Looking around for a cab matching my little Marshall DSL1HR I couldn’t find a compact one with a descent speaker and for a reasonable price. At certain point an idea came to build my own cab. I was set on target in no time…

Disclaimer: it is far from perfect and it may be the ugliest looking one, but it still feels good to build one yourself :). This article contains links to Amazon and Thomann. I will receive a small commission which would help running this site. Your help is much appreciated!

Initial idea

OK, so what do you do when you get your hands on a cute little Marshall head and you want to get a small cab for it? Well, if you don’t want to “go wild” and get a huge cab stuffed with 12 inchers (ehm, for 1 Watt head, are you in the right department?), the problem you will face is that there are not many 16 Ohm cabs in the 10 inch category (8 inch does not suit Marshall, but if you like the DSL1CR may be spot on, although not many stores seem to sell them anymore). The closest match I have found was Blackstar HT110, but it seems that are also not sold anymore and the Celestion G10N-40 speaker in it does not seem to get raving reviews (and it is cheap which is rarely a good sign).

Looking around I have quickly settled on the Celestion G10 Greenback as a good match for blues / classic rock tone well matching Marshall. It is pricier than the G10N-40, but hey, we’re up for the real thing, aren’t we? And unless I would go to a multi-speaker setup there isn’t huge choice of 16 Ohm 10 inch speakers anyway.

So the next step was to decide how to get things going. I spotted a used Greenback in a country nearby 🙂 for almost half of the price, which deserved a nice trip on a motorcycle Sunday morning, so that gave me the main component. Then I spent some time drawing and calculating the sizes and looking at possible constructions. I was inspired by this article for a rather simple and elegant construction, but then spotted this one for the “proper” construction of cabs. You can guess which idea was more appealing. Having no prior experience with woodworking on that level I spent several days watching videos on “finger joints” (ok, tried “dovetails”, but that’s totally out of my league for the moment, at least one half-smart decision made) and different techniques. By the way, this video gives a very easy and hands-on way to make nice “finger joints”, but be sure to have the proper “bit” for the router. I burned my fingers on ordering “green” 15-piece set from Bosch, just to discover that it does not have the correct bit (TIP: the “white” 15-piece set or even cheaper 6-piece set has the right one for the job).

Finally, if you’re into “calculating the best volume for the cab” thing, see this article from Celestion (a and this reprint) who have enough autority for me to stop worrying about the thing.


I have settled on the 400 x 400 x 300 mm “almost cubical” dimensions. After trying some samples of a pine wood I concluded it was too soft and flexing even in my hands. While not extremely important for low volumes I suspected it won’t be strong at all. So at the very last moment I went to a DIY shop and got myself 4 pieces of 18 mm thick plywood. For the front and the back I already had 2 pieces of plywood cut for the size (362 x 362 mm, with a small gap for the optional cloth for the front and “just in case”).

Finally I have decided to get “as rigid as I can get it” and setup an “inner skeleton” to make sure it will not flex under a moderate load. I took two 27 x 27 x 2700 mm pine planks to cut them and build internal “skeleton” to make things more rigit and have something to attach the front baffle and the back onto.

As for the tools, I used

  • Router (for round hole, ideally for finger joints)
  • Drill
  • A small circular hand saw
  • Fretsaw (if everything else fails…)
  • File with fine and rough edges

The making of…

OK, the initial cut into the sides and front was made in the store. That was easy and reasonably professional. Now the details. I had two major challenges: the round hole for the speaker (my last attempt to cut a hole by hand was so miserable I never wanted to attempt again) and the finger joints.

Read on…

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