I forgot how GLORIOUS a healthy 2203 sounds like...

dro

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The boutique amps as well as larger manufacturers all claim, this am as the X sound. Or that one has the Y sound, Or that one is patterned after the Z amp. (X,Y,Z) all stand for .
Marshall, Fender, and VOX. I was always stuck with just two choices at my local store. One was Fender which did what it did well. and The other was a (Meh) attempt at M/V tones. people try to save a dollar by spending a dime. But after spending 10 dimes you are left with 10 amps, nobody wants. And you still have to spend the dollar. I know there are those who never can find it in their budget or can't justify spending the "dollar" on an amp. Some can't tell the difference. I wish I was one of those. But once you've played the real thing, for any length of time. You start to know the difference. There is a reason the records from the 60's, 70's, and 80's sounded so good. Those guys were playing the originals.
 

79 2203

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Totally agree. I've owned a fair few Marshall inspired amps that just couldnt match the real thing. My vintage 2203's have a complex growl, presence and punch I just don't hear with other so called 'Marshall killers'
 

MarshallDog

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I love my JCM and JMPs but I will say the Dr Z MAZ JR NR and the Friedman SB 50 are right up there as close in an awesome comparable tone to the JMPs and JCM as you can get IMO. They do a better job at it then Marshalls own new amp lines do...excluding reissues which there is still some tonal differences. Hey, even two identical brunette twins will have subtle differences in looks and how they perform :D
 

JacksonCharvelAddict

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Is there any difference at all between the JMP 2203 and the first revision of the JCM800 version?
 

Matthews Guitars

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Other than the wider panel, I don't believe so. Still used the same transformers, ST1 Rev 202 board, and components.
 

GuitarIV

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Thanks brother. Reading your post made me smile.
Between the insanity caused by covid, riots, and that I live in a townhouse I find myself living very quietly these days. It's good to see someone is able to make some noise once in a while. I pray the world comes to its senses real soon. This "social distancing" is making me crazy. My JMP 2204 is feeling ignored as well as my '77 Superbass.

Glad for putting a smile on someones face. I am sick and tired of this whole situation as well, being able to play with my band members after 3 months again felt amazing. You only realize how much you miss it once you get back to it. We need more music in this world... real music. Played loud and proud with real instruments and amplifiers with words that come from the heart in front of people that leave their smartphones at home :)

I'd say jump on it if you didn't already have one, but that's a lot of money for an amp you basically already have. Maybe you can sell the other one?

I too own a JCM800 2203 from 1981 (Daly caps, drake/dagnall trans) and it's great, but I wouldn't go nuts to buy a 2203 from 1980. I'd buy something else I don't already own (like a Tele)

I totally get it, however I also realize what people mean when they say no 2 models sound the same. My 82 model has sweet overdrive perfect for blues and lead playing, I don't experience the brittle piercing high end others have talked about when describing their experience with 2203s.

The 81 that dude owns (hopefully not any longer soon) sounds quite a bit more aggressive... not piercing, but just the right amount of grit and dirt and grind. Low end was tight, it was ridiculous, especially considering I was going in straight with a cable, no OD.

I wanna have both of them. Heck I am already considering doing something ridiculous: bring both 2203s to live gigs, switch my cab to stereo mode, have the 81 go to one side for rhythms and the 82 set a bit louder for solo boosts to the other side so I can saturate them and still be able to solo without the need of adding an FX loop. Both amps are mint and original.

I love my JCM and JMPs but I will say the Dr Z MAZ JR NR and the Friedman SB 50 are right up there as close in an awesome comparable tone to the JMPs and JCM as you can get IMO. They do a better job at it then Marshalls own new amp lines do...excluding reissues which there is still some tonal differences. Hey, even two identical brunette twins will have subtle differences in looks and how they perform :D

Just because I love the 2203 so much I have considered getting one of the reissues for the added loop. Even if the lack the mojo of the originals, it's not a sacrilege to have one of the reissues fine tuned and modded :)


I haven't found any other amplifier manufacturer that does what a good Marshall does for me. I can try out all sorts of amps, everytime I come home or to the rehearsal space and I plug my guitar into one of my amps through my cabinets, I smile and go "aaaaaah, there's the sound, my sound"

Marshalls are like a drug. Once you get your first taste, you need MORE
 

Matthews Guitars

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If you love your vintage 2203 but want a loop in it, and you want the loop mod to be completely reversible, I have a simple solution for that.

I make a special version 2203 back panel that's made just for the Metro zero loss FX loop.

If you want the loop to be switchable from the front panel, then this kind of DPDT CTS push-pull pot can be used on the front panel, giving loop control to any control you wish to designate for the job. (Wiper element swap may be requiired, a 2 minute job.)


DSC_6363_sm.jpg




cts-push-pull-pots-dpdt.jpg
 

mkayers

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Is the 2203 re-issue just as good as the older ones or is there a noticeable difference?
 

plexilespaul

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Is the 2203 re-issue just as good as the older ones or is there a noticeable difference?
durability and tough wise I don't think so.
the differences physically comes down to transformer specs and different caps. does that translate to tone difference ? I think so... but there are those who disagree.
 

GuitarIV

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If you love your vintage 2203 but want a loop in it, and you want the loop mod to be completely reversible, I have a simple solution for that.

I make a special version 2203 back panel that's made just for the Metro zero loss FX loop.

If you want the loop to be switchable from the front panel, then this kind of DPDT CTS push-pull pot can be used on the front panel, giving loop control to any control you wish to designate for the job. (Wiper element swap may be requiired, a 2 minute job.)


View attachment 75096




cts-push-pull-pots-dpdt.jpg

That looks very interesting, good to know! If I ever get to do such a mod, you'll be the person I'll hit up :)
 

kinleyd

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So I was at rehearsal yesterday, for the first time in 3 months we played together again.

We're rehearsing in an event room on a farm and the son of the owners used to play in a band with my now guitarist.

Anyway, last week he told me how he is thinking about selling his 1981 JCM 800 2203. Cool I said, I might be interested. I told him to bring it to the room so I can try it out.

So yesterday I get there and there it was on the floor. I pick it up, take my flash light and examine a bit, all original DALY caps, looks mint, only the power amp tubes have been replaced with Tung Sol EL34Bs.

So far so good.

I connect it to my Marshall 412 V30 straight cab, set all the EQ controls on noon, plug my Orville Les Paul Custom straight in with a cable, pre amp on 8, master on 1.

I strike a chord and there it is.

It's like a choir is singing whilst God himself rises over the horizon in conjunction with the sun and proclaims "Let there be Rock my son, let there be ROCK"

I was smilling like a mad man, going crazy, overwhelmed by the sheer force of this beast, fighting with it, being rewarded with screaming notes as I dug in and gentle chords when I backed off. Flicking the pickup switch, rolling my tone and volume controls on the guitar...

I completely zoned out. I forgot. How could I. I own one.

My 82 model is mint as well but needs new tubes... one of the original EL34s has started red plating after almost 40 years of service. The next paycheck is being used for a quartett of power tubes and a tube socket bias probe. I need to have this in my life again.


It's impossible to describe if you haven't heard and felt it yourself. The bottom end was tight, the saturation was there, just enough to get into hard rock territory, no pedals required. The dynamics are out of this world. It's like you have 20 different sounds at your disposal, all you need to do is work the controls on your guitar. The gut punch that thing gives you. The master volume was barely over 1 on the dial. This things lives with volume. I only regret I didn't bring my Strat...


So I unplug it, put it back where it was and there's a bit of a silence in the room. I had my father and my best friend with me, my drummer was mute and my guitar player left the room. Dad later told me once I started playing it looked like smoke was gonna start emerging from my guitarists ears.


The guy who owns the amp walks in and asks "and, did you try it out?"

I go "yeah, sounds good, nice amps, as said I have one as well."

I try to hide my excitement, like I was even remotely able to turn my orgasm face into a pokerface.

He then tells me he's still not sure if he wants to sell it. I decide to let it be and not pressure him. He wants a good amount of cash, I want the amp. For now, I will dream about it and wait a bit. It will be mine. Sooner or later. I just need to let a week or two pass and tell him I'll give him 1100 cash for it, give or take. He'll probably haggle, if we meet at 1200 I am happy.

It will be mine.


It is ridiculous, I already own one. And it sounds glorious as well. But this particular 81 model... has some serious mojo to it.

Just wanted to share this story. If you get the chance to crank one of these beasts, do it. It feels better than sex.
Thank you for that frickin' awesome story!
 

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