See our Buyer’s guide to vintage Fender amps for a guide and picture gallery of the known original speakers in the blackface and silverface amps.
You may compare these with your own speakers to determine what you have.
Modern speakers produced today have improved since the 60’s in terms of efficiency, robustness and clarity.
In some cases we want more power and headroom, particularly in small single speaker amps like the Princeton Reverb and the Deluxe Reverb who were poorly equipped from the Fender factory (it is a big shame that the Jensen C12n never was installed in the blackface Deluxe Reverb).In bigger, multiple speaker amps we often like speakers with lower power handling and less efficiency because the amps are more than loud enough and we want some tone out of them by turning the volume up (it’s all about playing in the sweet spot).What someone finds harsh can be beautiful sparkle to others.Smooth overdriven tones can mean very different things for heavy metal guys with Marshall and Celestion stacks and country musicians playing twangy Twin Reverb amps.There are of course exceptions to our preference of American speakers.
One is a heavily cranked amp with a bright single coil guitar.We use it to describe a “natural” tone, meaning a relatively flat frequency response.Speakers can have different frequency response depending on materials and construction design, like cone shape, magnet weight and coil size.A good example is a single coil strat or tele played with the bridge pickup through a cranked blackface Bassman (AB165).The amp has a huge bottom end and a slightly edgy Fender 6L6 push-pull (class AB) cranked tone. Another example is a bright jazzmaster with bridge and neck pickup combined for some jangly surf tone, through a big clean amp like a Pro Reverb, Super Reverb or Twin Reverb with lots of reverb.In this case we prefer darker sounding speakers than the typical American Jensen C12n-style.