Open- or closed back cabinet?

Would you prefer an open- or closed back cabinet? You may be able to answer this question after reading this blog.
We all know that any loud speaker will have its characteristics in tone.

Depending on the music style you are playing, we all have our favorite speaker brands and models per brand.
Of course, there are many great brands, but we all know that brands like Eminence, Jensen, JBL, Electro-Voice (EV) and Celestion are the main goto speakers for guitar players.

Besides that, the speaker/cabinet construction maybe is at least as important as their brand.
We won’t discuss the amplifier and its characteristics, nor thickness of the wood of the cabinet.
The size of the cabinet and type of wood are also not discussed here at this time.
Full range speakers (FRFR) shall be discussed later in another blog.

What is the difference between open- or closed back

Well, mainly we see open back- and closed back cabinets for guitar. Or if you like, open- vs closed back combo amps.
But what is the difference and when would you choose for open- or closed back?
You should try to compare an open- and closed cabinet with the same guitar amp and you will hear a totally different sound.

Open back

An open back cabinet may sound quite more open and natural; one of the reasons is that there is no back panel that provides a more compressed sound.
Mainly higher frequencies have more presence, while the low-end tones may not feel very tight. This because some of the sounds coming from the back is out of phase; Compared to what comes out from the frontside of the cab.

Would you prefer an open- of closed back cabinet

In general, you could say that you might need an open back when your playing style, in terms of frequencies, is more in the mid- and higher range levels.
For example, when you play 7-string low end metal- and trash rhythms, you won’t go for an open back cabinet in my opinion.

The open back will also project the sound to the back ground wall, which will give some feedback. The room will be filled with sound and there is a slight amount of pleasant latency in the feedback.

Latency creates some sort of reverb or maybe a little chorus. You may even, when in a studio, try to mic your speaker from the rear of it. The sound may be quite useful as well.

Closed back

A closed back cabinet will only project the sound in forward direction, because the back panel will totally isolate the cabinet at all sides but the front.
Mid-range and low-end tones benefit from this, because this construction will provide you more low-end power tones.
On stage these closed backs may be harder to hear, unless you’re standing right in front of it.
You can imagine that the earlier mentioned 7-strings (or any other guitar) low-end heavy rhythms and solos will benefit from these closed cabinets.

Would you prefer an open- of closed back cabinet

Now you will also understand why bass amps/cabinets mainly have closed backs 

We do not discuss the way air moves in- or around loud speakers. It would be a too much scientific.

Finally, what’s best for you?

Some interesting things have been said about the differences. The characteristics in sound always depend on what you prefer or like to hear.

Without being exhaustive we have written to let you know there differences in open- and closed back cabinets.
We only could ask you to play the same amp with different cabs and testing them out.

Would you prefer an open- or closed back cabinet?

We hope that we were able to let you understand the differences between both of these very popular speaker cabinets of combos. But there is a lot more to learn about tone. Also check one of our other blogs.

Manage your sound

There are many ways to improve your sound, like the type or brand of guitar and amp we use. Besides that, the pedals you’re using may have a lot of impact on your sound as well.
But also think about what guitar pick you are using. Different guitar picks deliver different sounds to your playing.
Thinner guitar picks create a thinner sound, where heavier guitar picks deliver a fuller sound with more mids- and bottom-end tone.

Guitar essentials

In guitar essentials we will write about interesting things every guitarist should know a bit of, especially when you’re new to (electric) guitar.
We definitely don’t dig deep into theories or technical aspects. In fact, we are a guitar pick company.
You will find many scientific documents about anything somewhere on the internet.
To improve your playing and even your sound, check out the different models of guitar picks we offer.