A 12″ Jensen P-12Q loaded into a ’57 Deluxe™ amp.
Here at Fender, we really geek out on speakers. Always have.
There’s a very good reason for that: the speakers are where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. The speakers are the end of the signal path; where the vibration of the strings that has been converted to an electric impulse and sent through all manner of cords, effects and amplification is converted back into mechanical energy in the form of moving air that is then interpreted by our brains as sweet, sweet music.
It’s also true that the speakers themselves affect the sound that comes out of them, deliberately voiced to produce specific tonal qualities and further shaping that which has already been shaped earlier in the signal path. So they’re important.
Today, Fender uses speakers made by many different manufacturers, some of whom have been with us since the beginning. The descriptions given here are general, since various makers build speakers designed for everything from rock to jazz to blues to metal, but a poll of tone-chasing guitarists would probably reveal agreement with each categorization below. Three of our best-known speaker manufacturers are:
- Jensen®: The voice of original vintage American rock, blues, country and rockabilly, Jensen speakers are famous for their inclusion in 1950s and 1960s Fender amps. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—Fender still uses Jensen speakers today, in most of the ’57 and ’65 reissue series amps, in some limited edition Hot Rod series amps, in the Vibro-King® and the ’59 Bassman®. If that famous Fender bell-like clean tone or a perfectly voiced, slightly pushed overdrive tone is what you seek, you’ll probably find your amp of choice loaded with a Jensen speaker.
- Celestion®: This is the original voice of vintage British rock and metal. Celestion speakers are famous for their inclusion in amps made across the pond in Dear Old Blighty during the 1960s, such as Marshall and Vox. They deliver quintessential rock distortion tone on demand, which is a big part of why Fender uses them today in its Super-Sonic™ and Vintage Modified series amps, and in some limited edition Hot Rod series amps.
- Eminence®: Solid performers in countless amps made by Fender and other companies for many years, Eminence speakers deliver first-rate versatility and value, and remain one of the only U.S.-made speaker brands. Fender often labels its Eminence speakers as “Fender Special Design” because Eminence works closely with Fender to develop particular speaker performance characteristics for specific amps. Eminence also offers a range of over-the-counter replacement speakers in myriad flavors.