Rebuilding/Refinishing my Monitors, what color grill cloth to go with?
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Thread: Rebuilding/Refinishing my Monitors, what color grill cloth to go with?

  1. #1


    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Laramie, Wyoming
    ME: Jackson AT Pro
    Rig: Rivera K Tre

    iTrader: 15 (100%)

    Rebuilding/Refinishing my Monitors, what color grill cloth to go with?

    This has been an ongoing project for a while. These are my beloved JBL L220s from 1972. I've had them for fucking ever, tremendous amount of sentimental value, My Grandpa gave me them when I was 13 when he went 5.1, and he bought them directly from the JBL showroom in '72. They actually predate the modern concept of "Nearfield Monitors", for speakers that predate the nearfield era, which started late '70s/early '80s it's harder to decide what is suitable as a monitor and what is suitable as Hi-Fi since the distinction didn't exist back then. The NS-8s were originally designed as Hi-Fi speakers. The idea of some speakers being classed as "Monitors" is relatively modern and all that. Anyways, I like them for monitors.



    Anyways, being that old, a couple years ago it became apparent they needed maintenance. So I did a bunch of shit. Redid the interior wiring, redid the surrounds for the bass speaker and the radiator, etc. etc. etc. (still need to clean the glue off, as you can see, regluing surrounds is a fucking bitch, thankfully, modern surrounds don't degrade with time) Mounted them on casters as well, since these days I mount everything on fucking casters, and these are so heavy that from being moved over the years the bottom was a little chewed up. Provides some isolation/separation too.

    The second to last step was redoing the finish, surface. I originally thought it was a brown stain and the wood underneath would be lighter and "walnut" referred to the color, but the actual thick ass wood veneers are a really dark walnut. I was going to go with black because I thought they would be much lighter, but I'm kind of stumped here.

    (Edit: I actually didn't take a before picture to show how much the finish has improved, but if you need an idea this is maybe 1/4th of the sandpaper involved, 1/10th of the dust produced, 1/3rd of the Lemon Oil used and the expensive HEPA filter I had to get for the shop vac. I didn't think it would be so time consuming. I also had to get a different respirator with different respirator filters to keep "old speaker finish" out of my lungs. The moral of the story here is, if you are thinking of refinishing '70s speakers, don't. The "now picture" is a flash photo in a workshop/staining room, where they will be drying for a few days, they are somewhat darker. )



    What color? Where to get it? Are metal grills acceptable, or will that change the sound too much? Thoughts? I'm keeping the original frames for the grills, just redoing the cloth. I tried to keep everything as close to original as possible, except where deviations were needed. I'm leaning towards light tan grill cloth. They are already dark speakers in terms of wood used, so I think some contrast would be nice.

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  3. #2


    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Laramie, Wyoming
    ME: Jackson AT Pro
    Rig: Rivera K Tre

    iTrader: 15 (100%)

    The stock color is a hideous brown for reference.

    (catalog image)



    I don't want to restore it to the hideous stock color grill cloth. Even if it is period correct, the aesthetics of the '70s sucked in regards to putting hideous brown grill cloths on everything.

    Black would probably be the most inobtrusive, but since they are already dark speakers I want some contrast. Burgundy would be ostentatious as fuck. Salt and pepper probably doesn't gel. Maybe a really mellow oxblood?

    Metal mesh would be cool, but I don't know if that would affect the sound too much.

  4. #3


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Cambridge, UK
    ME: Les Paul
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    Impossible to get ahold of, so entirely useless suggestion... but I always liked the terribly garish grille cloth on old wem speakers:


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  6. #4


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Boston, MA
    ME: EBMM(s)
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    Plaid is rad.


  7. #5


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Kitchen/Laundry Room
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    Just stretch an old Manowar t-shirt over it
    Argbadh - RHLC©

  8. #6


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Boston, MA
    ME: EBMM(s)
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    Rig: Mark V / Axe-3 / Kemper

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    Just stretch an old Manowar t-shirt over it
    This is the way.

  9. #7


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Woodbridge, VA
    ME: CS USA Soloist 7
    MA: Ovation Elite Standard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy View Post
    Just stretch an old Manowar t-shirt over it
    No crackerjack clothes, though.

  10. #8


    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Laramie, Wyoming
    ME: Jackson AT Pro
    Rig: Rivera K Tre

    iTrader: 15 (100%)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Plaid is rad.

    If it's a pattern it's gonna have to be paisley.

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