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8 x 10 Guitar Cabinet

Having grown up in the late 60's and early 70's and early 80's time frame, the Marshall 8 x 10 guitar cabinet was a sensational piece of kit.

The Marshall 8 x 10 slanted guitar cabinet, coupled with a JTM45 or, more preferably, a JMP50, was absolutely glorious noise, and because of acoustic coupling, had fat bottom end.

After hunting the second hand market all over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, including Cornwall and Norfolk, in every single place that you could possibly ever think to hunt, like Cash Converters, Diamond Ads (the equivalent in Los Angeles would be called "The Recycler"), car boot sales, garage sales, door-to-door hunts, word of mouth enquiries from provincial music shops, run by anaesthetised deadbeats, more often than not regular pot smokers, and regular drinkers, who wouldn't know what a detox programme and orientation therapy was (Purif and Objectives to you, son), if it hit them round the face with a wet kipper................................. it became painfully obvious, that it wasn't possible to crowbar 8 x 10's out of the woodwork, because the relatives had taken them up the dump, because the Marshall badge was missing from the front.

I realised that 8 x 10's for guitar just weren't around, period.

And, the only thing that I could possibly do was find a decent cabinet shop to remake them, with a few minor improvements.

Upon initial prototypes being made up, I realised that experimentation might reveal up a few things, and I tried the Ampeg bass 8 x 10 trick of four separate compartments of 2 x 10's. This made for a very clear, very acoustically coupled, cabinet that didn't inter-react, like the old Marshall 8 x 10's for guitar. The next stage was a deeper box, with a totally inter-reactive internal air space, with the same slant on the front, but a deeper box all round. This produced even fatter bottom end than the originals, and using modern speakers that were totally unlike the old Celestion G10's that were 15 watts each with a 1" inch voice coil, and even some of them were ¾" voice coils, which broke up under the slightest pressure, and were only 10 watts each. Today's replacement is the Celestion Vintage 10" speaker with 1½" voice coil, which is also available with 1¾" voice coil, and extremely sensitive to low watts. This total wattage of 480 watts, would seem like too vast a headroom for a 50 watt head, but it is not, it works absolutely fine. I also tried Eminence 10's that were 50 watts each, and Celestion's that were 15 watts each, which are still available today, called the Lead & Bass 15 G10/15.

A shallow box, like the Marshall 4 x 10 cabinet, much loved by guitarists who play blues rock, who use a 50 watt Cornell head, or a Cornford head, or a Soldano 50 watt head, or a Marshal reissue 50 watt head of some description, or even a Marshall 40 watt head, is a most wonderful cabinet, firstly because it's easy to get in and out of a small car, and you can really crank it up on a small gig, for solo's, controlling everything from the guitar, like the old one channel amps used to behave, and backing off the volume, for clean chording and rhythm. This 4 x 10 cabinet really cuts the mustard.

These Marshall 4 x 10's of either slant or square, weren't quite deep enough, I found. And I found a Marshall JCM 800 4 x 10 bass guitar cabinet that was deeper than the regular Marshall 4 x 10, and suddenly loaded with these Celestion Vintage 10's produced a fantastic amount of clear, tight bottom end, just like the bass player's, but loads of blues wailing crunch with fatter bottom end. Yee ha, I hear you scream.

The cabinet shop created my prototype Marshall-style 8 x 10's that are deeper, with extra reinforced struts top and bottom instead of just one central strut, like a double bass. Two struts work much better in between each speaker grouping, three was found to be too many, and one is still a bit flappy and flabby. So it is possible to tune cabinets with strutting, just like a double bass, where you can change the sound post diameter to a greater diameter, with a tighter grain, and move the sound post 1¾" from centre of bridge leg, to centre of sound post, as a good starting point, and then move sound post either in for more top, and out towards the inner bout on the left hand front of your double bass, to increase bass. Obviously, you have to tailor the length and the angle to fit the carved front and back, or flat back and carved front, but this is a whole other area of investigation into what makes good sound posting on double basses, which I have been researching for years.

Cabinets with a front to back strut are sensitive to strut dimensions and placement. Just like on a double bass. Also, the box it is deeper, does make for deeper bass, instead of shrieking shallow boxes that aren't particularly focused, and very belligerent, and not particularly defined in their behaviour. A bit like chav's, which translated into English is council housing actually violent in police speak. To expand on this a bit further, IC1, IC2, IC3, IC4 are police speak for different ethnic groupings in descending order, I'll leave you to work out which way this goes.

Lots of love.

Yours,

Mark