The Fender JBL Sound - Ask Zac 135

April 17, 2020

JBL began producing efficient, high-wattage speakers in 1948 with the introduction of the D-130 model 15" speaker. The speaker was mainly used in public address (PA) systems until 1953 when Bob Crooks decided to spare no expense with his new Standel line of guitar amps, and factory install D-130's in them. Standel became the Dumble of the early 50s with their innovative cabinet and circuit designs, and also due to their use of a speaker that could produce a much clearer and louder tone than the less expensive pressed frame speakers being produced by Jensen and others. Stars from Chet Atkins to Speedy West began using Standel models over Fender, and the boys in Fullerton began to take note. Leo Fender, whose goal was always to make a great instrument at a more pocketbook-friendly price, continued to use lower-cost Jensen units until he finally relented in late 1959, producing the Vibrasonic amp, which was his first factory-equipped model with a JBL and the first Fender with Tolex covering and forward facing controls.  

In today's episode, we will look at some of the myths about them concerning brightness, the actual weight of the popular alnico magnet D120F & K120 models, and the differences between cast frame and pressed from speakers. Also, we will discuss the polarity issue and the frame thickness of the later D120F and K120 models that can require modifications to be utilized in some amps.    

A short list of guitarists that have used JBL speakers during important phases of their careers would include, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Albert Lee, Albert Collins, James Burton, Jerry Garcia, Roy Nichols, Duane Allman, Chet Atkins, Dickie Betts, Vince Gill, Mick Taylor, Keith Richards, Jesse Ed Davis, and Eric Johnson.

Gear Used:

1957 Fender Esquire with a 1954 neck pickup, and original bridge pickup. Restoration and aging on the body by Dan "Danocaster" Strain. Both pickups were rewound by Ron Ellis.

Strings: D'Addario NYXL 10-44 (10,12,16,24,34,44)

Pick: D'Andrea Medium-Heavy

Amp:1965 Deluxe Reverb with a 60s JBL D120F gray frame speaker with its original cone. Used with AmpRX Brown Box set to 113v

Effects used: Amp reverb

#askzac #jbld120f #zacchilds

Buck & The Buckaroos JBL domes shining through the Twin Reverb's grill cloth

Fender Ad. Rick Nelson & Burton. JBLs shining through

Duane Allman in Muscle Shoals. He used a Strat, fuzz and JBL equipped Twin Reverb

Elvis, James Burton, a refin 1952 Tele, and a JBL loaded Twin Reverb

Eric Clapton with Brownie & Twin/JBL rig along with Johnny Cash

Allman backline

Rolling Stones - Two Micks (Taylor & Jagger) with their JBL loaded Twin Reverb amps

Clapton & Albert Lee with their Music Man HD130 heads, with 4-12 size cabs with open backs, and (2) K120 JBL speakers mounted diagonally.

SRV with his Vibroverb loaded with a ceramic magnet JBL E130

Vince Gill in 1994 with (2) Twins loaded with JBLs.

Eric Johnson with (2) Twin Reverb heads running into Alessandro cabs loaded with JBL D120F speakers.