Celestion Greenback or Celestion Vintage 30?
This article will outline everything you need to know about choosing a Celestion Greenback or Celestion Vintage 30. Both of these speakers are classics that will appeal to different rigs and amplifier setups. I have had a lot of experience with both of these speakers and depending on your needs will be the deciding factor. Greenback vs Vintage 30? Let’s discuss!
Celestion Vintage 30: 60 Watts – Sensitivity 100dB – Made in China
The Celestion Vintage 30 is known for having an aggressive midrange. In 1983 the Vintage 30 was born to keep up with the high-gain and high-demanding tones of rock players worldwide. The Celestion Vintage 30 is a great speaker both clean and heavy guitar tones. You can read my full article about the legendary Vintage 30 and why it’s loved.
Celestion Greenback: 25 Watts – Sensitivity 98dB – Made in China
The Greenback is a classic and has a wide appeal from rock to country players alike. While the mid-range is concerned “broad”, it’s not as aggressive as a Vintage 30 and the high end is also attenuated more. It offers a classic tone for various Genres. To my ear, the Greenback is far more scooped in the midrange.
Below is an audio comparison between the Celestion Greenback and Celestion Vintage 30 (V30).
The Best Speaker in a 1×12 Amplifier or Cabinet
For those who require a single speaker replacement, I would choose the Vintage 30. There is a few reasons why this is the better choice over the Greenback in most cases. The first reason why the Celestion Vintage 30 is the better choice is that the speaker can handle up to 60-watts. This will open up a world of opportunity for amplifiers greater than 30-watts like the Greenback.
Secondly, the Vintage 30 sounds far bigger both clean and dirty in a single 12″ speaker cabinet or combo amplifier. The end result is an amplifier tone with a thump and higher cleaner headroom than the Greenback. The Vintage 30 also breaks up far less at higher volumes so you get “more tone”.
The Greenback sound anywhere near as “big” in the mix as the Vintage 30. I had a Greenback in a Blues Junior and it was never loud or full enough in the mix. While it sounded nice and recorded really well, it just didn’t have any oomph.
Tonally, you have to choose the one that best suits your needs and if you are not a live player either speaker will be okay as long as your amplifier is not rated at a higher wattage than either speaker. If you are not sure how to find the right speaker for your amplifier please see my guide to choosing the right guitar speaker.
The Best Speaker for a 2×12 Cabinet or Amplifier
This is where things get interesting. I can absolutely say that both the Greenback and Vintage 30 sound great in a 2×12. While the Greenback suffers in a single 12″ cabinet, it can absolutely rock in a 2-speaker configuration. This push of tone is evident in the Vox AC30C2 amplifiers, for example.
The best thing about Greenback speakers is the more that is loaded into a cabinet, the better they sound and a 2×12 is a great option tonally. You get a far thicker tone overall and the nice wall of sound that is missing from the single 12″ speaker configuration.
The Vintage 30 also sounds great in a 2×12 cabinet. A great example of amplifiers or cabinets with 2×12″ Celestion Vintage 30 speakers is Fender Supersonic 2×12 Cabinet. The Vintage 30 sounds best with a closed-back amplifier. These speakers can also sound great in an open-back cabinet such as a Yorkville YCV80, Marshall 2×12, or Fender De-Ville.
Celestion Vintage 30 and Celestion Greenback in 2×12
Minus the power-handling differences. You can absolutely run a Greenback and Vintage 30 together in a 2×12 cabinet or amplifier. Replacing one of the Greenback speakers in a Vox will give you a very different vibe and it will thicken out the sound as well. Remember, you can’t go past the maximum power-handling of the Greenback.
Celestion Vintage 30 Alternatives
Being that the Vintage 30 is the most recorded speaker of all time, it’s of no surprise there’s plenty of alternatives. These alternatives are very heavily inspired by the Classic 30 or are straight-up clones.
WGS makes a speaker called the Veteran 30. This is a 12″ 60-watt British speaker that is essentially a Vintage 30 clone. I haven’t had the most favorable experiences with WGS speakers over the years so if the price is the same, go for the Celestion.
Another great choice is the Eminence Governer. This speaker is very close to that of a Vintage 30 and will sound great for higher gain tones. While this isn’t an exact clone, the Eminence alternative packs a punch.
Celestion Greenback Alternatives
If you live in Australia, you can find one of the best Greenback clones by a speaker company called Lorantz. Lorantz is known for custom speakers and their guitar speakers are the real deal.
The benefit of a Lorantz speaker is they are made in Australia and come in two different versions. Their first speaker was a straight-up Greenback clone and their later version was a high-headroom one.
While these are claimed to be a Greenback clone, I think they sound better. The Lorantz alternative feels a little bigger and it also has slightly more speaker cone distortion.
Eminence again has a very similar speaker in their range to the Greenback and it’s called Private Jack.
The Eminence Private jack is a great alternative to those who want to stick with the Eminence brand. I have had limited experience with this speaker but it’s a popular choice for anyone wanting to capture the classic tone of a Greenback.
Celestion Greenback Alternatives
If an original Celestion Greenback isn’t available, you can find plenty of alternatives. The great news about the Greenback clones is that you can find far higher-watt alternatives with a very similar sound.
Speaker Choice By Genre of Music
Below is my pick for the best speaker between the Vintage 30 and Greenback based on the genre of music.
Classic Rock: Either
Metal: Vintage 30
Blues: Celestion Vintage 30
Jazz: Celestion Vintage 30
Country: Celestion Greenback
Vintage 30 or Greenback for Metal?
This is a no-contest in my experience. Go with the Celestion Vintage 30. This is exactly the sort of music where the Vintage 30 (V30) shines. It’s not even close. For those with a single speaker amplifier, a Celestion Greenback will not handle the modern tones anywhere near as well.
Celestion Vintage 30 China or UK?
All Celestion Vintage 30 speakers are now made in China. Several years back, Celestion moved the majority of their manufacturing to China. While some speakers are still branded as being made in the UK, Vintage 30 speakers are not. The good news is that the speaker quality is still the same thanks to the physical machinery being relocated.
8 or 16 OHM Celestion Greenback or V30 Speaker?
You need to make sure the speaker you buy matches the rating of the current amplifier. If your amplifier has an 8-ohm speaker you’ll need to buy the 8-ohm version. Alternatively, if your amplifier has a 16-ohm speaker you’ll need to get that.
Putting the wrong speaker in an amplifier can cause major problems and damage to your amplifier or speaker. If you are unsure what rating your amplifier speaker is please check my guitar speaker rating guide page for more information. This list covers all the main brands from Fender, Marshall, Traynor, Boogie, and more!
Please always double-check manually as well in case your amplifier varies from the models on my page. If you are new to changing amplifier speakers please see my guide on what to know before changing speakers.