So you have been playing guitar through the same amp for some time now, but it is tried and true. So you decide, why not swap out and upgrade the speakers? Shouldn’t be too hard right? Speakers are responsible for a great deal of your tonal character. Contrary to this fact, the speaker is usually the last component any player thinks of when changing their amp. Changing out the stock speaker for a new upgraded one can change the sound of the amp in an instant. That being said, we have put together a little guide or checklist so to speak to make sure you don’t make any rookie mistakes when upgrading speakers.
Swapping to a more desirable speaker—or replacing a faulty one—is not always simply a matter of installing a “better” unit, so knowing a little about the general characteristics of speaker types can prove valuable to any guitarist. Some things to keep in mind when upgrading are the size, power-handling capabilities, resonant character and the construction of cone and magnet. As you can see, this is something that is very simple, yet complex at the same time. Following these guidelines will ensure that you get a great sounding tone from your newly upgraded speaker without any issues.
Different Magnet Types
When it comes to the different types of magnets, you will want to pay close attention. It is the same concept or theory with guitar pickups or humbuckers. Three different types of magnets used are Ferrite, Alnico and Neodymium. Ferrite is one of the most common and is more aggressive of a speaker. A great example of a ferrite magnet speaker from Celestion is CEL BL15400X. Alnico, one of the most famous, is revered for its sweetness and buttery tone that sounds particularly musical. Great examples of Celestion speakers with alnico magnets are CEL CREAMALNICO and CEL BLUE128. Finally, we have neodymium. The newest of magnet types, neodymium is starting to become more popular. The main benefit of a neo speaker is its lightweight characteristics. Tone wise, neo speakers are described as being very bright but can be countered by mixing and matching speaker types. The CEL G12NEOCREAM16 is an example of a neo speaker.
So to close things out and reiterate there are a few key things to keep in mind when upgrading speakers; size, power handling, and magnet are just a few. There is no right or wrong in terms of speaker choice, at least when it comes to tone. It is all about your personal preference that fits your playing style. Keeping that in mind, several great players throughout history have accidentally stumbled upon some outstanding sounds by employing unlikely speaker choices. That just goes to show you, trying something different sometimes pays off! Just make sure to follow the other components regarding power.
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