Questions for those who’ve owned multiple vintage or classic Marshalls…

guitarzan2525

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It depends on the sound I want. If I prefer very smooth clean tone I go for the early JTM-45's with the RS output tranny. If I want a loud bluesy tone then JMP-100's sound good (with plenty of bottom end).

Unfortunately what I ultimately want doesn't exist. Smooth clean tones to extreme lead gain at the push of a button. Nothing I've played or heard satisfies that requirement..
 

UncleD

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Which one was/is your favorite? Why? What do you know about values of the components in that amp, its transformers, mods, or anything else that affected the tone?

I’m just curious because I’m about to receive my first vintage Marshall, and I have a feeling it won’t be my last. I want to learn about what makes different vintages sound different, how those differences change the tone, and how to spot the differences. Thanks, folks!
Marshall JCM2000-DSL50, Marshall JCM2000-TSL100, Marshall LEAD-100, Marshall DSL40, Marshall Silver Jubilee..
 

79 2203

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My faves are my stock(except for PT)71 1987 followed by my stock 79 JMP 2203. The 1987 is the best amp I’ve ever played. It helps that I pair it with a quad of 68 T1221 Greenbacks and the richness of the tone and the feel/dynamics are just so good.
The 2203 is a massive sounding, punchy beast that just nails that late 70’s/early 80’s bark and kerrang. Takes boosts so well for classic metal.
Those two are the only amps I currently own.
Back in the 80’s I had a couple of 800’s but didn’t really know what I was doing and probably did something daft like running them clean and using a Metalzone or DS-1. Over the last 12 or so years I’ve also owned…..

1980 JMP 2203…..killer.
1982 JCM 2203….good amp.
1982 4104 with 12-65’s……excellent live amp but difficult to dial in at home.
1982 4104 with Scumbacks…..same as above. I just struggled abit with the 4104 combo’s nasally mids.
74 Superlead…..didn’t know how to control the beast and like an idiot sold it way too cheap.
98 Superlead….same as above but ended up putting a PPIMV on it which made it usable but not as good sounding as my 2203’s.
 
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rykus

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I have owned a 70 Super Lead 100w, 73 Super Bass 100w, 68 Bass 50w plexi, 73 Bass 50w , 76 MKII Bass 50w , 83 jcm800 50w and played a bunch more.

Imo I like the Bass circut (1986) 50w the best, the lead amps are too bright so I have to run the one volume lower on one knob, much prefer the sound of the Bass spec.. also find the 100w too tight sounding. Very good for aggressive palm mutes etc but I like the looser more raw tone off the 50w.

The 800 sound a bit more "fizzy" to me. I do like some of the 77-82 amps a lot but after that I found the break up is a little less natural and has a harder edge on the clipping. The 76 is a magic year imo with the master but more like the old circut.

I recommend trying to play a few, they pop up still pretty cheap all the time, figure out if you like the 50w or 100w then try to find a lead one and a bass one to compare, even playing g the reissues could give you an idea if you like the plexi style or 800 style more, then buy a bunch lol
 

Salty Rose

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Which one was/is your favorite? Why? What do you know about values of the components in that amp, its transformers, mods, or anything else that affected the tone?

I’m just curious because I’m about to receive my first vintage Marshall, and I have a feeling it won’t be my last. I want to learn about what makes different vintages sound different, how those differences change the tone, and how to spot the differences. Thanks, folks!
Current stable is a ‘95 JTM45RI, a ‘94 1959SLP, and a ‘98 1987x. My favorite is the 1987x. Generally covers all the bases while being easier to move. Gigged with it a bunch when things re-opened last year.
A good 2204 is hard to beat
I bought a brand new JCM800 Master Model 50w Lead half stack in 1985, gigged it for 5 years, then started playing fender combos for many years. In the early 2000’s I got to play a used ‘84 4104, and there it was, that familiar sound. Once that gets in your blood you can never really get it out of your system. Bought that amp on the spot. Had a 2204S and a 2061x during that timeframe too.
I've only owned 1 Marshall because, honestly I've only needed one Marshall. I have a JMP 50 and it's all the amp I've ever needed. Played outdoor festivals, they just mic me anyway, played in small clubs, it's too damn loud. I've kept all of my gear that I've accumulated over 40 odd years of playing (some more odd than others) and I've considered selling my cab several times, but I think I'll have my ashes buried in my JMP when I die. I'm considering getting a small VOX combo because, frankly, I'm tired of carrying a half stack everywhere. My heart is in it, my back says no more.
I gigged earlier this year for a while with a Vox AC10C1. Thing was like a mini Marshall. And it was lightweight. Picked up a couple of Vox P15R’s for that purpose now. Even lighter and surprisingly loud. I can move them without having to ask for help:rofl:.

Still, when you need a Marshall…:hbang:
9F786B70-15B1-4758-8850-571215C0074F.jpeg
 

Dean Swindell

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Sorry to hear about your frustration. I ended up getting a ‘72 1987. I have no plans to mod it, it’s a beautiful sounding amp. And I usually don’t hesitate to mod my equipment. With this amp, all I need is an overdrive out front and my attenuator and it gives me the best tones I’ve ever had. Still, I’m curious about Marshalls from different time periods, and people’s experience with them.
YES! Just the situation i was looking for because I love the reissues. I like attenuators but I'm good with a well engineered master too. And I like a medium-ish overdrive too, as a kind of "lead 2" (my guitar volume full up is "lead 1").
 

Dean Swindell

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Current stable is a ‘95 JTM45RI, a ‘94 1959SLP, and a ‘98 1987x. My favorite is the 1987x. Generally covers all the bases while being easier to move. Gigged with it a bunch when things re-opened last year.

I bought a brand new JCM800 Master Model 50w Lead half stack in 1985, gigged it for 5 years, then started playing fender combos for many years. In the early 2000’s I got to play a used ‘84 4104, and there it was, that familiar sound. Once that gets in your blood you can never really get it out of your system. Bought that amp on the spot. Had a 2204S and a 2061x during that timeframe too.

I gigged earlier this year for a while with a Vox AC10C1. Thing was like a mini Marshall. And it was lightweight. Picked up a couple of Vox P15R’s for that purpose now. Even lighter and surprisingly loud. I can move them without having to ask for help:rofl:.

Still, when you need a Marshall…:hbang:
View attachment 116313
Aw hell yeah.
 

dommarsh

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I own several Marshalls, basically all the varieties, and I really enjoy all of them. It's like saying what is the best Ferrari. Well, they are all Ferraris! Different flavours for sure, but all tasty :). It depends on what your need/want is.

And yes, speakers are at least haif the sound. For whatever reason, cabs with vintage greenbacks or blackbacks really do sound better to my years. However the g12m reissue greenbacks with the 6402 (6502?) codes are very similar to the original pulsonics
 

Dean Swindell

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I own several Marshalls, basically all the varieties, and I really enjoy all of them. It's like saying what is the best Ferrari. Well, they are all Ferraris! Different flavours for sure, but all tasty :). It depends on what your need/want is.

And yes, speakers are at least haif the sound. For whatever reason, cabs with vintage greenbacks or blackbacks really do sound better to my years. However the g12m reissue greenbacks with the 6402 (6502?) codes are very similar to the original pulsonics
That one Ferrari that get's blown off the road by a Ford Taurus? That's the Vintage Modern I owned for all of four days.
 

David Rivers

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It depends on the sound I want. If I prefer very smooth clean tone I go for the early JTM-45's with the RS output tranny. If I want a loud bluesy tone then JMP-100's sound good (with plenty of bottom end).

Unfortunately what I ultimately want doesn't exist. Smooth clean tones to extreme lead gain at the push of a button. Nothing I've played or heard satisfies that requirement..
maybe you need to have a custom amp built to your exact specs...plenty of boutique builders would love your money
 

Ranger

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If you can get a vintage amp for a reasonable price, sure why not. But in my experience, having owned and worked on many old plexis, 2203/2204s and 800s, there are modern alternatives that are just as good or maybe even better than the old ones. The reissued 1959SLPs from the 90s are great amps (probably my favorite).

maybe you need to have a custom amp built to your exact specs...plenty of boutique builders would love your money
This.
 
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The JTM45 has ONE OF the classic Marshall sounds. There just isn't ONE Marshall classic sound.

The 45 has a rougher, rawer, bassier tone than the Superleads that followed it. I personally prefer the Superlead's tighter bass but I do what I can to tame the treble, which can easily be overwhelming for me. I wish to protect my hearing, especially my high frequency sensitivity.

My rebuilt 1969 Plexi with a large value bright cap (6800 pf in my case) gives me a huge dose of what I seek in the ideal amp. It's shockingly explosive, for sure, and has to be approached with hearing protection in mind. (And neighbor complaints....) Hit it in the face with a Tube Screamer set to max clean boost and I've got the 1200 pound gorilla Marshall tone and I don't even have the volumes up to 3 yet. It's that scary. I couldn't be much happier with that tone. Well...maybe if it was a bit less amazingly LOUD....but the variac helps and so does the Power Brake.
Great amps but so LOUD!!! And the sound looked for happens with full volume. A variac does help but, it still needs (from my experience) too much volume for home use. The closest, in my opinion, without major expense, is achievable with an Ori 20 head through a 60s or 70s type Celestion speaker. A boost pedal is needed. I was surprised to hear mine through the affordable 2X12 Marshall Origin vertical cab though it might not please everyone.
 

Dale Faulkner

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Agreed… Jtm45, the 1959 and the 2203 are the defined Marshall sounds… I have a 1969 1987 that kicks ass… a 1986 is also killer…

There are small differences between them… the 2203 is a lot of pre amp type gain…

The 1959 needs to be cranked for max fire breathing … so does the 1987… but that’s nearly all power tubes…
I’m amazed at how close the SV20 sounds to the jtm45. They really nailed that plexi tone with this amp!
 

AustinPaul

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20220501_175733.jpg
I could swear I've posted this already. I've had a 2205, JVM210h, Ori 20h, and a JTM45,

1st place is predictable - the JTM45, by a country mile. Love it so much. I'd love to have heard the jvm through this particular cab because it has a quality I never had in my 80s 1960A. It's absolutely amazing.

Last place is the Origin. I never found one good thing with it.

One of these days, I may get myself a 2204,but I'll never sell my JTM. The 2205 'almost' got me into the zone here and there, but it generally missed the mark. Wish I had the Power Station I have now back when I had the 2205.
 

mallcorn

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Which one was/is your favorite? Why? What do you know about values of the components in that amp, its transformers, mods, or anything else that affected the tone?

I’m just curious because I’m about to receive my first vintage Marshall, and I have a feeling it won’t be my last. I want to learn about what makes different vintages sound different, how those differences change the tone, and how to spot the differences. Thanks, folks!
I have owned a 1983 JCM800 2204, a 1979 JMP 2104 (combo version), and now own a 2018 1959HW. They have all been good amps but I got to say my favorite is the 1959HW. Yes, I had a pre-phase inverter MV installed, had a couple of tweaks done to it so it is exact specs of the originals in terms of smoothness and etc., and sometimes I use a PS-II with it but it just covers anything I need a Marshall to do. It is big and heavy but still my all time favorite.
 

aznrockstar

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Which one was/is your favorite? Why? What do you know about values of the components in that amp, its transformers, mods, or anything else that affected the tone?

I’m just curious because I’m about to receive my first vintage Marshall, and I have a feeling it won’t be my last. I want to learn about what makes different vintages sound different, how those differences change the tone, and how to spot the differences. Thanks, folks!
From Favorite to Least:

Original 1987 Silver Jubilee 2x12 combo
Vintage Modern
JCM900 SLX (sold)
Marshall JCM 900 2x12 combo
 


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