When I think of 60's music I think of cocky, swaggering, needlessly loud, noise! The idea here is to build some sort of musical machine. So, the first part of my "Gimme Shelter" project is some amplification.....
Now, ideally I would just find an old classic amplifier to use for my project, but I don't have that kind of budget. So, I decided to just build a replica. I found an old Fender guitar head on craigslist.org which was in need of some love. And then a built a cabinet to match it. This replica is designed to resemble the Fender Bassman / Showman amps from the mid 60's "blackface era." These were used by many major acts back in the day for both guitar and bass amplification. True classics!
The design work for the speaker cabinet was done using Rhinoceros CAD software, and the panels were cut out on the CNC router here at SDSU. I based the dimensions on the original 2x12" showman cabinet dimensions. However my cab was built to more modern specs for strength, and more importantly for lighter weight! Because I used thinner plywood rather than the original 3/4" pine planks I felt the need to add a bracing structure to the inside. Otherwise, the cabinet will appear vintage stock from the outside
After the cabinet carcass was assembled and the head stripped down I placed an order at www.mojotone.com. These guys sell all the original bits and bobs for Fender vintage amps: corners, handles, jacks, knobs, etc. As well as Tolex (vinyl upholstery cloth) and grill cloth.
The first step in the upholstery process is to paint everything black. That way if the Tolex rips of tears through use the battle scars wont show too badly. Painting also seals the wood so that it won't soak up too much glue.
Then special contact cement is applied to both the substrate and the Tolex.....
When it is dry the Tolex is carefully stretched into place. Its not coming back off for a long time!
Once the speakers and other hardware pieces are installed its ready to roll. I took the amp out of the shop and let a guitarist friend of mine put it through its maiden voyage. Sounds pretty good! This piece is meant mainly as an art project, but it is nice to know it works :)