Duane Allman_cerwin-vega ER123 speakers

Discussion in 'Gear Chat' started by tourville, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. tourville

    tourville New Member

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    Duane Allman's Gear

    shakti shakti is offline
    Supporting Member

    Join Date: Dec 2005
    Posts: 759
    Duane "never" used a fuzzface with the ABB.

    I say "never" because he certainly may have used one on occasion, but it was not a fixture of his sound either onstage or in the studio with the ABB.

    He did use one in his session days before the ABB, typically a Strat into a fuzzface with a weak battery into a Twin Reverb with JBLs.

    As far as his stage tone and why it was so "epic" as Wheeler04 put it, it's a topic which I along with many others have delved into at length and great expense.

    As far as my own research, I've come to these conclusions:

    1) The Les Paul: actually 3 different ones used between '69 and '71, first a goldtop, then a cherryburst (with the pickups from the goldtop transplanted into the burst), then the infamous Darkburst from late June '71 and until his death.

    People typically say the pickups were "rewired" or "extra hot", but I'm not so sure I buy into that. Jim Wagner of WRC claims his Darkburst pickups have the same readings as Duane's Darkburst, which is 8.3k neck and 8.7k bridge, IIRC.

    But that guitar was only in use for a fairly short period between June and October 1971, and not the one used on the famous Fillmore East recordings in March 1971.

    A healthy PAF-type pickup with a bridge pickup at least somewhere close to the 8.5k region should be able to get a very convincing Duane-type tone if all the other ingredients are there.

    2) Amp: at least from early '70 and on, it seems to be two smallbox Marshalls consistently, meaning 50-watters.

    Both Duane and Dickey used smallbox 50W amps, and it seems it was somewhat arbitrary which amp ended up one which side of the stage, as you see both of them with a tremolo model on occasions, sometimes two tremolo models on one side, sometimes two regular models on one side.

    The tremolo models all had the earlier JTM45-style preamp which was common for all Marshall amps until late '67.

    Bass models retained this preamp also after late '67, whereas lead amps progressively changed. Nobody knows for sure which type the "regular" (i.e. non-tremolo) amps were, but rumour has it Duane preferred the bass models. FWIW, the tremolo amps would at least have that type of preamp.

    I also think a bass or tremolo model sounds closer than a '68 and on lead amp, but the difference isn't huge. JTM45s also do a very credible job, although EL34s are better for a Duane-type stage tone.

    BTW, when Duane used two amp heads, he used to run a Y-cord from the guitar into both amps' top left input. At some time, he went one further, using a Y-cord splitting out into two further Y-cords, and then plugged these into both top inputs on each amp.

    The Y-cord trick yields a slightly different tone than jumpering channels with a patch cable, since it gives a different input impedance and thus different loading and resonant peak of the pickup.

    It also seems to give just a tiny bit more available gain, or at least it sounds like that to me. Again, not a huge factor in the overall tone, but a little tweak.

    3) Speakers: This is the most important factor of them all, IMHO.

    Sure, you need the Les Paul/humbucker guitar and the Marshall 50W, but even then you won't really get there.

    From at least early '70 and onwards, both Duane and Dickey used two amp heads on top of two Marshall basketweave cabinets each.

    There have been lots of rumours of which type speaker they used. There are photos from early '70 showing thhat both Duane and Dickey used the top/slanted cabs with the back panel removed, and just a replacement back panel strip on the upper and lower part of the cab, so it was open in the middle half. Both cabs definitely show JBL D120F speakers.

    As far as the bottom cabs, they both had the back panel on, and there's no telling which speakers were in those cabs.

    However, I think that Duane's tone changed slightly from the latter part of '70 and onwards, becoming a little rounder, compressed and gainier, with almost a fuzzy edge, whereas Dickey's tone became differentiated into a very sweet, clear and bell-like tone.

    I searched out a pair of JBL D120Fs and used those in an open-back 2x12 for a while.

    Those speakers sound great, but they are very articulate, cleanish and almost hi-fi. Very touch responsive, but I feel they can be a bit harsh when pushed, especially with a lot of overdrive.

    The midrange never sounded just right for a Duane-type tone to my ears. For more of a Dickey bell-like tone, they sound great.

    I heard a rumour that Duane used Cerwin-Vega ER123 speakers along with the stock Celestion speakers in his cabs, and went back to a closed-back setup.

    So I tracked down a pair of those ER123s, tried them in the 2x12 and went "eureka!".

    That's it. There it is - all the sizzle, honk, scream, crunch, touch-responsiveness, woodiness and clarity you could ever want.

    Then I went one further and paired them up with a pair of Scumback H55s (Celestion G12H30 clones) in a '70 basketweave cab (closed back) and never looked back.

    It's simply put the nicest sounding cab I've ever heard.

    To be fair, I've since tried the open-back 2x12 JBL cab along with a closed-back 4x12 with G12H30s, and that's a fantastic tone as well.

    For those who are deep into ABB history, I'd say the 2x12 D120F/4x12 G12H30 combination might actually be the closest to the original Fillmore East album whereas the ER123/H55 4x12 nails the later June '71 Fillmore recordings (now available as disc 2 on the Eat a Peach Deluxe Edition).

    Bottom line; you need to mix speakers, you need the Celestions, but you need to pair them up with something else to get the right sizzle and honk and the trebly crunch.

    I spent a fair amount of time researching knowledgeable
    posts on Tech Forums - the Cerwin-Vega ER123 is the
    consensus in conjunction with the Celestion G12H 55hz.

    The Altec 417 8 also came up ..

    Fretts Fretts is offline
    Senior Member

    Join Date: Nov 2003
    Location: Santa Monica, CA
    Posts: 302
    I can report that I was hanging around Florida when they were starting up, and my local music store was their music store, Lipham's Music in Gainesville, Florida. Buster Lipham bent over backwards to keep them happy, so we saw a lot of their gear.

    They could buy anything they wanted and Duane and Dicky went for the 50 watt heads, not the 100's like everybody else wanted; they preferred the tone; they were plexi at the time, with full speaker stacks.

    Then they did the dumbest damn thing on earth, they removed the Celestions and "improved" them by upgrading to JBLs.

    The American bolt circle did not match the English bolt circle, so - I still can't believe this - they jammed hardware store carriage bolts right through the salt & pepper grill cloth and through the speaker baffle to line up with the JBL bolt holes.

    The bolts dimpled the grill cloth in a big way, it looked like shit, and you could see the silver domes through the grille.

    That lasted a tour or two and then I never saw those trashed cabinets again; they got smart and went back to - I don't know what, but they didn't have silver domes anymore and there weren't any bolt heads sticking thu the grilles.

    ... find this conversation here:

    Duane Allman's cabinet speakers


  2. tourville

    tourville New Member

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  3. myway

    myway New Member

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    I remeber back in the late 70's-early 80's Cerwin Vega put out 4X12 cabinets covered in the gray carpet. I plugged a Plexi into it. It had a lot of character. but I could not tell you what CV model speaker was in it. interesting article.
  4. tourville

    tourville New Member

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    8lb (3.63Kg)
    12-1/8" (30.79cm) diameter, 5-1/2" (13.97cm) deep (no cover), 6-1/4" (15.87cm) deep (with cover).

    Classic Cerwin-Vega 123 tone.
    Lots of midrange punch and upper midrange bite, with a well controlled low end. Slightly damped polychrome dome provides an articulate high end without getting hard or harsh at higher volumes.
    12", 40oz AlNiCo magnet, boosted,100 watts, 2" voice coil, ribbed cone.
    Being AlNiCo, it is compressed/fattened at higher volumes, while retaining control of the low end and breakup as well as the dynamics.

    100 watts



    9lb (4.10Kg)
    12-1/8" (30.79cm) diameter, 5-3/4" (14.60cm).

    Classic Cerwin-Vega 123 tone.
    Lots of midrange punch and upper midrange bite, with a well controlled low end. Slightly damped polychrome dome provides an articulate high end without getting hard or harsh at higher volumes.
    12", 60oz ceramic magnet, 100 watts, 2" voice coil, ribbed cone.
    Punchy, lots of headroom and dynamics. Doesn't get hard, harsh, or shelved at higher volumes, just keeps on digging.

    *note from Weber:

    Yes, we are able to build this speaker

    Alnico: https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/cv123a.htm
    Ceramic: https://taweber.powweb.com/weber/cv123f.htm

    It depends on your playing style. If you want a tighter, more dynamic tone,
    go with the ceramic. If you want a more compressed, crushed and fattened
    tone, go with the alnico.


    C.J. Sutton
    design / maintenance
    Weber Speakers
    Carrying on in the tradition of Ted Weber

    -----Original Message-----
    From: TA Weber [mailto:taweber@webervst.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 1:41 PM
    To: C.J. Sutton
    Subject: Fwd: Info From Weber


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