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Your thoughts on speakers handling lows, with an input from Dr.Decibel at Celestion

Cobrango

Power User
Hi, I play 8-string guitars. This goes out to all of you who are wondering about how low your speakers can go.

I tune my guitars to drop-e, that E1, the same note played on a bass guitar in normal tuning. you've all probably heard that playing 4-string bass guitar into a guitar speaker/cab at low volume is okay, but if you turn it up it may damage the speaker(s). So where does that leave me? I'm kind of in the middle ground, I play guitar, but it's range goes down to the full range of a standard tuned 4-string bass guitar. Will my low e1 be okay for my speakers? I don't want to break them, I just want to play low tuned metal right? So I asked celestion about this, specifically about the celestion vintage 30 (my favourite speaker) and this is what they said:


"Fundamentally, a regular guitar speaker isn’t designed to work the same way down at these frequencies as it would, say, at 100Hz.


Below around 60Hz, you’d get a lower output, for example : that’s just the physics of the thing.


Also, the lower frequencies tend to cause the cone to move by a greater amount. As guitar speakers have a paper surround (and a short voice coil), they restrict that movement somewhat. So high energy (i.e. loud) low frequency inputs will tend to put undue stress on the moving parts of the speaker.


Ultimately it is possible to use a Vintage 30 for 8 string guitar, but you have to take further precautions than you would do for conventional playing: power rating should be considered to be much less than 60-watt. If you’re using four of them with the 120W amp, this is a reasonable set-up I would say.


You should also be prepared for them to have a shorter lifespan than normal: after all, you’re using them outside of their normal operating parameters…


Regards,


The Doc

Dr. Decibel, Celestion, Claydon Business Park, Great Blakenham, Ipswich IP6 0NL, UK

+44 (0)1473 835300; drdecibel@celestion.com; www.celestion.com

Facebook.com/Celestion

Find tone samples here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2B5D46028A98E612"


Any input from the mods would be awesome, maybe regarding Meshuggah, what they play through and precautions they have to take or not. I mean, yeah sure djenting on the e1 note (41.204Hz) will be okay for axe-fx II users which use FRFR cabs and speakers, sure no problem, they're designed for the full range meaning 20-20 000 Hz, but what about us who want to enjoy the sound of normal guitar speakers? In my case I think I'll try to make it work by cutting a lot of bass (as I normally do anyhow) and make the tone more mid heavy, and also maybe not crank the amp (which I never do anyways) - hopefully this will work so I can get a nice djent tone from my new setup (will have to do a NAD/NGD soon, the amps in question is the Vox ac30cch w/V412BN, Vox ad120vth w/AD412, and a Vox AD120VT w/ 2x12" celestion vintage 30 :)

What are your thoughts on this, anyone with experience in this freq. area and maybe someone who blows up a lot of speakers?
 

mnemonic

Experienced
If you’ve ever played an 8 in E and directly compared it to a bass in E, there’s a marked difference in sound. The longer scale, thicker strings, and higher tension with the bass mean a ton more of those low fundamental frequencies that could cause excessive excursion of a speaker and maybe damage it.

The frequency range used with an 8 string guitar I don’t think is greatly different from that of a 6 string guitar to be honest. Reproduction of the fundamental for those low notes seems less important than the overtones.

For example I primarily play a seven string tuned to A standard. That low string fundamental is 55hz, while the speakers I use (Celestion V30 and K100 combo) have a frequency response that, according to their datasheets, ends at 70hz, and 80hz respectively. But I have no issues with clarity and that low string is not quieter than the rest.

I also have an 8 but I don’t play it much. Also I haven’t had any issues with it.
 

Cobrango

Power User
If you’ve ever played an 8 in E and directly compared it to a bass in E, there’s a marked difference in sound. The longer scale, thicker strings, and higher tension with the bass mean a ton more of those low fundamental frequencies that could cause excessive excursion of a speaker and maybe damage it.

The frequency range used with an 8 string guitar I don’t think is greatly different from that of a 6 string guitar to be honest. Reproduction of the fundamental for those low notes seems less important than the overtones.

For example I primarily play a seven string tuned to A standard. That low string fundamental is 55hz, while the speakers I use (Celestion V30 and K100 combo) have a frequency response that, according to their datasheets, ends at 70hz, and 80hz respectively. But I have no issues with clarity and that low string is not quieter than the rest.

I also have an 8 but I don’t play it much. Also I haven’t had any issues with it.

thank you very much for your answer mnemonic! now we're talking, this is the kind of first hand experience I'm after. I've been thinking about the fundamental notes myself in comparison with a bass guitar, scale length, etc.

I'll try to reduce the damage on the speaker by cutting a lot of low end and make the tone more mid heavy - after all I need to leave room for by bass guitar which is a 6-string 35" tuned to drop-e also! that's e0 which is 20Hz :D

So I'll have the same dilemma on my new studio monitors which are JBL LSR 308 MK II's which can handle as low as 37Hz, but that's not 20Hz so I hope I won't damage them from trying to monitor the bass guitar or when mixing etc.

Same story just an octave down, lol :D
 
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