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FDP Forum / Amp Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Restoring an old vintage speaker?

Contributing Member

Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Mar 15th, 2018 04:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

My Dad had a Leslie 120 cab for his Schober theatre organ. He passed some years ago and the cab is sitting in my Mom's garage. It all looks to be in reasonable condition despite the mouse droppings. But none of the original cables to fire it up.

The speaker is a '67 Jensen C12N. There is significant rust spotting on the basket and magnet but looks otherwise clean and intact though I have no way of testing it at the moment. Knowing that it ran well 20 years ago when it was last plugged in, do you think the rust spotting is indicative of further decline that would prevent ot working again?

I'm not selling it. I'd like to keep it for myself but I don't want to spend money shipping it to my home in France if chances are it's aleady dead.

Any thoughts?

Contributing Member


Mar 15th, 2018 06:01 AM   Edit   Profile  

DrKev, unless the speaker was wet over time, that surface rust is usually cosmetic and can be removed by soaking in vinegar or using a product like Naval Jelly.

Sanding off the rust is possible too, but that presents added difficulties because you're creating steel dust in close proximity to a magnet. Keeping that magnet and voice coil gap operating-room clean is one of the critical aspects of speaker repair.

You can easily recone it. A kit runs less than $30 USD and it is dead simple to do. Check with sponsor AES above to see if they can supply the correct cone and voice coil. They probably stock it.

There are a bunch of good recone tutorials on YouTube.

If it were me, I'd strip the basket, repaint it, and bring it back to like-new glory. The new cone will be more robust and reliable than when it was stock because Jensen's original adhesives break down over time.

When you recone a speaker, you will be amazed at how dead simple it is.

Work very cleanly. Don't just vacuum out the voice coil gap before installing the voice coil; run a piece of sticky tape around in there a bunch of times to remove any stray metal particles that the vacuum can't suck out. That's one of the tricks.

Contributing Member

Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Mar 15th, 2018 09:16 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Geno, I greatly appreciate the reply!

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Mar 15th, 2018 10:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

The 120 Leslie is a cool little guy. Many of them have been used as guitar cabinets over the years.

Some were fitted with a factory power amp however most were powered by the organs internal amplifier. These have a relay system that switched the speed of the rotor, fast or slow.

If it were my Leslie I think I'd just buy a suitable 12" speaker, the C12N is nice and place the original in the new speakers box and store it safely. Peegoo's re-cone advice is right on it you want to go that route.

I have a Leslie model 45 that is converted to guitar use. It was a "No power amp" Leslie. I put an Atlas driver in the upper rotor and an Eminence 15 in the lower. I don't want to take the chance of damaging the originals when driving the unit with a Dual Showman or ZT Club. I also installed a 2-speed kit in this cab.

It is set up with a power cord for A/C mains for the motors, a footswitch for the speed control and a 1/4" jack for the power amp in. Sounds amazing but it get rarely used.

The Leslie pinout for the connector can be found below at Hammond Wiki, a very helpful site.

Pinout model 120, same as a 147

Contributing Member

Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Mar 16th, 2018 09:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

That's a great resource, Hammond. Thank you!

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Mar 16th, 2018 10:11 AM   Edit   Profile  

You are very welcome. Yeah, I learned a bunch from Hammond Wiki. BTW, that 120 will sound a lot better than a Fender Vibratone or Leslie 16 that were made for guitar use.

I'd love to use my 45 on stage however it takes up so much room it just never happens.

Here is a link to Leslie Manuals you might find helpful.

Captain Foldback

FDP Forum / Amp Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Restoring an old vintage speaker?

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