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Are bass cabs 'consumables'?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by hgiles, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. hgiles


    Nov 8, 2012
    Strings, I think are almost universally accepted as 'consumables', that is, they have a certain life span after which necessitates replacement where also the cost of replacement is often less than the cost of a would-be refurbishing.

    Are bass cabs 'consumables'? Forget for a second about the notorious GAS that we all inevitably acquire. Have those old cabs you want to sell actually deteriorated? If so, what do you consider the life span of a bass cab? What lifespan would you be agreeable to as a consumer?

    What else? Do basses actually have a cyclical typical duty cycle? I would tend to think,once weve found an actual bass that we love and enjoy that any amount of refurbishing would be worth the expense.
  2. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Strings and batteries would be the big ones to my mind. Polish too if you're the type to use it.......
  3. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Cabinets "deteriorating", as in, falling apart or are you wondering if the sound changes? A driver can change over time but it's often such a slow process that it's not noticeable. If a new driver that was made to exactly the came specs and materials i s compared with an old one, it's possible that they'll sound different but the cabinet won't change much unless it was beaten to a pulp and the joints have become loose. If it's holding together, it should work fine and there's no reason to replace it just because it's old. Some people like new things.

    As far as an instrument lasting for a long time, think about a Stradivarius violin- these were made between about 1680 and 1725 and they still sound great. The main difference being that these are acoustic instruments, not electric. The oldest electric basses are a little over 60 years old and I would think the electronics would deteriorate way before the rest, WRT changing the sound.

    If something works, it works. Some people collect old tools, like hand planes- some are just to look at and some are used. I have one that's from the late-1700s and if I were to sharpen/hone the iron, it would work fine.
  4. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Hmm, I always thought of consumables as stuff that's only good for one-time use. Food as the one that comes to mind instantly, can't eat the same thing twice (at least... I wouldn't...)

    I mean if we think about it, doesn't nearly everything material deteriorate sooner or later? So, is the definition of consumables one of duration of use? That strings go bad sooner than cabs doesn't make them consumables in my eyes.

    Not quite sure what the nitpicking is about tho :bag:
  5. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I would consider bass cabs to be durable goods. They have a long life expectancy.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If you consider bass cabs consumables, I'd have to ask what you're doing to them that makes them that way! No reason a cab shouldn't outlive you if don't blow the speakers.
  7. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    I would say no,
  8. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    For me drivers yes, cabs no.
  9. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    ^^^This. Even if you only (sic) get ~10 years use out of the drivers, that's long enough to remove them from contention as "Expendibles". I'm still using some cabinets with 30 year old drivers (and in that case, the drivers actually outlived the cabinets...but not because the cabs "wore out" or needed to be replaced, just because I was able to improve them).

    Expendibles/Consumables are things that need replacement routinely...I suppose if your career is entering its 5th or 6th decade and you've had to replace your cabinets every 15 years or so because they get damaged from constant truck loading/unloading for your 365 dates per year one-nighters, that could qualify as "routine" ...but I'm not convinced any regularly-gigging musician has the memory capacity to even think of that as such!
  10. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    i'd say not consumable. accidents happen. but besides abuse, no reason a cab should just crap out. i have read, maybe here, that some old cabs are made of material like chip-board or press-board have adhesives that can start to crap out if it stays somewhere too dry for a couple decades, or it gets wet. don't know if it's true, tho. but that would only apply to cabs that are "budget" or very old. i would doubt any of the more modern (quality) cabs have this problem, if it is a real problem.
  11. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    It depends on what you do with a bass guitar cabinet as to whether its a consumable or not.
    For instance if you run a 200watt tube amp with a 2x15 or an eight by ten then cabinets are not consumables.
    If on the other hand you run a 2 x 10 cab with a modern lightweight >1 kilowatt power amp.
    I would say in that case your bass cabinet is definably counting as a consumable.:bassist:
  12. will33


    May 22, 2006
    They are "durable goods" like a washing machine or a car. Some parts may need replacing after many years but they are "long lifespan" items. Same with most basses and amps. I've played some, and own one, that are older than me (I'm 40).

    Things I'd consider "expendable", though not consumable, might be very low budget, entry level basses where they might've used a cheaper, softer metal fret wire or something that would wear out faster and probably cost more to have professionally replaced than the intrument is worth. Also some of these newer micro amps where repair pretty much consists of whole board swaps and again, the repair costs is approaching the point where it makes as much financial sense to just throw it away and get another one....at least a working used one.

    Speakers are about the only thing to wear out on cabs. That can take decades to happen, if ever, and they can be re-coned. Maybe the jacks get loose or break, they're only a few bucks to replace.
  13. SpinyNorman


    Oct 24, 2012
    Hmmm, good question. I have 20 year old basses with their original strings, but the UPS guy is delivering my 8th cabinet in 3 years tomorrow.

    I'd say cabs are definitely consumables. ;)
  14. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Of course bass cabinets are consumables. Everything is consumable. Like our bodies, the speakers and wood will someday return to the earth to be swallowed up by the march of time.

    Archaeologists from a distant future will find the remnants of an Ampeg 810 and deduce that ancient peoples once danced in front of giant talking oblongs which were worshiped as gods.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    At over $1,000, at wouldn't call them consumables. They'd better last me a good long time.
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    "Consumable" versus "durable" is an accounting distinction.
  17. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    I think it was bass player that mentioned you should change your speakers every couple of years. The problem is it's hard to find high quality speakers like the ones from a Pre Fender SWR cab.

    The newer ones really do not have the sound or the kick.
  18. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I'd like to see some evidence supporting that recommendation. They probably want you to buy more gear in general.
  19. "Consumables"? Not by anyone with the reasonable knowledge and talent to use them properly IMHO.
  20. will33


    May 22, 2006
    I'm sure they'd love it if you bought speakers every couple years for no reason but whoever said that is a damned fool at the least or a swindler at their worst.