Rebuilding an Ibanez combo - Ready, except for attenuator

BlueX

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
900
Reaction score
2,154
Location
Sweden
This lil’ fella doesn’t get much love nowadays. It’s the first amp I bought, together with my Strat, when I re-started playing guitar some years ago:
  • Ibanez TSA15 tube amp, with built-in Tubescreamer (drive/tone/level) followed by a +6 dB boost (both foot switchable), FX loop, amp section with two 12AX7B and two 6V6GT (5/15 W triode/pentode switchable), “full set” of speaker outs from 4 to 16 Ohm, and one 12” speaker.
When connected to a good cab this amp can sound good. However, I just don’t get along with the Seventy-80 speaker, at least not in this small open-back cab. After I bought my first Marshall I’ve mainly used this amp to test different effects in my Mooer GE 200 multi-effects unit, but lately I’ve only used it to run the drum machine in the GE 200.

I’ve been thinking about building one or two small speaker cabs. Once the machines are set up it doesn’t take much more time to cut material for one more box. Why not make a head shell as well, and build a micro stack (where did I get that idea 🤔).

Looking for cab designs I found 1x10” cabs at Mesa website, one with open-back and one with closed back, both loaded with 10” Creambacks. Thought I could do worse than following the example of Mesa. My cab boxes are somewhat deeper, since I want the grill slightly recessed.

Difficult to find tolex and grill cloth that would match the dark green face plate of the TSA15 (at least to my liking). A US web shop selling parts to restore vintage radios had a dark green grill cloth, but shipping alone was USD 80-90, and the cloth itself was quite expensive. I found a picture of a custom Fender amp with blond tolex and oxblood grill cloth, and thought that might work. Together with brown piping and handles, it would also be an “organic” contrast to the traditional Marshall colour scheme.

Some comments on the building, in case someone's interested:
  • Cabs and head shell made of birch plywood. Boxes are joined with routed dovetails and glued. All “box parts” glued and reinforced with glued wooden dowels. No metal fasteners.
  • Baffle is permanently fixed in the box, and there will be separate frame for the grill cloth, mounted on the front. Saw this design in an YT video where someone replaced grill cloth on a Mesa cab.
  • One baffle slanted 3,4°, so there will be one A cab and one B cab. I copied the slant angle from a drawing I found for a Tweed Deluxe cab.
  • The head shell is quite tall. The reason is that I plan to put in an M2 attenuator (no master volume).
  • There will be three-piece back on both cabs, for either closed or open back (Also, I understand clamps are popular around here)
  • I make slightly oversized rough cuts, to make the work pieces easier to handle. Already at this stage I make sure pieces are flat, and all cuts are straight, parallel, and square. It makes the following steps much easier.
  • To avoid splintering, you can cut shallow grooves on each side of the work piece first. Then you raise the blade and make the through-cut.
  • The pieces supporting the slanted baffle needs to be cut at a small angle. If you don’t have a proper jig, you can fasten a straight and parallel scrap piece onto the work piece, parallel to the desired angle. Then you cut. Note: Use push stick(s) if you’re anywhere near the saw blade!
  • I want the fasteners for the back panels to line up nicely. So I make a simple drill jig to make the bore holes located in a consistent way.
TSA15 rebuild 001.JPG TSA15 rebuild 002.JPG TSA15 rebuild 003.JPG TSA15 rebuild 004.JPG TSA15 rebuild 005.JPG TSA15 rebuild 006.JPG TSA15 rebuild 007.JPG TSA15 rebuild 008.JPG TSA15 rebuild 009.JPG TSA15 rebuild 010.JPG
 
Last edited:

fitz

Well-Known Yinzer
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
6,533
Reaction score
18,062
Location
the Burgh
I’ve been thinking about building one or two small speaker cabs. Once the machines are set up it doesn’t take much more time to cut material for one more box. Why not make a head shell as well, and build a micro stack (where did I get that idea 🤔).
:shrug:
 

fitz

Well-Known Yinzer
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
6,533
Reaction score
18,062
Location
the Burgh
I'll bet those two 10" creambacks in some roomy ply cabs will sound spectacular compared to the Seventy-80 in an open back.
You put way more effort into your cabs than I do - tolex covers a lot of woodworking sins...
Looking forward to the project progress.
:yesway::yesway:
 

BlueX

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
900
Reaction score
2,154
Location
Sweden
I'll bet those two 10" creambacks in some roomy ply cabs will sound spectacular compared to the Seventy-80 in an open back.
You put way more effort into your cabs than I do - tolex covers a lot of woodworking sins...
Looking forward to the project progress.
:yesway::yesway:
Thanks! I have a tendency of overdoing things, but I like the design and building process as much as using the final product. Might build a 2x10 cab later on, as well, to test these Creambacks some more.
 

fitz

Well-Known Yinzer
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
6,533
Reaction score
18,062
Location
the Burgh
I like the design and building process as much as using the final product.
This is exactly how I see it also.
Factor in the outrageous cost of new gear?
Win-win-win. :woot:
 

paul-e-mann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
19,482
Reaction score
21,203
This lil’ fella doesn’t get much love nowadays. It’s the first amp I bought, together with my Strat, when I re-started playing guitar some years ago:
  • Ibanez TSA15 tube amp, with built-in Tubescreamer (drive/tone/level) followed by a +6 dB boost (both foot switchable), FX loop, amp section with two 12AX7B and two 6V6GT (5/15 W triode/pentode switchable), “full set” of speaker outs from 4 to 16 Ohm, and one 12” speaker.
When connected to a good cab this amp can sound good. However, I just don’t get along with the Seventy-80 speaker, at least not in this small open-back cab. After I bought my first Marshall I’ve mainly used this amp to test different effects in my Mooer GE 200 multi-effects unit, but lately I’ve only used it to run the drum machine in the GE 200.

I’ve been thinking about building one or two small speaker cabs. Once the machines are set up it doesn’t take much more time to cut material for one more box. Why not make a head shell as well, and build a micro stack (where did I get that idea 🤔).

Looking for cab designs I found 1x10” cabs at Mesa website, one with open-back and one with closed back, both loaded with 10” Creambacks. Thought I could do worse than following the example of Mesa. My cab boxes are somewhat deeper, since I want the grill slightly recessed.

Difficult to find tolex and grill cloth that would match the dark green face plate of the TSA15 (at least to my liking). A US web shop selling parts to restore vintage radios had a dark green grill cloth, but shipping alone was USD 80-90, and the cloth itself was quite expensive. I found a picture of a custom Fender amp with blond tolex and oxblood grill cloth, and thought that might work. Together with brown piping and handles, it would also be an “organic” contrast to the traditional Marshall colour scheme.

Some comments on the building, in case someone's interested:
  • Cabs and head shell made of birch plywood. Boxes are joined with routed dovetails and glued. All “box parts” glued and reinforced with glued wooden dowels. No metal fasteners.
  • Baffle is permanently fixed in the box, and there will be separate frame for the grill cloth, mounted on the front. Saw this design in an YT video where someone replaced grill cloth on a Mesa cab.
  • One baffle slanted 3,4°, so there will be one A cab and one B cab. I copied the slant angle from a drawing I found for a Tweed Deluxe cab.
  • The head shell is quite tall. The reason is that I plan to put in an M2 attenuator (no master volume).
  • There will be three-piece back on both cabs, for either closed or open back (Also, I understand clamps are popular around here)
  • I make slightly oversized rough cuts, to make the work pieces easier to handle. Already at this stage I make sure pieces are flat, and all cuts are straight, parallel, and square. It makes the following steps much easier.
  • To avoid splintering, you can cut shallow grooves on each side of the work piece first. Then you raise the blade and make the through-cut.
  • The pieces supporting the slanted baffle needs to be cut at a small angle. If you don’t have a proper jig, you can fasten a straight and parallel scrap piece onto the work piece, parallel to the desired angle. Then you cut. Note: Use push stick(s) if you’re anywhere near the saw blade!
  • I want the fasteners for the back panels to line up nicely. So I make a simple drill jig to make the bore holes located in a consistent way.
View attachment 111591 View attachment 111592 View attachment 111593 View attachment 111594 View attachment 111595 View attachment 111596 View attachment 111597 View attachment 111598 View attachment 111599 View attachment 111600
Ive always liked these amps, frankly I've forgotten about them, haven't seen them in a long time.
 

BlueX

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
900
Reaction score
2,154
Location
Sweden
This is exactly how I see it also.
Factor in the outrageous cost of new gear?
Win-win-win. :woot:
Agree! Another benefit is that I can customise. I never make a "straight copy", always some modifications that I think are better.

Only drawback is the limited re-sale value. Therefore I only build the things I intend to keep and use.
 

Springfield Scooter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Messages
1,750
Reaction score
2,738
Personally, for sentimental reasons, Id give it all the love it deserves!
I wish I still had my first amplifier and guitar for that matter.
Priceless!
Nice job!
 

william vogel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
1,305
Agree! Another benefit is that I can customise. I never make a "straight copy", always some modifications that I think are better.

Only drawback is the limited re-sale value. Therefore I only build the things I intend to keep and use.
I understand what you’re saying but keeping the building pics to attach with the listing will provide proof of a superior construction technique and if your tolex work is near your carpentry skill, the modifications to the original will be appealing. Keep the original cabinet intact as an option. Looks fabulous
 

BlueX

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
900
Reaction score
2,154
Location
Sweden
I understand what you’re saying but keeping the building pics to attach with the listing will provide proof of a superior construction technique and if your tolex work is near your carpentry skill, the modifications to the original will be appealing. Keep the original cabinet intact as an option. Looks fabulous
Thanks!

You made very good points, I'll keep that in mind. If at all possible I always try to keep original parts, to be able to restore.
 

BlueX

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
900
Reaction score
2,154
Location
Sweden
I’ve completed the rebuild of my Ibanez combo, so now I’ve got a micro stack with amp and two 1x10 cabs. Still think it’s difficult to match the dark green face plate, but I like the blond tolex and the combination with oxblood grill cloth. You can see the original white and black cab to the right, and also compare with the cream details on the LP. The amp head is quite tall, because I will put an attenuator in it. That’s why there are side vents as well.

The upper cab has a slightly slanted baffle. The lower one has a vertical baffle.

One strange thing with the grill cloth. It has stretch properties, so it deforms when I pull it. Therefore, it’s not completely flat.

The amp sounds great through these 10” Creambacks, in these small cabs. Really tight and focused cranked or high gain sound with closed backs. Also when I run my DSL20HR through these cabs I get very tight sound, even with SD-1 into red channel (really fun to play actually). When I run SD-1 and DSL red channel into my over-sized 1x12 with EVM12L, it’s just too much. Seems like the 10” CB’s can focus such sound better.

Open backs go well together with clean sound or just mild distortion. Surprisingly deep bass. Very good for rhythm.

On the contrary, closed backs and clean sound, and open backs and high gain, are not the best on this setup. I guess this is expected.

LP with HB’s and superstrat with active pups work well. Strat with noiseless SC’s not so much.

I’m very pleased with the result, and these small 1x10 cabs are a good addition to my other cabs.

Now remains to build the attenuator. Some drilling and soldering, and cutting and painting the perforated steel sheet.

TSA15 rebuild 011.JPG TSA15 rebuild 012.JPG TSA15 rebuild 013.JPG TSA15 rebuild 014.JPG TSA15 rebuild 015.JPG TSA15 rebuild 016.JPG TSA15 rebuild 017.JPG
 

fitz

Well-Known Yinzer
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
6,533
Reaction score
18,062
Location
the Burgh
I’ve completed the rebuild of my Ibanez combo, so now I’ve got a micro stack with amp and two 1x10 cabs. Still think it’s difficult to match the dark green face plate, but I like the blond tolex and the combination with oxblood grill cloth. You can see the original white and black cab to the right, and also compare with the cream details on the LP. The amp head is quite tall, because I will put an attenuator in it. That’s why there are side vents as well.

The upper cab has a slightly slanted baffle. The lower one has a vertical baffle.

One strange thing with the grill cloth. It has stretch properties, so it deforms when I pull it. Therefore, it’s not completely flat.

The amp sounds great through these 10” Creambacks, in these small cabs. Really tight and focused cranked or high gain sound with closed backs. Also when I run my DSL20HR through these cabs I get very tight sound, even with SD-1 into red channel (really fun to play actually). When I run SD-1 and DSL red channel into my over-sized 1x12 with EVM12L, it’s just too much. Seems like the 10” CB’s can focus such sound better.

Open backs go well together with clean sound or just mild distortion. Surprisingly deep bass. Very good for rhythm.

On the contrary, closed backs and clean sound, and open backs and high gain, are not the best on this setup. I guess this is expected.

LP with HB’s and superstrat with active pups work well. Strat with noiseless SC’s not so much.

I’m very pleased with the result, and these small 1x10 cabs are a good addition to my other cabs.

Now remains to build the attenuator. Some drilling and soldering, and cutting and painting the perforated steel sheet.

View attachment 113815 View attachment 113816 View attachment 113817 View attachment 113818 View attachment 113819 View attachment 113820 View attachment 113821
:applause::thumbs::h5:
 

Latest posts



Top