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The Vintage Marshall Guide

05 Jan The Vintage Marshall Guide

 

This is my first article here at Solodallas.com. I hope this can be useful to all of you who are interested in buying old Marshall amps.

(SoloDallas’ note: it is with pleasure that I introduce to you our already very well known friend Andrè, aka  Jaiminho Pagina: he’s now a contributor of SoloDallas.net!)

(NOTE – I did some updates at the 2203/ 2204 section of the article ~JaiminhoPagina)

Before starting, I must warn you that acquiring vintage gear can be really risky. You can end up buying something that is not what you expected or even something that is damaged or modded beyond repair. So, always keep your eyes open for “fishy” deals, look for information, and always ask for high definition photos (especially from the interior of the amps – the circuit, the tubes and transformers) to make sure everything is right. If you don’t have much experience (myself included, to be honest :P), I recommend asking help from the members here of the community. Post a link of the desired amp on the “Ebay Watch Post”, so we can help analyzing it.

In this article, I’ll try to cover the more “desirable” Marshall amps that were built since 1962 up to the JCM800 series, wich most consider to be the “last” great Marshalls produced (That until Marshall released the Vintage Modern series. These amps are really great!).

I’ll concentrate on “how they sound”, “how they look like” and also “how to tell them apart”. I will also try to give examples of where they were used..

So, here we go. I hope you like it :)

Understanding Marshall model numbers

One of the most confusing things concerning these vintage amps are the model numbers. I’ll write down the most important ones and what they mean.

  • 2245 – Although I believe the first JTM-45s didn’t really have a model number, this is the code that is related to them on Marshall’s website.
  • 1987 – Any Marshall Lead circuit (50w, non-MV)
  • 1986 – Any Marshall Bass circuit (50w, non-MV)
  • 1959 – Any Marshall Super Lead circuit (100w, non-MV)
  • 1992 – Any Marshall Super Bass circuit (100w, non-MV)
  • 1963 – Any Marshall Super PA circuit (50w, non-MV)
  • 1968 – Any Marshall Super PA circuit (100w, non-MV)
  • 2204 – Any Marshall Master Model circuit (50w, MV)
  • 2203 – Any Marshall Master Model circuit (100w, MV )

These are just a few of the thousands of codes that Marshall came up with for their amps. I won’t write the rest because it may confuse you even more. So, let’s stick to those for a while.

It’s important to note that, for example, a 1959 amp has nothing to do with the year 1959. Why they chose those numbers then? I don’t know.

More important notes:

  • The addition of a T at the end of the code refers to a Tremolo amp.
  • The addition of a S at the end of the code refers to a smaller version of the head, made to fit with a 4X10 cab – This only aplies to the 2204S head from the JCM series.
  • Combo versions of the amps always had a special code attributed to them (for example, the combo version of the JMP 2204 was the 2104).
  • The 1959S and the 1987S are the codes for the first “Plexi” reissues, made in 1988.

The JTM Era: 1962 – 1965

The JTM-45

JTM-45 with “block” logo

The first Marshall ever made. It was basically a copy of the 1959 Fender Bassman. It had ECC83 (a.k.a. 12ax7) pre-amp tubes and a GZ34 rectifier tube. The first amps had 5881 power tubes. They were changed to KT66 shortly after. It was made as a head and as a combo (known as the “Bluesbreaker” combo). There were many cosmetic changes on the first years until it finally got the “Classic Marshall Look” by 1964.

The front panel has “Presence”, “Bass”, “Middle” and “Treble” controls, as well as 2 volumes and 4 inputs. In 1965, the plexiglass faceplates were introduced. This is the reason why Marshalls of this early era (up to 1968) are known as “Plexis”.

The sound of this amplifier is “creamy” and “warm”. I would say “crispy” too. This amp is more suited for blues players, with a smoother sound.

Eric Clapton used a JTM-45 combo on the legendary Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton “Beano” album (Now you know why this amp was called “Bluesbreaker” :P) He used his Les Paul through the Normal Channel of the amp. He discovered that, by playing really loud, it would start to “break up”. It was something really new. It changed music forever. The then “horrible” distorted and saturated sound turned into what we know today as the “rock tone” (maybe not yet… But we will get there).

Another example of this amp can be heard on AC/DC’s Ballbreaker album. Free’s debut album Tons of Sobs was probably recorded with a JTM-45 too.

The transition to the JMP: 1965 – 1967

This is a confusing era, with lots of changes and new models. So, I’ll try to explain it the best I can. 😛 The transitition from the JTM to the JMP amps happened, in my view, with three steps. The first one was the creation of the first 100w amp.

The JTM-45/ 100 (JTM-100)

The JTM-45/100 with the “block” logo

Pete Townshend and John Entwistle of The Who needed amps that could overpower the noisy and energetic crowds.

Marshall then “hot-rodded” the JTM-45 using four KT66 and two 50w output transformers to handle the extra wattage. A larger headbox was also used. The result was the JTM-45/100 (JTM-100, for short). With more power tubes, the amp had more headroom, a tighter bass response and more definition. It was the first Marshall with a solid state rectifier.

Another player that acquired some of those was Eric Clapton, who used them to tour with Cream.

The change to EL-34s

The change to EL-34 tubes resulted in the increase of power. The name of the amps was also changed. This is when the confusing model numbers started being used I believe.

The JTM-45 was now called Marshall Lead 50w #1987.

This amp had a more edgy sound than the JTM-45, due to the EL-34s. But it also had the characteristic smoothness of the tube rectifier. For this reason, this amp is known today as the JTM-50.

JTM-50

I’m not sure what recordings this amp was responsible for. But Fil’s Metro is a reproduction of this very same amp, so you might be familiar with it by now.

Please note the “Black Flag” JTM marking that was used at that time.

The JTM-100, now with four EL-34s too, also gained a proper 100w transformer. The name? It was called Marshall Super Lead 100w #1959 (Although they still didn’t have the “JMP” mark on the front, In my view, this amps are already into the JMP territory, because they have all of the JMP characteristics).

This is a photo of a JTM-45/100, but it’s the same headbox used for the early Super Leads

Back of a Marshall Super Lead

I think you are all familiar with this amp. Many consider it to be the ultimate rock amp. It’s indeed, a lengend on it’s own. This early “Plexi” versions (up to 1968) are really articulate and have a real nice “roar”. If you want to hear this amp, listen to any Free live performance. Paul Kossoff was the man who really knew how to use these. When I listen to the Free Live! album, and I hear the sweet tone of that Les Paul through his Super Leads, I feel I’m in “tone heaven” 😛

The change to the solid state rectifier

By late 1966 – early 1967, Marshall stopped using the GZ34 tube rectifier in all the models and started using a solid state rectifier instead.

The JTM50 now definetly turned into the JMP incarnation of the 1987 model, although the “formal” name ramained the same.

This amp is basically the 50w version of the Super Lead, so the sound is really similar to it’s “big brother”.

New Models of the “Transition Era”

While all those changes happened, new models started being developed to expand Marshall’s catalog. Here are some of them:

Marshall Bass and Super Bass

Back of a Marshall Super Bass

The Marshall Bass 50w #1986 and the Marshall Super Bass 100w #1992 appeared after the change to the EL-34 tubes. Related to the #1987 and the #1959 respectively, they were designed for bass players. But many guitarrists also decided to try those and they found out that they could get really interesting tones with them. They were a bit smoother and had a tad less gain than their Lead counter-parts. They can easily be converted into Lead circuits as well. So, if you find one for a good price, grab it :)

It used the same headbox as the Super Lead. Front panel was also identical.

Marshall Super PA

A damaged Marshall Super PA

The Marshall Super PA 50w #1963 and the Marshall Super PA 100w #1968 amps may scare you a bit when you look at them. These amps had two “sections” (The most common thing to do was to set one section to Lead specs and the other one to Bass specs). With a standard eq (presence, bass, middle, treble), a total of 8 inputs (4 for each “section”) and 4 volumes, this thing is a real Frankstein monster.

So… How does it sound like? The Lead section sound like a Lead circuit. The Bass section sounds like a Bass circuit… duuuhhh 😛

This is a really underrated amp. It is just as good as the other (probably even more versatile), but the “weird looks” probably scare people a bit and they think this is not a good amp. For that reason, these amps are less expensive and are a really great deal (if in good condition, of course).

Ah… Did I mention that Free used a lot of Marshall Super PAs on stage? 😛

Marshall Major

The back of a Marshall Major. Note the 4 KT88 tubes. The extra knob probably is a Master Volume mod.

If you thought a Marshall Super Lead was already too loud. Stay away from this thing. This is a JMP on steroids. It’s 200W of pure loudness

The Marshall Major 200w has a different circuit than its “little brothers”: the pre-amp has two ECC83s, but the third tube (the “driver tube”) is an ECC82 (a.k.a. 12au7). The power section has four KT88 tubes. These amps were not only stupidly loud, but also really really clean.

Ritchie Blackmore was a famous user of the Major, but they were heavily modded at the Marshall factory (as said in an interview) and later by a man called John Dawk. Blackmore’s amps had extra power tubes, making it even more powerful, as well as extra gain stages. Don’t ask how that’s even possible. I have no clue either.

These amps also CAN NOT TAKE ANY KIND OF BOOST OR OVERDRIVE. Its nicknamed “Smoke On The Water Effect”. These amps would blow because they were already working at critical point without anything, so if you plugged something to make them run even hotter… well…

This is one of the reasons why the Major was discontinued in 1974.

Marshall Tremolo amps

Marshall Super Tremolo. Note: 8 knobs instead of 6

These amps had an extra 12ax7 tube for the “tremolo” effect. They are easy to tell apart because the two extra knobs (“speed” and “intensity”) on the front panel.

These amps weren’t much popular and were discontinued in 1973.

On a side note, a faulty Marshall Super Lead #1959T was modified by Tim Caswell (he used the extra 12ax7 as another gain stage on the pre-amp), and it became the legendary #39 of SIR studios in California, USA. The amp was desired by every musician that rented it. SIR studios declined all the offers they received for it. Then, this amp was used on the rehearsal sessions of Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Appettite for Destruction album. Because of rumors that Slash was going to steal the amp (and legend says he did it!), SIR studios switched amps, and Slash ended up “renting” #36 instead: a late 70’s JMP, also modified like #39 (He didn’t notice the difference?). AFD was recorded with this amp. Then, a misinformed roadie returned it a year later (and was probably fired afterwards). Both amps never were seen again. (Creepy, huh? XD)

The “Plexi” JMP era: 1967 – 1969

Close-up of a “plexiglass” panel JMP

And now, we are oficially into the JMP era.

The first JMP marked amps came out around late 1967, although, as you saw, all of them already had JMP characteristics. So, it was more of a “brand” renewal.

An important note is that, by 1968, there were some changes on the circuits that made the amps more aggressive. All the models mentioned above are still being produced here.

The amplifiers that were shipped to America had an extra toggle, wich was the polarity switch. That happened until around 1976.

A notable user of these amps is a guy named Eddie. Yes: On Van Halen’s debut album, a 100% stock 1968 Marshall Super Lead #1959 was used. With a thing called variac, he was able to kind of “attenuate” the amp and obtain more gain.

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin is well know for his use of a 1959 Les Paul and Marshall Super Lead #1959 amps (Did you notice that both have 1959 on their name? Coincidence? :P). I’m not sure of the year his amps were made, but something tells me that they are from around this period (1968 or 1969) or maybe from the early Metal-Face years. Anyway… It’s said that his amps were modded to accept KT88 power tubes, boosting their power to 200w (and actually, he really told so on an interview in 1977), but the question is: When was it done? – My opinion is that maybe he did that around 1974, since his tone was a lot different in the 1975 tour, but, of course, I might be wrong. 😛

Malcolm Young said his favourite amp is an old Super Bass amp, probably from this period too (it could be an early Metal-Face as well).

The “Metal Face” JMP era: 1969 – 1976

Close-up of a “Metal-Face” Marshall

In mid-1969, the plexiglass faceplates were replaced by brushed aluminium faceplates, hence the nickname “Metal-faces”.

This change didn’t affect the tone directly. What happened is that there were more changes in the components and the amps became even more aggressive: they were brighter and had a more drive than before. This was actually good for most guitar players, since they wanted more and more gain.

Another good side here is that amps made after 1970 doesn’t have so much collectible value as the early “Plexi” amps. These are probably the best oportunities to own a “Plexi style” circuit without spending a fortune (with some tweaks, they can be converted into the “smoother” late 60’s circuit).

It’s important to note that from 1972 onwards, Marshall amps that were shipped to America had 6550 power tubes, because american dealers said EL-34s were breaking too much often inside the warranty time.

There weren’t much changes afterwards. The only one that worth mentioning is the switch to PCB style assembly on late-1973. Did it affect the tone? I can’t really tell. It got worse? Definetly not. They are as reliable as the PTP Marshalls. You can read more about this here.

Another change (wich is not that important) is that now the 50w chassis were put in the same bigger style headbox as the 100w. So, the only way to tell them apart (besides the model written on the back, and the number of power tubes) is by looking at the top. If it has a top vent, then it’s a 100w. If it doesn’t, it’s a 50w.

Due to all the hype around the PCB, post-1973 Marshalls are even more accessible to us. 😀

AC/DC probably used Metal-Faces from this era to record High Voltage, TNT and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, as well as live performances up to 1976 (Angus used to play his solos with the neck pickup a lot back then, probably because he coudn’t always play with his amps loud enough to get the desired overdrive).

The PA and Super PA heads were discontinued around 1975.

The Marshall Master Model

In 1976, Marshall decided to try something new. After receiving many complains, they decided to put a Master Volume on their amps. They used the #1959 and the #1987 as a base, removed the normal channel and added a pre-phase inverter master volume on it, so it was possible to have the pre-amp saturation at lower volumes. The panel of this model had only 2 inputs, standard eq section , a Pre-Amp and a Master Volume knobs. They called it Marshall Master Model 100w Lead #2203 and Marshall Master Model 50w Lead #2204. Did it work? Yes and no. Yes, it was possible to have pre-amp drive at low volumes, but since it was the power amp saturation that made Marshalls so great, guitar players complained that they couldn’t get enough “distortion” at lower volumes. So… Marshall had to come up with something to solve this problem…

UPDATE: It seems that the early versions of the 2203 (100w – with the old cosmetics) already had the cascaded pre-amp. Only the 2204 (50w) suffered from the lack of gain at low volumes.

Early version of the JMP Master Model #2204 (no top vent = 50w)

The “Rocker Switch” JMP era: 1976 – 1981

1979 Marshall JMP Super Bass 100w #1992

So… Here we are. This is the part you wanted to see, right? All of you AC/DC gearheads (myself included! :P) here at the Solodallas classic rock comunity want to know more about the Late 70’s JMPs, don’t you? Well… I’ll do my best to let you satisfied! 😀

Around this time, Marshall decided to upgrade the cosmetics of their amps. They started using rocker style switches instead of the old toggle switches (yes. This is why I called it “Rocker Switch Era”. No pun intended), the “Marshall” logo was bigger and there was a thicker white binding on the corners, as well as under the logo. The only thing is: there were many parts left on stock and they had to use them! So, if you find a weird looking 1976 – 1977 JMP, it’s probably just because they were using some old parts to assemble them. By mid-1977, they were over and only new parts were used.

An example of a “mixed up” 1976 JMP: Notice the old style headbox and, at the same time, the thicker binding, the bigger logo and the rocker switches

 

Interestingly, the amps for the Canadian market kept the EL-34 tubes and the old toggle switches.

Canadian version of a late 70’s non-MV JMP

[Thanks to KyleSG for the information 😉 ]

 

The “NEW” Marshall Master Model

While the sales of the non-MV volume amps continued steady and well, Marshall faced a serious problem with their new product: Most people didn’t like their Master Model amps (this refers only to the 2204) because there was no enough gain at lower volumes. It was a disaster: After 14 years selling non-MV amps, always relying on the power amp saturation, Marshall, the company that made the best RnR amps in the world suddenly had an amp with “no enough gain?”

[Warning: lame joke coming up!] Well… The heads at Marshall worked with the volume on 11 to find a solution. After many blown tubes, they decided to try something really different this time: to cascade the pre-amp to get extra pre-amp saturation.

And on late-1976 or early-1977 the magic happened… It was an instant success! You had a great overdriven tones at any volume (Of course, the louder it was, the better it would sound). It could also work as a “Plexi-style circuit”, by keeping the Master on 10 and working with the pre-amp volume. Of course, it also had a unique and distinctive voice.

NOTE:

A way to find out if a 2204 have the cascaded pre-amp or not is the Two Cables test.

Just get two cables and plug them into both inputs of the amp. Turn it on and put your hand on the other end of the cables to produce sound. Theorically, if you get sound only from one input, this means you have the cascaded circuit. If you get sound from both, you have a non-cascaded circuit.

Marshall JMP Master Model 50w #2204

In 1976, AC/DC launched the international version of the High Voltage album, wich actually was a mix of songs from the Australian High Voltage and TNT.

Marshall realized the potential of the new band and decided to sponsor them. When they got into the studio to record the Let There be Rock album, they already had brand new JMP “rocker switch” amps. So… what they used? MV or non-MV? The nasal and overdriven tone is unmistakable. They used the 2203/ 2204 Master Model heads extensively through the years. But also, they still were faithful to the old non-MV circuits So, they almost always mixed them on stage. Powerage, Highway to Hell, Back in Black… up to the Blow Up Your Video… all recorded with amps from this era. It’s hard to tell when they used what amp, but you can’t go wrong with these beasts.

Master Volume vs. non-Master Volume

But wait a minute… The old non-MV were still being made with the new cosmetics? Yes. They were. So, if you are looking for a late 70’s JMP, always look at the number of inputs so you don’t end up buying a Super Bass thinking you’ve just got a 2203! 😛

You can also look at the back. The model will be written there. So, just to make sure you won’t get yourself into trouble:

  • 1959/ 1987/ 1992/ 1986 (non-MV): 4 inputs, 2 Volumes, Model of the amp written in block letters at the back.
  • 2203/ 2204 (MV): 2 inputs, Pre-amp and Master Volume, Model of the amp in handwriting letter style at the back.

Anything different from that (3 inputs, extra knobs, etc) is a modded amp.

Example of the “block letter style” of a non-MV amp

Example of the “handwriting letter style” of a 2203/ 2204

EDIT: A new finding by user 06AngusSG

The two extra jacks that appear on this head are actually STOCK!
They are simply extra outputs. Here is what he found out:

“I started looking around right after I posted this (a little chat on the comments of this page regarding this same subject) and I believe I found the answer to confirm my thoughts. Here is a link to a Marshall forum page.

http://www.marshallforum.com/marshall-amps/23862-jmp-2203-speaker-outs.html

The guy here states that the U.S. variants
were required to have 4 holes to attain the proper UL rating.”

 So, this means the U.S. export versions had 6550 tubes AND the two extra output jacks. All of them are useable.

Quite funny, isn’t it? 😛

The combo versions of these amps are really interesting too. So keep your eyes open for those as well.

50w JMP combo, a #2104 or a #2187

Around mid-1979 there was another minor circuit change. The result was, as you expected, more agressive amps. Also, the serial numbers started to be printed on the front panel, close to the switches.

In 1980 , Marshall started using a bigger logo. At this point, Marshall’s exclusive distribution contract with Rose Morris was expiring. Free from the contract, Marshall decided to, again, renew the whole Marshall line.

Larger logo used from 1980 – 1981 (And serial on the front panel)

The JCM800 era: 1981 – 1989

Marshall JCM800 100w #2203

In 1981, Marshall launched the JCM800 series. It was mostly a cosmetic change. But some claim that there were, again, small changes in the circuit. making these slightly more “modern” sounding amps. The “simple circuit” JCM800s are, in my view, still quite interesting amps. Let’s take a look at what we still have here.

A note here is that the name “JCM800″ itself is, many times, related just to the 2203/ 2204 models, but the JCM800 was a series. This means there were other models. Altough rarer, the non-Master Volume amps (#1959/#1987/ #1992/ #1986) were still being made under the JCM name.

Marshall JCM800 Super Lead #1959 (non-MV)

Some amps with JMP style will surface there and there during the 80’s too. But they are basically a JCM800 in the old headbox.

Combo versions, are, again, really interesting. Try to look for the ones with the same circuits as the heads mentioned above.

Marshall JCM800 50w 1×12 combo #4010 (2204 circuit)

Well… Here we got to the end of the line. There were no new interesting “simple circuit” amps launched during this period.

A last important note: Avoid the JCM800 2203 and 2204 amps with “horizontal inputs” (made after 1986). The different position of the inputs meant a change in the circuit. This one was not a pleasant change and the result was a much more grainy and thin-sounding tone as they were turned up.

“horizontal input” JCM800 Master Volume. Not a really good deal

In 1989, the JCM800 line was over, and the high gain JCM900 era begun. :(

So… This is it. I hope you liked this…. “little” piece of Marshall’s history. 😀

Serial Numbers

Serial numbers are a great way to find the model/ year of the amp. Here is some info about them:

Prior to 1969, the amps don’t have serial numbers.

Model Code Explanation
A/ or /A 200 Watt
RI Reissue Series
S/ or S/A 50 Watt
SB/ or SB/A Super Bass – 100 Watt
SL/ or SL/A Super Lead – 100 Watt
SP/ Super PA
ST/ or ST/A Tremolo – 100 Watt
T/ or T/A Tremolo – 50 Watt

Date Code Year
A = 1969-70
C = 1971
D = 1972
E = 1973
F = 1974
G = 1975
H = 1976
J = 1977
K = 1978
L = 1979
M = 1980
N = 1981
P = 1982
R = 1983
S = 1984
T = 1985
U = 1986
V = 1987
W = 1988
X = 1989
Y = 1990
Z = 1991-92

Cheers! Thanks for reading! :)

Interesting links:

http://www.superiormusic.com/page024.html

http://www.legendarytones.com/marshallshoppers1.html

http://www.legendarytones.com/marshallshoppers2.html

http://www.legendarytones.com/claptonearly1.html

http://www.drtube.com/marshall.htm

avatar
André Heiji
andkoz2010@hotmail.com

Life is music.

311 Comments
  • avatar
    CalHughes199
    Posted at 00:08h, 27 January

    Hey Fil. I’ve watched your vdeos for….erm….a long time now, since the early days of YouTube (Remember?)…..
    Gotta say, your tone in this video is simply astonishing – Especially your tone for the verses and chorus. Its pure AC/DC – I’ve never heard a tone so close to Angus’ before, probably because I never thought it was possible to get THAT close – I was wrong, very wrong, because this is something else. Great stuff!
    Hey, to Fil and ANYBODY else watching and reading, I play in a hard rock band, and we’ve just uploaded our first cover (Highway to Hell) onto YouTube. We have many others (Inlcuding “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Back in Black, “Shoot to Thrill” and others), but just haven’t uploaded them yet. We’d really like some feedback, both positive and negative.
    Here’s the link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFwcCmcyDqo
    Would really appreciate any comments.
    Either leave a comment as a response to this one, or comment on the YouTube vid itself.
    Thanks guys, and rock on!

  • avatar
    Andrea Sg
    Posted at 23:27h, 23 January

    that is what my eyes want to read!!!

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 22:41h, 07 January

    How are the JMP combos of the late 70s JMP ? Found an 1980 JMP Combo in great condition, original tubes in great shape and same owner since new, i’am thinking about it : /

    • avatar
      Lemmiwinks
      Posted at 07:29h, 08 January

      I have 79 and its fantastic. I suspect your amp is sold in sweden, am I correct? anyways a great amp. You might considering changing the tubes. Has it been played much?

      • avatar
        Lemmiwinks
        Posted at 07:31h, 08 January

        *for sale

        • avatar
          OldSchoolRocker666
          Posted at 11:31h, 08 January

          Hey again :)

          Yes it is sold in Sweden, i was thinking about a combo since i would like to have a practical but well sounding amp, i expecily want it to give a great AC/DC sort of sound, and i also want it in good condition which it is; wonderfull condition, same owner since new and not played alot hence why the owner mentions the tube is still in good shape and works good . It sounds like a great deal considering it’s price and shape in my ears (and eyes).

          He have pictures of it here: http://goo.gl/yA9Jq

          I think it looks like it’s in a gorgeous great condition considering it’s over 30 year old and it has the same owner since new, not played much, and same original speakers, circuit e.t.c, AND it’s a combo, which is practical :)

          But how does it sound like compared an an ”ordinary” JMP halfstack?

          • avatar
            banane
            Posted at 12:13h, 08 January

            Since it’s the same circuit, it will basically have the same sound, fur sure.
            In the praxis, I assume the tone will be a bit different to a head with a 4×12 cabinet, just because a the 4×12 cabinet creates a different sound because of the bigger box and 4 instead of 2 speakers, but I’m not really sure how big the difference would be.
            Especially at home, when playing at low volumes, this one might be a big advantage over the head with a 4×12 cabinet.
            User SGACE here has also such one, I believe.

            • avatar
              OldSchoolRocker666
              Posted at 12:50h, 08 January

              Right, can it be linked to an 4 x 12 Cabinet if someone would like to? And, do i need an attenuator?

              I’am really thinking into getting it, for it’s price i think it’s a good choice, and i can take it with me alot than with a clumsy cabinet + head, old circuit, not millions of knobs and effects, simply amp , i’am seriously thinking about it :)

              For those here who has this little amp, what do you think about it? Is it worth it? I would really like to know, would you recommend it? I would appritiate all answers :)

              – Seb

              • avatar
                banane
                Posted at 13:00h, 08 January

                Yes, should be possible to attach an external cabinet, there are speaker outputs shown on the photos.
                I read also something here from someone who converted such a combo to a head later by mounting the chassis into an empty head case. Compared to my JMP head, it looks equally.
                I would go for it :)

                • avatar
                  SGACE
                  Posted at 00:35h, 10 January

                  If the price is right, go for it… I have the same and I am really happy, same speakers (g12 65)… Play an amp with 2×12 is different from 4×12… for a home use many people prefer 2×12 because it gives less db’s..
                  The amp looks clean, but i would like to see a photo from the inner guts to be sure…
                  You should know that the combo is really heavy around 36-37 kg so it is really hard to move it from place to place… BUT again if the price is right I would prefer to buy a combo for the price of a head..

                  • avatar
                    Lemmiwinks
                    Posted at 17:45h, 13 January

                    go for it, even tough my -79 is modiciated with a deeper sound I believe you cant go wrong with a JMP. It is the sound of AC/DC period!
                    I cant tell anything from the “gutshots” but it seems clean and there are blackbacks in it wich is the original speakers ( like greenbacks but in black)

                    and as SGACE said, they are heavy! but its defenitly easyer tolling these around than a full stack. They should have sidehandles on each side, like some early combos had 😀

                    • avatar
                      OldSchoolRocker666
                      Posted at 14:36h, 28 January

                      It got sold before i had the chance to call the owner :( :( :(

                    • avatar
                      OldSchoolRocker666
                      Posted at 00:06h, 19 March

                      Got the chance again!

                    • avatar
                      OldSchoolRocker666
                      Posted at 00:08h, 19 March

                      So basicly it’s the same circuit as the big head versions? – Seb :)

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 09:51h, 19 March

                      Yes, indeed.

                    • avatar
                      OldSchoolRocker666
                      Posted at 13:42h, 19 March

                      Ops stupid question it’s been mentioned before sorry..

                      Anyways i’ve contacted the seller, and hopefull i can arrange a meeting to try it out, i’ll write a feedback when he/she responds.

                      -Seb

  • avatar
    Hardrockerdave94
    Posted at 19:54h, 06 January

    Hey thanks for posting man, really interesting read

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 23:19h, 10 January

      You are welcome! :)

  • avatar
    Chris
    Posted at 18:41h, 06 January

    André, did you really thought i would read all of this?
    Man… how could i ?
    i don’t know how i did but, well i did xD
    and amazing dude, you did a great job with that article
    see you soon in msn mate 😉
    greetz

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 23:17h, 10 January

      Haha 😛
      Thanks my friend! Yeah. Talk to you soon 😉

  • avatar
    Ant
    Posted at 17:41h, 06 January

    Great artical well done! even a newbie like me can make sence of this 😀

    Ant

  • avatar
    JaiminhoPagina
    Posted at 15:31h, 06 January

    The article was updated.
    The wrong info about the “Marshall Major” is now fixed.
    Also, I fixed some typing errors and added some notes.

  • avatar
    cwildes
    Posted at 05:22h, 06 January

    very informative article. Never mind HD pictures though. I’d never buy a vintage amp unless I had played through it first.

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 15:42h, 06 January

      Thanks! :)
      Yeah. Seeing it personally is always a plus :)

  • avatar
    Tyler
    Posted at 23:11h, 05 January

    Very well written and though out article man. I gotta get a jmp soon lol.

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 00:13h, 06 January

      Thanks :)
      Good luck on your hunt mate :)

  • avatar
    LedSabbath
    Posted at 21:30h, 05 January

    I have to say not everything is accurate. The one I know for sure is the one about Jimmy Page. He did use a Marshall SLP 100 but it had been modified to have KT88 Tubes (200 Watt). In other words basically Jimmy Page used a Marshall Major.

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 21:36h, 05 January

      Yes. I wrote about the KT88 modification up there. :)

      But ironically, I was wrong about the Major instead.
      It had two ECC83 tubes on the pre-amp section, but the third one was an ECC82 (I’ve just found out about that. I asked Fil to fix the article for me).

      This means Jimmy didn’t quite use a Major. Just a modified Super Lead (it had three ECC83s).

      • avatar
        ar2619Rob
        Posted at 21:42h, 05 January

        Andre, as its your article you should be able to edit it all you like? In the same way as you wrote it. :)

        • avatar
          JaiminhoPagina
          Posted at 21:47h, 05 January

          I’m a bit confused. The “edit” button is gone… – XD
          And Fil added that little comment there in the begining…. I thought only him can make changes after it’s posted, isn’t it? =\

          • avatar
            ar2619Rob
            Posted at 21:55h, 05 January

            Go >site admin>posts>click on your article then you should still be able to edit , as and when you want to update. When finished click update on the right hand side.

            • avatar
              JaiminhoPagina
              Posted at 21:58h, 05 January

              So…. That’s the problem. For some reason I can’t click on my article! O.o

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 21:39h, 05 January

      And, of course it’s not 100% accurate.
      This i just something I put together for the comunity :)

      Sorry about the mistake with the Major – XD
      Cheers!

  • avatar
    Angusrocks
    Posted at 20:22h, 05 January

    Wow, i`m really impressed !!
    This is always a lot of joy for me to read something like this. That keep my fire of interests burning ! Now i really believe that i made a big mistake. I sold a 1959 S.
    This a 1959 super lead model, non master volume
    and only build in 1988. It had a polarity switch, 4 EL34 and 4 speaker outputs. And what did i get for this amp ????? Poor 600 EU !!
    By the way, the “S” after 1959 meant standard.
    I sold it mainly, because it was wayyy too loud, but not only loud, also very less gainy and that was, i believe, my own fault. I put some groovetubes in it from wich i was informed, that these are use ACDC, too.
    Ok, ACDC use the high rating numbers of these tubes, because they have to play very loud, lot of volume and don`t want an early gain.
    I did the same, but…..,i had never the chance to play as loud as ACDC do. So it was too less gain for me even with an attenuator.
    There was a second mistake. I always plugged a Sg copy in this amp, never the real deal, so i had never and could never have the sound of ACDC. Yes yes…..every dog makes his experiences (-:

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 21:02h, 05 January

      Thanks 😛
      Well… These amps are indeed really really loud.
      Hmm… I was a bit confused. But I researched a bit and I got it. In this case, I believe the 1959S is the first reissue of the Plexi amps, made around 1988, am I right? 😛
      When did you sell it?

      • avatar
        Angusrocks
        Posted at 21:11h, 05 January

        yes, you`re right !!
        I sold it 2 years ago, why ?

        • avatar
          JaiminhoPagina
          Posted at 21:13h, 05 January

          :)
          Ah… err… No special reason. Just to keep the conversation going 😛

          • avatar
            Angusrocks
            Posted at 21:17h, 05 January

            from the 1959S exist a 1987S version, too. Also only built in 1988. But i thought, what i want with a 100W amp ???
            I`m not a stadium player (-:

            • avatar
              banane
              Posted at 21:26h, 05 January

              At least not yet 😀

              • avatar
                Angusrocks
                Posted at 21:35h, 05 January

                hahaha, who knows…
                no, i`m too old for a big career….or maybe not….who cares

            • avatar
              Angusrocks
              Posted at 21:33h, 05 January

              just another word about PCB and handmade.
              I don`t know, but why should it sound different if the voltage goes directly through a cable or the cables are connecting on a piece of plastic ???
              Sometimes i think, when all these guitarists knew how much they do by hand at Marshall…..
              There is a lot of handwork, believe me, i couldn`t trust my eyes as i saw this. Just the metalchassis is made by a machine.

              • avatar
                ar2619Rob
                Posted at 21:40h, 05 January

                Signals have ‘echoes’ called harmonics over-laying them and at such low voltages (i.e in electronics) they effectively become more influencial. So, even the type of conductor,i.e pcb track or insulated cable makes a small difference. In a larger voltage cct you can forget about their effect.

                • avatar
                  banane
                  Posted at 22:04h, 05 January

                  So, technically, there is no difference between a handwired and a pcb based amp?

                  • avatar
                    JaiminhoPagina
                    Posted at 22:46h, 05 January

                    Probably there is. But it must be like a bit of sugar into the ocean. Makes pratically no difference.
                    You see why post-1973 Marshalls have so much hype around them?
                    Just think that: the amp that we all love, the JMP Master Model is a PCB! 😛

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 23:05h, 05 January

                      Yes, its funny actually :) Just looked around at ebay and found a 1964/65 Plexi for about 10.000$. Way too much I think :)

  • avatar
    Michael91
    Posted at 19:56h, 05 January

    Really helpful and interesting article!! Thank you!!

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 20:08h, 05 January

      Thanks! :) You are welcome!

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 19:53h, 05 January

    Reading this article makes me smile , thanks for posting it :)

    Could the number ”1959” have been used by Marshall as marketing thing on their amps as Rock’n’Roll was good at 1959, or something? Just think about it, if you know a certein year is famous of music, why not use in on an musical product? Surly 1959 is possibly refered to the ”age of rock’n’roll” by alot of musicans, if you put that number on a musical product , it can be an reference to that particular era, people recognizing it and possibly affecting sale statistic, i hope this doesn’t sound weird :(

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 20:07h, 05 January

      You are welcome :)
      I’m glad you liked it!

      Yeah. That makes sense. :)
      But the one thing I don’t understand is the code for the SuperBass… why #1992?
      The 50w family was #1986/ #1987
      Wouldn’t it be easier to make it the #1958? would make more sense 😛

      Anyway…. cheers! 😀

      • avatar
        ar2619Rob
        Posted at 20:20h, 05 January

        Only my theory but I don’t think the product codes have anything to do with dates. My instinctive feeling is that they are design project numbers i.e 19 series project 59, 87 e.t.c and later the 22 series models 03, 04 e.t.c.

        • avatar
          JaiminhoPagina
          Posted at 20:22h, 05 January

          That’s a reasonable explanation. :)
          Still… These numbers can be really confusing. 😛

          • avatar
            banane
            Posted at 20:30h, 05 January

            I like this explanation too. That’s the way technicians would name them.

            • avatar
              ar2619Rob
              Posted at 21:23h, 05 January

              You and I both technicians I think?

              • avatar
                banane
                Posted at 21:30h, 05 January

                I learned carpenter first, worked for 20 years as carpenter, went from germany to vienna then and taught myself IT and network related things. Now I’m working as an IT technician, so, yes for me. What about you?

                • avatar
                  ar2619Rob
                  Posted at 21:34h, 05 January

                  Electrical/electronics engineer, started my apprenticeship in 1984, still learning!

                  • avatar
                    banane
                    Posted at 21:50h, 05 January

                    Ah, thats also a nice profession :) Yeah, I’m still learning too.

  • avatar
    rjofig
    Posted at 19:53h, 05 January

    Thank you, Andre, this is a very nice article – great reference for all of us.

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 20:02h, 05 January

      You are welcome! :)
      I learned a lot with it too! 😛

  • avatar
    Guitarjosii
    Posted at 19:50h, 05 January

    I wish my english was good enough… :(

    • avatar
      banane
      Posted at 19:56h, 05 January

      Erm, you are german, right? What part you don’t understand? Maybe I can help out :)

  • avatar
    Thundersnook
    Posted at 19:42h, 05 January

    I dont know what to say .. I can barely imagine how much time you have put into this, but i know it was a lot! This is hard work, searching for information and comparing it and bring everything together in a logical way so everyone could understand.

    You did a fantastic job! Really outstanding and selfless from you to share your knowledge wih us! =) Thanks again Andre! Mey the rock be with you and Fil! 😉

    Greetings! =)

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 20:02h, 05 January

      Well. It actually took me a whole day and a bit more 😛
      But it was fun! XD

      Cheers! Thanks a lot mate! I knew you would like it! 😉

  • avatar
    banane
    Posted at 19:23h, 05 January

    Very good article, almost scientific. This answers a lot of Marshall related quetions. A small Marshall bible and dictionary for us rockers here :)
    A hug for you, Andre, and another hug for my JMP 😀

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 20:00h, 05 January

      Thanks Franz! 😀
      Hugs for you too :)

  • avatar
    SoloDallas
    Posted at 19:02h, 05 January

    Terrific article. Terrific!

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 20:00h, 05 January

      Thanks a lot brother 😉

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 21:30h, 05 January

      Fil, could you please make a correction on the article for me? On the “Marshall Major”

      The circuit was not like the Super Lead. Instead of three ECC83 tubes, it actually had two ECC83s and a ECC82 on the pre-amp.
      It was discontinued in 1974

      I think it’s just that. I should have noticed that before 😛

  • avatar
    Thundersnook
    Posted at 19:02h, 05 January

    Thats it then!!! Hell Yeah, how cool is that!! Now I’ll read this stuff!!

    Thank you Andre! :):) Youre the best!!^^

  • avatar
    ar2619Rob
    Posted at 18:51h, 05 January

    Thanks for sharing all the great info and pictures, if I could I’d have one of all of ’em and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fil has, lol. very well researched article :)

    • avatar
      JaiminhoPagina
      Posted at 19:59h, 05 January

      Thank you :)
      Yeah. Me too XD
      I would buy all of them if I could XD

  • avatar
    JaiminhoPagina
    Posted at 06:36h, 14 May

    Ah. That sounds great! Congratulations! It’s really a score!
    I hope you have an attenuator, because this amp is really really loud. You won’t be able to drive it without one. :)

    Powerage was recorded with Master Model amps (2203/2204). That’s the one we know for sure.

    On the other hand, Back in Black probably was recorded with a 1959. 😛

    Cheers! I hope you enjoy your new amp!

  • avatar
    OldSchoolRocker666
    Posted at 09:15h, 14 May

    On the other hand you can just rise the volume alot naturaly, but use two earplugs(or one set of earplugs and a pair of ear protectors(i use mostly both when crankins stuff up) and be in a room that can isolate some of the noice to the outside so neighbours doesn’t start calling the police 😀

  • avatar
    JaiminhoPagina
    Posted at 04:57h, 22 May

    I’m not sure.
    Never heard of them using it.

    But this doesn’t mean you can’t use it 😉

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