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  • Writer's pictureRyan

My Steel String Singer #004 Clone is Complete!!

A year and a half in the making! I'm finally done with this endeavor! It's been so much fun doing the research, learning a few new skills (AutoCAD, AutoDesk Inventor, Inkscape, GIMP, finger joints, etc.) I met a few friends along the way too which was nice.

The last thing I was waiting on to come through was selling a few pedals and pickguards so I could afford the JBL D131 per original SSS #004. I found a great deal on a pair of D131s that were pulled from a HiFi system. I read as much as I could about JBL D131 and D120's to try to understand what sort of recone effort was needed. I ultimately decided to go with Speaker Repair Pros out of California.

One thing that stopped me from reconing these myself was the fact that AlNiCo magnets (like the ones in the D131s) tend to lose some strength over time. I did not want to take a chance so I continued to sell a few things to bring the funds in line to have a recone and a magnet recharge. The magnet recharge requires a special machine with some high DC voltage so I determined it was best piece of mind to just have it done.

One thing about the speakers I received from eBay besides they were only 3 serial numbers apart, was that one had the original JBL 21230 cone paper surround cone and the other had a E120 kit installed. This was neat because I was trying to figure out which one I would prefer with my build. At the time, I assumed that I wouldn't be able figure out which speaker cone was installed on SSS #004's. I noticed that light was coming through the E120 kit and then realized that the cloth surround was porous so light shines through! I checked out my stash of #004 pictures and it was easy to confirm that those speakers had an E120 kit installed!! I'm really happy to find that because I was ready great things about the E120 kit, but I was leaning to the traditional D120 paper surround just because that's what Fender used back in the day even though I prefered the tone of the E120 kit. Here is some pictures of the speakers after they were returned from Speaker Repair Pros.

These speakers sound amazing! Compared to Celestion G12-65H speakers, these speakers have an extended bottom range, smooth top end, and extremely responsive. The articulation is a great upgrade too. The G12-65H is an amazing speaker, but these JBLs just extend musical tone in both directions on the frequency spectrum.

Now I'm ready to do a ton more videos on the capabilities of this amp as it was intended by Dumble. Here are some more pretty pictures from a photoshoot I did recently before it rained! haha.... <nervous laugh>

Tone demo YouTube video in 4K!

If you have not already, please subscribe to my YouTube channel for more!

We're just beginning to have fun now :-)

-Ryan "The Tone Geek"

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