Tone Is Everything

The search for tone is as old as music itself. The refinement of guitar tone began as the first acoustics went through changes in body size, shape, species of wood, internal bracing, and so much more. Much of this was driven by the need for more volume since there was no means of amplification at the time. Thankfully those days are gone, but make no mistake: volume alone is not tone, and there is no wrong or right tone. Tone is like coffee — black or with cream and sugar? Iced or hot? Dark roast or light? It’s like wine — red or white? Dry or sweet? Napa Valley or Rioja?

Does a cello have better tone than a violin? Tone is simply a matter of personal preference and taste, combined with what best suits the genre of music being played. Tone is absolutely the most personal and memorable element of a guitar player’s style.

Our mission at Collective Customs is to help you refine the tone that best suits your style by building speaker cabinets crafted like instruments. Yes, they look great on stage, in your living room or in the studio, but most importantly they allow your personal choice of gear to reach maximum potential. Every piece of your signal chain matters and the speaker enclosure is the last component that can improve or degrade your tone. Tone is everything, and these cabinets will take your tone to the next level!

Know Your Tone

The Collective Customs Story.

The story really began five decades ago when I got my first job in a woodworking shop, however lets not start there. In December of 2015, I bought a vintage Blackface Bassman from a local pawn shop. It wasn’t working but I was certain it could be fixed so I made a deal with the shop and brought my new toy home. As I began to research the serial numbers, I discovered it was actually an early model built in the first few days of production in 1964! Once the repairs were complete [minor stuff that all 50 year old tube amps need] I began shopping for a speaker cabinet to play it through since my amps were all combos. By the spring of 2016 I hadn’t been able to find one that was the right size so I decided to build my own. Plan A was to build a cabinet and cover it in Tolex to match the Bassman, but I had some reclaimed Redwood boards that had been in my shop for nearly 10 years so I used them to build cabinet # 1. The wood looked awesome with nail holes and fantastic color so there was no way I was going to cover it with anything except a thin coat of oil.

Being in the music business as the co-owner of Collective Music Solutions, I get to hang out with great guitar players all the time as we provide music for our clients events. As our musicians got a chance to hear how good a great speaker sounded through a cabinet that was built like an instrument, they wanted one too and so it began. I had no intention of starting this adventure when I built that first cab but here we are, almost 60 cabinets, nearly a thousand hours of research and development and hundreds of gigs later launching Collective Customs. These cabinets are not cheap…. handmade never is, but Tone Is Everything and the cabinet that houses your speaker is the last opportunity in your signal chain to contribute to your tone. These cabinets are designed and custom built to improve your tone for a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you use a thin oil finish?

Our signature ToneOil™ finish allows the best tone to come through the wood itself. It also allows for easy touch-ups on the bumps and scrapes a cabinet will naturally get over time when being moved from gig to gig. Our cabinets are beautiful works of art, but they are also strong and intended to be used, not just looked at!

What is the difference between a 10” and a 12” cabinet?

A 12” cabinet brings out more of the low range without being too boomy; it just sounds a little more open. The 10” cab has great balance of highs, mids, and lows, and it is by far the preferred choice of most players. Stacking a 10” and a 12” or adding either one as an extension cabinet to your favorite combo amp makes for a great addition to any stage.

Why don’t you use dovetail construction?

Dovetails look cool and are a proven way to join wood, but they add cost, don’t make the cabinet any stronger, and they certainly don’t affect the tone. Our use of dowels, biscuits, corner blocking, and glue is by design and makes our cabinets extremely solid — they’re like one piece of wood when complete.

Why not just use plywood?

High-quality furniture grade plywood is a proven material; we’ve built some great sounding cabinets using plywood and we will continue to use it by request. It is a fact, however, that solid wood is used to make the best instruments. Great guitars, violins, cellos, and other wooden instruments are not made from particle board, MDF, or plywood. The same way a swamp ash guitar body sounds different than a mahogany body, the type of wood you use in the cabinet changes the tone. Heavier, more dense woods like maple, oak and cherry sound slightly brighter whereas lighter, softer woods like cedar, pine, redwood, and fir have a darker tone. Poplar and mahogany are right in the middle with fantastic balance. Building a speaker cabinet like a piece of furniture or musical instrument brings out the best tone possible from your signal chain.

Pricing + Options

Our standard, 1—12 unloaded guitar cabinets are made from your choice of 3/4” poplar, pine or maple. They include our signature, ToneOil™ finish for a natural look, burlap grille cloth, 1/8” radius edges, deluxe leather-look handle, and 3/4” tall rubber feet. Each cabinet is one-of-a-kind and handcrafted upon order.

Ten Inch Cab

10” deep x 22.5” wide x 17.5” tall

Twelve Inch Cab

12” deep x 22.5” wide x 17.5” tall

Customization Options

Corners: $3/each
Custom stain: $25
Tolex [black “Fender-style” only]: $45
Suede [black only at this time] : $145
Additional back panel for closed back: $25
Cedar, cherry and mahogany: $25
Custom quilted cover: $60
Walnut, exotic and reclaimed woods: market price
Bass cabinets and custom sizes: upon request

Additional Information

Warehouse Guitar Speakers are available for purchase starting at $70.00.

Plywood cabinets have solid wood backs and bracing; they sound great, too! Save $50 when choosing this option!

Build time is approximately three weeks per cabinet.

Ready To Order? Get In Touch!