Rola

That elusive piece of the overall equation, so many options and so little time to test them all — Celestion, Fane, Eminence, Jensen, JbL, Utah, Ceramic, Alnico, 1x12, 2x12, 4x12, 2x10, 4x10, 1x15, 2x15, 4x15, 1x18 and I'm sure there are even more!

Rola

Postby sunsmf on Mon Jun 14, 2004 2:02 pm

I'm going to have a look at a mid 70's cab with 15 watt Rola Celestions in it.

Is the general concensus on "Rola" celestions good, bad or indifferent. I understand they are not as desirable as Pre. Does Rola still own Celestion, and are all current speakers Rola's.
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Re: Rola

Postby Roy Boltz on Mon Jun 14, 2004 9:13 pm

I'm not familliar with 15 watt rola speakers!

I was surfing E-bay yesterday & saw this...
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=38075&item=3729389177&rd=1

Those speakers are not celestion, the guy states they are Rolas????

They look like old Eminence alnico speakers to me.
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Re: Rola

Postby johnnysavant on Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:58 am

First of all, all vintage Celestions are "Rola" because Rola bought the company in 1956.

Second, the company began putting "Rola Celestion" on their labels by late 1970, after they cokmbined the Rola business and the Celestion business in the same location. They never combined manufacturing, however. So, after the move Celestion continued to crank out exactly the same products they made before the move. Of course they introduced new models, phased out others, changed cone types, etc. But those things would have happened regardless of whether they moved the plant or not.

Thirdly, Rola USA was a separate and distinct company. Any speaker that has an EIA code beginning with 285 is a Rola USA speaker. Marshall never used US Rolas in their cabs. But Fender, Hammond, Leslie, and many others used Rola speakers, as well as Jensen, CTS Utah, and Eminence. Most old US Rolas are fairly inefficient, sometimes have great vintage tone, and sometimes sound pretty bad. Once in a whil you'll see a US Rola large ring magnet alnico that looks very much like a Celstion blue frame without the mag cover. These are starting to become popular. They were Rola's equivalent to the Jensen P12N. But I think people are buying them up and recoining them into a quasi Celestion blue alnico.

So, Rola Celestions ('71 and later>)are great ~30 year old speakers that have less collectable value than pre-Rolas ('70 and earlier). Pre-Rolas have some cone types you can no longer get, such as 102 003. This also makes them more valuable.

At the risk of being too simplistic (I assume most Plexi members know this stuff), think of it as sort of like the difference between a 64 and a 65 blackface Fender amp. Once CBS took over they change the name from Fender Electric Instruments to Fender Musical Instruments. Leo was still there in 1965, even though Fender owned the company. The circuitry of the amps didn't really start changing until '68 and in some cases '70. But, FEI amps are worth a ton of money. Blackfaced FMI are worth somewhat less (still a lot though), Silverfaced 68-69 Fenders that have exactly the same circuits as the original blackface amps are worth a lot less. The value difference is not in functionality, but in collectability.

If I want a Deluxe Reverb to look at and occasionally use at home and in studio only, I'll search for a 64. If I want one to play out, even take on tour, I'll get a 68...or a later one and modify it back to BF specs. I don't want to thrash a collectable amp.

I guess the same goes for old speakers. I have my collectble-amp original speakers put away, and I use different ones in my collectable amps. I don't want to blow an original--a recone delaues the collectabel value.

So, if you are restoring a pre-1970 cab that originally came with Celestions, you will have to pay more to get pre-Rolas with original cones in order to have an accurate restoration.

But, if you are just looking for great sounding speakers, Rola Celestions are fine.

The eBay seller's speakers are indeed US Rolas from 1975 (285 7534), not Celestions and, as far as I know, not stock to that cab. They may sound half way decent; it's hard to say. But they proabably are not as efficient as the Rola Celestions speakers that probabaly came in that cab.
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Re: Rola

Postby johnnysavant on Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:08 am

Also, maybe DunxB will chime in and fill in some details he may have learned when he worked at Celestion.
"Your mind is on vacation, but your mouth is working overtime" - Mose Allison
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Re: Rola

Postby Roy Boltz on Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:20 am

So Johnny; did you look at the Ebay link on my post?
Are those Rolas or Eminence?
For the sake I would know the difference from now on.
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Re: Rola

Postby DunxB on Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:34 am

I'm sure my Celestion history lessons said Rola (USA) bought Celestion in 1948, but either way it was before 'guitar' speakers ! The rest is true. The label change in 1970 was partly due to the company moving to a new site (Foxhall rd, Ipswich where they stayed til last summer) and from 70 to 74 as a general rule large 'Professional Market' speaker production (G12, G15 types) were made at Ipswich, whilst Thames Ditton continued with mainly domestic and industrial speakers. Largely the companies remained seperate, though some rola based designs did get made in the UK. Some of the old models from this period had catalogue numbers beginning 'RT', and others 'CT' (later all became 'T'). I never found any evidence to support this (many records were lost in a fire in the 70's), but I believe this may have been 'Rola Type' and 'Celestion Type' models. In Ipswich many people still call the company 'Rola'. There was also an Australian Rola making very similar speakers, but very few made it north of the equator.
Although Ipswich production was more or less identical to Thames Ditton (one of my old colleagues worked at both sites), generally the ones with the Thames Ditton address are more desirable just due to age and history.
ALL models went through changes in design and sources of parts from time to time though. remember that for many years these were 'just' speakers, and did not reach classic status til later. Nostalgia takes a while to happen !
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Re: Rola

Postby johnnysavant on Thu Jun 17, 2004 1:53 am

Yep, I stand corrected---1948. Don't know how I got 1956 in my head.
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Re: Rola

Postby sunsmf on Thu Jun 17, 2004 5:23 pm

Gyus,
Got the thread off to a dubious start. The add for the cab said Pre Rola Celestions. The speakers were in fact US Rolas. A++ info anyway. Thanks Johhny.
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Re: Rola

Postby Unit_1 on Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:33 am

just bumping this old thread cuz i found it so interesting
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Re: Rola

Postby superstar on Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:27 pm

read this:

http://www.bygonetones.com/the-history- ... stion.html

in a nutshell:

* Celestion - started in 1924
* British Rola - started in 1934
* British Rola bought Celestion in April 1947
* Company became 'Rola Celestion Ltd' in 1948
* They expanded to Ipswich in 1968, working at both factories for 7 years.
* Production ceases at Thames Ditton in 1975.

The whole "pre-rola" thing = guitar players inventing their own history based on greenback labels. :roll:
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