You love music so much so you have your newly bought guitar equipment. But you have distinct tastes that don’t line up with what’s available for sale and you are not pleased with what commercial companies have offered. Since you also enjoy woodworking, you decided to build your own guitar cabinet.
A guitar cabinet is a great change to your equipment. But building your own can be a challenge. However, if you do it right, an overwhelming reward waits. Owning a DIY guitar cabinet for your guitar speaker cabinet is a good time for a change. It is also a good time for a difference. How your cabinet would look depends on what material you use and how you design it. The most important here is you will have one that will last while having looks that capture the eye.
If you’re a BEGINNER or perhaps an inexperienced cabinet designer, it is probably hard for you to build your own, the right way. Regardless of the reason why you want to build a new one, this article was created to assist you. Read on and find out what’s best for you.
- Recommended Cabinet: Fender Super Champ SC112
Before we proceed to the step by step instructions, make sure to recognize your plan first. Identify what type of instrument you have right now and picture out the result that fits your requirements. You can draw the design of cabinet you want to achieve on a piece of paper or look up an existing speaker enclosure for you to get the right proportions. If your plan is to build HiFi speakers, you might not bother to spend much time on the calculations for its cabinet size.
Guitar speaker cabinet basically has two types: closed but sealed and open but vented. Finding the difference between the two on the web often ends up getting highly contradicting opinions. Because in fact, the biggest difference is how the sound is distributed which will affect the sound you want to create.
2 types of Guitar Speaker Cabinet:
- Closed but sealed – Cabinets that are closed are more directional. It also put more emphasis on the mid and low frequencies. When building closed cabinet, seal the enclosure tightly to prevent air pressure as this will affect the sonic properties.
- Open but vented – Cabinets that are open will also emit sound through the back. From that, you can get a room-filling sound experience even when using low volumes.
You can have your cabinet open or closed for a more convenient use. See what works best and create your own with ease.
Most speaker cabinets are built from multiplexed birch plywood, solid pine wood, and MDF or Medium Density Fiberboard. Birch plywood is not much flexible and solid while the solid pine wood produces warm sound and is cheap just like the MDF.
Whatever material you choose, make sure it is not too soft and is not prone to vibration. Don’t forget to make really stable wood joints as well. Simple but stable is enough. You basically have to add an inner skeleton and connect the different pieces of wood with that. It will work best rather than just screwing the pieces together.
Decide what you are looking for out of the project. If weight is your primary concern, avoid certain types of construction materials to lighten the piece. If you want to save money and refuse to pay puffed up prices then mind the construction materials you use. You can rule out vintage for they only cost you not more than a 100 dollars. If you expect to have a gorgeous finished product then set your goals to work towards.
When it comes to guitar cabinet, don’t forget the importance of frequency response. However, in reality, a lot of variables are mutually exclusive. If all you want is an increased frequency response, expect the power to decrease and you need to have a larger cabinet. On the contrary, if you want maximum power output, be ready to pay more for the drivers. Having a maximum power output also needs you to sacrifice some frequency response.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to planning the design of the cabinet. Having an idea what to expect is important for a satisfactorily finished product.
The Building Process
Here, we are going to use solid pine wood as it provides warm sound to guitar cabinet. Assuming we are going to create a cabinet for Fender Pro Jr.
Wear safety glasses. Read and understand the proper use of the power tools for safe and sound construction.
Step 1- Do The Measurement
Measure the four sections of the cabinet to be cut. The wood should match throughout the cabinet. Once you have your own piece of pine wood that is probably provided with 1-inch thick, 10-inch wide and 8-inch length, mark the four sections carefully. Then cut them.
Step 2 – Make The Cut Sections Match
Number the cut sections so they will go in the proper order together. Then dry fit them to see how the cabinet will look. Observe how the wood grain follows throughout the cabinet for them to be truly matched.
Step 3 – Cut The Finger Joints
After you have cut and numbered the four sections, set up the sections (1 and 3) in your finger joint jig to be cut by your router and then the other sections (2 and 4). Setting them that way are of good set and they will go together properly. When you’re done, dry fit the cut sections once again.
Step 4 – Glue And Assemble The Cut Sections
If you notice that the sections are properly matched and fit, apply a wood glue to cut finger joints surfaces carefully. Applying 3 or more coats of glue are better to deeply soak the glue into the wood. Apply the glue to the bottom of two sides, both sides of the bottom section and the top section. Then, assemble them.
Step 5 – Clamp The Cabinet
Clamp the cabinet at every angle as possible. You can start doing this by applying enough pressure to hold the cabinet together. Don’t forget to tighten them over a few minutes as this will allow the glue to set properly. Let it done in at least 24 hours. Then remove the clamps and sand the overall cabinet.
Step 6 – Cut The Angled Front
After the sanding is done, cut the angled front of the cabinet. Make sure to cut them in a way that you can finger joint the cabinet easier. Cutting the angled front that the cabinet usually has is not easy so be prepared to perform this process.
Step 7 – Apply Finish (angled cut)
Apply finish to the angled cut. The sides of the cabinet should be cut at a 3-degree angle and the top and bottom section should be cut straight. This cut is probably hard to do, so don’t forget to sand the remaining imperfect areas. Once done, cut another 2 pieces. Glue and clamp them to the inside of the cabinet front as these will be used to accept the baffle of the speaker.
Step 8 – Cut The Amp Chassis
Measure and mark the area that needs to be cut for the amplifier chassis. Then cut those sections through the use of a scroll saw. Always measure the cut twice to make sure you did it right.
Step 9 – Rounding Over
After cutting the section for the amp chassis, round over the edges with your router carefully. Then round over all the edges of the cabinet as the finishing rounding.
Step 10 – Fit The Amp Chassis And Finish It
The next thing you have to do is to measure and mark the holes for the amplifier chassis. This is how you will install the amp and speaker to the cabinet. Finally, do the last and final sanding. Your cabinet is now in shape.
A Tip On Cabinet Construction And Finishing
Cabinet finishing can take all of the sounds from a huge number of woodworking and knowledge. There are different finishing styles you can use for the cabinet but not all of them can give good results for you. So be attentive when choosing anything for the work.
Don’t use particle board. Particle board is different from MDF because it is made from much bigger chunks of wood than that of the MDF. Particle board was never designed to stand up to a lot of vibration abuse a well. In fact, it is prone to self-destruct in higher power situations. Materials like birch covered plywood, MDF and pine wood are much better as they can give the best balance between strength and weight.
Building a quick and easy DIY guitar cabinet is now within your reach. If you still find it hard to start the big and challenging project, start out with a smaller job first. As your knowledge and skill increase, you can build up to more challenging assignments.