Jumbo Sunshade - Blogpost

My Stereo Guitar Rigs

My first stereo guitar rigs were pretty simple: I'd have one FX chain (or just my guitar) that ended with a stereo pedal (Chorus, Flange, Phase) and then fed into two combo/practice amps.  If i used distortion, it was via an FX pedal, so it didn't really matter what kind of amp i used (sometimes i'd have a Peavey practice amp next to a Marshall half stack!).

This is great to sit in front of and jam for hours on end, especially with lots of reverb and delay.  I did have a stereo delay pedal (Arion DDS-4), but it only had one input so that was kindof pointless.  I didn't have any gigs at that time, so my friends would have to endure the cold garage (or my parents had to endure the noise in my room) to hear it.

Years later during one of my "more is better" phases, i was running two complete guitar rigs, including two sets of FX pedals.  To make it worse, i hadn't yet come to appreciate the 2x12 cabinet and so i was hauling around two 4x12s!  It was kindof stupid but if you think about it - not much worse than anybody else who plays  out with a full stack.

I played everything with a ton of distortion and didn't have the need for channel-switching.  Hauling two complete rigs to gigs sucked, plus, this was before we started renting a lockout rehearsal space (where you can leave your stuff setup all the time).
Both cabinets were late 70's Marshall - one was loaded with the original Celestion G12M (25-watt, 16-ohm "greenback"); the other with EV Force (150-watt, 8-ohm) speakers.

Later, i was in a band where we were doing 50/50 clean/distorted material, and i wanted the two rig setup again.  This time i had no FX pedals except for a Crybaby, and i was only switching between heads.  And this time instead of hauling two cabinets around, i loaded my Marshall 4x12 with two EVs and two Celestions.

This was my first "stereo" cabinet, even though i wasn't using it that way.  The 8-ohm EVs were wired in parallel to get 4 ohms, matching the Twin Reverb.  The 16-ohm Celestions were also wired in parallel (8-ohm load).  Here's that 4x12 dual mono speaker wiring diagram:

A couple of years later i was getting even more recording gigs and the two-rig *complete* setup worked really well for this (isolate the amps/cabs, choose your mics, then mix to taste).  It was really good for fattening up solos that couldn't be doubled.
But as everybody knows (or should know): if you want to really fatten up rhythm tracks, the only serious way to do it is by recording them more than once (with or without changing amps, cabs, mics, guitars, EQ, etc.).
Just about every studio has the usual amps/cabinets, so i really didn't bring my two 4x12 cabinets that often.

When i got my VHT UL100 in '93, it immediately became the only amp i would use for recording (everybody loved it).  It was during this same time that i took one of the Bulldog speakers out of my Vox 2x12 cabinet, replacing it with one of the Celestion greenbacks; using one jack for each speaker.  Obviously i could pick between either speaker (at 16 ohms), or, i could plug in both speakers (combined 8 ohms) and get some pretty cool rhythm tones out of the VHT.

I know that everybody says the late 60's Bulldogs are really just Celestions with alnico magnets (this is certainly true of the early 60's speakers), but there really are differences in the way those two speakers react.  The Bulldog has better punch and clarity, and the Celestion has a faster reaction to the amp plus a much smoother natural distortion.
To be honest, most people never noticed at all; but the ones who did (guitar players) always wanted to know what i had going on.
Even when using this cab in such a non-stereo way, it still had a definite stereophonic sound to it when sitting right in front of it.  With a microphone on each speaker, it *totally* sounded like a stereo rig (on playback).  But if i had to choose based on sound alone, i'd still go with two complete guitar rigs (2 heads, 2 cabinets).  You just can't beat that!
Here's that 2x12 "dual mono" speaker wiring diagram:


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