Gretsch Amps

Oval speakers?

1

What's the latest wisdom on reconing or replacing the original Rola ovals in an original Cowboy Amp?

2

Supro just had to be different w/ oval speakers ... were they even a step up from car radio speakers(?) Wonder what the design principle was behind this?

For hi-$ Cowboy amp, if that shape speaker can be reconed, I would do it.

For a regular Supro / Gretsch amp w/ ovals, I would replace them -- just 2 cents from a Thomas Vox disciple.

3

If you were my customer, and you had just spent a lot of money on a really clean vintage Cowboy, would you want me to hack it up and replace the ovals with something rounder??

5

I'd check with the customer before doing an un-reversible mod. If he's that well off he may want to go with re-coning just to keep it as close to original, regardless of how it sounds. I'd document everything too; the cowboy amps go for crazy money these days, and he could get ticked off if it doesn't go the way he wants. People can be weird. Maybe buy another old Gretsch amp with good speakers and swap?

6

Weber also makes alnico 6x9’s.

7

There’s a couple guys who will recone those. But they won’t want to, because the kits are so hard to find. But they do exist. They will likely need some additional financial incentive.

8

My guy at Neal’s Speaker Service in Colfax doesn’t have the kits for those 6x11 Rolas. And the recone kits for old 6x9’s are the weird, scallop-ribbed cones like the V-47 speakers. Not my particular cup of tea.

Lately I’ve been collecting old Jensen P and C-69R’s, doping the edges to give them a little more mileage, and sending them to Weber when they blow. Weber is the only place I’ve found that uses a stiff straight paper cone just like the original Jensens.

I haven’t tried to retrofit a 6x9 into a 6x11 hole. Seems like you could make a thin plywood adapter that would cover the remaining hole in the baffle and mount the 6x9 to that. No new holes drilled, totally reversible.

9

My guy at Neal’s Speaker Service in Colfax doesn’t have the kits for those 6x11 Rolas. And the recone kits for old 6x9’s are the weird, scallop-ribbed cones like the V-47 speakers. Not my particular cup of tea.

Lately I’ve been collecting old Jensen P and C-69R’s, doping the edges to give them a little more mileage, and sending them to Weber when they blow. Weber is the only place I’ve found that uses a stiff straight paper cone just like the original Jensens.

I haven’t tried to retrofit a 6x9 into a 6x11 hole. Seems like you could make a thin plywood adapter that would cover the remaining hole in the baffle and mount the 6x9 to that. No new holes drilled, totally reversible.

– Powdog

You have to find someone with a stash of NOS 6x11 kits. Which like I said are very hard to find.

10

I've asked the question years ago. Still waiting on some kits to pop up...lol

I now have another 6161 twin w a damaged oval but I think I can pull it and fix the break. The other amp's ovals are dry rotted.

Years ago I took a Supro Golden Holiday that had missing ovals and replaced the baffle with a single 12" setup and it worked out wonderfully.

11

No kidding. Orange County went under. They used to be my go-to guys.

12

I remember hearing the original reason for oval speakers is that they're supposed to deliver a wider frequency response---6" for highs. 9" for lows. They also fit into odd spaces, like rear package decks. I've got a Jensen 3"X14"---oddest speaker size I've ever come across. It was used in a rack mounted speaker cab/amp. B&W made some 9"X13" units if memory serves. My '50s Gretsch 6163 had a 15" Jensen---same basic cabinet as the 6'X11" speakers were fit into. Seems like a simpler fix.

13

No kidding. Orange County went under. They used to be my go-to guys.

– Powdog

I am pretty sure Leslie used ovals as the reverb speaker in the 147RV and 122RV and lesser known models. No one (in the day) liked their add-on reverb even tho it had the great 2-6BQ5 leslie reverb amp. The rumor persists to this day that the very first Dr Z builds were on that Leslie amp, not a Hammond AO type.

15

I spoke with Mike at Neal’s Speaker Service this morning. Said he found some original straight cone kits for 6x11 and 8x11 ovals. Been obsolete for a long time. If all else fails might give him a call.

16

Many people seem to hate the oval sound. I really like it though. It's different and I like it better than round the speaker sound, at low volume. All old scruffy gear that I played with as a kid, really sounded most interesting when there were oval speakers inside. I can't describe it. As if it is precompressed with a strange EQ setting. But if the oval speakers are broken then you got a problem. I asked Weber about their oval speakers and they said they were mainly sold for when no round speaker could take its place. The sound was said to be of lesser quality. They said it themselves. I don't know if there are good current oval guitar speakers.

17

Were ovals invented for car dashboards...1940s/50s/60s cars?

18

Were ovals invented for car dashboards...1940s/50s/60s cars?

– DCBirdMan

That's my understanding. I think that they first showed up in the '50s in various sizes. Even into the early '60s, car radios were an add-on. In some entry level vehicles, you'd have to pay extra for a passenger side visor and other things.

19

For the record...the speakers are 6 1/2" x 10 1/2", and have a 1" dia, 4 ohm voice coil.

20

Boy, that’s pretty close. I think I’d be tempted to try a thin baffle adapter that will allow you to use 6x9’s. V47 and Weber both make new production 4 ohm units. I doubt anyone would notice the difference.

21

Sometimes you have to consider whether ‘original’ and ‘vintage’ is the best way to go. Maybe the way it was had it’s faults and doesn’t have to be adhered to for the sake of the ‘romance of rust’

Seems like there’s close options available

22

Sometimes you have to consider whether ‘original’ and ‘vintage’ is the best way to go. Maybe the way it was had it’s faults and doesn’t have to be adhered to for the sake of the ‘romance of rust’

Seems like there’s close options available

23

"Romance of Rust"! Great phrase/concept.

24

Many people seem to hate the oval sound. I really like it though. It's different and I like it better than round the speaker sound, at low volume. All old scruffy gear that I played with as a kid, really sounded most interesting when there were oval speakers inside. I can't describe it. As if it is precompressed with a strange EQ setting. But if the oval speakers are broken then you got a problem. I asked Weber about their oval speakers and they said they were mainly sold for when no round speaker could take its place. The sound was said to be of lesser quality. They said it themselves. I don't know if there are good current oval guitar speakers.

– Geoff_Vane

depends on the shape of yours ears.

25

I'm pretty sure Valco used ovals because they got a deal on them and the output transformers. Don't overthink these things...the decisions were almost always about saving money.


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