I found a weird old Kodak speaker for a 16mm projector. I think it would make a really cool Guitar or Bass Amp cabinet.
Dangers of Estate Sales
I was doing my normal perusing for woodworking tools and broken furniture for wood and ended up finding a beautiful 1940s/50s speaker cabinet for a Kodak 16mm film projector.
Here it is with the speaker pulled out. I can’t say I’ve seen a 6.8 Ohm speaker before.
I have an Orange Micro Terror Amp that I use with a homemade cabinet. I used the woofers from some studio monitors that died. They’re not great but I use the setup to test pedal circuits before I take them to my “real” amp.
So, maybe I could get a much better speaker for this and then also use it for some future amp head.
History and Electronics
The thing requires a minimum of 8 Ohms. This is 6.8 Ohms. And I couldn’t tell if the speaker would work well for guitar/bass.
But the more I thought about it, guitar/bass speakers are really just reproductions of speakers from that era. Paper cones, bad magnets. This checks those boxes.
I briefly hooked it up and it distorts pretty badly. It sounds like a high overdrive or low distortion. Kinda cool, but not something I’d want always on. I also don’t want to really run the amp with it, because eventually I will cook the thing.
My first thought was that I’d just have to buy a new modern 12" 8 Ohm speaker. I was thinking bass, since I don’t have a good amp for my bass, and the Micro Terror should do fine with an appropriate speaker. Guitar would be fine too.
But I’m a moron. I can test the thing like it’s “supposed to be.” It just needs a 1.2 Ohm resistor. That’ll impact AC impedance, just like DC resistance. 🤦♂️
The speaker came with a 50’ cable attached. It was original and the insulation explodes off of it like it’s crystallized sugar.
I didn’t have a decent gauge wire for the speaker, but I have plenty of mono phono jacks. Wire is arriving today and I’ll rig it up.
I’ll test my bass with it first. If that sounds bad, I’ll try my guitars. I found a weird old amp at a random guitar shop that uses the speaker. So that gives me hope even though the baffle/cone is odd.
Going back to the box
The thing is in incredible shape. It has the church it was from. The speaker has no issues. The paper is pristine and there’s no foam baffle, so it still floats freely.
With some mild cleaning on the outside it will look amazing. I love the design from that era. The rounded corners, the brass looking grate. Even the color of the tolex (I think it’s tolex… whatever, the cover) is cool. The latches, Kodak badge (sorry, not in the photo) and screws are also that great brass with honest patina.
The box construction is amazing. All hardwood, no plywood or composite to be found. It’s from the 50s at latest, so this is all to be expected.
Almost the whole back panel flips down because the 50’ cable was wrapped up in there for easy transport. So it could function as an open or closed cabinet. I’ll mount the jack below the hinge so I can experiment.
I’ll either replace the speaker or not. The modification to mount a jack to the back is minor.
But it also has plenty of room up front on the bottom to stick an amplifier in. I’m not sure, but I could convert it to a combo pretty easily. I’d have to make a panel in the front and try to mount a pre-fab amp or may at some point build my own tube amp.
Yeah, I probably won’t get around to it. But I could.
All and all, I’m really happy with the find. I love restoring and repurposing stuff from that era. I love the robust construction, the look and feel. Heck, I love the smell of it. It makes all of my senses and my brain happy to work on it.
A good guitar cab for $40-$140 is a great deal. One with this much character and so little work required is beyond cool.