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ch6d0146

18 Aug Marshall 1987XL (Reissue) David Bray Modified and Marshall 4×12 non Slanted

I bought this amp around 2006, I think. I’d had many Marshall heads but had sold all of the most powerful ones (from 50 watts upwards) only keeping smaller heads which are easier – with a smaller studio like mine at the time – to record with.

As I wanted to do AC/DC stuff – and other classic rock – on YouTube (and I wanted to do it well) I thought that I should have one. I really wasn’t going to own vintage heads again, too many issues. I just wanted a decent sounding amp that I didn’t have to treat with too much care, could boost for hours with no problems, etc.

So I looked around a bit and did some research, I wanted it to be a Plexi, and it had to be a Marshall. I wasn’t too aware of clones at the time. What I’d read –  around and about – was that the reissues didn’t sound anywhere close to the vintage heads I was used to, and that had made all those great sounding records I was stimulated by (AC/DC, Free, … ).

So I knew I had to get in touch with someone that could modify the amplifier I was going to get, and even before purchasing one, I contacted David Bray and asked that he pick directly a decent reissue head and cabinet and modify the head to make it sound “better”.

So he did (the head only). About a month or so later, he said the head was ready for me but the cabinet was too big to be shipped, so I cancelled the order for the cabinet and got a reissue one locally, in Rome.

I’d wanted a non slanted cabinet, as I knew that AC/DC played “better” with non slanted ones (slanted/non slanted: the “slanted” ones are “cut” on the top, the non slanted ones are square, i.e. big boxes). Also, for recording, I had read here and there that non slanted ones would be more reliable for microphone positioning, and that the bass and medium frequencies would be easier to capture.

Plus it looked better

I got the head and cabinet and started doing what you’ve seen me do for quite some time.

The head is a 1987XL (model name), 50 watts output and loaded with EL34 tubes (my choice). I am not aware of which modifications David did to the amp to make it sound like I want it to. I never asked….. he never told me. What I do know is that it has a sort of MV (master volume) in the back panel to bring down its loudness and allow me to play without getting deaf too soon! Plus, I wanted to play over/with the records, so I needed a playable volume.  Also, it has push/pull main volumes (for the high treble channel and the darker channel) which add a gain boost, I’ve never really used that feature though. You can find more specifications on David Bray’s site. I think mine is a “Mod I” rework.

The page at David Bray’s with sound clips from this amp are here

It’s a good amp, it doesn’t sound too much like the older ones though, despite the modifications. The older ones have those bass/middle/high frequencies that just blend together in the “most creamy” sounding texture you can imagine. It’s that sound that you’ve heard on the records you know, there wasn’t much added magic to those in post production, they do sound that way. Naturally you have to know how to set the knobs, depending on how you want to sound and the environment you’re in, but the main texture of their tone is built in and that stays as it is.

This reissue – and most of the others I have tried or listened to – just don’t cut it like the older ones or some of the contemporary clones, (like George Metropoulos’s line of clones for example).

They are stiffer, less “alive” in dynamic response and react differently to the knobs when you turn them one way or the other (up or down). They seem to have an even narrower band of setting in their tone.

Still, I thought it was good enough for what was its intended purpose, videos and some live gigs with my band at the time.

ch6d0145

So, in case you were curious about it, there, now you know!

Article adaptation by Robert Taylor

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Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri
sd@solodallas.com

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

58 Comments
  • avatar
    banane
    Posted at 08:12h, 26 July

    Can’t help myself, I’m still getting hungry when I see that pic 😉

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 10:03h, 12 September

    I have an opportonity to buy an Marshall Silver 2550 Jubilee from 87´ , it can switch from 25 to 50 watt and is, from what i’ve heard, a really really good tube amp, anyone played one of those, and if so, could anyone recommend those amps? I’ve heard they are quite rare, and that it sounds killer, haven’t heard anything negative about them as far as i have heard :/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDtyL4wRNrU

    Personaly i think it’s a good amp, i had a chance to try one of those out at the local store, and it sounded killer, though i weren’t able to try it out alot, but it gave me the imagine of sounding great and not being very complicated.

    Should i go for an amp like this? They are pretty rare and is having a good reputation from what i have heard :)

  • avatar
    SoloDallas
    Posted at 04:28h, 06 September

    He was dreaming lol. I like the VM nevertheless. Never tried one personally, only seen youtube clips. Sounds excellent.

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 09:59h, 03 September

    Can these amps give a good AC/DC tone without any mods?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFW0Qe8xap0

    Just curius, someone in my hometown has ( i think it’s the same model) some sort of Plexi for sale, the price seems right, it had tubes changed at one point, 100 watt head, tube, plexi, it has a 4×12 and seems pretty old based on the look, the knobs looks worn and the head looks overall old, he says it’s from 1968- , i’am considering it an option, i’ve traded with him before and never been disappointed with any trade with him, should i still be aware? Great Amp and nice photoes :)

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 11:15h, 03 September

      YES! Hahaha. THOSE were the amps that were used in the first place. Those ones will give you the freaking whole range of tones for classic rock. ImHo, there’s nothing better than that. That’s IT.
      NOTE: You WILL need an attenuator. That thing is so powerful that you’d be heard far off your neighborhood. Remember!

      • avatar
        OldSchoolRocker666
        Posted at 12:10h, 03 September

        I was having that in mind, i will shake the whole house otherwise, i doupt i would dare to crank it anyway, i love vintage but i want it to work as well! I’am not wanting to blow it all the times, so an Attenuator is something i have in mind if i’am buying it, i was thinking about an THT Hotplate or whatever they are called, i want to play it, play it as intended without risk breaking it or awaken the whole neighbourhood xD haha

        My dream of an Plexi Marshall as my first Marshall is within reach, i was so fucking happy to hear he offers it for a decent price , right now i’am searching for information to verify if it’s the real deal, if so, then.. Plexi.. Here i come! 😀

        I’am gonna use it, but with care, i can’t crank it THAT much even with attenuator, the family will be tired in the long run, but this amp.. is just so fucking badass, i CANT WAIT TO TRY IT OUT :D!

        Thanks for the tip 😀

      • avatar
        OldSchoolRocker666
        Posted at 13:17h, 03 September

        I also found a similar video but now it was more playing in it, what do you think of the style he uses people? I think it sounds great :)

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UGfAwcohgs&feature=related

  • avatar
    286luca
    Posted at 20:02h, 30 August

    http://www.vancourier.com/entertainment/wizard/2892014/story.html
    hey fil! i think i’ve found another interesting article about wizard amp and AC/DC, check it out! i thik it’s usefull!

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 20:45h, 29 August

    A 50 watt Marshall amp from 1975, 4 inputs, 6 knobs, what amplifier can that be? I’ve found an Amplifier at a decent price but it doesn’t say what the model is exept that’s from 1975, anyone have any idea it might be?

    http://www.blocket.se/sodermanland/Marshall_50_watt_fran_1975_29247139.htm?ca=8&w=3

    I have no clue what model it is, i searched around but couldn’t identify it :/

    • avatar
      Hardrockerdave94
      Posted at 06:35h, 30 August

      I think it could be a JMP50, I ca’t see it on the picture properly, but in black on the edge, of the gold panel, it might say JMP, but I can’t see that clearly.
      If you want you could have a look through this. Might help. http://www.drtube.com/marshall.htm

      • avatar
        OldSchoolRocker666
        Posted at 12:42h, 31 August

        Hey again, i message the seller, he said the paper that described the model was gone , and he claimed it ”sounded like an Lead”, but i dunno what model exactly he meant by it. Any ideas?

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 12:45h, 31 August

          “Lead” as in Super Lead (model 1959 Super Lead: it’s not the production year, it’s the model name). Too few info. He should open up the chassis, take pics of the inside, show them to help determine the exact model. People have to WORK to sell things the right way!

          • avatar
            OldSchoolRocker666
            Posted at 13:09h, 31 August

            Am i’am justified to be suspicious towards this one since he doesn’t state much info about it? I can ask him some other questions, but is there anything i Should ask him about it, like any serial number, or if it, or about some special details that i can use to point out what model it is?

            The cabinet isn’t included he said, i have to buy it separate.

            I’d like to obtain an amp like this, i don’t want alot of special affects, alot of gain controlls or millions of knobs i wont use anyway, but i’am not sure about this one : /

            • avatar
              SoloDallas
              Posted at 13:14h, 31 August

              You ARE justified. When people do NOT provide info – all of it – and/or seem reluctant to provide further info, just tell them straight – politely – that it is NOT enough. Ask for anything: serial number, detailed images, ANYTHING that helps you date it for SURE. There is HUGE amount of interned fraud right now: please do NOT purchase until you are 100% sure, and then some!

              • avatar
                OldSchoolRocker666
                Posted at 14:52h, 31 August

                Ok, i spoke to him, i didn’t get that much information but i hope it’s enought to base something from. He told me that he have a serial number from it: 5703G, which he told was used on Lead models from around 1975 , and that he have had it for 2 years, and it had been changed with new set of tubes when he had bought it. There was a small button on the back of it that he mentioned was not working properly, but in general everything is suposed to work, all knobs works as they should, no missnoice or brumming, the cabinet on the picture was already sold to a friend of him, but he have an Angeled cab with Greenbacks. I think he said that he couldn’t use it as he wanted to because he plays bass, so he assumes it’s an Lead head basing on the serial number. I’am not sure(because of my inability to memorise stuff..) if he said that it was from 1975 PRESICLY, but it was around that period. I Might be wrong at some stuff, i hope not, but this is all the info i now have, if someone think this is a bad idea that i should withdraw from, please tell me, i’am still not sure if this is a serious seller, but i’am allowed to try it out as well. If anyone have any ideas if he’s telling the truth about it being a Lead amp from 1975 based on the serial number, it would be great to know. I’am a complete n00b into this, last thing i want is to be lured. Thanks for all answers all, i appritiate it. Best Regards – Oldschoolrocker666 :)

                • avatar
                  OldSchoolRocker666
                  Posted at 14:54h, 31 August

                  I’am not sure if THIS is the same model but it looks very similar Imo , maybe it doesn’t to a trained eye, but here you go,

                  http://officialmatampownersclub.yuku.com/topic/3646

                  • avatar
                    OldSchoolRocker666
                    Posted at 09:25h, 01 September

                    Ok i checked with http://www.superiormusic.com/page024.html

                    (And some other sites)

                    Ok his amp got 5703G , with G standing for 1975, i’am not sure exactly what model it is, but based on what i’ve been reading around and of the info i’ve been given, it’s LIKELY an Marshall JMP 50 MK II Lead, i think it points to be that model, i might not be 100 % accurate but this is Marely what i have been found out, i could be wrong but i think it points to be that model.

                    Incase he still has it, i will ofcourse try it out and test it, and check it out, i got the imagine that he Most likely didnt were so sure about the model himself, but i’am gonna take it with a bit of salt before deiciding :)

                    Hopefully i can get someone with me to check it out as well, so that two people see better, the other person is able to see problems onself may not be notice, so i hope i can get someone with me to look into it.

                    Thanks for all responds :) !

              • avatar
                OldSchoolRocker666
                Posted at 09:55h, 03 September

                I’ve deicided; i’am not gonna buy it, i’ll keep looking for something else instead that i can be more sure about, it’s to far to drive to :(

                • avatar
                  SoloDallas
                  Posted at 13:18h, 03 September

                  Buy it. If you don’t like it, you’ll sell it to me. Not kidding. So go relaxed, I’m going to back you up.

                  • avatar
                    OldSchoolRocker666
                    Posted at 13:36h, 03 September

                    I’am first gonna check out the Plexi, if it turns out a badly, i’ll go for this one :)

                  • avatar
                    OldSchoolRocker666
                    Posted at 10:59h, 08 September

                    I’am back again, and i found out that the Plexi he had was an bass, not an Lead which i looked for… :(

                    So disappointed right now , i thought it was an Lead head all the time.. :(

                    He also pointed out some sort of ”Limited Edition Marshall from the 80s, grey/black coloured” that i tried out, it sounded Ok, but.. It didn’t have ”that tone” i seek and it was expensive, i don’t think i go for it, limited edition or not, it’s not the value i want its the tone :(

                    I’ll check out the amp i earlier looked into, if it sounds good i think i go for it, but i gotta call and see if he still has it for sale first.

                    Soo disappointed at the moment ._.

                    • avatar
                      OldSchoolRocker666
                      Posted at 13:55h, 08 September

                      Checked out the model, it was an Marshall 2550 Juilee 25/50 Head, it’s not an Plexi, but can they still be good if you want tones like AC/DC, Blues and such?

                      I read around about them and they are said to be very good on clean channel, relativly simple and give great tones for Blues, Hardrock and similar musics.

                      Should i go for it? Or should i try get another amp? I weren’t able to play it so loud that much today but it sounded great, but i would like to try it out more.

                      I haven’t heard anything bad about those amps :)

  • avatar
    Guitarjosii
    Posted at 18:10h, 28 August

    Do you have any problems concerning a higher wearout of the power tubes with this specific master volume?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 18:16h, 28 August

      Yes, good question. I blew a few 😛

      • avatar
        Guitarjosii
        Posted at 18:20h, 28 August

        What do you mean by “a few”? ;P

  • avatar
    Michael91
    Posted at 14:00h, 27 August

    hi fil

    I saw on one of your pictures an old marshall with a Polarity switch. What does that Polarity switch really do?

  • avatar
    sgmanjase
    Posted at 23:15h, 26 August

    Hey guys I’m going to but a Marshall 1987x soon and I’ll be honest with you I aint got a clue what cab to go for… any help would be greatly appreciated :-)

    • avatar
      Hardrockerdave94
      Posted at 08:47h, 29 August

      Hey pal, well if you want Angus’ tone, I think he uses greenbacks in the studio mostly, and live he uses vintage 30s. The cabs with greenbacks are 1960ax/bx, 1960TV, 1960ac/bc, and the cabs with vintage 30s is the 1960av/bv. Just don’t get 1960a or b cabs, cos they have G12T 75s in and they aren’t that good. Greenbacks are a bit warmer and thicker, v30s are more precise sounding. Hope this helps

      • avatar
        sgmanjase
        Posted at 17:24h, 06 September

        cheers for that mate, i only just found this reply

  • avatar
    raiderflores
    Posted at 21:06h, 26 August

    hey solodallas im going to put an angus young pickup in my epiphone sg g400 on my marshall 1959slp an 1960b cab but i dnt think my speakers r the rite ones. will the pickup make a big difference in the speaker sound? my speakers r g12t 75w fyi :)

    • avatar
      LeroyKincaid
      Posted at 06:24h, 27 August

      You’ll never get an Angus type of tone with the 75’s. I spent a fair bit of time on it as well.

      The Greenbacks might be the way to go.

  • avatar
    LeroyKincaid
    Posted at 09:31h, 24 August

    Hey Fil, just wondering if I could get your opinion?

    I’m in the market for a new Marshall 1960 4X12 non-slanted cab. I’m going after something similar to Malcolm’s modern live sound. I was wondering what sort of speakers you’d recommend – Vintage 30’s or Greenbacks?
    Thanks :)

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 09:34h, 24 August

      Anytime. I know for sure Angus has/had vintage 30s live, I assume Malcolm would do the same. Malcolm even goes for a cleaner sound, so I’d definitely say the 30s since they are in fact 30 watters – against the 25 of the greenbacks – resulting in slightly stiffer attack (slightly harder to saturate)

      • avatar
        Hardrockerdave94
        Posted at 08:03h, 27 August

        I thought Vintage 30s were 60 watt speakers?

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 09:32h, 27 August

          You are right. They’re 60watts in here! Need to change them 😛

  • avatar
    Tyler
    Posted at 12:49h, 22 August

    Hey Fil, what brand of tubes do you recommend?

  • avatar
    kjellgibson
    Posted at 03:24h, 21 August

    EL34 or KT66(6L6) for Malcolm overall tone?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 13:22h, 21 August

      I don’t know, that’s the truth. I don’t think he uses EL34s now, but he may have used them in the past. We have to be very careful because Mal and Ang have sound very differently along the years. So for earlier records, much likely he may have used EL34s as well. Currently he sounds a lot cleaner. He did use also different amps, louder, more watts (200-350) so he could be cleaner than Ang.

      • avatar
        kjellgibson
        Posted at 10:03h, 05 September

        I believe he uses ’em both live today. Just switching amps between songs as he pleases… On stage I see two mainamps and a wireless controlsystem on his guitarbelt. For example, he might use the compressed/tight Superbass with EL34s for the “If you want blood”-song and for “Thunderstruck” he maybe switches to the JTM45/100 amp with KT66’s for more jangle. God knows he mixes those two amps together?

  • avatar
    redlinechavez
    Posted at 01:55h, 21 August

    That’s a great story about your amp there. I always thought this was vintage.
    So, if you don’t have the studio anymore, where do you play this amp?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 13:22h, 21 August

      Right now I am not playing it. I am playing the modelers. But I plan on massively re-using real amps soon.

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 08:02h, 20 August

    Have you ever had any thoughts of make a comparassion between your 1987x Reissue and an old vintage amp to see how the differences turns out, basic same settings, same guitar or two similar guitars or more, e.t.c to find how much it differ?

    I guess you’ve already tried it before though :)

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 13:24h, 21 August

      COmparison is coming and it’s gonna be LOUD!!! 😀 😛

  • avatar
    Tyler
    Posted at 01:49h, 19 August

    Figure I’d share this incase anybody hasn’t seen it, so this brings up another mystery, are they really using the 2 marshall heads that we typically see or are the wizards hidden and the marshalls are just for show.
    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtWrArkvrsA

    • avatar
      LeroyKincaid
      Posted at 11:24h, 19 August

      I’d say it depends on the venue, not sure.
      Hope you don’t mind me posting the link here SD?

      http://musikkweb.no/html/news/382894820.html

      From those photos, all those Super leads are switched on and ready to go.
      When I saw them in February, I witnessed some of the sound check. ‘Bison’ (Malcolm’s tech) definitely was tweaking those heads on the stage.

      • avatar
        Tyler
        Posted at 20:53h, 19 August

        Thanks for that link man, great stuff!

      • avatar
        SoloDallas
        Posted at 13:24h, 21 August

        You ARE supposed to post such links here!!!

        • avatar
          LeroyKincaid
          Posted at 05:24h, 22 August

          Haha thanks. I find myself always coming back to that link, it’s fascinating.

      • avatar
        RickRosePHX
        Posted at 17:11h, 26 August

        Fantastic look behind the curtain. Thak you for the peek.

  • avatar
    Tyler
    Posted at 11:41h, 18 August

    I’ve came across these on ebay, some that have already had the david bray master volume mod for reasonably cheap, too bad I don’t have the money for one. Those marshalls can get pretty hot, I’m sure your sandwich got a hell of a toasting!

  • avatar
    HagusYoung
    Posted at 10:53h, 18 August

    “How many times do i have to tell you: No Sandwiches on a Marshall! No pocket money this month!” 😉
    Great “review”, have you ever played a Wizard / ARD amp ?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 17:19h, 18 August

      😛
      Never tried a Wizard. They seem to be so rare. At some point, three years ago I think, I tried contacting them but was told he was out of business (or just not interested in building one for me)

      • avatar
        HagusYoung
        Posted at 13:31h, 23 August

        theyve got an official site now. ive even seen guys on youtube plaing the “modern classic” amp. Its an modern amp with that classic voicing^^ lol. has a lot of gain in reserve (if you feel the need).

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