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You might have found yourself your dream guitar head already…
The question is, do you have a cabinet that’s going to deliver, with clarity, intensity, and power, everything your amp head can give you?
Choosing a guitar cab is not a throwaway decision. Speakers (and other components) do affect your tone, so if you want to maximize the power of your guitar sound, you should aim to find a cabinet that’s matched to your preferences and standards.
In this guide, we look at the best 1×12 guitar cabinets and how to choose one.
Orange Amplifiers PPC Series PPC112C 1×12 60W Closed-Back Guitar Speaker Cabinet
Orange Amplifiers’ PPC112C is near and dear to me, as I own the orange (as opposed to black) version and have enjoyed it for years.
This 60-watt amp features a 13-ply 18mm plywood construction, a Celestion Vintage 30 speaker (here we go again), and a unique skid feet design that gives a tighter bass response.
Personally, I’ve paired this with a Peavey 6505 Mini Head, and to me the sound is bang on. The cleans evoke the luxury of a boutique Victoria amp, and overdriven sounds are warm and highly tweakable, from basic classic rock crunch, all the way over to full on metal mayhem.
Reviewers liked the cab’s sound, versatility, quality.
Some didn’t like its “boxy” sound or higher price tag though.
Item weight: 11 lbs.
Package dimensions: 11.81 x 19.69 x 23.62 inches
PRS Paul Reed Smith MT112 Mark Tremonti 1×12 60-Watt Open Back Cabinet
PRS is obviously a class act, even when it comes to amps, and the Paul Reed Smith MT112 Mark Tremonti 60-watt cab shows it.
This closed back amp is made of birch plywood, and features a weave black grill, Celestion Vintage 30 speaker, 60 watts of power, and 16 ohms impedance.
As far as we can tell, this is a clear sounding amp with a very balanced tonal spectrum. It handles crunch and lead channels quite well too (though Tremonti’s “modern” sound isn’t exactly my cup of tea).
What buyers liked most about the amp was its clean channel and its overall quality. Some even thought it was the best mini cab on the market.
Others didn’t like that the amp didn’t provide much low-end “thump” though.
Item weight: 45.6 lbs.
Package dimensions: 28 x 22 x 15 inches
Marshall Amps M-MX112R-U Guitar Cabinet – Budget Option
Next on this list is the legendary Marshall, with a simple “black and white with touches of gold” cabinet design.
The Marshall M-MX112R-U is an 80-watt cab, and it comes with a Celestion Seventy/Eighty speaker. It’s ideally matched with a DSL20HR or DSL20CR head (though amp heads with the same basic specs should also prove compatible).
Obviously, whatever head you use alongside the cab is going to have a big impact on the tone. But to our ears, this amp has sparkly highs, along with a grungier midrange and low end (kind of typical of modern Marshall amps).
It’s Marshall, but is it worth the asking price?
Apparently, most users thought it was, and cited its beefy bottom end as a significant plus.
Item weight: 29.8 lbs.
Package dimensions: 11.4 x 19.7 x 18.5 inches
Randall RD112-V30 Diavlo Series Cabinet – Premium Option
Randall’s got this mean looking metal machine at the ready – the RD112-V30 Diavlo series cabinet.
This is a 1×12 angled baffle front loaded straight speaker cabinet adorned with a heavy-duty steel grill, dual front porting, and a Celestion Vintage 30 speaker on the inside.
Now, just so you know, we’re going to see that “Celestion Vintage 30” term come up a few times throughout this guide, but let me just say, it’s one of my favorite speakers.
This cab gives you cutting and scratchy highs with plenty of midrange and low-end thump (but again it depends on the amp head you’re using it with too). Note separation isn’t bad at all, even with your gain turned up!
Customers liked that it had plenty of headroom and enjoyed its warm tone as well.
Item weight: 46.3 lbs.
Package dimensions: 24.61 x 16.93 x 21.65 inches
EVH 5150 112ST 1×12 Guitar Speaker Cabinet
Can you wax eloquent on 1×12 guitar cabs without the mention of the EVH 5150 III 112ST guitar cab? We think not.
And while it may not be for everyone, those who love those deep, warm hard rock and metal sounds Eddie Van Halen himself pioneered will obviously enjoy this.
The amp features a Celestion G12H 30W anniversary speaker, birch plywood construction, and in addition to black, it’s available in a classy ivory design too.
And if that classic EVH “brown sound” is what you’re after, there’s no denying that this amp has got it on lock.
Reviewers only had good things to say about it, with some even saying it’s their favorite cabinet by far.
Item weight: 40 lbs.
Package dimensions: 16 x 22 x 24 inches
Peavey 112-C 1×12 Guitar Cabinet
The Peavey 112-C 1×12 guitar cab comes with tweed Tolex covering, metal corners, 16 ohms mono, rubber feet, top handle, 18mm plywood construction, 60 watts of power, and surprise, surprise, a 12” Celestion Vintage 30 speaker.
Customers thought it was a quality cab with a great sound, especially for the price.
Some said the “tweed” was apparently fake, but in this instance, and at this price, we can’t help but feel it’s more about the look (and ultimately the sound) of the amp than anything. Generally, you get what you pay for!
Item weight: 37.7 lbs.
Package dimensions: 12 x 12 x 12 inches
Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM112 60W 1×12 Guitar Speaker Cabinet
The Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister TM112 comes with a 60-watt Celestion Vintage 30 speaker, 16 ohms impedance, compact bass reflex housing, and is ideally matched with a TubeMeister head.
Together with a TubeMeister amp head, indeed, these cabs do sound amazing. They offer plenty of warmth while picking up and accenting all the subtleties in your playing.
Users liked the cab’s price and tone.
Some thought the cab was a little spendy, but to be clear, its price is middle of the road compared to cabs already introduced.
Item weight: 31.6 lbs.
Package dimensions: 20.1 x 21.6 x 14.6 inches
Fender GB Hot Rod Deluxe 112 1×12 Guitar Cabinet
The striking Fender GB Hot Rod Deluxe 112 cab comes with a Jensen C12K 100-watt speaker, grey-black vinyl covering with silver strand grille cloth, finger joined solid pine cabinet, and fitted cover.
The “GB,” in case you’re wondering, stands for George Benson. That should already give you a sense that this could be a great blues and jazz amp, which it is!
Overall, reviewers thought it was a great sounding cab with great performance.
Item weight: 30.8 lbs.
Package dimensions: 10.5 x 23.6 x 18.75 inches
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Enclosure 80-Watt 1×12 Guitar Cabinet
The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112 cab features a Celestion G12P-80 speaker and closed back construction. It is ideally matched with a Hot Rod Deluxe or Blues Deluxe, and it comes with a speaker cable and fitted cover.
As you might expect, this is not the ideal amp for hard rock and metal (although it can give you quite a bit of dirt and gain), but it’s got plenty of twang for country, blues, and even a bit of rock.
Users loved the sound of the amp, and even called it “incredible.”
Others found its tone a little muddy and didn’t think it was a quality build either.
Item weight: 43 lbs.
Package dimensions: 26 x 12.5 x 22 inches
Fender Bassbreaker BB-112 Enclosure
The Fender Bassbreaker BB-112 comes with an eight-ohm Celestion V-Type speaker, 70 watts of power, black grille cloth, and white stitched black leatherette wide handle. It fits nicely under the Bass Breaker 007 head, and it sure looks good, doesn’t it?
This is an excellent sounding cab that should work nicely for blues and other similar genres.
Reviewers thought it had a nice midrange, and a great tone.
Some were less enthusiastic about it, though, and thought it was a loud and noisy sounding amp (with hum).
Item weight: 21 lbs.
Package dimensions: 12.5 x 25.75 x 21 inches
Monoprice Stage Right 1×12 Guitar Cabinet With Celestion Vintage 30 Speaker
The Monoprice Stage Right 1×12 guitar cab might be more than enough if you’re not fussy about what you use.
This baby comes with a Celestion Vintage 30, durable metal caps for the corners, and textured synthetic layered exterior. It works with any 30W head and is ideally matched with the Stage Right 30W head.
Although it has a bit of a “no name brand” feel, the amp sounds surprisingly good, balanced, and responds well to most frequencies.
Most buyers thought it was worth every penny, and even said it was “incredible value.” We feel this is the best budget option overall.
Item weight: 36.5 lbs.
Package dimensions: 22.7 x 14.2 x 21.5 inches
Peavey 112 1×12 Guitar Cabinet
Perhaps not the best budget option, but still a worthy contender, this is a good practice amp for those who either don’t need anything fancy or aren’t picky.
And user beware, this is not the same amp as the 112-C. The Peavey 112 guitar cab comes with a 12” Blue Marvel speaker, 16 ohm impedance, 40 watt RMS, closed back, and mono input jack.
Buyers thought it was good for the price and liked its portability and quality build.
Some weren’t especially thrilled with its sound, but given the price point, you can’t be too picky, can you?
Item weight: 21 lbs.
Package dimensions: 23.62 x 21.25 x 14.37 inches
What Should I Look For In a 1×12 Guitar Cabinet?
So, we’ve looked at a variety of guitar cabs and now it’s time to make up your mind… which one should you buy?
Well, you might not be ready to make a big buying decision just yet, and we totally understand that.
There are a bunch of factors to consider, beyond the appearance and price of the gear, and it’s good to understand what to look for in an amp before diving headlong into a purchase.
So, in this section, we’ll look at how to choose a guitar cabinet.
How Do I Choose A Guitar Cabinet?
Here are the main things to consider:
- What amp head are you planning to use the cabinet with (is it properly matched)?
- What guitar are you going to be using it with?
- What is your playing style (what genres and styles do you play most of the time)?
- What sound or tone are you looking to achieve?
- Do you intend to use the amp with effects and pedals (some amps take pedals better than others)?
- Will the amp be used for practice, jamming, open mics, gigs, touring, all the above, or a combination thereof?
Now, let’s go into a little more detail.
Sound & Tone
How a cabinet sounds is going to be a big consideration (if not the biggest) for most buyers.
Guitar amps all sound a little different, and that’s kind of what makes them special. Guitarists all develop preferences over time, and while some constantly experiment and work with different amps in pursuit of new horizons, others will stick with a brand over the long haul, because it’s how they get their signature tone.
Aside from watching YouTube demos and reviews, which we can all do, another process that might prove helpful is looking to see what kind of artists utilize which amps. When you just can’t make up your mind, this is a good mental framework to adopt.
Fender? Often used by country and blues players.
Marshall? Classic amps were used by rock legends, but modern amps are more favored by nu metal and alt-rock types.
Orange? There’s a broad range of rock and metal players that prefer them.
And so, looking at who uses which amp can be a speedy way of discovering an amp that resonates with you (more on this later).
Durability & Reliability
If an amp craps out on you when you sneeze in its general direction, then it wouldn’t be considered reliable or durable, would it?
Stay at home guitarist types probably don’t have stringent demands for their amps, especially if they don’t find themselves hauling them around to different locations. The chances of an amp breaking when it stays put? Not very high.
Meanwhile, gigging, and touring types, or even players who frequently jam and play in different environments would have every right to ask more of their amp.
So, be sure to check reviews for more information on how reliable a specific amp is.
Compatibility & Workability
The main way to match an amp with a cab is by learning a little bit about amp head impedance.
What you need to look out for is measurements in Ω (ohms) and Wattage.
If an amp and cab are not well matched, you can end up damaging one or the other, which can be an expensive disaster.
A little bit of research, however, should turn up all the answers you need.
Appearance & Esthetics
Amps all look a little different, and it’s one of the ways guitarists have distinguished between different amp types through the years (especially when creating amp sims).
Most cabinets are simple in design, versus the heads, which can feature more elaborate designs (especially with a company like Hughes & Kettner). So, appearance and esthetics isn’t a major consideration.
That said, some bands like to coordinate. So, just in case.
In an ideal world, we would all have an unlimited budget to spend on guitar gear, but it doesn’t always shake out that way.
With options ranging from about $200 to $600+, there are some solid choices for every type of buyer. It’s just a matter of sorting out whatever is realistic for you, and if you can’t afford the higher end cabs when you think you might need one, we suggest saving up.
At all costs, we recommend against going into debt to buy musical gear, as it’s almost always a regrettable decision.
What Are The Best Guitar Cabinet Brands?
Amp makers have all had to up their game in recent years, and even when it comes to small and boutique amp makers, you can find some serious quality stuff out there.
That said, some of the best brands are the tried and true, and most reliable – they are as follows.
The legendary Marshall (or Marshall Amps) tops the list of classic and modern “British” amp sounds, with highly colored, but often stunning sounding amps that drove the electric guitar to the heights it has risen to today.
Players like Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and even the late and great Eddie Van Halen favored Marshall amps at different points in their careers (though some went in other directions).
If we’re being honest, though, it’s really the vintage and classic Marshall tones people are generally after, and the newer, grungier, “dimed” sounds only appeal to a certain kind of player. And we do think there are better options if that’s what you’re after.
Marshall is a highly recognizable brand, though, and their JCM series alone makes them a worth entry on any “best-of” amp list.
Marshall is mostly dedicated to the craft of making great guitar amplifiers, but they also own Natal Drums, and have a record label, studio, and live agency.
A subsidiary of U.S. Music Corporation, Randall was founded in 1970 in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, United States. Over time, it has come to be identified with luminaries like Kirk Hammett, George Lynch, Scott Ian, who all have signature series amps, and one of my personal favorites, Nuno Bettencourt (his signature amp is one of the most unique looking ones out there).
So, Randall has some great options for rockers and metalhands.
Randall manufactures amp heads, cabinets, combo amps, sound isolation cabinets, and pedals.
Paul Reed Smith
When Paul Reed Smith (or PRS Guitars) came onto the scene with their premium guitars, guitarists everywhere started saying that their guitars were “finely tuned, perfectly set up Les Paul guitars.” And we can hardly argue with that.
Since then, their presence in the guitar industry has been unmistakable. Some of their artists include John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Alex Lifeson, Mark Holcomb, and Mark Tremonti.
When they came onto the scene with their amps? Well, they proved beyond reproach again. Their amps are heartbreakingly beautiful and similarly tuned.
PRS Guitars makes electric guitars, acoustic guitars, basses, amplifiers, and other accessories.
Another company that has come to represent the British sound over the decades is Orange (or Orange Amps), originally founded in 1968, in London, United Kingdom.
Orange Amp artists include Jimmy Page, Orianthi, Deftones, and many other recognizable names.
“Warm,” “rich,” “creamy,” are just a few adjectives used to describe the sound of their amps, and I would concur that these are apt descriptions. Have a listen for yourself and see what you think.
If you’re a treble-aholic, then other amps might suit you better (like Fender), but there are still plenty of good reasons to check out what Orange has on offer.
Fender (or Fender Guitars / Fender Musical Instruments Corporation) hardly needs an introduction.
Their amps have been favored by plenty of classic country, rock, rockabilly, blues, and blues-rock players, whether it’s Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan, Brian Setzer, or otherwise.
It must be that “twang.”
And yet, if the only contribution they made to the amp world was the Bassman, they’d still be celebrated.
Fender makes just about everything guitar related – guitars, basses, amps, audio equipment, parts, accessories, clothing, and more.
Hughes & Kettner
Hughes & Kettner is one of the companies that heads up the German amp type. They’re one of the newer kids on the block (although there are plenty of other amp makers popping up now), as they were founded in 1984 in Neunkirchen, Germany.
Notably, their artist roster includes the likes of Tommy Thayer, Al Di Meola, Mike Dawes, and others. They make amp heads, amp cabinets, combo amps, acoustic amps, pedals, and accessories.
Hughes & Kettner amps generally feature stunning designs and have tones matched to their outward appearance.
We certainly can’t forget Peavey (or Peavey Electronic Corporation) when it comes to amplifiers.
Some guitarists will probably remember them for their competent starter practice amps (I certainly do), but at one point, even the master Eddie Van Halen worked with them, so that should tell you what’s on offer as you climb up the price ladder.
Peavey makes amps for guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards, and pedal steel. They also offer electric, acoustic, and bass guitars, pro audio equipment, replacement speakers, and various accessories.
Their 6505 series amps are mostly a no brainer (as they are basically 5150 heads with a rebrand due to legal concerns), but some of their classic amps are also well regarded.
Some Peavey artists include Aaron Gillespie, Ben Wells, Bo Garrett, Hank Williams Jr., Marc Rizzo, and others.
Top 1×12 Guitar Cabinets, Final Thoughts
Choosing a guitar cabinet is supposed to be fun. So, don’t get overwhelmed by the options. Instead, approach the buying process with a sense of discovery and exploration. That can take a lot of the frustration and confusion out of the equation.
It’s often been said tone is in the fingers, which is true, but the two biggest factors beyond that are 1) your guitar’s pickups, and 2) your amp. So, it’s okay to take your time with this decision. An amp is going to play a crucial role in your signal chain and overall sound.
If you’re just looking to practice and jam, a budget option will do right by you. If you’re wanting to gig and tour, though, it’s not a bad idea to consider a higher priced item.
With that, we wish you all the luck on your guitar cab hunt!
Side note, do you want to learn to play guitar songs the easy way? Learn how here – results are guaranteed!