's gonna be practical to build a cab right now. Before this all I've had is combos so I don't really know what I do and don't like in a cab. I figured I would buy a cab to go along with what ever head I get, then when I know what I really want I'll build a second. I'm gonna start another thread and get peoples opinions on B-52 heads. (I'm new to ultimate guitar so I don't know if your supposed advertise your other threads) Anyways, thanks for all of the help guys, it's much apprieciated.

In that case, I still recommend taking a look at those Avatar cabs; I don't know of a better quality cab for comparable prices.

As for the B-52, here's a thread I made a while ago when I was deciding on my new amp. The B-52 was one of the major contenders, so you might find some of the posts useful: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=855888 Hope it helps.
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

#27
which head did you get?
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#28
Quote by dlabooda
which head did you get?

None of those, haha.. while trying to decide, I found the JCM 900 deal I told you about, and couldn't pass it up.
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

#29
I did like the fact that you can change the wattage. I'm keeping my eyes peeled on ebay. Oh and by the way this is the other thread I started:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=909671
(once again, i'm not sure if i should be advertising other threads)
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#30
Quote by dlabooda
I did like the fact that you can change the wattage. I'm keeping my eyes peeled on ebay. Oh and by the way this is the other thread I started:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=909671
(once again, i'm not sure if i should be advertising other threads)

Oh, also, I'm not sure what kind of music you play, but I'm a big fan of the Peavey Classic series amps as well. It's harder to find as a head, and they don't have as much power as the B-52, but they have much more than you need to gig, especially the Classic 50. If you mostly play metal or something like that though, you might not want one. They're also more common, so they're easier to find at a good price used. These two are combos, but great deals, with a quick ebay search: http://cgi.ebay.com/Peavey-Classic-50-4x10-Tube-Guitar-Amp-Made-in-USA_W0QQitemZ280244171465QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item280244171465&_trksid=p3286.m14.l1318

http://cgi.ebay.com/Peavey-Classic-30-tweed-guitar-amp_W0QQitemZ280245631060QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item280245631060&_trksid=p3286.m14.l1318

Plus they look great in tweed...
Quote by Dave_Mc
less headroom than the windsor head? what, does it distort before you plug it in?

#31
Quote by cedricsmods
^ I'd make it with a removable back (for speaker access) but devise a way to create a good seal on the back while it's closed. Perhaps you could use rubber or vinyl flashing around the edge to create a seal.


There's this stuff called rope caulk that works quite well. It's exactly as it sounds; caulk that's in rope form and it's like a thick string. Easily removable, easy to install, compresses well, and seals very well. I use rope caulk for every part of the cab that needs to be sealed but also removable (speakers, back panel, jack plate, handles, etc.). If it can stand up to the pressure of eight 15" car subs with enough SPL to make your ears bleed in 3 seconds flat, I'd say it's good stuff.

Oh, and it's only a couple bucks. I just bought a new package of it myself.
Guitar:
Dean Vendetta 3 - Dave Mustaine Livewires

Amplifier
Carvin X100B - Bias Mod - Tungsol 12AX7's - JJ KT77's

I have built the most badass 212 that puts all others to shame
#32
Quote by darthalal
Oh, also, I'm not sure what kind of music you play, but I'm a big fan of the Peavey Classic series amps as well. It's harder to find as a head, and they don't have as much power as the B-52, but they have much more than you need to gig, especially the Classic 50. If you mostly play metal or something like that though, you might not want one. They're also more common, so they're easier to find at a good price used. These two are combos, but great deals, with a quick ebay search: http://cgi.ebay.com/Peavey-Classic-50-4x10-Tube-Guitar-Amp-Made-in-USA_W0QQitemZ280244171465QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item280244171465&_trksid=p3286.m14.l1318

http://cgi.ebay.com/Peavey-Classic-30-tweed-guitar-amp_W0QQitemZ280245631060QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item280245631060&_trksid=p3286.m14.l1318

Plus they look great in tweed...


I play some metal, mostly Metallica, and some Godsmack type stuff. I'm not quite sure what the other people who are going to be in my band will want to play. Probably mostly the same type. I looked at the Classic series but I didn't like it as much.
Quote by Invader Jim
The questions people ask here makes me wonder how the TS's dress themselves in the morning and can shower without drowning...

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#33
Quote by MeanwiththeDean
There's this stuff called rope caulk that works quite well.


Thanks, I could picture it in my head, but couldn't recall the name!