Amp Question

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Amp Question

Post by Fingers » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:13 pm

Hi all.....long time...Happy New Year to you all.....I hope it brings everything that you and yours wish for yourselves.

Guys....I have a dude at work bugging me for my Marshall. The head is a 2203 JCM 800 master volume and the cab is a 1960 4X12 slant. The amp has had a power amp input put in at the rear to use with a preamp....and bypass the preamp of the actual head. Tubes are the 6550's, not the EL 34's so many brit rock fans like.

However I'm told many guitar players, big names, prefer the 6550 tubes.

The cab is loaded with the 75W version of whatever Marshall was putting in them at the time. Celestion's? This particular setup...the 75W speakers and the tighter sounding 6550 tubes is sought after by the metal crowd for that tight punchy sound that holds the low end well.

Here's the deal though. This amp and speaker cab have seen some road. The Tolex is completely off the underside of the head and tears and dings abound. Currently it only has 2 tubes. I bounced it down to 50W 'cos it was just too loud for the LA clubs and the music my last band was playing. Lost the other two tubes along the way. :mad:

The cab is the same way....lots of tears etc in to Tolex and there is a nice SM57 hole punched through the speaker grille cloth at one of the lower speakers. One caster is snapped off and there is various cracking here and there of the plastic/Bakelite hardware etc etc. Think a head/speaker cab that had been thrown about by "roadies" etc for 35 years or so.

So what he wants to do.........and maybe there is some cash involved.......is to SWAP me my JCM800 head and 4X12 slant cab........for his Fender 64 Vibroverb Reissue Custom Shop Cesar Diaz model. These amps go used for $1850 or so and his is in spotless condition.

I have no idea what my Marshall setup is worth. I was thinking I would at least have to have the tubes replaced and biased and a "service" done to get a clean bill of health by the tech. I imagine this will run me around $300 or perhaps more. In good conscience I can't give him a head with two tubes missing that has been sitting in storage for 20 years.

I have an Anvil case for the speaker cabinet I could let go with the cab. That alone must be worth around $200. The cab maybe $500 and the head perhaps $900. Then again I have seen beat up heads on Reverb.com for $1400!!!! What do you think....more...less? I'm surprised at the new prices. :shock:

So after this long winded post.......can you guys give me your thoughts? Especially if you have seen what old beat up Marshall heads and cabs fetch....and in general what the word is about these Cesar Diaz Custom Shop Vibroverbs. It sounds pretty darn good to me. Pretty bass heavy with that 15" speaker...it moves a lot of air. But it has that Texas blues tone to a T. I have yet to run it on the Solid State rectifier to suss out how clean it gets. I like the idea of having the flexibility of the clean S.S as well as the tube rectifiers and also the Vintage as well as Modified preamp.

What say you guys?

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Re: Amp Question

Post by Craig » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:37 pm

Great to see you around!

I'll let Don share his expertise on this matter but, barring any crazy value differences, I'd say go for it if the other amp has the sound you want and this one is just going to be sitting in storage, collecting dust.
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Re: Amp Question

Post by Fingers » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:37 am

Hi Craig. Yeah man you too. Hope the family is well. Yeah, I have just started gigging again, if you can believe that. Funk/soul cover band (obscure stuff) with guitar, bass, drums, trombone and sax player....with 3 vocalists. I'm enjoying it.....looking at it as a springboard possibly.


The thing is, I love that Marshall JCM 800 and it is extremely versatile in that I can plug one of my preamps, including Eleven Rack, into the power amp input and let the Marshall provide the power amp while the preamps do their thing. So I can have many amps in one. The Eleven Rack is an amp modeling preamp......so I really can have different amps in there. I can go from a super clean Twin Reverb to a crunched out Marshall Plexi, Soldano, Vox AC30 Top Boost, a '64 Vibroverb :) , '59 Tweed, Bogner etc and they sound good. And running the unit through a 4X12 is almost a necessity, especially the Marshall, Mesa Boogie and Soldano models.I also have an ADA preamp that sounds killer.

But here's the thing. That 4X12 cabinet is a pain to cart around and the amp too. They are big and heavy for one guy. Doable but a PITA. Especially getting up stairs etc or lifting onto a stage riser. Plus they are waaaaay too loud for small clubs. The projection is insane....even at low volume. Plus it seems you have to crank the volume a bit to get the good tones. But I used to do it all the time....although my last bands were much louder than this one.

So I'm torn.

I just want to get an idea of how in demand the older 2203's are, if at all..... and what sort of prices they fetch......plus get some sort of idea what that Vibroverb is all about. It's a Custom shop model....supposed to be point to point hand wired etc...like a boutique amp and it's got the Cesar Diaz mod....who did SRV's amps. But is it really a boutique amp? Does it compare with amps like the Carr, Bogner, Fryette, Matchless, Dr Z etc. Somehow I doubt it.......but I have an open mind.

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Re: Amp Question

Post by Craig » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:26 pm

Again, I am NOT an expert with amps and I don't want to give you bad advice so I'd still suggest waiting on Don's advice here, but I did some research last night so I'll tell you what I found out. Just take it with a grain of salt. :)

I found some pricing for each amp on Reverb.com. The Marshall head, in half decent condition, is listed at $2,350CAD + $158.81 Shipping. The Fender is listed at $2,458.58CAD + $158.81 shipping. So, the prices for the Fender amp and the Marshall head are the same. I figure if you add in the cab, that evens out the cost of new tubes and maybe some visual damage, depending on how bad. So...price-wise...it seems a fairly equal trade.

Now... that Fender amp has gotten a lot of great reviews. The circuitry was designed for SRV and as such, really has that full tone he used. Although, It IS a boutique amp and possibly something of a "specialty" item more than an all around work horse.

From the research I did, I'd say that, for you, it would be a fairly lateral move, barring the advantage of the smaller size and weight.
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Re: Amp Question

Post by Fingers » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:18 pm

Thanks for taking the time Craig, I totally appreciate it. Looks like maybe that is why he is so keen to do a straight across.......he has done the homework as well. I still think I will take the JCM head in and have it serviced and the tubes replaced, biased etc. Based on the prices you said....I'm sure that is based on heads with all 4 tubes and working perfectly. As you say also.....adding the cabinet and perhaps the Anvil case, that covers any amp work...the Anvil sweetening the deal.

As to the Vibroverb. I have never had an amp combo with a 15" speaker, or even played one, from memory. Odd sound......very different....a lot of air moving and mucho bass response. Something tells me that 4X10's would really be nice though. But that 15" has a big sound. Maybe that's why they went with it.

Playing it last night for a bit, it seems an exceptional amp for blues and very good for jazz too. It has the Stock or Modified positions as well as the Tube Rectifier or Diode (solid state) Rectifier positions so there is some flexibility there. It might be really nice to set the amp volume at one's solo level and roll off the volume on the guitar for everything else. Only use a distortion/overdrive pedal here and there....or no pedals at all. Wouldn't that be liberating?! This thing would probably rock a Gibson 335.

No Master Volume.....so only the channel volume. I didn't try the #1 Channel yet. No Mid Range knob...Treble and Bass only on both channels.

I find it easy to get it a little "boomy" so the Bass has to be rolled off.......however......I'm only playing it in a small room at low volume. The true test will be on stage in a band setting. Personally I think it will be a killer amp to own. I wish I had had this sucker when I was a lot younger.

Why I got to find the nice stuff only now?!!!

Actually I think I can answer that? :) Back when I was gigging and active.......the flavor of the day was heavily modified amp heads and huge racks of effects processors. It seemed to me that amp modders, were going after the sound of the Mesa Boogie combo's....trying to squeeze those tones into whatever head they were doing. The Soldano mods were like that, from what I remember. Personally I couldn't stand the MB sound. Too saturated!

The "LA sound" was built around the rigs of the big session players of the day and chimey super clean chorus with digital reverb and delays.....with a dedicated crunch tone and lead tones with delays and harmonizers etc was the dealio. I'm sure in Nashville that players emulated the rigs of the big studio guys there...... and in Nashville, as in in Texas, I'm sure it was more all about old Fender combo's like black face Twin's etc........ later evolving into the handwired boutique amps that emulated the best of those circuits.I could be wrong but that is my feeling.

When SRV came out, everyone was looking at his backline very carefully...same with Eric Johnson. Both of those guys used really nice old Fender combo's but also had Marshall Plexi's with 4X12 cabs...Johnson still does. Nothing like a 4X12 or more for a big venue. With all that cone surface area and the closed back...the slant pointing the top speakers more at the player in the case of a slant cab......the projection is awesome. These open back combo's lose a little in that regard I feel. Great for small venues though.

I dread losing my 4X12. :?

Know what else I dread?

The guys says..."nah your stuff is too beat up.....I can sell the Vibroverb for about $1800 and get a better Marshall setup than yours!" Then I will want to buy that amp.......scratch up $1800 of savings that I don't have. 'Specially not for an amp for Pete's sake. Aaaaaaaaaaargh!! :mad: :? :)

LOL...the bastard is playing me. He brought the amp in on Friday and said he wanted me to take it home and try it. We got released early and his department was out on the road. I was relieved in a way. So I texted him to say I was taking off we would do it next week and he's like..."......the combination to our room is 5150, go get that amp!"

He knows once I played it I would do anything to not give it back. Dammit. :)

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Re: Amp Question

Post by Craig » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:14 pm

LOL! Shame you can't just buy it from him and keep both! I love a 4x12 but really, they are so heavy and bulky I know, personally, if I can get a sound I'm happy with our of something smaller, I'd go for it. I have the Traynor YT-12 that is a closed, 2X12, with my YSR-1 and even they are a pain to lug around.
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Re: Amp Question

Post by mdrs » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:01 pm

Lister, I just saw this. I'm going to try to do some homework, and will post about your potential deal.

Very cool that you are gigging!!
Don

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Re: Amp Question

Post by mdrs » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:56 pm

Here's the scoop;

Vintage Guitar Mag Price Guide 2018 (price ranges are from Low condition to High condition);

'64 Vibroverb Custom Shop Amp is worth between $1350 and $1750

1960 Marshall 4x12
-if made between '73 - '75 $825 - $1075
-if made between '76 - '79 $775 - $1025

Marshall Model 2203 made between '75 - '81 $1300 - $1700

Lister, from the value standpoint, I thought that you were right about correct to feel that the your Marshall head and 4x12 would be worth about $1400, maybe a tad less.

I spoke with my guitar gear guru Eliot, and he basically said you should sell them and run! He feels that they might be worth $1400 "on a good day". Half stacks aren't much in demand these days, as you know.....most guys want a smaller, more portable combo amps. In the condition you mention both the Marshall head and 4x12 are in, they likely are worth a bit less than $1400, so I'd throw in the road case to even up the deal.

So, I think that once you have the Marshall head with all four tubes, and working, you should be right about that $1400 level, perhaps a tad less.

If you like the Vibroverb, and it's in virginal condition, I'd say go for it!! You will ROCK that amp. A good Fender can do Strat chimey cleans to Les Paul growl with the twist of your volume knob and maybe a good OD pedal. With your touch and feel, Lister, I KNOW the Vibroberb will be a versatile and killer weapon!!

How heavy is the Vibroberb, Lister??

One of my favorite vintage amps is a blackface "The Pro", which has a 15" speaker. I also have a tweed "The Pro" with a 15" speaker. I LOVE 15" speakers!!! They have a unique sound, and performance. They will do cleans, but will also roar. They interact amazingly with a semi-hollow, as you said, above. I keep my bf Pro in my living room at all times!! If I recall correctly the original curcuits of the Vibroverb and The Pro are almost identical, save for a vibrato curcuit.

Here's a quick story; you know that I'm not a great player. I can play, but well, I'm not road hardened!! LOL So, at one of my "DonStock" weekend gatherings, my buddy Eliot is in the bathroom, down the hallway. El knows tone. I plug a '62 335 into the blackface "The Pro", and I'm playing something.....I don't remember, Cream, Allmans....something like that. Eliot comes RUNNING into the room, literally pulling up his trousers, yelling "What's making that tone????" :) :) :horns:

Finally, none other than our dearly departed Lee Phillips LOVED Fender's with 15" speakers. If you remember, he had a weekly small band, small bar "blues gig". His rig was a "The Pro" with 15" speaker, and an extension cab with a 15" Jensen in it. He loved the 15" speakers for playing the blues.

Finally, the only personal experience I've had with Fender custom shop amps was a re-issue tweed Bassman. It was a great amp, but sounded too tight to me. Plus, I ended up with enough other old Fenders, that I moved it. I have heard almost 100% good things about Fender custom shop amps, though.

Lister, let us know what you end up doing! And, you know I'd LOVE to see/hear recording of you playing through that Vibroverb....... :rawk: :rawk: :rawk:

:wave:
Don

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Re: Amp Question

Post by Fingers » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:14 pm

Thanks for the awesome reply Don. Yeah.......I fired up the 1/2 stack yesterday......what a sound!! Huge!! I have been repairing the rips in the Tolex that still have flaps that I can glue down.....using Gorilla Superglue and painters tape over to hold it flat while it dries. I did the head and the sides and top of that cab. The back of the cab is the worst. Unfortunately I threw out my back 2 Sundays ago and it keeps tweaking. Not happy about that, I'm losing work because of it.Another reason to have less heavy gear!

Anyway...so I have to hold off working on it. I need to fix one original cabinet caster. The threaded piece that connects the base to the swivel/wheel snapped some years ago...luckily I saved it. I took it apart yesterday and worked some more on it today. I got the broken thread out....drilled it and used an EZ-Out. It's British Whitworth by the looks of it. A very fine thread on a shank of perhaps 3/8"-7/16" in diameter. It is going to be a hard piece to find. I suppose I could always try tap/die the threads coarser to an American size. I'll try find the right thing first though. There is an old hardware place called Luky's in Burbank that has millions of odd size stuff.....mostly aircraft fasteners....they use very odd sizes and fine threads.


Truthfully..... the Marshall head is similar in weight to the Vibroverb and the 4X12 actually carries easier than a combo IF you have a helper. 4X12's carry easy using the side handles and are quite light. It's the width that makes it hard for one person, although I slung that thing around by myself for years. Carrying that Vibroverb alone by the top handle is doable of course.....just a tad heavy. My SF Fender Twin Reverb is really heavy. You should have seen how silly heavy it was when it had (2) Electrovoice 200W speakers in it!!!!

One thing I was thinking is when it is all said and done and I'm either too old to play anymore, lost my mind or my body.... :) ....crappy thought but it is inevitable......the smaller amps will be much easier to move. Physically and to sell. Be it by me or my family. Like you said....stacks and 1/2 stacks are specialist stuff....the metal guys and guys doing concerts. And if I can reduce clutter in my storage unit by the 1/2 stack and the anvil case.....that is a big space savings.

Thanks again for the research, thank Eliot for me also. I hope you made him go back and wash his hands and check himself after he came flying out the loo like that!! :shock: I'll let you know and post something so you can hear the VV. It's an SRV thang for sure. My 64 Strat sounds fantastic through it. I can't wait to run it at volume.

I don't know what I am doing regarding this band. One day I heard through the grapevine that our Crafts Service guy on the show I am on....Seal Team.....had lost the guitarist in their band. I didn't even know he had a band. I talked to him and it was weird, I knew I was gonna take it. I watched some video's of the band and they need a lot of help but the core is there. They've been just going for it. They need someone to try refine them and step on the sloppy stuff when it happens, call the singers and horn players out when they are slinging clams. I'm just the guy for the job :) . I'm viewing it as a "way back in" to the biz and I'll see where it goes. This time no obsessing over it, not preconceived notions etc etc. Play for fun. I know I'm going to overtake the band fast, already have in a way. That is going to suck. Then I'm going to want to move up.......back to one of the most difficult things to do in LA.

I'm not 25 anymore but I can still play the pants off a lot of guys younger than me......and so far the old body is holding up pretty good....despite some crappy stuff I've been through...like a TIA/small Stroke and partially amputating my right thumb which they sewed back on....and of course all the major spine surgeries...4 of them.. I'm always in the wars 'eh!

Thanks again for the nice long reply.

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Re: Amp Question

Post by Craig » Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:26 pm

Ahhh! I KNEW Don would have the info! Good luck, Lister, and I look forward to hearing you through the new amp (Should you go for it).
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Re: Amp Question

Post by mdrs » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:04 pm

Years ago, as I started getting some good gear, my first "good" amp was a mesa MK IV 1x12. I plugged it into a Marshall 4x12, and WA LAH!! I was a rock star!! LOL

I never really melded with that Mesa. Too many knobs.....I mean I played it daily for a couple of years, and I don't think I ever really knew, or figured out, what they all really did!! Anyway, as I got into some more "Marshall" or "Fender" tones, I got rid of that MK IV combo. I'll never forget that I tweeked my lower back (old injury from lifting a patient just before I finished college) lifting that bugger out of my pickup truck when trading it in on some new gear at my local music shop!! I guess it was pissed off that I was kicking it out!!

Lister, keep us posted about what you do with the amp situation. More importantly, please keep us posted about what comes of your getting back into some gigging!!

And, STAY HEALTHY.

........doctor's orders.

:snax: :snax: :snax: :horns: :horns: :horns:
Don

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Re: Amp Question

Post by mdrs » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:24 pm

Lister, I checked with current pricing for Marshall 4x12 speaker cabs from the '70's via contacts with Guitar Center folks, and they are typically selling them for about $500.
Don

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Re: Amp Question

Post by Fingers » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:58 am

Hey Don a quick update. I pulled the back off the speaker and the speakers are NOT the 75W versions, as I was told in '86 or so when I got it. They are G12M Celestion 25W Blackback's.They date out at 1977. Not only that......on the inside of the cabinet there is a a large signature in it. I'm trying to figure out if it is signed by the Lord Of Loud himself! Pretty cool if it was.....it would up the value of the cabinet a bit. But this 1977 cabinet with the blackjack's.....I see boogered one's going for around $1,100 even to $1500 with warts and all. There are other cabs like it with the signature...see pics......but it doesn't seem like his John Hancock at all. I'm skeptical. Almost looks like Jimbo or Jules....but nothing like his signature. Could you ask your amp buds if you get a chance?

I did not check for coil rub but other than that all seems in order and the speakers have similar numbers.

Here's the odd thing.....I see these vintage 25W Blackback's going anywhere from $135 to $200 PER SPEAKER!!! Not that I would, but conceivably I could pull those out and sell them, put decent but less expensive speakers in there, and sell the cabinet on it's own.

I'm starting to think I might be getting the low end of the deal here. That Vibroverb is super.....I really like it.....but it is sort of a one trick pony. Running a preamp or like Fractal Audio Axe FX, Digidesign Eleven Rack or an ADA MP-1 or even a rack mount JMP-1 Marshall preamp....... into the preamp input I had put into my Marshall head..... out to the 4X12 cab....very flexible. Any number of tones.

Here's a funny thing. Years ago when I bought that cabinet the seller said to me-almost apologetically..." It doesn't have the killer 25W speakers everyone wants....it has 75W speakers so they don't break up like the 25W one's". I had way long hair and must looked like a hard rocker. He sold me the cab and an Anvil case for like $250. That head cost me $500. I was poor for about 3 years after dropping that much coin on an amp and speaker!!! :P :)

Thing is though.....I always thought the cabinet sounded pretty good. I never used the amp where I was cranking the pre amp and then bringing up the master volume. I never used it where my loud sound was my solo tone and then turn down the guitar for rhythm dynamics. I always either used a pedal board to get dirty tones or a preamp. I got a killer tone using an ADA MP-1 preamp. Now I find out it has 25's after all.

Oh the local amp guy wants $250 to re-tube my head (JJ's?) bias the tubes and service it, replace bias capacitors, re-solder some connections or other yada yada...... He says my head should be worth $1400-$1600. If my cabinet is worth say $900 or so....I could sell it all and get a really nice boutique amp I think.

I so do not know what to do. I have held on the the Marsh as a sort of "I'll sell it when I need the money" type deal.

Image
Image
Image

Compare that signature to the one in this ad.....5th picture.

https://reverb.com/item/1185053-marshal ... binet-1977

It looks exactly like mine. I just don't see Jim Marshall though!

He describes it thus....." Furthermore, there is a signature on the inside of the cabinet. After some research I found out that the signature is Jim Marshall himself. It turns out that in the late 70's Marshall was going through tough times and had to lay off alot of their employees. Jim would pitch in sometimes on the cabinet manufacturing line to help with production. He would sometimes sign cabinets that he worked on personally. This is a great sounding cabinet and is a piece of history!"

And then this one.......
Image
The caption is......Jim Marshall’s signature!

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Re: Amp Question

Post by Michael Patrick » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:05 pm

A cab with 25w blackbacks should be worth at least a couple hundred more than one with G12T-75s. Especially if they are all original cones in good working order. The cones should be 1777s.

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Re: Amp Question

Post by Fingers » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:26 pm

Thanks Michael. What do you think such a cab is worth? Now that I know 25W Blackback's are in it. Don said it was worth between $775 - $1025....based on it being a 300W cab....75W speakers. Since it is a 100W do I add $200 to that or go towards the high number? Would $800 be fair? The Tolex is torn etc and I am gluing that down to where it looks much better. Works and sounds great. I've since buttoned it up. Are the cone numbers on the inside or outside? Thx.

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