I really enjoy learning about new builders out there. Musicians are always on the quest for finding something that can set them apart. We are a unique bunch and finding gear off of the mainstream is something fun as long as the quality is up to good standards. I don’t want to knock the popular mainstream brands out there, I’m just saying finding something a little different can be very satisfying.
Luckily in the gear industry there is a strong community of boutique builders that are starting their own businesses and trying to get their brand out to the masses. One of those builders is Carlos Macedo who owns and runs daRibeira Cabinets based in Portugal. I had an opportunity to send a few questions to Carlos to see what he’s all about. I thought you guys might be interested in what he had to say!
Before I get into the interview, check out some of these cabinets!
Talking with Carlos Macedo of daRibeira Cabinets
– What got you interested in wood working in general?
Guitar cabinet design came a bit late into my life; I wish I had started earlier. I played in some bands as a teen, later got into producing concerts and art rock music festivals where I dealt with artists’ backline and sparked my interest in gear, in particular guitars and guitar amplification. I noticed that some cabs sounded dull or boxy, specially budget cabs. I worked on some for my own playing and from that decided to produce for others.
– How long have you been working with wood, and how long have you been building cabinets specifically?
It started way back, even as a teen I built my own crappy cabinets with assorted speakers I scavenged from faulty equipment. Only very recently I started making them for sale.
– What inspired you to start your business daRibeira Cabinets?
It’s not really a full-time business, for now, more of a hobby which might grow into something more serious.
– When did the business officialy start?
Two years ago.
– What would you say makes daRibeira Cabinets stand out compared to other cabs?
I strive to use selected tone woods, namely tulip wood or ash, with nice grains that are candy for the eyes, and a thin smooth finish coupled with excellent speakers. I tend to use Jensen speakers (CN, Falcon) for guitar and Eminence (Delta, Kappa) for bass cabs. Besides obvious aesthetic features, the guitar cabs are very robust and can handle the road. All wood panels are 20 mm thick from the selected tone woods. Furthermore, these cabs have removable back panels, so the player can tune for open/closed back sound.
– When it comes to building cabinets, what are some of the most important considerations?
Wood, of course, construction design skills and speakers
– Are there any particular challenges being based in Portugal?
Yes; overseas shipping costs can inhibit sales.
– Are the woods used native to Portugal?
Yes, tulip wood and ash trees grow here, and are not endangered. I do not use exotic/endangered woods.
– Are all orders custom built? Or do you offer a line of cabinets?
I started off first with a few cabs of my own design, but for now I’m dealing with specific custom orders, such as a vertical 2×12” guitar cabinet to match a Dumble-clone head, 1×15” guitar cab, and also on a 4×12 (staggered vertically) bass cab. This is the way I prefer to work.
– Can people specify the speakers and configuration with their cabinets?
Yes, of course. Some custom orders are for cabinets that match certain boutique amp heads.
– What is the ideal cabinet specs you’d recommend for general guitar amps?
The daRibeira cabinets are designed taking into account the speaker(s) specifications and other custom requirements; some calculations are considered. The cabinet size depends on the speaker choice and power rating, so there’s no straight rule. For guitar, I prefer lower power cabinets up to 50 Watt, because that’s where you can get much better resolution from the speakers to improve acoustics. Closed/open back really depends on the style of playing. DaRibeira 112 closed cabs lend a beautiful tone to jazz guitar playing, whilst the open-back 212 can handle a Marshall head drive at full throttle.
– Do you offer bass cabs?
Yes, as I mentioned above, there’s a work in progress for a 412 that will handle 2000W. For this cab, I will be using high density maritime birch plywood.
– What are some of the general price ranges of the cabinets?
They start from 375 USD for a 112 cabinet, 600 for a 212, with high quality Jensen speakers (Made in Italy). A 412 bass cabinet can go for 900 USD.
– What is the typical turnaround time?
– What is the best way for people to contact you about purchasing a cabinet?
Either by e-mail (email@example.com) or through the daRibeira’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/daRibeira/
I answer quickly 😉