Marshall Tag

SoloDallas® SD-50 Guitar Amp Head

11 Sep History of the JTM50

The Black Flag JTM50 is a rather rare and coveted after amplifier made by Marshal between 1966 and 1967. It was one of the transitional steps between the JTM45 amps and the plexi panel JMPs and later metal faces. During the short period of time it was produced, the JTM50 saw a few important spec changes that would be a precedent for further development of the Marshall guitar amps. (more…)

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28 Dec My 2005 Gibson SG CS VOS ( Blackie ) and 1976 Marshall 1959

Hello fellow SD Members,

I hope you don’t mind me sharing this with you. It’s been a while since something has been published, so I thought why not ? :)

So here I am posting pieces of my gear:
1: 2005 Gibson SG VOS Guitar Center exclusive
2: 1976 Marshall Superlead 1959 with a hybrid design

Let’s start with the SG, which I called Blackie.

I acquired this one a bit over a year ago. She was initially cherry red, but since I wanted a black one just like Angus, I decided to refinish her.
She does look 1 to 1 like Angus’ SG on the 91 Donington Show. Stock Grover tuners, stock Trussrod cover with ‘ LesPaul ‘, stock knobs.

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I changed the pickups though. I never liked Gibson pickups ( and probably never will 😆 ). They’ve been replaced with what to me are probably the best Seymour Duncan pickups out there: Pearly Gates.
I am not a huge ZZ Top fan, and I didn’t even know that these where Billy Gibbons signature pickups, but the way the sound in that SG is just terrific !

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Neck feels really great. It’s not as thin as a 60’s, but it’s round, really round, which makes it very comfortable to play. It is by far not as thick as a typical 50’s baseball bat. I’d say it is between a 59 and a 60’s neck.

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Schaller security locks are fitted on as you can see. One of the first things I do ( besides changing pickups 😆 ) when getting a new guitar: security locks !
Costs only a few bucks and may save you from a heart break, believe me, I know how it feels to get a broken headstock…

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The guitar has been taken care of. No dings or dongs. Coming with a like new Ibanez leather ‘ Tree Of Life ‘ strap ( with the rest of the locks on it of course )

Here’s a recent video of me playing Blackie.
Note that it was recorded with a 50 bucks camera. Last solo is pure improvisation. I’m just way too lazy to learn note for note atm 😆

Sweet Candy

Let’s come to the Marshall:

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As I said, it’s a 1976 Superlead, hybrid design, a design you don’t see everyday. I got this one a year ago, just before I got the TSR. I was gasing for one pretty badly, and it was the only around me, so I snagged it 😀 . First owner was the father from the seller I got it from, so you can say I’d be the second owner. It’s been completely taken over lately, new tubes, 2 small caps, 1 input and removed the PPIMV, which has been installed by the first owner ( that’s why there’s a hole in the back of the amp ).

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Sounds as good as it smells when it’s running. The smell of a vintage Marshall is delicious. This sound is just fantastic, chunky and punchy, bright, cleans nicely down when you play with the volume of your guitar.

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Tubes are as you can EL34 and ECC83 ( TAD’s ). They’ve been running for maybe 10 hours or less. I didn’t play it much since I got it back. Reason: I was mostly playing in small clubs and a few weeks later I got the Wizard… so yeah, you can understand why 😆

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Let’s come to the interesting part of the post. I’m actually selling ( yes I am ) these babies !

For the SD community I’m willing to sell the SG for 2000 € ( excluding shipping ! ) Note that I advertised it on some forums for 2200 and that I considered european prices and markets. Shipping will be insured up to 3750 € and the costs are between 30 and 75€. Can’t tell you exactly how much since in depends on the country it will be heading to. Shipping receipt will be scanned and sent too if needed !

I’m willing to let the Marshall go for 1100€ ( excluding shipping ). Once again I considered the european market and, knowing this one has been fully set up and is now ready to be rocked, I think it’s more than a fair price. Shipping will be insured up to 2500€. Shipping costs for this one are between 30 and 135 €. I can’t tell exactly how much because it depends on the country. I’ll check that afterwards 😉 Shipping receipt will be scanned and sent too if needed !

There are a few reason why I’m selling two beloved parts of my gear.
With the SG first: This is my best sounding SG, no doubt there, but I’m not emotionally attached to this one. I can’t sell my 94 Std because it was the first SG I entirely paid myself and it’s my year of birth, and I can’t sell my Angus Young VOS, present from my dad and well… it’s an Angus Young VOS 😆
Need to sell because I’m paying back the Wizard I got this year, so I gotta get rid of some stuff… Also I need/want to get a Strat with a floyd and humbucker, a new acoustic guitar and a few pedals.
Reason why I’m selling the 1959 is once again no emotional connection to this one. I have to keep my 2203 from 79, this was a present from my dad for my birthday last year and my first real Marshall, simply can’t sell that one. So the 1959’s gotta go, even though I know I’ll regret it ( Fil’s words, not mine 😆 ).

So there you have it all :) . If you’re interested and got any questions feel free to comment on here or shoot me an email: depuis1899@gmail.com

Thanks for reading and a happy new year 2015 with everything you lovely folks could wish for ! :) I know what I want for 2015, and already got part of it 😉

Love

CM

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13 Nov Never Underrate Your Equipment – A Marshall MS-4 Demo

 

Dear Rocking Friends,

 

Every one of us has a dream. A gear-related dream, to be precise. A Marshall Super Lead maybe? I think I just said something magical there. But you know, you don’t have to have that kind of equipment to achieve (or at least approximate) the tone you’ve always been dreaming about, as I shall demonstrate with this post. Now to be clear, the aim of this writing is not to say that expensive gear can be replaced, but rather to show you that you can squeeze out a somewhat decent tone – something you didn’t quite expect – even from cheaper gear. To sum this up in a sentence:

You don’t know you’re beautiful you sound amazing.  :-) 

 

So let’s jump straight into the setup I have for this demo:

  • Vintage VS6 SG – This is a $300-ish SG copy, which I highly recommend if you’re looking for a decent guitar in this price range!
  • Marshall MS-4 – You probably know this little pocket amplifier already.
  • Shure SM57

Nothing quite special as you can see, it’s a very straight-forward setup. The only thing I did to the recording you’re about to hear, is that I applied some reverb via software. Other than that, this recording is raw, and has not been enhanced in any way. Have a good listen:

 

 

One thing to keep in mind while listening to this, is that the MS-4 has very tiny 3″ speakers inside of a plastic cabinet that barely has any air in it. This is the reason for the boxy sound, and the lack of bass. But once you get over that, it sounds very decent, especially the Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution part! That one sounds frighteningly close to the original in my opinion.

Now let’s take this experiment a little further – in case you’re not impressed already. I added the following items to the rig:

  • Boss GE-7 – Used as as clean boost in front of the amp (via the output volume slider), no EQ pattern was set.
  • 1960A replica cabinet with original 1973 Rola Celestion G12M greeenbacks – I admit that this is a bit of an overkill, but I really wanted to make sure that nothing is holding back the little Marshall from unleashing it’s glory.

In order to plug the MS-4 into the external cabinet, a modification is required to the amp. This consists of bypassing a resistor inside the amp that limits the output signal to headphone levels. After that is done, the headphone jack now becomes a speaker output jack – but make sure you don’t plug any headphone into it anymore! If you need exact instructions on how to do this, please let me know in the comments.

So after the amp was prepared, I hooked up everything, and I was very impressed by the results. The amp sounded surprisingly dynamic, lively, rich in harmonics, and enjoyable. I even managed to get a nice sustained feedback! I mic’d up the cab to make a second recording, here it is:

 

 

Now let me ask you something at this point. Could you possibly tell (without reading the article) that the amp used in the recording is a $50 1W solid-state pocket amp? If this was a blindfold test, I guess you would bet for something way more expensive, wouldn’t you? That’s fine though, I would do the same  😆

 

Before ending this article, let me address one more thing… The whole point of this article is to give you an idea on how to get a better tone from your existing gear. The answer is very simple: take your time! When you’re setting up your amp, miking your cab, or even just setting the knobs on your stomp boxes, remember this: if you think you’re done after a couple of minutes, you’re not! 

Let’s say you’re miking up your cab. What you shouldn’t do is to try out a few major mic positions, and pick what sounds the best for you, or either use a position that you used earlier. In many cases, tiny adjustments (I’m talking about millimeters here) can make a world of difference. When I mic up my guitar cab, I usually spend at least about 30 minutes setting up the mic position every time. Even if I marked a previously used mic position with duct tape on the cabinet, I only use that as a starting point. You should always absolutely geek out every possibility before recording. I find that spending extra time on the setup after you think it’s perfect is almost always beneficial. Of course the same rules apply to all the setup that’s required for playing, and not just miking.

 

Another very important thing is that you should always think of your whole rig (from your hands all the way to the speakers) as one big instrument! I cannot emphasize this enough. You’re not only playing the guitar, and having an amp that only makes it louder. The whole rig is one big instrument, but most importantly an instrument that has soul (not literally of course). Every piece in the rig is equally important. You have to spend time with your gear getting to know it, thus being able to use what is has to your advantage. A good rig is not just something you play on; it’s something that helps you expressing yourself, and also makes you feel good doing it!

 

I hope you find my thoughts useful, and will benefit greatly from them, just as I did. As the title says: never underrate your equipment!  :-)

Finally, here are a few pictures I took during the recording session:

 

 

Have a good day!

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14 Feb Playing with a Marshall YJM (quick initial impressions)

Marshall YJM poster.

So, just got a used (but like new) Marshall YJM, which is a signature amp (Yngwie Malmsteen). While I never cared for Mr. Malmsteen not even for two seconds in a row (with Respect), I love the amp.

It is basically a regular Marshall 1959 Super Lead, 100 watts amplifier (which is my favourite amplifier type in the world), loaded with additional features that the vintage ones don’t have. Including a boost, reverb, noise gate and embedded attenuation via a modern “EPA” electronic circuit that lowers the voltage going to the main (EL34) tubes thus reducing the output up to bedroom levels.

I immediately tried the EPA function, which didn’t strike me as the best attenuation method available – it lets the amp drive way less and subtracts high frequencies, at least compared to my Aracom.

Expect a much better review of this soon – I am very interested in the differences between new and vintage amps, attenuation technologies and tone in general (you knew it didn’t you). I think these right here are all the necessary tools for us bedroom rockers, and I will not stop investigating.

Edit: after speaking with friend CrossroadsNYC (moderator at the marshallforum.com) it turns out that these are known characteristics, and it is just normal for the EPA to behave like that. I still like my Aracom a number of times better, however keeping in mind that the Aracom is a few more hundred bucks and the EPA is included with the amp… you know the math.

 

I made this little AC/DC copycat thing this morning to let you have a grasp of what the YJM sounds like. All parts played with a 1967 Gibson SG Standard (the one that was recently repainted), stock pickup (which I don’t even know if it is a t-top anymore, it came with the guitar and it is rather old). Cabinet is a Marshall B type with vintage 1970s G12Ms “blackbacks”. Microphone was  my newly acquired Neumann U47 FET (god I love it).

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The two guitars on the sides were played with NO TSR; the solo in the centre was played with TSR in standby for its first half, then TSR on (you should be able to tell when this happens).

The Marshall YJM settings were P0, M4, T6, V4 (yep, voume on 4), attenuated with my Aracom. Guitar volume and tone both on 10.

Like it?


Wanted to add the backing track in case someone wants it

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25 Jul The Big Speaker Shootout

In my belief, speakers are the most important part of your tone. They are not only devices which convert electric current into sound. All speakers have their unique voice, they all sound and feel different. Because of this, I have always thought about them as an instrument. A good speaker actually acts just like an instrument, reacting to your picking dynamics, creating feedback, co-operating with your amp and your guitar in a way that can yield very pleasing results – if you use them properly. A good speaker has this mojo which cannot be written down in words. :)

 Just in case you missed the terrific post about the history of Celestion by JaiminhoPagina, you can find it right here

Why am I telling this to you? Because it connects directly to this one. I think that post is worth a reading before digging into this one, as it sums up the history of celestion, and the speaker models, cones etc. over the time very well, which I think is very important before you listen to them and judge. And now let’s get to the topic 😛

A long long time ago in a galaxy far away… there was a forum thread on thegearpage.net, started by Scumback Speakers, which contained amazing soundclips of different speakers. To be more specific, it is a comparison between original pre-rola celestions, new celestions, as well as several celestion clones, like Scumbacks.

Unfortunately the links became dead, so the clips were unavailable for some time. Recently I contacted Scumback Speakers, and I asked them to update the links, so that the clips are once again available to everyone! (more…)

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05 Mar The “Raiders” strike again! SVDS tone on a Mini Marshall MS-2

And another SVDS test recording. Probably with the smallest possible amp to test with: A one watt battery driven Marshall MS-2: marshall ONE watt mp3

Recorded nonetheless with our usual high standards:

Now, even such a small amp can have a lot of balls when pushed with a SVDS, right? And the replica will do the same great job!

 

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