What To Do With Vintage Bluesbreaker Chassis?

Discussion in 'Let's Talk Vintage' started by shakti, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    I just bought this chassis from a well known and somewhat infamous vendor... after close scrutiny, I actually believe it to be a genuine 65-66 JTM45 tremolo chassis. The tooling marks and layout, transformer mounting holes etc all line up where they should be. It's impossible to verify of course, but in the end it doesn't matter too much. It's never going to be a collector's item anyway, and the price wasn't too bad.

    I would appreciate some input from the vintage experts here on how to proceed. I am planning to do an accurate repro of the infamous Clapton Bluesbreaker (I'm not the first one to attempt this of course). I have lots of vintage parts, but missing a few important ones like the impedance and voltage selectors, as well as board material. And transformers of course. I was planning to go with Merren as usual.

    The most pressing concern is front and rear panels. I bought some repro panels along with it that were supposed to match, but they are not correct. The rear panel is just wrong altogether, and the front panel, while close in appearance, has the input holes in the wrong place. I suspect the front panels were modeled after a JMP steel era chassis, but all the genuine JTM45 tremolo chassis I've seen has the input jacks very close to the last volume control.

    Any tips on where I can have some really accurate panels made?

    IMG_1085.JPG IMG_1086.JPG IMG_1087.JPG IMG_1088.JPG IMG_1089.JPG
     
  2. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    Looks like a good project.
    Valvestorm will make panels for you (as will Modulus in Scotland)
    You can get very good repro selectors from that French seller.
    Board is tricky and last ones I have done were made from scratch by me using blanks.
     
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  3. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    I'll definitely check with Valvestorm. I don't think Modulus will do them with the correct lettering and the font may not be accurate either. Modulus does have decent board material (at least used to years ago), but it would be cool to get something even more accurate for this vintage chassis.
    The RS Hy-stab resistors I scored will be perfect for this project.

    I didn't know about the repro selectors...will have to check Ebay now.

    If anyone has any interesting parts to trade I do have some similar parts to offer up.
     
  4. Adieu

    Adieu Well-Known Member

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    Y'all know that's just a scuffed up metal box....right?
     
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  5. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Well, make a nice period correct low power 15-20 watt 1X12 Bluesbreaker combo.
     
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  6. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    If you don't understand what this is about, then please refrain from commenting. Yes, it's just a scoffed up old metal box. I could have used a repro box, but it wasn't much more expensive, but 10000 times cooler as it's going to be an accurate repro.

    I already have an 18w 2x12 with 20w G12Ms. This is going to be a 2x12 with alnicos.
     
  7. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I can see you are going to start out just swell on this Forum...:facepalm:
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
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  8. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    BTW, Mojotone makes really nice front and back face plates for many amps. They don't make them out of metal but a Plexi like plastic where the lettering/numbering will never wear off.
     
  9. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion. However, I don't think Mojotone will get very close to the accurate font and lettering...probably afraid to get into copyright infringement.

    As for your other comment, not sure what you're getting at. Maybe I didn't pick up on the irony or something. I don't take myself very seriously, but I do take projects like this seriously!
    :cool:
     
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  10. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    I only make panels for metalface amps, not plexi style, but as long as it's going back on a genuine Marshall product, and the panel is not available from Marshall, I believe there is actually nothing legally wrong with making an exact replica panel. Marshall does own the trademark on the Marshall script logo but every other aspect of the panel printing is in the public domain. And the Marshall logo does not appear on the front OR back panel.

    According to the results of my IP searches, they have not trademarked or copyrighted "Made in England by Jim Marshall Products", etc. Even the fonts they use are not Marshall proprietary. And Marshall isn't making those parts anyway.

    Legally I believe that there are really no obstacles to making the front and rear panels. But if they were put on a non-Marshall chassis, that becomes a bit of a grey area.
     
  11. Peter McAteer

    Peter McAteer Active Member

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    This looks like it's going to be a cool project. You won't mind dropping by with an occasional update?
     
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  12. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    Definitely will do. It's probably going to take a little while as I have several other projects going.
     
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  13. tomsvintage

    tomsvintage Well-Known Member

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    shakti ~ Very nice project ! I echo neikeel's suggestions on panels and selectors ~ Marstran ( Brian Wallace ) has nice transformers too. Are you going to build your own 2x12 cab ? Keep us posted !!
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  14. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    Most likely I will get a repro cab fro Jeff Swanson. I've bought all my repro cabs from him and the quality is superb.

    As you all know, documentation on Clapton's original Bluesbreaker combo is sparse, so I will have to make some decisions based on my own experience and experimentation over the years. For one thing, it is not even known if Clapton's amp was a regular JTM45 chassis in a combo shell, or a tremolo chassis. There is one eyewitness account saying it was a regular JTM45 (relayed by a well-known member here on the Les Paul Forum a few years ago). But there is no hard evidence to back that up. In the session photos the cutout on the amp appears to be just a little too wide for that though, so I am of the opinion that it most likely was a trem chassis. As for the combo shell size, that is also up for debate since everything points to it being a one-off job made especially for Clapton. But the regular Marshall reissue cab has the right proportions to my eyes, so I am probably going with thoe dimensions.

    Then there's the issue of which speakers the combo had. Soundwise, I think it's alnicos. Early greenbacks, which had no doping like the alnicos of the same era, can be close so it's not an obvious choice, but overall I think alnicos do that sound the best. His combo must have been made very early in 1966, so greenbacks had only *just* come out at the time. I have a pair of greenbacks from January '66 (with no doping), but I think those are some of the absolute earliest.
     
  15. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    BTW, anyone have a link to those repro selectors? I searched Ebay but couldn't find them.
     
  16. Amadeus91

    Amadeus91 Well-Known Member

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    It's been awhile, but I believe the seller's id is
    dan.ams His repros were top notch. If he is not selling any at this time contact him.
     
  17. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    Thanks! I have sent him a message.
     
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  18. South Park

    South Park Well-Known Member

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    I would build it to stock specks. Get that Marshall sound. If you have to ask you do not know what you want.
     
  19. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    upload_2019-11-29_7-32-21.png

    These?
     
  20. shakti

    shakti Active Member

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    Yes, sorry my title may have been misleading. I know exactly what I want to do with it, would just appreciate input on where to source certain parts and an all around discussion about it.
     

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