Nad - 1982 Jcm 800 2203 - A Dream Come True

GuitarIV

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Hey everyone,

so it's been a while since I posted anything and I'm glad to say I'm back with amazing news. I have finally fullfilled myself a dream and got my hands on a original, unmodded Marshall JCM 800 2203 Model from 1982.

I posted a thread over at the Bareknuckle Forum where I was asking about the difference between my DSLs crunch channel and the 2203. I was dead set on getting a Reissue series because of the FX Loop and now that I own the real deal I must say I'm glad I went for it. This thing needs no pedals.

Before I get into the details, a little backstory: I was browsing the German Ebay Kleinanzeigen Site and typed in 2203... I haven't done it in quite a while since I was (and still am) satisfied with my gear, but it was one of those nights where you sip a glass of wine and browse the internet for shenanigans, so I figured hey I haven't looked those up in a while.

There it was. An ad complete with guthshots and a full description of the amp by what seemed to be a tech, 6 Filter Caps, original Yugoslawian EI Tubes, Vertical Input, Serial Number, completely serviced. 1250 bucks. Dammed.

I already had spent a considerate amount of cash that month, so I closed the website and said forget about it. It stuck in my mind however, lingering in the back of my brain. Next day I'm out with my girlfriend, the both of us already a bit tipsy and I blurt out "Would you lend me a 1200 bucks so I can get the amp I've been dreaming about since I was 18?". I got a yes as an answer. Needless to say my girlfriend is awesome. :grin:

I messaged the dude the same night, had a talk with him over the phone, he seemed genuine and nice and we chatted about the amp and the story behind it. He is an retired amp tech who serviced the Marshall and put it online for sale. It belonged to his friend from Spain, Tonky de la Peña who apparently played and toured with BB King and other great artists, he's a big name in Spain, unfortunately not really known outside of the country as it is with a lot of great artists. Link for you guys to check him out, awesome player:




So we arranged everything via phone and two days later (nice job GLS) the amp arrived from Hamburg in Vienna. I got the thing home, tore the packaging apart like an animal, seated it on top of my JCM 2000, plugged it in and started playing.

First thing I noticed, it is true what they say about the amp. This thing is LOUD. I already had the impression that my DSL was barking at me if I wasn't careful with the Master Volume control, but 0.8 on the dial and I was hit by pure volume. Like someone was trying to punch a hole in my chest. It is really hard to explain, I finally understand what everybody means when they say you gotta play one to know it. That low end... not flabby oversaturated mud, but tight and punchy. You hit the strings and it hits you right back. In an instant. In less than a millisecond. Gain? Not a lot of it. Dime the preamp and you get AC/DC levels of crunch... but it doesn't matter with this amp. I don't know what exactly is going on there... is it the Transformers and the Choke with the 6 Filter Caps, is it the simplicity of the circuit and controls or fairydust and unicorns pooping rainbows inside of it? The amp rewards you with fullness, attack, punch, harmonics. Use the volume and tone knobs on the guitar and gently caress the strings... clean. Hit it with full force and let the pick dig in, it screams. Boost it with a tube screamer and have the walls shaking whilst you riff away your Guns n Roses and Metallica material... unbelievable.

Now of course this is not a bedroom amp. It still sounds great on day practice volume levels, especially if you give it a nudge with a booster, but I wanted to release the beast. And yesterday oh boy I did. My dads mechanic has a workshop (huge hall where he repairs cars) in an industrial area half an hour drive from Vienna. Last time we where there I admired the acoustics as his little portable Bose loudspeaker was playing in the corner of the hall, so I had the idea of cranking the Marshall there. I called instantly and he said sure, drop by.

We drove out, armed with my Strat, my Les Paul, my 62 Framus Hollywood, pedalboard for booster and wah, the head and my cab with G12-65s and V30s. I set everything up, plugged in my Strat and hit my first powerchord... boom. The air hitting you in the face as the speakers push out sheer volume. Amazing. I didn't even use my pedalboard, the poweramp tubes saturating eliminated any need for a boost pedal... I could do everything I wanted by adjusting controls on my guitar and they way I picked... One moment I was doing a little clean jazzy chord run... next moment I turn up the volume and riff away... the little crowd that had gathered there was awestruck. I could only smile everytime I saw their faces as I went from squeaky clean tones to full distorted powerchords in an instant...

The Framus yielded a nice, fat, jazzy sound, something you'd hear from a ES-335, instant BB King. The Strat was quacking away, Hendrix, Steve Ray Vaughn, Knopfler... my favourite (no surprise there) was still the Les Paul. This combination is just pure heaven, if you wanna go the safe route, Marshall + Gibson equals orgasm. It was addicting. I could feel the endorphines rushing through my body as the natural reverb of the hall would strike me the fraction of a second later with a Slapback like response everytime I hit a chord and muted it... I can't find words for it. Every guitarist should do this at least once in a lifetime!

The loudest setting I had was Preamp on 8 and Master Volume on 6... and I tell you, if you do this every night for years... well it's no wonder so many musicians from the good old times are almost deaf today. But I do understand now why they didn't bother with ear plugs. This is rock n roll :grin:


So before I get to my final verdict, how does it compare to the crunch channel on my DSL? The sound is there. The DSL does a convincing JCM 800ish sound with the Crunch Mode engaged, however it feels and still sounds different. Flabbier, muddier, the punch is missing. If you put the two in a mix or play them live, you probably wouldn't notice a difference. The DSL is a good amp, I love mine and won't sell it, purely out of versatility and the more sensitive MV that let's you get a saturated tone on whisper levels. If someone put a gun to my head and told me to keep one of them I would... probably snag that mofos gun and shoot him shouting "DON'T TOUCH MY BABIES!". No but seriously, JCM 800 for me. All the way, all day.


So I do wanna say sorry for this wall of text, but I'm in love. I won't sell this amp ever. Even if I only get to crank it once a year, it's staying with me. I want my children to play it one day if they take up guitar. Sorry for only taking one picture, I was busy playing the damn thing! :lol:

Cheers and peace out!


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BanditPanda

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Great post IV, well except for knocking The Biebs and not fondling Taylor Swift !!:lol:
So great to read of such a happy and enthusiastic player.
Hope to read lots more from you.
BP
 

blue

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That's a great story, and I can relate! When I got my JMP 2204 I had the exact same experience. When you get the master to around 7, there isn't massive saturated distortion, but you don't need it! It's a different feeling entirely, and like you say, very addictive. And those amps bring out the sounds of every individual guitar you plug into them, while still sounding every inch Marshall.

Glad you're loving it, hope you get many years of joy from it ;)
 

GuitarIV

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Thanks guys, just played the baby some more at home, master at 0,5. Still sounds mouthwatering! :D

And Anitoli, absolutely! We have our anniversary next month so a good chunk of my paycheck will be spent on a fancy dinner. She's great :wub:
 

dptone5

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Wow. Awesome story and congrats!! Have the Reissue and I love it. Need to get an original someday. Sounds like yours is an amazing one!!!
 

Nmoc strat

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COngrats on the new Amp, and 1250 bucks for an 82 2203 wasnt that much.

Enjoy it.
 

GuitarIV

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DPTONE5: Yes it is one of the good sounding ones. I made sure to talk to Hanno (the tech from Hamburg) and I could just tell from chatting over phone that he was honest when he said it's one of the best sounding ones he heard. I wanted to go Reissue at first because of the FX Loop and the fact that those seem to be more consistent, but I couldn't pass this chance up. Glad I got lucky, my former bandmates JMP 2203 I played sounded great as well but had a fizzy character I didn't dig when you pushed the preamp. Fortunately no fizziness whatsoever with mine :)

Btw, are you the one that has plenty of videos on Youtube, most prominently where you're playing through your Marshalls with a sexy and sleek Jackson SL-1? If yes then you are one of those responsible for me buying the 800 in the first place, my wallet hates you, I'd like to thank you :thumb:

Nmoc: I am positive it will hold it's value, even though at this point I am 99% sure I will never sell it :)
 

GuitarIV

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Yes. Like a giant fist to the stomach. The 2203 has this "force of nature" thing going on haha :D
 

Kamanda~SD

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Welcome to the club! Man if you think 0.5 sounds good wait until you get it to....3! haha

If you got an OD around throw one infront with the dist down and the level up...it will roar!
 

Adrian R

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Excellent post!! A,properly tuned 2203 IS that Marshall sound. It's the bench mark that all other amps try to emulate. A DSL 100 with a few key mods comes very close, but a good 2203 has a slight edge yet inresponse time and clarity, but the you have not the versatility. Everything comes with a price! Congrats though man, thanks again for a entertaining read!
 

allwheelz

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He gets a sweet ass jcm 800, she gets spaghetti...:facepalm: Just kidding...enjoy the honeymoon, really nice amp you scored.
 

dptone5

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Btw, are you the one that has plenty of videos on Youtube, most prominently where you're playing through your Marshalls with a sexy and sleek Jackson SL-1? If yes then you are one of those responsible for me buying the 800 in the first place, my wallet hates you, I'd like to thank you :thumb:

GuitarIV - Yes sir, that is in fact me. Haha - This made my day my friend!! So glad to help and enjoy that great amp!!

DP
 

GuitarIV

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Thanks guys! The more I play this thing the more I fall in love. Now I only plan to spend some cash on proper Bareknuckles for the LP and I should be set for life haha

DPTONE5: Great videos you got uploaded man. And cool playing! :)
 

79 2203

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I've also got a 82 2203 (and 79 and 80 2203's, and a 82 4104) and congratulations, you've scored an all time great amp.

I was just playing the 82 2203 this morning and hours later I can't get the smile of my face !!
Used a 06 Faded LP Special with Pearly Gates and cab was a 77 slant with 2 of the original Blackback 55hz H30's on top and broken in V30's on bottom.

My fave setting for all my vintage Marshalls is Pre on 6 for a medium gain ACDC ish/70's hard rock tone, though this 82 2203 has the bright cap lowered or cut so I have to run it near full up to get a similar amount of gain as the other amps(different EQ as well)
Amazing amps
 


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