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:
Eight 15 to pump up your bedroom blaster
Ten 30 to supersize the sound of your backstage practice amp
Seventy 80 to beef up your first 4×12
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
G12M Greenback: 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
Celestion Ruby “New Old Tone” a brand new cone which kinda sounds like 1965…
4 x 12
4×12 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 4×12 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
G12H-75 Creamback: For a massive sound with exceptional lead guitar performance
G12K-100: Downtune like the 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 G12-65: For Robben Ford-style blues tones
Celestion Cream: A relaxed alnico feel that’s superbly balanced, yielding more expressiveness than you ever thought possible.
A-Type: Big bass and mellow mids, the A-Type has a classic Celestion voice with an American accent.
G12K-100: Delivering low end warmth and mid-range attack
Vintage 30: Constructed to reveal your amplifier’s innermost complexities
G15V-100 Fullback: Supersize your sound with a 15” guitar speaker.
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:
G12K-100: Big fat magnet for big clean spank
Classic Lead 80: Powerful and controlled top end, detailed single note articulation
G12H-150 Redback: Delivering balance responsiveness and superb playability: extreme power handling without compromising tone
Seventy 80: THE modelling amp supremo
G12H-75 Creamback: 75-watts of power handling with an unmistakable G12H tone: tight lows and a punchy dynamic high end.
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
G12H-75 Creamback (75-watt): The H magnet brings additional focus, body and girth to the Creamback tone.
Vintage 30 (60-watt): The original hot-rodded Celestion delivers a unique and complex sound
Celestion Cream (90-watt): Delivering a higher power rating while preserving the very essence of an alnico guitar speaker.
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.
- Match impedances (ohms): All speakers in the same box should have the same impedance.
- Power handling: As a rule of thumb, in a 2×12 cab, max power is 2x lowest rated speaker and in a 4×12, 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.
Celestion Blue: The original guitar speaker: warm, mellow, with a bell like chime
Celestion Gold: Higher power handling, with a more rounded bass and softer highs
G10 Gold: Mellow Alnico character, blended with the speed and response of a 10″
Celestion Cream: Brings Alnico class to all kinds of amps from 1-watt to 90-watts.
Celestion Ruby: A richly musical warmth, with mellow highs and a smooth vintage midrange
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
VT Junior: 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.