Did I Make a Mistake Getting the JCM 2204 50 Watt ? / Speakers?

Discussion in 'Marshall Amps' started by BeatleBug72, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. BeatleBug72

    BeatleBug72 New Member

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    Looking for that Jimmy Page clean mid-range grind from the film The Song Remains the Same, not record - (and yes, I know he used a Plexi and had his Paul modded) / Steve Jones Never Mind The Bullocks grind (and yes, I know, he used a Fender Twin with a Custom Paul). I want to get in the ballpark of these sounds if possible, but I'm afraid I have the wrong head and DEFINITELY the wrong speakers (1960B 4 X 12 with G12 T - 75's which are garbage IMO). Here's my set-up, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Guitar: 2001 Les Paul Standard with Alnico 2 PU's. If you have alternative pick up suggestions (Whole Lotta Humbucker, PAF's?) or Capacitor Suggestions (which I heard make a big difference) please feel free. My real concern is:

    JCM 2204 50 Watt from the 80's - I've read that this is more of a metal amp. That's what I'm not going for. I'm wondering if I should have saved up and gone for a Jubilee or JTM 45, even a 2210 - it's that classic, relatively clean grind with that mid-range hump that I'm going for. Is this true? Can anything be done - it simply has no clarity and is muddy, no matter what is done through adjusting knobs (pre-amp, master vol., gtr. vol., drive pedals MXR). This brings me to my next question concerning speakers. I've done a considerable amount of research, but seem to be going down a rabbit hole of more questions. Once again, any suggestions would be really appreciated.

    Speaker Replacement Options for the G 12 T - 75's

    1. Two Alnico Blues with Two G 12 M's - I know that the Blues are louder and more aggressive than the GB's. I've also heard the The Blues can blow out a 50 Watt Head - is this true?
    I love the blues because they cut and grind, even if they are a tad aggressive. Perhaps the combo with the G 12 M's could temper it a bit (they're creamy). Is this combo possible? Will it sound unbalanced since the blues are louder?

    2. Investing in Scumbacks or Webers but which ones? Honestly, I prefer the Alnico blues and G 12 M's after hearing a comparison between Scumbacks and G 12 Heritage and G 12 M's on YT, but I may be missing out on something here because better, more experienced players than me rave about them.

    3. Two G 12 M's and Two G 12 Heritage - I've read conflicting reports on whether they jive together.

    4. Four Heritage?

    Thank you and once again any help would be appreciated.
    BeatleBug72
     
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  2. El Gringo

    El Gringo Well-Known Member

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    This is what I use which works for me and gets me in the ball park for what you are talking about . Gibson Les Paul loaded with ThroBak MXV-SLE-101 Plus pickups with A5 magnets which give you a nice mid range beast of a pickup www.throbak.com A2 magnets to my ears are too much on the treble side . Next a 50's wiring harness with 500k pots and Bumble Bee paper in oil caps wired in the 50's vintage style which gives you more tonal variety . I like the Marshall 2555X amp into the 2551AV cab loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers which are so well suited for a nice mid range tone .
     
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  3. What?

    What? Well-Known Member

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    What year is your 2204? I'm just learning something about classic Marshall amps myself other than 'plexi'. I have read over and over that the late 70's JMP's / early 80's JCM's are nearly the same amps but running different voltages and that later JCM's weren't so great (1986 and later). Just things I'm reading around the net.

    I think the Marshall sound I'm looking for is a JMP. My DSL isn't doing it for me.
     
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  4. EndGame00

    EndGame00 Well-Known Member

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    You could swap two of your T75’s with a pair of G12M or H...

    you’re fine with the PU’s you have.. Is it a Seymour Duncan Alnico II HB (not the slash variant)... For PAF style, you could go with SD 59’s or a Seth Lover....
     
  5. John BNY

    John BNY Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Interesting. I used to own a 1990 2204 50 watt head. I ran it in cabs with T-75s as well as V30s, and I don't think I ever got muddy tones, or tones lacking mids. Are you running the amp at a decent volume?
     
  6. Dwayne Eash

    Dwayne Eash Active Member

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    The 800 is definitely more of a rock amp, and has been voted top rock amp in guitar magazines. You start to get into metal gain range with the 900s, maybe silver jubilee, and DSL's etc.

    On the cleaner "low input" "side", it's almost a different channel with one less gain stage than the hi input side. So "if" you have the all tube path variety of JCM800, like no transistor channel switching, plus some diode clipping distortion added, "then" I believe you have a similar circuit as the super leads,,, pre-amp or power amp. I forget which.

    But the JCM800 is kinda similar to the superleads, but with master volume, and an extra gain stage added to the high input channel. Now JMP's, which is the same circuit as (the all tube path) the JCM800'S, were the first amp's after the plexi's, with a master vol "and" gain vol.

    So I although I could be mistaken, I believe the two amps, the super leads and the JCM800, although quite different amps, share some legacy design history.

    ~~~

    To make it sound more super lead or plexi, should first turn the preamp gain to around zero!

    Then set the MV very high around 2/3 to nearly max, to get the power section well saturated, and adding more lively "classic" power tube overdrive, to the mix. Then just add gain to adjust the volume to taste.

    So I believe you can get close to super lead tones and feels out of a JCM800, but you should dial that with the MV cranked way up.

    Doing so lets it sound more like a super-lead, but you can also back off some of the power amp, dial in a bit more of the preamp, for more of a slightly more modern and controllable sound.

    Or add a decent power attenuator, to regain better control, of the louder MV volume. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
  7. RCM 800

    RCM 800 Well-Known Member

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    You might try cranking up the low input channel and hitting it with a boost or an OD set for clean boost.
     
  8. Jethro Rocker

    Jethro Rocker Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    A 2204 should be bright as all through pretty much anything. Any mods to the amp? Bright cap been snipped? It shoild t be muddy at all.
    The 2204 without an OD really isnt a metal amp.
     
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  9. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    The only difference between the jcm and plexi is he input the jcm has a cascade gain stage . Jimmy page has his own tone that amp had a lot of mods
     
  10. Kinkless Tetrode

    Kinkless Tetrode Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the 2204 is bad choice. It will be close to a plexi with out going into the rabbit hole of high power attenuators or playing at insane volume levels because of the master volume.

    You may be able to trade it for a Studio Vintage 20 and come out money ahead, though. The SV20 is a plexi circuit that you can get into the sweet spot much easier in the real world. It will also accept different power tube types, such as KT88s often reported used by Page in his live rig, by just plug in and play. You can also use a less expensive attenuator such as a Weber Mini Mass without too much problem. It can also be run at 5 watts.

    As for speakers, I'm pretty sure you want the G12H types for Song Remains The Same film.
     
  11. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

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    IME the best solution is a juiced early/mid 70s JMP or a 1987 run through g12h30s, but I would imagine most NMV Marshall’s will do the trick. Here is a clip of a 1975 JMP modded for KT88 tubes—I think that does make a difference once the amp is breathing:



    I love the 2203/4 series but yeah it’s not quite the same KERRRANG. It will work—here is a clip with the newer SC20:



    In the end, it is really impossible to get that power without volume.
     
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  12. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Heres how to make this work, keep your preamp no higher than 5, throw a TS9 clean boost in front, this will get you closer to what you want.

    Did you just get the amp? Maybe a fresh set of tubes and a bias would make a difference.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
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  13. Dwayne Eash

    Dwayne Eash Active Member

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    As for speakers, I bought a pair of scumbacks and love them. But I also like Ted Weber and have not heard what he has.

    The scumbacks are sooo, nice, fat and the character, great tone, responsive, early on I sometimes felt like new sneakers, super grippy on clean wooden gymnasim court. Kinda hard to explain, grippy and responsive, lively, but also organic and full sounding.

    Very expressive at first, and then mellows nicely over time, less grippy and bright, and for some, it gets perhaps soft or breaks up early. I mostly play rock at 3-4 max on the MV on my 50watt JCM800 here at home, and that's quite loud.

    So I'm sorta "safe", but looking to get a reactive power attenuater, like one of Weber's units as I feel like could easily blow my speakers if I get carried away with the volume.

    ~~~

    These early greenback clones most were at 20 and 25 watts each, were expected to be used in 4-12 cab's. So it also matters alot, how many you use and what sized amp you have. I should be using 4 instead of 2. But so far, I just bought one 75hz, and one 55hz, Scumbag speakers, to fatten the sonic sweet spot, and I love em.

    I would go with the new Celestion M's for less than 150 each, but you should need 4 min at 25 watt. I think a V30 might be ok too, a bit more controlled and modern, tighter, but similar to greenbacks.

    Maybe try out different cabs with different speakers, to get a better feel for what works better for your guitars and your effects and playing style, in the long run.

    It's not an easy task to discern speaker and cabinet differences. But they do make a noticeable difference. Best wishes!
     
  14. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like someome has tried to tame your 2204. They are not muddy. 75s (at least the pair I have are pretty bright.
    Open it up and take pics of the preamp and gain pots and jacks.
     
  15. Dwayne Eash

    Dwayne Eash Active Member

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    Great suggestion. The new little versions of the old classics are really good reissues of the old sound, but in a smaller package, and more affordable price.

    The studio plexi, is nearly the same as the original but,,, perhaps with a bit of glassy 18watt bluesbreaker goodness mixed in. Really nice but almost the same.

    You get 5 and 20 watt power selection modes, so I believe you can crank the power section into saturation, without needing to buy a master volume mod, or a power attenuator. Although power attenuators seem nearly compulsory for non MV amps like a plexi. 5 watt plexi should still be loud enough for home and most band practices, then just flip to 20 watt mode for performances and your good.

    The studio JCM800 is nice too, and includes an effects loop. But it's not foot switchable to turn it on and off. There's a little button in the back of the amp, that takes the effects loop out of the circuit.

    They say it's 5 watt mode is a bit quieter than the Plexi studio. But I think that's a credit to Marshall, as that's the nature of a Plexi beast, hehe, they are quickly fierce and powerful, over driven power amp, amps. Handle with joy and care.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
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  16. scozz

    scozz Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey John, this has nothing to do with your post,...but,...I notice you're not listing your Harley Benton guitars in your sig?! Are they not worthy to be listed with all the great guitars you own?! LOL !!! :fever: :fingersx::fingersx:


    ((Just joking with you buddy!:agreed: :cool:))
     
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  17. Crikey

    Crikey Well-Known Member

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    Dude. That amp will get those sounds all day long. Don’t forget so much studio processing involved and multilayered tracks
     
  18. Mitchell Pearrow

    Mitchell Pearrow Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Welcome to the forum
    Lot of great suggestions so far.
    I have nothing to add.
    Cheers
    Mitch
     
  19. royslead

    royslead Well-Known Member

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    Personally, and not from an owner, but yes- I think you have the wrong amp. Although not what I consider a metal amp, the 800's gain has to be almost neutered to get the tones you're after. If you are starting with an amp with too much gain, for your needs, you'll never be able to open it up (level wise) and let it breathe, and be happy with the tone. I would look at an earlier model, and then push with a pedal to get the drive tones you are after. Forget a Jube- that has even higher gain.
     
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  20. clutch71

    clutch71 Well-Known Member

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    What you have should be fine. Something is off with the amp. I'm not a fan of 75's by themselves but they pair with other speakers well. I've liked them with G12H 30th Anniversary or Marshall Vintage speakers.
     
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