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  1. #1
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    Default Marshall Recommendations Please?

    I currently use a first generation 5150 signature head with (2) 1960 A/B cabinets that I've had since the early 80's. Though I'm pretty happy with the 5150, there's just something about the tone and "growl" of a Marshall that I really, really like.

    Problem is ... I had an old 100w Marshall Plexi back in the day.
    The amp was LOUD but it just didn't sound all that good to me.
    I don't remember what model it was or anything.
    I just know that I bought it because it was a "Marshall".
    I was young ... All my friends had Marshalls that sounded awesome and I guess I just figured that all Marshalls sound the same ... boy, was I wrong.

    From what I recall, my friends were all using JCM800's, but I don't remember exactly which model or anything. So do all JCM800 series amps sound similar?
    Is there anything I should look for? Or stay away from?

    I know I really should go out and try to play through a few different models, but I'm just hoping maybe your suggestions/recommendations may help guide me in the right direction.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    I currently use a first generation 5150 signature head with (2) 1960 A/B cabinets that I've had since the early 80's. Though I'm pretty happy with the 5150, there's just something about the tone and "growl" of a Marshall that I really, really like.

    Problem is ... I had an old 100w Marshall Plexi back in the day.
    The amp was LOUD but it just didn't sound all that good to me.
    I don't remember what model it was or anything.
    I just know that I bought it because it was a "Marshall".
    I was young ... All my friends had Marshalls that sounded awesome and I guess I just figured that all Marshalls sound the same ... boy, was I wrong.

    From what I recall, my friends were all using JCM800's, but I don't remember exactly which model or anything. So do all JCM800 series amps sound similar?
    Is there anything I should look for? Or stay away from?

    I know I really should go out and try to play through a few different models, but I'm just hoping maybe your suggestions/recommendations may help guide me in the right direction.

    Thanks in advance for the help.
    You're right -- you won't get a nice smooth sound with a Plexi without all the EVH gear trickery with it. And even if you did that, there was a time when Ed was blowing power tubes within hours, and output transformers nearly as often which no one these days can afford to do.

    I would look for these amps:

    The EARLY JCM800 series amps with the 2203, 2204, 2205 model numbers. Those are the good and classic schematics, which can capture the EVH superlead kind of sound, but they do it without all of the other equipment, since they have master volumes and a little more gain in general. The 2210 is also in that category, but if you find one, make sure you can try it and see if you like it, as it is a bit different.

    There are some decent Marshalls made beyond the 2203, 2204, and 2205, but IMO, most of them don't quite have that classic old 'Marhall sound'. Specifically the JCM900s -- some of which have solid state diode distortion built into the preamp ....

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    You're right -- you won't get a nice smooth sound with a Plexi without all the EVH gear trickery with it. And even if you did that, there was a time when Ed was blowing power tubes within hours, and output transformers nearly as often which no one these days can afford to do.
    Yep ... mine used to blow fuses constantly too.
    It was loud as fuck, but I could never get that "growl" that all my friends were getting from their Marshalls.

    I eventually sold it and bought my 5150.
    The gain is over the top with my 5150, but there's just no "growl".
    Hard to explain.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjstudios View Post
    I would look for these amps:

    The EARLY JCM800 series amps with the 2203, 2204, 2205 model numbers. Those are the good and classic schematics, which can capture the EVH superlead kind of sound, but they do it without all of the other equipment, since they have master volumes and a little more gain in general. The 2210 is also in that category, but if you find one, make sure you can try it and see if you like it, as it is a bit different.

    There are some decent Marshalls made beyond the 2203, 2204, and 2205, but IMO, most of them don't quite have that classic old 'Marhall sound'. Specifically the JCM900s -- some of which have solid state diode distortion built into the preamp ....
    The 2203 is what I was looking at.
    Based on the little research I managed to do, I figured this was the model closest to what my friends were using back in the 80's.

    Do I dare ask ... is there a comparable 2-channel amp with a good "clean" channel?
    Or is that simply asking too much.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    The 2203 is what I was looking at.
    Based on the little research I managed to do, I figured this was the model closest to what my friends were using back in the 80's.

    Do I dare ask ... is there a comparable 2-channel amp with a good "clean" channel?
    Or is that simply asking too much.
    Actually... try out one of these if you get the chance:

    http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/p...sku=481827#new

    One day for fun I went to one of the big guitar centers, and I was trying out amps using a standard 2008 LP model and a Music Man Axis. I played a bunch of high-end new Marshalls, and a reissue superlead... wasn't impressed at all. Then I played the Egnater... to make a long story short, it sounded much more like a "Marshall" than ANY of the real Marshalls there.

    A 2203 would be a good choice though.

  5. #5
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    Yep ... mine used to blow fuses constantly too.
    It was loud as fuck, but I could never get that "growl" that all my friends were getting from their Marshalls.

    I eventually sold it and bought my 5150.
    The gain is over the top with my 5150, but there's just no "growl".
    Hard to explain.



    The 2203 is what I was looking at.
    Based on the little research I managed to do, I figured this was the model closest to what my friends were using back in the 80's.

    Do I dare ask ... is there a comparable 2-channel amp with a good "clean" channel?
    Or is that simply asking too much.
    This kind of leads back to the other thread about our 5150's. The growl and krang does live in the 5150, but it's hidden quite well. The more classic tones are in the crunch channel, and the tube change in the preamp I was mentioning brings it much more to life in the clean channel with the crunch engaged. The trick is the lower gain characteristic of the two tubes. The 5150 has tones of gain to spare, so you still get great natural harmonics but with a much more Marshally tone. As far as going with a Marshall...I hear ya. Again too many people assume you just get that preconcieved tone out of a vintage Marshall just by plugging in and cranking up. You don't. Totally agree with MJ. Take a look at an 800. Course' by now alot of them have been souped up more than a 69' Dodge Charger R/T! but what the hell. Most of the mods sound good anyway, and hey if you don't like it, their usually easily removed. Honestly for the money and closeness of tone you're shooting for, you can't go wrong with a good ole' 800.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    I just know that I bought it because it was a "Marshall".
    I was young ... All my friends had Marshalls that sounded awesome and I guess I just figured that all Marshalls sound the same ... boy, was I wrong.
    your not the only one but at least you had a chance with a plexi. i bought a jcm900 and man was i dissappointed.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANTHONY5150 View Post
    your not the only one but at least you had a chance with a plexi. i bought a jcm900 and man was i dissappointed.
    Note to self : Do not buy a JCM900.

  8. #8
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    12.14.17 @ 12:18 AM
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    Just fyi, the JCM 900 SL-X model does not use diode clipping. All of the preamp distortion comes from the 4 preamp tubes. Marshall just re-released the JCM 2000 DSL100 (actually a DSL100MLB) in the states as a half stack package, but some dealers sell the head by itself. The half stack package is $1299 and the head alone is in the $800 to $900 price range. It's a killer deal and I recently picked up the half stack package. To my ears anyway, the DSL100 has one heck of a Marshall growl.

  9. #9
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    12.26.11 @ 12:28 AM
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    Hey Dino,

    I would try some other brands to get that "marshall sound", some brands that come to mind...

    Splawn, Metro, Blankenship are all heads that give that marshall sound with a little Eddie injected...happy hunting...

    I've been using Splawns for 3 years and until recently with the 5150III it was my main head, simply just killed everything else, im just digging the over the top gain on the EVH head right now..
    Eddie and Dave...the way it was meant to be

  10. #10
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    12.14.17 @ 01:28 PM
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    Just because an amp uses diode clipping in their gain stages doesn't mean it's not a great amp. The Marshall Silver Jubilees used diode clipping as part of their distortion.

    In my opinion, you just can't go wrong with an un-molested late 70s JMP 100w or 50w. I have a JMP 2204 (50w) and it's just phenomenal. They are excellent amps to use as a starting point for your tone. They take pedals very well, and you can do a lot with them.
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  11. #11
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    10.26.16 @ 03:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jape Man View Post
    Just because an amp uses diode clipping in their gain stages doesn't mean it's not a great amp. The Marshall Silver Jubilees used diode clipping as part of their distortion.

    In my opinion, you just can't go wrong with an un-molested late 70s JMP 100w or 50w. I have a JMP 2204 (50w) and it's just phenomenal. They are excellent amps to use as a starting point for your tone. They take pedals very well, and you can do a lot with them.
    I didn't mean that diode clipping will always destroy an amp's tone. I agree with you on that one -- there are SOME amps that have it and still sound pretty dang good. It's just a tonal quality I don't usually prefer.

    I would also agree with Sleeper -- the 5150I has a lot of growl and vintagey tone in it; it is just fairly hard to find. I have a theory about the 5150 rhythm channel -- I think it was designed to basically be Ed's Superlead. If you think about it, it has the 4 inputs that the Superlead had, but instead of having 4 separate jacks for normal-normal, normal-bright, boosted-normal, and boosted-bright (which Ed used) channels, the 5150 has a crunch and bright switch. With those 2 switches, you can get the 4 different combinations that the superlead had, and I have gotten VERY close to the sound of Eds superlead in this manner.

    Yes, the 5150 still has more gain in its rhythm channel than a real superlead, but I think they made the preamp that way to compensate for the power tube distortion Ed was getting with his Marshalls, so the resulting tone seems to be a good approximation.

  12. #12
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    I recommend you don't buy a Marshall. Save up and get a SLO-100 if you don't like the 5150, its the only other amp that can hold it's Johnson. I've got both and had 3 Marshalls and to me they are over-rated pieces of shit. The Marshalls that is.
    Last edited by fudd; 06.25.09 at 08:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fuddman5150 View Post
    I recommend you don't buy a Marshall. Save up and get a SLO-100 if you don't like the 5150, its the only other amp that can hold it's Johnson. I've got both and had 3 Marshalls and to me they are over-rated pieces of shit. The Marshalls that is.
    Oh, don't even get me started... the SLO100 is AMAZING! I want one so bad to use in a 2 amp setup with my 5150...

  14. #14
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    JCM 900's suck donkey balls. The classic 800's are sweet. I think new Marshalls sound like shit, every one I have tried in the stores I have hated.

    The SLO is amazing yes and very pricey.
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  15. #15
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    Dino,

    To really push a Plexi you need to use a attenuator and Ed slaved that amp signal into another head. This is what helped give him that distorted tone he had with the rich harmonics yet still with a lot of clarity. You know all this I'm sure and people can give better detail but as distorted as Ed's early tone was it's not nearly as distorted as a 5150 with it's pre gain lead volume past 5ish. Loud volume, aggressive attack, and slaving a cranked plexi that was attenuated is what helped push it to sound that way. Not very practical.

    Hendrix used a Plexi...when cranked they do distort to a degree but it's ear shattering loud and Jimi used fuzz pedals with his..wasn't pure amp distortion.
    Tons of guys used plexis and I'm sure you can find tricks and tips to push it further.

    I've used a hotplate with my plexi head and it helps get you more distortion while not being way too loud...still that doesn't give me enough gain to be satisfied with other styles of music..heavier rock and metal..I haven't dived in deep enough or looked at mods to help push this further. I don't care for distortion pedals.

    So if you still have your plexi you can look into getting more out of it. Mods, attenuator, etc.

    I use a 5150 with a marshall 1960 a cab as well right now. It's a nice amp, not great..it's great for hard rock but not very versatile. Noisey amp. I have tried a 5150 III and dude thats a very nice amp. Much more versatile and imo organic sounding than the original PV 5150's. More Marshallish than the PV but I'm sure you can find better amps out there to get that true marshall tone you hear in your head.

    For the 5150 III Ch 1 is clean, CH2 gets nice gain and is plexi ish and CH3 is high gain and also has nice tone. I suggest trying one. It may fill the bill 4 you. I personally plan on getting at least the head soon. I'm in a new project which plays a variety of music and I need something more versatile than the 5150. Go check one out in person.

    I also agree about Soldano, they have nice amps though pricey. A lot of people swear by Mesa Boogie and their rectifier line. I've never been sold on them. I also agree that Marshall jcm900's shouldn't be an option. From the ones I have tried I didn't care for them at all.

    I have a marshall jcm800 2210..I played out with it for 6 years or so. Very nice sounding amp, dependable..channel switching and built in spring reverb which actually sounds very nice..100watts. It's a little brite and english metal/rock sounding to me anymore and thats why I stick with the 5150 for now. 5150 imo has a smoother gain tone and not as brittle bright. A tad warmer to my ears. Still if my 5150 dies and I had to use a backup I wouldn't be that worried about using my 2210.

    There are so many amps out and boutique amps out. I'm really not the authority..I haven't experimented enough and tried enough to say which is better... but a month or so ago I was in a shop and tried a couple Mesa Boogies, new Marshall and the Fender 5150 III. I'm obviously a VH fan but that has nothing to do with it..I really loved the 5150 III and it's my next amp. It's tone and versatility sold me.

    Check one out for yourself. Take your main axe to a place that has one and try out amps. I've tried to shop around and get info online also when getting fed up with my 5150 and really, besides getting some general info or tips from people it's pointless. Go try them yourself with your main axe and see what grabs you.

    Before you go check out Lefty's thread. Here
    You get to see/hear a lot of heads in action on youtube and the audio clip links has a great comparison of a lot of heads. something to check out b4 taking your axe out amp shopping.

    GL! LEt's us know what you decide.

 

 

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