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Cheap Speaker Grill Cloth

By Sid of Stone Marmot

Nov. 14, 2008

Those of us who build or refurbish guitar amps and speaker cabinets often have a hard time finding speaker grill cloth. What we do find is rather expensive and usually has to be mail ordered. For example, the cheapest grill cloth Antique Electronics Supply sells is $19.95 a yard for 34 inch wide pieces.

I found this shade cloth at Home Depot and Lowe's that seems to work well as grill cloth. It is made by Easy Gardener Products. It is intended for using outdoors as a shade cloth on porches, patios, kids swing sets, etc. But it looks like grill cloth and appears to be as porous. It comes in four colors, Smoke Blue, Saddle Tan, Heavy Green, and Heavy Black, though not all stores will carry all colors.

I bought some that is Saddle Tan originally to use as covers for some bass traps I built. I ran some listening tests placing this cloth in front of speakers and noticed no more high frequency loss than I would expect for grill cloth. So I tried some I had left over after building the bass traps as grill cloth for a guitar amp I built. The amp, shown below, is made from an old late 1970's Fender PA135, dramatically rewired. The cabinet, which I built out of some scrap plywood, has a 15 inch speaker from a Fender Bassman 20 and two 8 inch speakers from a Shure Vocalmaster PA column. I painted the speaker baffle board that is behind the grill cloth black.

Figure 1 - Finished guitar Figure 1 - Shade Cloth Used As Grill Cloth On Guitar Amp

The picture below shows another cabinet I built to house some Ampeg VT22 electronics I had. It makes the VT22 essentially into an Ampeg V4. I painted the board that the cloth is mounted on white, which was not a good idea. Black would have been better as the open area is the center would be less likely to show up.

Figure 2 - Parts used to build guitar
Figure 2 - Shade Cloth Used As Grill Cloth On Guitar Amplifier Head

This cloth can be easily purchased locally, assuming you have a Home Depot or Lowe's near you. This shade cloth comes in six foot widths. The cloth I bought from Home Depot was 20 feet long and cost a little under $30. This is equivalent to costing about $2.25 a yard for 36 inch widths, costing about one ninth as much as the cheapest grill cloth Antique Electronics Supply sells. It can be bought in smaller packaged lengths, though it will cost a little more per yard than the 20 foot length packages. A Lowe's near me also sells it by the foot for $1.72 per foot, six foot wide.

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