Should I use an 18" speaker cab for guitar?

BoomTexan

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I'm seriously looking at a 1970s Road 220 (made by Rickenbacker), and it comes with the original 18" speaker cabinet and speaker. I personally love 15" speakers, with all that bass and mid response and I really don't see the point in trying to cram both a 12" cab and an 18" cab into my room. I also can't really use the 12" for bass, which I'm gravitating to a little more now. I feel like the 18" might be at least a fairly decent compromise.

I guess my question is to whether or not y'all have any experience with 18 inch speakers and guitar. I'm not sure what it'll do to my sound. I play normally dark music, like delta blues, drone blues, psych rock, and stoner metal, so I think having a bass and mid focused sound for that isn't out of the ordinary. Again, I love 15s for that style of music, and until recently I was using a JBL D130 pretty often. I've also used really old Rola 15s, and I at one point only owned a 15" cab with a super old eminence bass speaker.
 

printer2

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As far as I can recall I do not think any 18's were built for reproducing midrange, as JBL or Altecs were (or the like). The 15's were designed for PA systems were they were also relying on them to accurately reproduce up to a 1 kHz crossover frequency. Then there are some 15's that were specifically designed for guitar, mostly pedal steel. The 18's were designed for use in making a lot of bass, crossed over in the 200-250 Hz range.
 

schmee

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I doubt there are any good guitar speakers at 18" and of course any selection for any purpose is very small.
You neve know though. The EV15B, a PA/Bass speaker is a killer guitar speaker.
 

Pcs264

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OTOH, the short-lived Fender PS400 bass amp was reputed to be a wonderful guitar amp. It was an all-time head,, rated at 450 watts RMS when using all three 1 x 18" folded horn cabinets. It did use basically a Baseman preamp & tone stack section. Not many were made, but they pop up on Reverb from time to time. I'd love the opportunity to play my Tele through one cranked someday...
 

johnb

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I think 10" speakers are the most popular choice today in bass cabinets. 18" seems like a vintage throwback, apart from any lack of one that's not a sub-sub woofer.
Generally speaking, 18 inch speakers can't be heard as well on stage so the tendency is to crank them and that makes them too loud for the audience.
I worked with bass players that used the old Acoustic bass amps that would rattle your guts on the dance floor but didn't seem loud enough on stage. Then came the Ampeg SVT with 8 - 10s. Those could be heard everywhere!
 

gonzo

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i've played guitar thru my bass player's 18" closed back cab (he uses a bi-amped setup), and it just did not work.

especially at stage volume, the sound just never came together (maybe it did about 20' out in the room, but i'll never know)
 

Peegoo

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@BoomTexan I've played guitar through a 1x18" and it sounded just fine because there was no crossover on the speaker.

One answer to your question is a matter of practicality: guitarists that don't have their own roadies like stuff they can carry and store easily, so 18" speakers are hardly ever seen (heard!) as guitar speakers.

The real truth is up to you: if it sounds good to you, that is all that matters.
 

Henry Mars

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I used to use 15" speakers and liked them for what I was doing at the time. 18" speakers? Nah.
We built a few bass reflex cabinets for our bass player back in the day (1971?) using 18" speakers. 18" speakers are really not suited to guitar.
 

Manual Slim

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Aw man. Now I wish I still had my old Acoustic 301 cab. With some eq in front of it I was able to get plenty of usable guitar sounds.
(Disclaimer: I can make use of sounds that many consider to be horrible.)
 

Ricky D.

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OTOH, the short-lived Fender PS400 bass amp was reputed to be a wonderful guitar amp. It was an all-time head,, rated at 450 watts RMS when using all three 1 x 18" folded horn cabinets. It did use basically a Baseman preamp & tone stack section. Not many were made, but they pop up on Reverb from time to time. I'd love the opportunity to play my Tele through one cranked someday...
A friend had a PS400 head that I tried. No matching cabs, and it needed three 4 ohm cabs. We used a Bandmaster 2x12, two 12s in a Pro Reverb combo, and a Weber 15A150 extension cab.

Sound was classic BF fender. It just got louder and louder and louder. Just absolutely gorgeous. And it sounded good at home practice volume, too.

Head weighed about 80 pounds
 

BoomTexan

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@BoomTexan, you mention cramming cabinets into your room. Just where are you playing? I don't think you could effectively use a big speaker in a small room! We're talking about deploying this bad boy on stage, eh?
Cranking that monster in my dorm room would lead to some angry residents. I would be using it for low-mid volume practice with bass. I would like to wheel it out to some campus practice room and rattle the windows, but I've already done that with the Ampeg 6x10 they have over there.

I was playing with a loud drummer and guitarist at stage volume recently and I left the jam session and someone else picked up bass on the same settings. As I walked out of the building I could still hear it. Apparently we were the reason that the radio station room next door put up heavy duty soundproofing. But a 18" would sound very different from a 6x10.

The thing is that these Road 220 amps were intended for both bass and guitar, so I'd presume that the 18" speaker that came with it was at least passable for a guitar tone.
 

printer2

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My brother got rid of the folded horn cabinets that the Cerwin Vega 18's, think he still has the speakers.

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Do you want to put 250W into them? No problem. A pair in the horns were enough for 200 people rooms for a rock band.
 

wildschwein

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I love using 15" speakers for guitar but 18" may be a bit too saggy and low down. If a cab was floating around I would give it a try though -- especially in a recording situtation.
 




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