I recently spoke with Dawson Scholz, guitarist and vocalist for The Ongoing Concept, about the gear he uses while on tour. This gear review is a bit different than others I have done; however, as these guys actually build their own cabinets in order to both make transporting easier and keep the price down. The group is currently on the road in support of their upcoming debut release, Saloon. Here is what Scholz had to say.
What one piece of equipment do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Dawson: I think the biggest aspect to my sound and live show is the two guitar cabs my brother Kyle and I built. For any cab enthusiast, these things are the pinnacle of what would be considered crap. One of them buzzes really loud, the other hisses a bunch, and together you get this really scratchy, raw, twangy, homemade sound. I love it!
What about it makes it so important to you?
Dawson: When it comes to guitar cabinets, the sound is not as important to me as mobility and durability. When on tour, nothing is more irritating then having to deal with a bunch of heavy, bulky gear. I see some bands with lots of road cases to fit all their stuff in. For amps that’s great, but for guitar cabs, you increase the weight by like 40-50 pounds. That’s just making it harder on you! Plus it’s expensive. Those big road cases do have one awesome feature though; they have huge casters for easy mobility. I wanted that on my cabs. So what I did to them was put big casters on the back of them. So what we do is lay all our cabs on their backs so the grill cloth is facing upward, then we stack all our gear on top and wheel it in. Guitar cases, drums, merch boxes, amps, you name it. Between the two guitar cabs and the one bass cab, we can pretty much carry everything in with just one trip. It makes life so much easier.
What are the major pros and cons?
Dawson: The major pros to these cabs is mobility, but they are also durable. I built them with 13 ply birch (same wood as Orange cabs) so they are pretty tough. We go pretty hard on our gear when we play live so having gear that won’t break is always a plus. As far as cons, the sound is probably what lacks. I don’t have the money to go and buy the best products for them. All the speakers in both cabs are from really old crappy guitar cabs and combo amps I have had in the past. One of the cabs has a combo of two V30’s and two stock Eminence in it. The V30’s came out of some 90’s Yamaha combo amp and the Eminence came out of a cheap Marshall combo amp I had.
The speakers for the other cab I took out of an old Randall half stack. I believe they are Eminence too (even though I can’t find any model number to go look them up). It became apparent to me later though that one of the speakers was bad, so I ended up fixing that by taking a 10″ speaker out of a really cheap Kustom PA monitor I had laying around and sticking it in there. Probably not the best thing to do, but until I buy another speaker, that’s what I’m stuck with. The cab hisses like crazy from that corner. The 10″ speaker is probably blown out by now or something. I don’t really care though; I spent about $250 to make both cabs so I could care less if my sound isn’t amazing. Plus, no one really notices live anyways.
How long have you used this piece of equipment and would you ever change it?
Dawson: I built the first cab about 3 years ago and the second about 6 months ago. They have both been amazing. The first cab I kind of messed up on though and didn’t cut the back board perfect, so it doesn’t fit very snug. It buzzes like crazy when I play, but whatever. I never worry about breaking them though because if I do, I’ll just build another for like $150. The only change I’ll probably make is at some point replace all the speakers for some Celestion V30’s. Maybe someday I’ll change to an actual amp company or something, but for now, I like the satisfaction of knowing I’m playing something I built.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Dawson: For anyone touring or thinking about touring full time, don’t bring your nicest, and bulkiest guitar cab with you, it’s going to get dinged and scratch anyways. Go out and buy a cheap cab or build one yourself, put some huge casters on the back of it and make touring life as easy as possible. You will be thankful you did!
Check out the song “Cover Girl”