gigging WITHOUT cabinet grill cloth

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bon viesta, Sep 10, 2021.

  1. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    sometime in the early to mid 70s, a couple of guys started playing bass without the use of cabinet grill cloths on their speaker cabinets. and… it looks awesome. plain and simple. it became more of a thing i think as time went on, i think. or maybe in the 80s and 90s. there’s a purpose to grill cloths, to somewhat protect the speakers, but does anyone around here ditch the grill cloth on gigs?

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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2021
  2. Zoffy

    Zoffy Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2020
    Sacramento CA
    I also like the look of a cab without a grill cloth covering, but (as I have learned from experience ;)) want something covering and protecting the drivers. I reworked this Ampeg unit with new Legend BP102-4 drivers and decided to go with metal grill covers rather than replacing the stock cloth. For me, it's not worth having a drumstick or other projectile damage an already fragile component.

  3. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    haha was it a fall, your headstock, or a drunk patron/bandmate?
  4. Coot


    Nov 14, 2018
    I take off the grill cloth at home and (sometimes) at band practice but ...never out in the wild.
    scott sinner and bon viesta like this.
  5. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I personally like metal grills to protect my gear.
    lo fi, HardNHeavy, zon6c-f and 9 others like this.
  6. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    Lol, cabs going commando ;)
  7. 6thplanet


    Aug 17, 2019
    Self proclaimed speaker geek, I like seeing the drivers exposed. Watching them move is neato..... especially nifty aluminum coned units.
    Zimmy Jazz, dabis, dalahorse and 2 others like this.
  8. FrenchBassQC

    FrenchBassQC Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Gatineau QC CA
    Great job, looks awesome.
    Zoffy likes this.
  9. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    wave rider, 7bridges, zon6c-f and 9 others like this.
  10. I don’t like grill cloths either, but do want some protection for the speakers. Metal covers look good to me, especially those “per driver” covers.

    I feel like transport and setup/tear down are the times of high risk. Once the stage is set and wired you would hope your band mates could avoid busting up one or more of your speakers.

    You would hope. I use metal covers.
    bon viesta likes this.
  11. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Grill cloth doesn't do much to protect speakers in case of a traumatic event: e.g. drunk dancer careening into your gear. Metal grills, yes. Audiophiles love to have the grill cloth off their home stereo speakers, arguing that it removes that tiny bit of muffling of high frequencies that the cloth might produce—but realistically, I think they like to look at the speaker tech they've paid such money for.
  12. OOD


    Jul 29, 2009
    They both have their down sides. I’ve had stuff poked through holes on metal grills. Never had someone put enough force to damage speakers on a cloth grill but him sure it’s a problem in energetic bands and venues.
    NEBADON2000 and bon viesta like this.
  13. bon viesta

    bon viesta

    Dec 10, 2020
    this made me think of keith moon stabbing holes into john entwistles amps (which has never happened), and then it made me realize… the who probably have THE most energetic guitarist, front man and drummer, yet john entwistle is perhaps histories most non-energetic bass player. i bet by the end of every show there’s a little dimple in the stage where he was standing. not related to anything at all, but that’s just sort of funny.
    OOD likes this.
  14. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Sturdy grill coverings do provide protection when done right.

    Exposed speakers are an invitation for damage, especially with pets, kids or simple accidents.
  15. beans-on-toast


    Aug 7, 2008
    A grille cloth can act as a highly focused filter. Long waves can pass through whereas short waves are attenuated. it’s called a cloth because it scrubs the combined waves emanating from the speakers, filtering them into separate time aligned signals. The grille cloth also reduces reflected waves into the speakers, attenuating back EMF in them.

    Believe this, you read it on the interweb.
  16. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    Just my opinion, with speakers running $200 bucks apiece and up, and knowing what can go on at a gig where (ahem) people are being people, for me taking the grill off is a non- starter.

    My current cabs have grills that are of a steel gauge heavy enough one could “grill” on them. No joke. And they will stay on there until I have to recone, replace them, Or I’m looking at the wrong side of a lawn.
    SoCal80s and agedhorse like this.
  17. A properly tuned grill cloth can block the thetatron brain waves of most guitarist brains, preventing lenticular overflow of guitarist energy from spilling over into the bassist's neuroacousstic spacetime. In extreme cases, however, a grill cloth may cause a buildup of fromular standing waves, resulting in overheating of the harmonic cortex and, in extreme cases, a brain explosion.
    vbrodgers, dbsfgyd1, AGCurry and 7 others like this.
  18. Prana Ferox

    Prana Ferox

    Dec 4, 2015
    Omnidirectional high frequency damping can be canceled out with eq (or just baked into the speaker design) but the diffraction of HF sound off the grill frame is harder to undo. Non-issue for a bass cab.

    For a gigging cab the trend seems strongly towards metal grills, even if someone's not trying to kick in your woofers, they're just easier to clean.
  19. Drummerboy2


    Aug 31, 2016
    kids for some reason love to to push the shiny aluminum dome on the middle of the speaker! :)
  20. red_rhino

    red_rhino Currently on Double Secret Probation Gold Supporting Member

    Went without grill cloth on a couple of 1x15 cabs I built in the late 70's. It wasn't my intent, it was just the last step in the project that I was going to get around to but never did. After a while I came to appreciate the mechanical beauty of a visible speaker, but at the time metal grills were harder to come by than cloth, so I just went without any covering. Never had an accident. In fact, the only time I did have someone accidentally poke a mic stand into one of my cabs was a 2x15 that I did have covered with a fabric cloth (not standard reinforced speaker grill cloth).
    fast slapper and bon viesta like this.