1974 Super Lead slight mystery. Rear panel is thicker than standard?

Discussion in 'Let's Talk Vintage' started by Matthews Guitars, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    So I'm working a deal to get yet another Super Lead. It's a 1974 edition and it's been slightly modified, but at least this time, all the mod work is clean and professional.

    Two things about it strike me as odd.

    One, the back gold panel is too thick. It's as thick as the panels I make, about .040" thick, while every genuine Marshall metal panel I've seen so far is about half that thickness, and thus they are almost impossible to remove without bending and distorting them.

    All the markings on this panel appear to be correct. It looks perfect, aside from the added holes for the mods that have been done. The panel is just too thick and its texture is also not the same as your regular JMP originals.

    Was there any time where Marshall was known to have used thicker panels? I'm guessing it could have been a temporary thing. Maybe the original provider stopped making them the original way for a while, and Marshall went with something similar for a while until getting back to a more original style.

    The other thing that's odd is the gold trim strings. Four on the headshell near the corners, and the center stripe going down the front panel. On this one they are all (relatively) large diameter solid gold colored aluminum wire/rod. Very shiny, very gold, and like nothing I've ever seen on a factory Marshall unit.

    According to the current owner, he got the amp in the 70s from its original owner who was an engineer at a major technology company, one where an engineer of sufficient status in the company might have had access to anything needed to change this amp's details to be what I've described, if he so wanted. With full metal fabrication and printing capabilities. But he says that it's original other than the added mods.

    So, have you ever seen these unusual details on a factory Marshall?

    Aside from being well due for capacitors, (they're original and they can be heard buzzing and crackling in the amp's output) and the mods, the chassis and cabinet are in really amazing condition. It's been gigged very rarely and not for many years and has mostly been stored in a closet for the last 20 years. Which doesn't help maintain the capacitors in good shape.

    I'm looking at this one not as a full restoration candidate, but as an amp I can use as my own basis for trying out various mods since it already has some extra mods and holes in it, which are well executed.
     
  2. JTM1963

    JTM1963 Member

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    I only have my own '74 to go by but it has identical thin metal panels to my '76 and with the narrow panel gold trim strings.
     
  3. matttornado

    matttornado Well-Known Member

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    My 74 super lead appears to have the normal thin panels.
    my s/n is SLA8136F.
    It has gold string on the head case.
     
  4. Valvelust

    Valvelust Well-Known Member

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    Think they were all the same.

    Always an oddball here and there when they ran out of parts or used up old parts....
     
  5. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    I think I figured it out. The back panel is of normal thickness but the top edge of it is slightly rolled back over the edge of the chassis, so it appears to be thicker than it actually is. And it's such a shame that it has at least six non-factory holes in it because if it weren't for those holes its condition would be absolutely as new as the day it was made. Not a mark on it. Not a fleck of corrosion. Not a chip off a letter anywhere.

    This particular amp is heading into my own collection. I'm buying it from the current owner. The mods, though well done, take a lot off its potential value, and my plan for it is not to restore it but to use it as my Tone Toy. It has an extra tube socket in it, it has extra controls added, I'll just use that to make it one of the amps I want, which is an 80s style modded Plexi type. I don't see any point in tearing it down to a bare chassis to fix a few holes in it when the condition of the chassis is otherwise so incredibly clean and shiny. It has the look of an amp that has spent its life in an air conditioned house and never gigged or allowed to get dusty.

    Classic amps are like classic cars. The world needs a mix of beaters, untouched originals, hot rods, and restored ones.
     
  6. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a good plan.
    I really like the old vintage motorcyles that have not been restored or messed around with that have genuine wear, tear and dirt from being used as they were designed for not the shiny immaculate concours restorations. Sadly my BSA was too far gone and had to have the full restoration, but I try the same approach with amps too.

    Oh and do you have pics of this latest acquisition?
     
    Obi Plexi-nobi likes this.
  7. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Here are pics.

    The inside shows what I consider to be a moderate mod package. Not simple but not really elaborate, either.
    DSC_7086_sm.jpg DSC_7093_sm.jpg DSC_7096_sm.jpg DSC_7100_sm.jpg DSC_7099_sm.jpg DSC_7092_sm.jpg
     
    eastsidecincy likes this.
  8. Obi Plexi-nobi

    Obi Plexi-nobi Well-Known Member

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    The modification looks CLEAN & well-engineered in layout. NICE!
     
  9. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    The mods were done by a very good friend of mine who has been repairing, modifying, and building amps for in excess of 40 years now. He knows his business. I'd say that his mods can be up there with the best of them. He's built me a custom amp or two. Actually one that then got "edited" later, but has yet to complete its rebuild.

    To give a taste, here is what the amp he built for me sounded like in its previous incarnation. This was built in a '73 Fender Pro Reverb chassis.





     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  10. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    Looks like an extra channel with cascade that is switchable with different levels of preamp drive, looks like there was a mini toggle switch on the front to control it that was removed. Presume there is a footswitch to bring it in and out too (that looks to still be wired in)?
     
  11. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Yes, there's a functional channel switching footswitch and circuit.

    The front panel control arrangement has been modified in the following ways:

    Clean channel volume is now in the jack quadrant. So is the red/green channel indicator LED.

    Gain and master volume for the lead channel are assigned to the two normal volume pots.

    On the back there's a gain control which works by changing the ground reference resistor value, using the pot in parallel with the fixed reference resistor,
    which probably has a non stock value. (Haven't actually tried to find that.)
     

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