Upgrade your tone
- My First Celestion
- Vintage Tone
- 4 x 12
- Max Headroom
- More Power
- Mixing It Up
- The Power of Ten
Think out of the box - suggestions for upgrading your guitar speaker
It's well known that upgrading your guitar speaker can revolutionise your sound – but with such a wealth of speaker options to choose from, it's difficult to know just which one is right for you.
This page isn't meant to be a hard and fast set of rules, or a complete set of possible combinations; it doesn't cover every playing style, guitar, amp or cabinet type. It's simply a few ideas based on our experience and opinion; to give you a little inspiration in your quest for perfect tone.
If your favourite speaker type or combination isn't shown here, it doesn't mean we don't agree, we probably just haven't tried it yet! And if you have a few suggestions of your own, why not tell us, or better still show us on the Celestion Facebook page.
NOTE: When loading new speakers, always make sure that their total combined power handling capability is equal to or greater than the power output of the amplifier. Click here for more information on power handling.
My First Celestion
Congratulations on taking your first step towards tonal nirvana! Sometimes choosing a new guitar speaker to upgrade your tone can be confusing and even daunting, but it needn't be...Here are a few suggestions for your first step into the world of Celestion. Try these options to begin with, if they're not your style, there are plenty more to choose from:
In the 1960s, as players demanded greater amplification for increasingly louder and more raucous performances, amp builders turned to Celestion to provide reliable speakers that could handle the extra punishment and provide a sound that suited the new musical styles of the time. Then, we were simply making the best speakers we possibly could. Listening back now, we recognise that the sounds these speakers created were special. That's why we call it Vintage Tone.
- Celestion Blue: The original guitar speaker - warm, mellow, with a bell like chime
- Heritage Series G12M: The fabled "brown sound" made famous first by Hendrix and again by Van Halen
- Heritage Series G12H(55): Featuring the "bass" cone and famous for its thick syrupy tones
- Heritage Series G12H(75): Featuring the "lead" cone for an alternative tonal balance with tighter bass
4 x 12
4x12 cabinets were originally invented in the 1960s, wired up to a high power head amplifier so the guitar could be heard over a thousand screaming fans (this was before the advent of decent PA). These days, the 4x12 is synonymous with raw rock and metal power. Here are a few suggestions for loading yours:
- G12M Greenback: Gets you a Whole Lotta Angus
- Vintage 30: Rocks like Slash and is in yer face like a Five Finger Death Punch
- Heritage G12-65: When you want to dial in a 1980s Thrash attack
- G12T-75: Goes with a Marshall 1960 cab, like mustard with hot dogs
- Seventy 80: For your first big league Celestion upgrade
- G12K-100: Downtune like Slipknot's Mick Thomson and Deftones' Stephen Carpenter.
An amplifier that is built from the highest specification parts, and designed and hand-crafted for the most discerning players demands a loudspeaker capable of expressing the soundscape that the builder intended. More than that, it has to help bring to life the tone that you are seeking. All manner of tonal possibilities are available from Celestion, here is a selection:
- Heritage Series G12H(75): Faithful re-creation of the original H magnet speaker, circa 1968
- Heritage Series G12-65: For Robben Ford-style blues tones
- Celestion Gold: A relaxed alnico feel, with a tone that is warm, expressive and revealing
- G12-50GL Lynchback: Vintage sounding speaker that yields a harder-edged modern sound on demand
- G12K-100: Delivering low end warmth and mid-range attack
- Vintage 30: Constructed to reveal your amplifier's innermost complexities
Although many of Celestion's guitar speaker range are well known for their complex, musical break-up and distortion characteristics, sometimes you want to hold back on the growl until it's really needed. For players who need tons of clean tone, or just want to play fast and loud and still hear every single detail:
The evolution of amplification has long been a quest for more power. However, connect up a vintage speaker built in the early 60s with a modern amp designed to push out a lot of power, and damage is never more than a power chord away. The following speakers were built with high power amplifiers in mind, while continuing to channel the legendary Celestion sound.
- G12M-65 Creamback(65-watt): High power version of the G12M. Push them hard and you'll still get the same sweet vintage sounds
- G12-50GL Lynchback (50-watt): A balance of vintage growl and modern attitude
- Vintage 30 (60-watt): The original hot-rodded Celestion delivers a unique and complex sound
- Celestion Gold (50-watt): Built on the platform of the Blue this speaker delivers the unmistakeable sonic signature of an Alnico Celestion, at much higher power levels
Mixing It Up
A very modern approach is combining speakers with different characteristics to get your own special tonal cocktail. Here at Celestion we wholeheartedly approve of this experimental behaviour and humbly suggest a few combinations of our own.
- G12H Anniversary / Celestion Blue
- Celestion Gold / Vintage 30
- Heritage Series G12M / Heritage Series G12H(55)
- G12M Greenback / Vintage 30
- Vintage 30 / G12T-75
- Match impedances (ohms): All speakers in the same box should have the same impedance.
- Power handling: As a rule of thumb, in a 2x12 cab, max power is 2x lowest rated speaker and in a 4x12, it's 4x lowest rated speaker.
- Sensitivity matching: for best performance, speakers should have by less than 3dB difference in sensitivity.
Back in the late 50s, Celestion modified a well established radio speaker (the G12) to produce the first purpose-built guitar speaker. It used an Alnico magnet and produced a tone that was characterised by a dampened attack, bell like chime and a tendency to compress when driven hard. In its trademark Blue livery, this speaker became part of the sound of the Beatles, and became a firm favourite with legends throughout the years. Hear it on recordings by Queen, U2 and The Foo Fighters.
The Power of Ten
Good sounding 10" speakers can deliver a fast, punchy sound at wider listening angles and with reduced ‘boom' on small stages. They can offer increased portability, reduced cost and the ability to push your amp into overdrive at reasonable levels without having drumsticks aimed at the back of your head.
- G10 Gold: Everything you need from an alnico speaker in a 10" package, Lush chime, creamy mid-range and a rich low-end
- G10 Greenback: Made for dirty rock, rhythm and blues! Adds a raunchy full-bodied tone rich in low-end thump
- G10N-40: Well balanced and versatile modern British tone, with sweet and clear upper mids and an articulate top-end
- Ten 30: Rich and expressive, the Ten 30 combines warm lows with a vocal mid-range and an articulate top end. The clean sound is open and revealing; push hard and you're rewarded with full-blooded Celestion grind.