Early JBL history

From hargers–(at)–irmail.net Sat Sep 20 10:23:29 CDT 1997
From: hargers–(at)–irmail.net (Harvey Gerst)
Newsgroups: rec.music.makers.marketplace,alt.guitar.amps
Subject: Re: FS: JBL D130F Signature Series Speakers
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 1997 01:57:23 GMT
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deafe–(at)–map2.asu.edu wrote:

>Harvey Gerst (hargers–(at)–irmail.net) wrote:
>[much snippage]
>: I can’t comment on this accurately, but I believe the D kit restores the speaker
>: to a home version, while the E kit is the musical instrument cone assembly. I
>: feel I must tell you there is slightly more relief on the D130F top plate to
>: accomodate a wider variety of mounting techniques (i.e., idiots who use torque
>: wrenches to flatten these frames onto a warped baffle board).
>Harvey, you seem like the guy to ask about this. I’m curious for a
>description of what *all* the JBL speaker numbers mean. For example,
>what is the prefix letter? I’ve personally seen D, E, and K, and I’m
>sure there are more; what does this represent? I’ve seen numbers like
>120, 130, and 140; these must not be size-dependent, as both a K140 and
>D130 are 15″ speakers. Finally, what is the suffix letter? I’ve seen D,
>E, and F.

Well Hal, let me take you back to the late 50s, early 60s. JBL was a small
company with their main offices above a candy store, and the manufacturing
scattered in a number of buildings up and down the street, near Glendale, on
Fletcher Drive.

They made the following speakers;
the D130 a full range 15″,
the D131 a full range 12″,
the 130A a 15″ woofer,
the 130B (same as the 130A, but 16 ohms),
and the 150 – a 15″ woofer with a heavier cone.

The D stood for a metal dome and the A and B were for woofers of different
impedances. I don’t remember if we made a 131A. We also made a D123 (full range
pancake 12″ speaker) and the D208 and D216 (both 8″ speakers but with 8 and 16
ohm voice coils).

Fender was buying D130s for use in their Dual Showman systems, but they were
experiencing problems in surrounds drying out from outdoor use, and burnouts
>from improper mounting techniques. I wrote a memo to the president of JBL,
outlining a plan to let me design a series of speakers made specifically for
musical use and he agreed. My plan called for modifications to the D130 and
D131, plus an all new bass 15″ speaker, and a new 10″ speaker.

Since Fender was our largest purchaser, I did not want the headache of trying to
re-introduce a whole new series so I kept the D130 name for the 15″ and simply
added an F (yes, the “F” is for Fender – don’t know why to this day I did that,
but I did). Since I was making up new model numbers, I decided where possible to
keep it simple, so the 12″ (originally the D131) became the D120F, and the new
10″ became the D110F.

That left the new bass speaker. I didn’t want to leave it in the 13x range
because it was different and the 150 was already being used by our theater
woofer. The 140 was not being used, so I named the new bass speaker the D140F.

After I left JBL, I understand they came out with the black crinkle finish and
renamed them E series. The first major modifications were made in the K series,
as I understand it.

>And one other question. Can a similarly-sized frame/magnet assembly be
>reconed with a different kit? Can I take a K140D frame and have it
>reconed with a D130 kit?

I really don’t know what changes were made in the K series, so I can’t answer
that, but I’ll bet the owner of Orange County Speaker Repair can.

>If you could answer these questions, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s
>interested. Even if you can’t, any information would be interesting. 🙂

Well, Hal, I hope it was interesting.

Harvey Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio


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