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Not every amplifier and guitar combination is a match made in heaven. More often than not, guitarists spend the majority of their time trying to tweak their tone to match their perceived ideal.
Aside from using guitar pedals, changing the speaker(s) in an amplifier or speaker cabinet is one of the most popular solutions. The following 10-inch speakers are some of the best to be found on the market for this purpose.
Eminence Ragin Cajun – Best Overall
Do you need a 10-inch speaker that has massive headroom and a balanced tone without necessarily breaking the bank? Many guitarists have found overwhelming success with the Eminence Ragin Cajun (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon).
At its core, the Ragin Cajun utilizes a paper cone with a 30-oz. Ferrite magnet, with a total weight of 6.4 pounds. The speaker comes with an 8-ohm impedance and has a stunning power handling rating of 75W.
Its output frequency range spans from 70Hz to 5kHz, which is on par with most 12” guitar speakers, covering the full spectrum of the guitar’s tone.
What this ultimately means is that the Ragin Cajun will not break up into overdriven distortion as early as say, a 30W speaker. This is incredibly ideal for those who utilize more of a clean guitar tone as well as those who prefer pedals to affect most of their sound.
In terms of tone, the Ragin Cajun is incredibly balanced for a 10” speaker, and rivals what can be heard with a 12” speaker. The treble and mid ranges are very articulated while the lower EQ ranges are punchy without being overbearing.
In general, if you’re somebody that plays traditional music genres like rock or country, the Ragin Cajun could very well be the solution your ears have been searching for. At this price, it certainly can’t hurt to at least give the speaker a try in your trusty amplifier.
After you install this, you’ll see why hundreds of guitarists have fallen in love with the sound that the Ragin Cajun brings to the table. A replacement like this is definitely an “upgrade” for any lackluster-sounding amplifier despite its reasonable cost.
Celestion G10 Gold – Best Premium
Have a little extra to spend and only looking for a top-shelf speaker to put into your amplifier? The Celestion G10 Gold (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is not only one of the most expensive 10” speakers on the market, it’s also one of the best.
This 10” speaker comes in both 8-ohm and 16-ohm impedances, ensuring that owners of such amplifiers can use this speaker. It utilizes an Alnico magnet, with the entire speaker weighing 6 pounds.
In terms of power handling, the G10 Gold is rated for 40W. This means that the speaker has a decent amount of headroom for clean tones and high volumes without overdriven distortion.
However, because the speaker doesn’t have the power handling of, say, 75W, the G10 Gold will experience break-up earlier in the volume control. This obviously isn’t a bad thing, especially if you are somebody who likes to coax those natural overdriven tones out into the fore.
In terms of tone, the G10 Gold’s output frequency spans 80Hz to 6kHz. This range is a bit more focused than what is found on 12” and other 10” speakers.
The midrange is especially pronounced here but is quite balanced with present highs and lows. That throaty British tone can be dialed in with relative ease and the right volumes.
If your stock speakers are a bit too brittle in the treble regions, the G10 Gold has been shown to help mellow things out without becoming too dark in timbre. At a price like this, you would expect nothing but the best response and Celestion certainly delivers the goods with this speaker.
Celestion VT-Junior – Best Budget
Want to provide a massive upgrade to your tone without spending a fortune? The Celestion VT-Junior (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is an inexpensive speaker that has a cult following due to its effectiveness.
This 10” speaker is available in both 8-ohm and 16-ohm impedances and is rated for a power handling of 50W. The VT-Junior utilizes a 20-oz. ceramic magnet, with the entire speaker itself weighing a light 3.5 pounds.
Its frequency output is a bit more focused, ranging from 90Hz to 5.5kHz. As a result, the mids and highs are more pronounced, and the low end is defined without being too loose or flabby.
The VT-Junior is one of the best values on the market when it comes to its overall performance and its affordable price. With its 50W power rating, it provides the perfect middle ground between those who need headroom and those who utilize natural overdriven distortion.
Despite being a light speaker, the VT-Junior packs quite a punch in its delivery and can help bring more warmth and definition to a lackluster tone. It’s for this very reason that the VT-Junior has been and continues to be one of the most popular options on the market for affordable 10” guitar speakers.
Jensen Blackbird 40
In search of something that will help you achieve that classic Fender amplifier tone? The Jensen Blackbird 40 is a fantastic 10” speaker that delivers incredible focus and hefty volume.
This 10” speaker comes in both 8-ohm and 16-ohm varieties and is rated for a power handling of 40W. It utilizes a paper cone with an 11-oz. Alnico magnet, with the entire speaker itself weighing 4.41 pounds.
Make no mistake about it, while the Blackbird 40 comes with a sizable price tag, its offerings are well worth the price of admission. This speaker certainly rivals the output and definition of many 12” speakers on the market.
As far as output frequency goes, the Blackbird 40 spans an impressive range of 20Hz to 20kHz. It has quite a bit of focus in the mids, while also providing tight lows and open highs.
The Blackbird 40 is a great speaker for generalist musicians who might play blues one day, and hard rock the next. While it does have a fairly sizable amount of headroom, it delivers some exquisitely crunchy overdrive tones when pushed with a heavier volume load.
Its sound is more tilted toward that of vintage voicings, though its articulate nature ensures that any modern musical style will be well-suited here, too.
Celestion G10 Creamback
There are few speakers more legendary than Celestion’s G10 series, which have been highly sought after since the 1960s. The Celestion G10 Creamback (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) continues to be one of the most popular choices for speaker upgrades.
While the G10 series is most notable for its 12” speaker line, this 10” Creamback does not fall short in delivering that historic performance. The speaker utilizes a 14-oz. ceramic magnet while still managing to keep things light at 3.5 pounds.
In terms of headroom, the G10 Creamback is rated for a power handling of 45W. This seems to be in the sweet spot for most modern guitarists who maybe only push their amps to a medium volume but wish to induce some overdriven tones.
The tone of the G10 Creamback is best described as being surprisingly articulate, with tight lows, a warm mid-range, and crisp highs. Despite being modeled after its vintage origins, the G10 Creamback has shown to be quite compatible with even the most demanding of effects pedals.
Because of its response to modern demands, the G10 Creamback is a speaker that is suitable for almost every music genre. With its reasonable price, it’s almost a no-brainer why the G10 Creamback has continued to be so popular over the decades.
Eminence Legend 1028K
The Legend 1028K utilizes a paper cone along with a 6-oz. Alnico magnet, weighing just under 3 pounds total. Its power handling rating is 35W, providing decent headroom while packing a punch in all the right places.
The speaker’s output frequency spans 100Hz to 5kHz, which helps tighten up the low range significantly compared to other speakers. It also focuses the mid-range to be much warmer while still allowing the treble to be present and unimpeded.
One of the hallmarks of vintage amplifiers is the amount of chime present in the treble. The Legend 1028K delivers that without being too harsh like many other speakers can often be.
With that being said, the Legend 1028K is one of the most-balanced speakers out there in terms of overall EQ presentation. There doesn't seem to be any specific EQ ranges that overpower the rest of the tonal mix.
While the Legend 1028K is more suited to providing vintage sound profiles, it has been shown to be worthwhile in almost any musical setting. It continues to be one of the most-favored speakers for recording sessions.
There’s something to be said about that iconic combination of vintage Fender amplifiers stocked with Jensen speakers. It’s one of the many combinations responsible for producing some of the most historic tones in the history of recorded music.
The Jensen P10R (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) throws it back to the old days and is a reproduction of a model Jensen used to make during the golden years of Fender amplifiers. This is definitely one of the first speakers you should look at if you’re interested in refurbishing a vintage Fender-style amplifier.
The P10R is a 25W speaker utilizing a paper cone and a 7-oz. Alnico magnet. Its overall weight remains reasonably light at 3 pounds.
In terms of tone, the P10R has an output frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. The speaker actually has a fairly warm timbre but remains quite balanced in its projection.
Because the speaker is rated at 25W, it does break up a bit earlier than many modern-style speakers on the market do. However, this does reflect what was originally found in various Fender tweed amps during the 1960s.
Celestion G10 Greenback
If there’s 1 speaker that even casual gear nuts know about, it’s the iconic Greenback speaker. This speaker is historic for often being featured in the Marshall speaker cabinets of some of the most famous guitarists from the late 1960s and 1970s.
The Celestion G10 Greenback (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is a fantastic 10” version of this historic speaker. After all these years, the G10 Greenback is still one of the most popular speakers that guitarists seek to shape their tone.
The G10 Greenback is a 30W speaker utilizing a 14-oz. ceramic magnet, weighing a total of 3.5 pounds. Its output frequency spans a range of 95Hz to 5.5kHz, which you will notice adds a degree of warmth to its sound.
On paper, there really shouldn’t be much of a difference between the Creamback and the Greenback. As Celestion has stated in the past, the only real difference was the coloring of the paper applied to the back of the speaker.
However, if you compare this to the Creamback, you’ll notice that there is, indeed, enough of a difference to warrant separate speaker models. Where the Creamback is more balanced, the Greenback has a bit more warmth and focus in its mid-range presence.
This is definitely one speaker you’ll want to try if you are looking for those classic rock tones that have since become legendary. Practically any music genre is served well with the G10 Greenback.
Eminence Cannabis Rex 10
In fact, the 12” version of this speaker is widely considered to be one of the best guitar speakers on the market. Have no fear, though, because the 10” version is just as good in every respect, with the benefit of having a bit more focused articulation.
The Cannabis Rex 10 features a cone made from hemp with a Zurette dust cap. It utilizes a 38-oz. Ferrite magnet, with the entire speaker weighing a hefty 7.3 pounds.
In terms of its output frequency range, the Cannabis Rex 10 spans from 80Hz to 5.3kHz. The speaker seems to focus more on the low-to-mid ranges, offering quite a bit of warmth while still maintaining pleasing highs that never sound harsh.
One of the advantages of the Cannabis Rex 10 is that it’s rated for 50W, giving the speaker a slow break-up. This means you’ll have massive headroom for cleans, but rich, natural overdrive tones under massive volume loads.
Believe it or not, Eminence only made this 10” version because the company received an outpouring of requests after experiencing the standard 12” model. It is, by far, one of the best solutions for genres utilizing clean-forward tones, such as country and jazz.
Eminence Lil' Buddy
Do you want a 10” speaker that isn’t necessarily as sharp and crisp as other speakers can be? The Eminence Lil' Buddy (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) provides some of the smoothest tones to come from a 10” speaker.
This 50W speaker utilizes a hemp cone with a paper edge, along with a 30-oz. Ferrite magnet. The entire speaker itself is fairly heavy compared to other 10” speakers, weighing 6.3 pounds.
With a frequency range of 80Hz to 5kHz, you’ll immediately notice just how warm this speaker is. As such, it makes for a perfect replacement for any amp that has shrill, ice-pick highs that are unbearable to hear.
In terms of its overall sound, the lows are often quite round and punchy, with the treble being a bit subdued compared to other speakers. As such, because of its slow-developing break-up, it makes for an ideal platform for anyone who utilizes clean tones with a hint of overdrive.
So, the next time you’re playing a guitar solo and the highs become excruciatingly harsh on the ear, consider the Lil' Buddy. It will be like putting a muzzle on what needs to be tamed while enhancing and maintaining the low and mid-EQ ranges.
Eminence GA10-SC64 Alessandro Signature
Are you after vintage tones but not wanting to sacrifice a ton of coinage to achieve them? The Eminence GA10-SC64 Alessandro Signature (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) is both affordable and extremely effective in its designed objective.
This speaker throws it back to 1964 in an authentic way thanks to Eminence’s collaboration with George Alessandro. For those who don’t know, George Alessandro is one of the most respected names in the amplifier industry.
The GA10-SC64 Alessandro Signature features a paper cone with a dust cap made of felt. It utilizes a 15-oz. Ferrite magnet, putting the entire speaker’s weight at a light 3.3 pounds.
The speaker itself is rated to support a power handling capacity of 20W. As a result, this speaker is a little more quick to overdriven break-up than many of Eminence’s other offerings on the market.
With a frequency range of 100Hz to 5.5kHz, the GA10-SC64 Alessandro Signature is impressively balanced without much of a region bias. The speaker has a fair amount of punch in the low end, maintains warmth in the mids, and has a decent amount of sparkle in the treble range.
For the most part, genres that utilize more of a clean tone will benefit the most from this vintage-voiced 10” speaker. Genres like classic rock, country, and jazz are all well-suited to this model.
Plus, for the price, the GA10-SC64 Alessandro Signature is hard to pass up for the sound it provides compared to pricier offerings on the market.
What To Look For When Buying A 10-Inch Guitar Speaker
Buying a speaker to put in your amplifier or speaker cabinet can seem like an extremely daunting endeavor. Not only is the purchase a sizable investment, but it’s also kind of a crapshoot as to whether the speaker you choose will do everything you’re looking for.
Nevertheless, keeping the following few basic things in mind can help to ease the process. Your ears will still need to be involved, but at least this way, it reduces the overthinking that can often come with the territory.
What’s The Difference Between 10-Inch And 12-Inch Speakers?
You might be wondering what the difference is between 10” speakers and 12” speakers, especially if you’ve never dabbled in speaker modifications. Aside from their obvious size difference, these different sizes share some similarities but are wholly different to a certain degree.
Because of their size, 12” speakers tend to cover more of the tonal spectrum of the guitar. The bass and treble ranges of the EQ are usually a bit more expanded.
10” speakers, on the other hand, are quite a bit more focused. This is because the frequency range is usually a fair bit smaller than what is provided with a 12” speaker.
In particular, the bass frequencies are often a fair bit more punchy without much of the flabbiness that can be heard with 12” speakers. Likewise, the treble can be either more pronounced or slightly subdued, with the majority of the focus centering on the mid-range frequencies.
That’s certainly not to say that one size is better than the other by any means. Some amplifiers come equipped with 10” speakers while others are equipped with 12” speakers.
Can I Use 10-Inch And 12-Inch Speakers Interchangeably?
There might come an instance where you feel like the sound qualities of a 10” speaker may suit you better than what is provided with a 12” speaker. Or, maybe you’ll find that the opposite is true.
Regardless of your position, you might be wondering whether you can use a 10” speaker in an amp that originally had 12” speakers (or vice versa). To put it simply, it has been done, but it often isn’t without slight modifications.
The reason for this is that the mounting holes for 10” and 12” speakers are quite different. In order to ensure the best fit, you will want to look into getting a modified baffle, which will have the appropriate hole size for the speaker you are trying to use.
However, if you just want to replace a 10” speaker with another 10” speaker, no such additional purchase is necessary.
The biggest thing you will need to be aware of when buying a 10” speaker is its impedance. All amplifiers have their own impedance requirements, which usually equate to either 8-ohms or 16-ohms.
Likewise, speakers tend to come tuned for either 8-ohms or 16-ohms for this purpose. Always make sure that what you’re putting into your amplifier or speaker cabinet is compatible.
Perhaps the easiest way to check this is to either inspect the amp’s manual or to look at the speaker that is already in your amplifier. Many amplifiers will also have a clear indicator labeled at the back of the unit to ensure you don’t replace the speaker with the wrong impedance.
Once you have an idea of the impedance you need, it’s time to think about its construction. All speakers utilize different materials in their design, which play a significant role in the sound they produce.
One of the biggest areas of concern is the type of magnet being used. Some guitarists prefer ceramic magnets while others are content with Ferrite or Alnico.
These magnets can add quite a bit of weight to the speaker, which can, in turn, make the amplifier/speaker cabinet heavy. Some guitarists do not care about weight, especially if the difference is negligible.
The biggest thing you will obviously want to be aware of is the kind of sound the guitar speaker makes. This should seem like a no-brainer, but the reality is, it isn’t always so easy to know what a speaker is going to do for you.
Most music shops do not have these speakers available on hand for you to try out. Plus, YouTube videos will only go so far in conveying the minute and complex details of a guitar tone through a specific speaker.
The reality is that the combination of your own personal gear is going to have the greatest impact. In other words, the speaker of choice combined with your amplifier, guitar, and pedals could sound completely different than the same speaker with different gear.
Replacement speakers aren’t cheap, and unfortunately, most shops do not accept returns on speakers. This means that you need to be absolutely sure of your purchase ahead of time.
Alternatively, you can purchase speakers used for a discount. If you don’t like it, you can always resell it on the used market.
Best Brands For 10-Inch Guitar Speakers
Let’s face it, without a map, you’re going to get a little lost, no matter what you’re attempting to explore. When you’re considering the purchase of a 10” guitar speaker, it’s best to be aware of the established brands in the industry.
Fortunately, when it comes to guitar speakers, there are only a few that you really need to know about. The following companies all have some of the best reputations to be found in this specific niche.
Celestion is one of the most famous speaker manufacturers in the industry and is known for its iconic British tone. Many of the biggest names in rock and roll history have opted to use Celestion speakers exclusively, which has only made the company that much more legendary.
Many of the speakers in Celestion’s lineup are considered the industry standard by which others are measured. Few companies have enjoyed the tenure of popularity that Celestion has had since the 1950s.
Eminence is an American speaker company that was founded in 1966 by Bob Gault. The company produced speakers exclusively for Ampeg and has since become one of the world’s leading speaker manufacturers.
While Eminence is known for its American speaker voicings, the company has done a fantastic job of diversifying its products. Speakers with British voicings and vintage characteristics can be found alongside Eminence’s traditional American-voiced offerings.
Founded in 1927, Jensen has played an important role in the development of speaker amplification, especially where the electric guitar is concerned. In fact, Fender used Jensen speakers exclusively during the company’s golden years with Leo Fender still at the helm.
Today, Jensen is still extremely relevant and highly sought after for the vintage tones that they provide. Guitarists seek these speakers out when they want their amp to take on characteristics from those golden Fender amplifier years.
Top 10-Inch Guitar Speakers, Final Thoughts
When it comes to shaping the tone of an electric guitar, a simple speaker replacement can make the most difference. Plus, it can be good fun (albeit a bit expensive) to experiment with different speaker pairings to craft a tone that is uniquely yours.
If you needed a sign that it’s time to dust off that old amp that sounds a little less than desirable, here it is. A new speaker could make that amplifier sound better than you could have ever imagined.