Marshall JCM 800 2203 50 Watt..???

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by Neal Daniels, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Neal Daniels

    Neal Daniels New Member

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    Hi everyone,
    my first post here.

    I just bought this on reverb...
    I have some time to back out of it, but can you guys let me know your thoughts?
    This guy said it belonged to Ric Ocasek...
    I know Marshall never made a 2203 50 WATT... but this guy said it was specially made for him.
    He originally listed for $15,000........ I just bought it for 2k.
    Anyone have input here?
    Please let me know!!

    Here's what he said in the description!

    Up for grabs is a Marshall JCM800 2203 50w previously owned by Ric Ocasek and Syncro Sound. I know what you’re thinking: there is no such thing as a 50w version of the 2203. Ric, stubbornly, wanted a 50 watt version of his 2203 for the Heartbeat City recording sessions. After talking with Ric about this around mid 2012, he explained there was much back and forth with Marshall over this particular amp. He had sent back the first couple of 50w amps because they didn’t sound right. To his ears, the 100w 2203 had a certain “clack” that the 2204 models couldn’t provide. It’s to my knowledge that there is no difference between the actual circuitry but, never the less, Marshall delivered a “2203 50w” version to Ric. Safe to say this is likely the only 50 watt JCM 800 labeled as a 2203 model on the planet. After the Heartbeat City sessions, Ric said he shipped this amp back to Boston where it lived until the studio's final ‘closing’ in the early 90s. I cannot confirm it was used on any specific recordings after Heartbeat City, but many artists tracked at Syncro Sound after 1984 including Ric, Benjamin Orr, Elliot Easton, Greg Hawkes, Peter Wolf, Nine Inch Nails, Iggy Pop, Ministry, Alan Vega (Suicide), New Kids on the Block, Cyndi Lauper, and many others. It was most likely used for some sessions.


    Please note, I do not have a COA for this item. I did reach out to Ric a few years ago about getting a COA for the JCM 800 along with the Prophet 5 I also own (and plan to list soon) from Syncro Sound. His response to my request was that he would prefer to buy them back from me. The line went cold after I declined to sell them back to him, understandably.


    As for the amplifier itself, it’s in great shape inside and out. It is also technically an export (US) model with EL34s, which is quite odd as the US models were fitted with 6550s. I did have the electrolytic capacitors updated by one of New York’s finest amp builders about 10 years ago so there is no risk of failure. Cosmetically there is one small ding on the back of the cabinet and small wax stain from a candle (both pictured). It has lived in a studio setting it’s entire life and it has been well maintained. To my knowledge, there are no modifications to the amp.
    Check my feedback and buy with confidence. I have sold a number of rare and/or artist owned gear here on Reverb over the years. If you have any questions hit me up.
     
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  2. Mitchell Pearrow

    Mitchell Pearrow Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum brother, I really have no input on this matter.
    First I have ever heard of anything like this.
    Cheers Mitch
     
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  3. Filipe Soares

    Filipe Soares Well-Known Member

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  4. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

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    A pessimist would say that with the recent passing of Rick every thing gets labeled and for sale as once belonging to him.
    Cannot the seller's claims be verifiable thru Marshall directly? Presume the serial # is available to you.
    Presume you have several pictures if the innards?
    Post 'em here. Many tech oriented members here will be able to tell you what's what.
    BP
     
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  5. Neal Daniels

    Neal Daniels New Member

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    I'm trying to post pictures but keeps saying file is too big.
    And I can't post a link yet because I haven't been a member for longer that 2 days...
    If you type this in on google, the REVERB link will pop up.

    Marshall JCM 800 2203 50 Watt Previously Owned by Ric Ocasek / Syncro Sound
     
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  6. Neal Daniels

    Neal Daniels New Member

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    I did email Marshall actually, they weren't very helpful, as they couldn't verify that this belonged to Ric, obviously.
    They did say this..

    USMC - Marshall Service
    12:56 PM (2 hours ago)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Hello,
    A 50 watt would have been model 2204. We have seen instances when a product was mislabele, like 2204 accidently labeled as 2203 on the back or a 2204 labeled as a 2203. Nothing deliberately made this way or that we would have any records for. If the amp has two power amp tubes, it’s a 50 watt. If it has 4 power amp tubes, it’s a 100 watt. Wish we could provide more info for you but its really this guys word vs anyone else’s.
     
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  7. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

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    All you have to do is resize the pictures.
    Why did you buy it anyway.? As investment, one presumes?
    BP
     
  8. Neal Daniels

    Neal Daniels New Member

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    As an investment yes, but also always wanted a JCM 800 from the early 80's.
    This seemed like a great looking piece in great condition, with a bit of history behind it. Well, as this guy says.
    Again just type this on google to see the reverb listing.

    Marshall JCM 800 2203 50 Watt Previously Owned by Ric Ocasek / Syncro Sound
     
  9. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Use the resize option in MS Paint and post the photos that way.

    The 2203 and 2204 have identical preamp sections, but the power amp sections have certain model specific characteristics that cause them to sound different. The plate loading is greater with four power tubes and the power transformers have larger inductance values. This makes the 100 watt units more focused than the 50.

    To make a 2203 in a 50 watt version, that's not just a rebadged 2204, is an interesting concept and I'd like to know how that was done.
     
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  10. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

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    I checked it out on Reverb. Pictures of the cosmetic outsides are nice but I think you really need to see the insides.
    BP
     
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  11. plexilespaul

    plexilespaul Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    so based on that he priced the amp so high?Its simply a 50 watt jcm 800 no mystery there ...even the case shell has no vents typical for a 100 watt head and the sticker on the back says 50 watts mark 2.
     
  12. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Pretty strange. It does show 2203 and 50 watt but really, a 2203 IS 100 watt. A 50 watt is a 2204.
    Seems like Marshall was kind of helpful as they stated basically it doesn't exist. Someone literally could have re whited over the sticker and wrote 2203 in there.
    But it coild be legit. Either way it's still a 2204 IMO.
     
  13. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    [QUOTE="plexilespaul, post: 1883166, member: 19110"

    so based on that he priced the amp so high?Its simply a 50 watt jcm 800 no mystery there ...even the case shell has no vents typical for a 100 watt head and the sticker on the back says 50 watts mark 2.[/QUOTE]
    Yeah, the actual Marshall printing etc would show it to be a 2204. Only that plaque shows 2203. Serial number?
    Also why wouldn't seller sell it back to Ocasek when he wanted it?
     
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  14. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

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    PLP ...if there were never any 50W 2203 made then that is the mystery no?
    BP
     
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  15. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Welcome to the Forum and congrats on your one-of-a-kind amp!!! Cant wait to see the pics and I am following this Thread for sure!!!
     
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  16. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it was modded in such a way as to reduce the output from four tubes to 100 watts? Adjusting the plate voltage downward could accomplish that.

    Without photos of the internals, there's no way to know what's different about this amp, if anything.
     
  17. Gunner64

    Gunner64 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The story was ric had it modded from his 2203 right?.if that's the case the amp would have 2 empty tube socket holes in the chassis..and 100 watters had vented headboxes..

    I did see that on reverb and the first thing I though of was that story was b.s... and that even if the story was true it's kinda sickening that someone was trying to profit almost immediately after Rics passing..selling a 50w 800 for 7 times its actual value...I guess you got a deal because when I first saw it it was 15k..then 7500..now you got it for 2k...the seller sure dropped the price quick. Which seems kinda strange as well.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  18. Gutch220

    Gutch220 Well-Known Member

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    don't go by the handwritten label on the back......anybody can write whatever they want. I have a 2203 with nothing written on the label.

    How many power tubes does it have?
    So Ric wanted a 50w jcm800 with the same circuit as a 2203, just halved power?.... Is this even possible. Maybe they just sent him a 2204 but called it a 2203 just to pander to him?

    Here's how the conversation went:
    ring......ring.......ring......

    Marshall: Marshall Amps, how may I help you?
    Ric: (slightly intoxicated) Hey you guys, you wanna make me a 50w amp that's a 100w amp but only 50w, but call it 100w?
    Marshall: (whispering while covering mouth piece on phone with hand) Guys, it's Ric again, I think he's been drinking (talks into phone) Hi Ric, yea, we got your messages, no problem, we'll send one right over.
    Ric: well good, that's about more like it I would say. You guys know what I....
    Marshall: Ok Ric, goodbye Ric, time for bed now, goodbye. (grabs a 2204, scribbles out the 4 and writes a 3)
     
  19. marshallmellowed

    marshallmellowed Well-Known Member

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    Without any certified documentation, it's basically worth the same as any 2204 (IMO). Anyone wanting a 50w 2203, just pull 2 output tubes (2 inner, or 2 outer) and rebias.
     
  20. Neal Daniels

    Neal Daniels New Member

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    Yeah, I totally agree.
    F*ck this guy, I'm turning it down and bailing.
    I'll wait for a more legit early 80's 100w.
    Thanks, guys, this was fun.
     
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