There is just something about playing the guitar through a powerful amp head plugged into a solid cabinet. Sure, it may be more practical to have a combo amp instead, or even some kind of a multi-effects unit, preamp, or a modelling amp.
But nothing beats the feeling of playing through that tube amp, 50 watts of power or more, blasting through a classic cab.
In addition, having an amp head gives more sonic options as you’re able to pick different combinations of amps and cabinets.
Of course, amp manufacturer Marshall is one of those companies that’s famous for revolutionizing the guitar sound, ultimately changing the landscape of the music world in general.
Aside for their amps, like the legendary JCM800, they’re pretty famous for their guitar cabinets. Here, we will be taking a closer look at one of their most famous products, the well-known 1960AX cabinet.
This particular piece of gear has been used by many famous guitar heroes over the decades, anyone from blues-rock to heavy metal. These include Billy Gibbons, Robin Trower, Scott Evans, and many others.
So let’s dig into it and find out why these have been so popular among professionals for a few decades or so.
So this game-changing cab, and one of Marshall’s best-known products, features four 12-inch speakers. The speakers in question are the legendary Celestions, the G12M Greenback models.
These are often praised for their bright and clear high-ends while still retaining the overall warmth of the tone of tube amps that we love and adore. However, the original versions back in the 1970s had Pulsonic speakers.
The speakers are encased in a birch plywood casing with the dimensions of 770 by 365 by 755 millimeters. They are relatively heavy, weighing about 34.5 kilograms, which is about 78 pounds.
But don’t worry, as the side handles are well-built and can withstand the weight if you carry them around. Although you should be careful carrying them around as they’re quite bulky.
At the same time, the whole cabinet is well-built and very sturdy. It’s no wonder that it’s a go-to cab for some frequently touring guitar players as it can also go through some rough transport handling and still not fail on you during live shows or studio sessions. It’s not rare to see them all worn out and still sounding great.
The 1960AX handles the power of up to 100 watts. However, it is recommended to use some kind of a power attenuator if paired with a 100-watt amp head. As for the impedance, the 1960AX cabinet is at 16-ohms.
We should also note that this is a closed back guitar cabinet.
It features the classic Marshall look with the well-known checkered grille cloth. And, of course, the design is where the 1960AX differs from the 1960BX as the top part on the AX is at an angle. So in case you want to create the perfect Marshall stack, you should get the BX for the bottom and the AX as the top cab.
Aside from the obvious retro vibes that you get with the grille, the looks are additionally enhanced with some details, like the golden beading and piping. It definitely stands out compared to some other of Marshall’s cabinets that look to “ordinary”.
If you’re a fan of the classic vintage Marshall sound, the one known as the “British” tone, then this one is the best pick for you. But even if you’re into other types of guitar tone, like the more modern ones, the 1960AX might also be a good option for your setup.
When it comes to the sound, the Celestion speakers, the G12M-25s, the well-known Greenbacks, are voiced to bring some of the best and most recognizable sounds in rock music.
While mostly mid-range oriented, you’ll also get some of those bright and very detailed high-end spectrum tones that easily cut through the mix. However, it’s the mid-range punch and the overall warmth that they’re very well famous for. Even when slightly cutting the mids on the EQ of your amp, you’ll still get those recognizable gritty middle range tones.
Now, these cabinets shine when played with overdrive or distortion, especially those of lead channels of Marshall amps.
While clean sounds are okay, they sometimes might get too much of those ear-piercing mid-range tones so you might want to have different EQ settings for different channels. Otherwise, pretty clear and solid sounds when tweaked properly.
The perfect combination would probably be if you pair it up with the good old JCM800 and play through the legendary Ibanez Tube Screamer. It’s kind of like a dream setup.
These are simply the classic go-to cabinets for pretty much anything between blues, over classic rock ‘n’ roll, all the way to some serious heavy metal territories.
But overall, you really can’t go wrong with the Greenback Celestion speakers as they are very well suited for classic tube amps and give some additional dynamic response to your playing.
At the same time, they’re mostly recommended for already experienced players and you might want to check out some of the cheaper stuff out there if you’re a beginner or an intermediate guitarist. However, if you are really into classic Marshall tones, you simply won’t go wrong by getting the 1960AX or 1960BX.
Besides, it’s a great piece of gear that can be paired with any good amp head out there, no matter the genre you’re playing. Besides, they’re considered to sound better with a few hundred hours of use, so even if you buy it, it will definitely hold its value over the years.
But, as we already mentioned, if you’re planning to use it with 100-watt amp heads, you should consider using a power attenuator. And, of course, anything over 100 watts will get the Greenback speakers ruined pretty fast. They’re the perfect solution for the 25 to 50 watts range.