The Love of Unloved Cabs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by chris1327, Feb 22, 2024.

  1. chris1327

    chris1327 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

    May 28, 2020
    I should preface by saying that I play shows with modern and lightweight amps and cabs, and I completely understand and appreciate their advantages. However, as I've gotten older I've developed a certain love for old, obsolete, unpopular cabs. I'm curious if this resonates with anyone. There is an odd feeling that washes over me whenever I see someone trying to dump a gnarly old cab that's far past it's prime... it's a mix of nostalgia and ambition... I'm inexplicably compelled to restore it to it's former glory and give it a new life and continue it's story.

    This is true for certain brands more than others... my favorite brand as a kid was SWR, and these amps and cabs were "it" for me. The Goliath Sr 6x10? My dream. The Henry 8x8? I was obsessed. At one point I ripped an SWR ad out of Bass Player and glued it to the front of my Trapper Keeper. I was a very weird young man lol but the end-all-be-all was the Big Ben 1x18. This was just about the coolest thing to ever exist.

    Fast forward ~20 years, and now we live in an age where you can't give this stuff away... and my love for these iconic cabs has only grown. And every once in awhile I get the opportunity to fix up one of these old gems... for your consideration is the end-all-be-all, the original Big Ben from Sylmar, CA with the original speaker:


    I bought this on CL for $100. Note the emblem with the word subwoofer written as "SUB WOOFER". I love it! The previous owner's cat had used the rat fur on one side as a scratching post, so I stripped it and refinished with black Duratex. Other than that I did nothing, it's in perfect working condition, and once again it's pumping out the low end. I'm not playing shows with it... it just lives in the practice space where my shoegaze band rehearses, and it's right at home in that high volume situation.

    Something I wasn't expecting was how much props I would get for using heavy old gear, mostly from bassists. I've gotten stopped a few times for players to inspect it and share stories, and one guy got really excited and said "I had TWO of those back in the day!" and it brings me a ton of joy to hear what an impact this particular cab had on people's musical journeys... and how much love it gets for being such an old and unloved cab!
  2. CochinoBass

    CochinoBass Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2022
    Atlanta, GA
    I had a Henry 8x8 in the mid '90s and loved it, but I only had it for about two years. I just bought another one a year ago, its definitely got its own character that not everyone will like, but I love it.
  3. winojunko

    winojunko Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2023
    Great post, thank you!
    MarkA, shoot-r, u2brothr and 2 others like this.
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    SWR was 'IT' for a minute and then all these other brands popped up and became the cabs of the year!! I think if any cabs were unloved it may have been Carvin and Peavey.
    neuman, 1n3, AR_Soundman and 12 others like this.
  5. chris1327

    chris1327 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

    May 28, 2020
    omg i love it… which version did you buy the second time around? is it the sleek one with the silver grill, or the old school beast with the black grill?
  6. I’m a sucker for the older break your back 115s. Brought this beast home over the weekend. Sat on Reverb for a while as local pick up only. Shot them a 1/3 off offer and drove to town. IMG_4845.jpeg
  7. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    “There’s a whole lot more to rock’n’roll than whining about how much stuff weighs”

    — Samuel Clemens
  8. slagbass

    slagbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2005
    If you make this a club, please give me a number!

    I have a soft spot for old Hartke 410XLs (the ones that were rated 240 watts). They always sounded great with a PBass for rock. Currently, I have a pair of Trace Elliot 115s from the 90's that sound fantastic with any amp I have tried.

    And for the record, I bought a Mesa Subway 115 and 112 and promptly took them back to the store for a refund after using them on one gig. They were very portable but didn't have the sound I was after. Go figure.
    Bass Ape, Derek Kay, bdgotoh and 2 others like this.
  9. Major Seven

    Major Seven

    Feb 18, 2023
    Nazareth PA
    I drive old cars for the same reasons. Even if I could afford new, I still would rather old.
  10. CochinoBass

    CochinoBass Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2022
    Atlanta, GA
    It's the old school version, a really early one made in Sylmar. It's in incredibly good condition for its age.

  11. Manticore


    Feb 27, 2016
    SoCal and PNW
    chris1327 likes this.
  12. chris1327

    chris1327 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

    May 28, 2020
    Fullmoon1971 and mikewalker like this.
  13. chris1327

    chris1327 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

    May 28, 2020
    you sir are the real deal… you’d get #1!
    slagbass likes this.
  14. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    My all original Crate B-15...still looking for a second.

  15. bigdaddybass12


    Feb 26, 2021
    Yes! Sadly I had a back injury plus reeling in some years so I have to pass on heavy cabs. But I have an old SWR cab, I been watching an old peavey 4x10 cab. Weighs 110 lbs!
    Coot and chris1327 like this.
  16. Hundred proof

    Hundred proof

    Apr 22, 2018
    Like many I did SWR for a minute or two during the heyday. Where I lived it wasn’t Ampeg but ACC Acoustic that was king, every bass player seemed to own a black Rickenbacker with a 360. Stll have some myself … buying them for next to nothing. This whole rig was $200.00 total.

  17. roller

    roller Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Loved my SWR Triad. I bought it and an Electric Blue head back around 1990-1991. That a was a sweet rig, although the Electric Blue was later replaced by a SWR Basic 350.
    chris1327 likes this.
  18. burgerdj


    Dec 4, 2006
    Nice! Crate was loading them with JBL if I recall correctly.
    chris1327 and Zooberwerx like this.
  19. Bag End s15-d
  20. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    A few years back I sent a bunch of mediocre condition old school cabinets to the "chipper", the drivers were worth (way) more without the cabinets than with the cabinets. I left empty cabinets out at the curb hoping every morning that they would be gone, but nobody would take a single one even for free!