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.


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.


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.


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:






André Heiji

Life is music.

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:47h, 11 April

    The 4212 is the combo version of the JCM 800 2205 split channel 50w head. It has a normal channel and an overdrive channel. It has clipping diodes in the preamp. Now this can get you good sounds but I’m not sure it’ll get you the tones you want. Sounds to me like the solo in ride on is a good example of the tone you’re after and then the heavier stuff with the replica. The normal channel is kinda like a plexi just without a mid control knob. This amp can definitely have bite and crunch but it can also have heavy saturated sounds.

    • avatar
      Posted at 23:36h, 11 April

      I played this gig last thursday at this place that had a Marshall head and cabinet, original JMP, I’d dare say it was the one on the picture where it says “Early version of the JMP Master Model #2204 (no top vent = 50w)”
      We didn’t have time for soundcheck so we could only do a line check when we came on, I guess the amp warmed up real nice, when I hit the 3 A’s of Highway to hell I was blown away. That was basically it. Of course I then lowered the volume as we were mic’d and don’t even play ac/dc but that was it for me. I talked to the owner and he said we could jam on it sometime. Can’t wait.
      Back on subject, I guess I’d prefer a one channel master volume amp, but the channels can’t be that bad can they? It’s a shame about the mid button, i like to fiddle with it to get different sounds. Is it just set as if it were on half?

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:15h, 11 April

    I’ve got a question. I’m in need of an amp which I’d like to use for gigging and band practice. Right now i play my Epi 1966 ltd edition through an old vintage crate which is really great and all, but unfortunately it isn’t mine. So I was looking through ebay for a marshall because that’s kinda what I’d like to have. A Marshall combo for easier transport and lower price.
    And I came across this 50 watt jcm800 combo 4212.
    Now I don’t know much about amps but you guys certainly do :)
    So what do you think of it? Anything I should be careful with? The tone I’d like to achieve is the sort of blues rock tone of early ac/dc up to let’s say Flick of the switch with a lot of BITE and crunch. I’m seriously considering getting the Shaffer replica too :)
    There are a lot of pictures of the circuit and stuff but it means nothing to me. Any opinion is welcome. Or if you have experience with the amp please share it.

  • avatar
    Posted at 14:44h, 11 April

    Yes I understand. Just let me know what you think of the 2104.

  • avatar
    Posted at 23:15h, 04 April

    Hi Jaiminhopagina, Loved your article on marshall amps. I am about to get myself a JMP master vol combo, either 2187,2104 or 2204..My question is:- How can I tell which model number the amp is especially as with most of these older amps the sticky label at the rear with the model number on has long disappeared! Is the chassis marked with the number anywhere? Please help. Many thanks, Trev

    • avatar
      Posted at 01:39h, 05 April

      Well, again, the easiest giveaway is the number of inputs. Two inputs = MV (2104). 4 Inputs = non-MV (2187).
      2204 is the 50w MV head version.

      Also, while the non-MV have two volume knobs (one for each channel), the MV has a Pre-amp control and only one volume (the Master control).

      • avatar
        Posted at 10:24h, 05 April

        Thats just what I needed to know….many thanks your a star!.In your opinion which of those JMP combo’s will get me close to the ‘Beano’ tone?

        • avatar
          Posted at 17:03h, 06 April

          The non-MV is going to get you closer to that tone since Clapton used a JTM 45. You will prolly have to jump the channels or use the normal channel to get the fullness of it. But the non-MV will be more like High Voltage and Back In Black with the Replica. Also note Greenbacks will get you closer to Beano and High Voltage where G12-65 will be the Back In Black sound.

          • avatar
            Posted at 19:42h, 06 April

            Thats a big helps thanks. I looked at getting the Bluesbreaker amp but have nicknamed this the Back Breaker!!..its oh so heavy to cart about to small gigs. The price also scared me off ! So it looks like your saying go for the 2187 non MV. Correct me if I’m wrong but I would have thought the MV amp would have allowed me to wind the amp up and control it more with the master vol control ?…forgive me but I have yet to try any of these amps. As for Greenbacks yes I understand and could change to those. I have my eye on a 2104 MV with original Marshall speakers but maybe I will now look elsewhere if I am to get Beano’ed :-)

            • avatar
              Posted at 06:32h, 07 April

              If volume is an issue. An attenuator is going to be your best friend. If you go with the MV or the non-MV cranking the power tubes is what gets the tone. There are many attenuators out there that work great but if you want transparent tone at bedroom levels you have to go with the Aracom PRX-150 Pro or the DAG. I don’t think it’s any sound differences. But the thing about this is that the Aracom is goin to run you from $700-1000. However, it will be the most important piece of equipment you will acquire, and you will regret getting any one that sucks tone. Then you will end up spending more in the long run than if you just save up for the quality thing to begin with. Also without an attenuator of quality like the Aracom it could make you get rid of an amp because of volume issues that with an attenuator could be the best tone you could get. And you can use it with every tube amp you ever own. But yes I think the non-MV would suit your tonal requests the best. Even so, you should post some of the other tones you are after for better advice. If you wanted a JTM 45 or a Plexi version of the Super Lead you could get a clone. Metro and Ceriatone have some of the best and will last you all your life. Super Leads, non-MV, were used by Angus, Page, Hendrix(JTM45/100 and super lead), Paul Kossof, and Eddie Van Halen just to name a few.

              • avatar
                Posted at 12:54h, 07 April

                Yes thanks, I hear what your saying. However I do not have a volume issue. I want this combo ( has to be a combo for logistic reasons) for live gigs where it will get cranked! I was hoping to do this on a budget of around £500 pounds sterling. While I understand the attenuator you mention it starts to push the budget way over. Back in the day I feel sure Clapton would simply have used the combo with very little extra money put in front of it? I am after that Beano tone and also Mick Taylor’s tone on the Crusade album and P Green’s tone on the Hard Road album (not the nasal tone he had later with Mac) Thanks for the heads up regarding the Metro & Ceriatone amps but I simply do not want to take out a mortgage !

                • avatar
                  Posted at 20:26h, 07 April

                  Well the non-MV will be uncontrollable for your tones even in most venues. 50w in a plexi curcuit is a lot. For your gain levels it’ll run from 4-7 probably. I have heard that Clapton used a treble booster with the JTM 45. The Supe Lead circuit won’t need it because it is already bright compared to JTM. But the Ceriatone JTM 45 can be gotten very close to your price range with a post-phase inverter master volume. It could be around 900-1000 US dollars fully assembled. But you could get it in a kit like form cheaper. I am personally more of a fan of the Super Lead circuit. The 68 version would probably come closer to JTM 45 tones than a brighter metal panel, but it just depends on how authentically you want to replicate those tones. If you want a tone that’s very close. Probably 90%. Then go with the non-MV or MV. But if you want it exact or 99% a clone would probably be more suitable to you. I just don’t want you to spend money on something that you end up not wanting or doesn’t satisfy you. It’s happened to me and probably every guitarist obsessed with tone. I cannot stress the importance of just getting what you want even if you have to save up more. You’ll save in the long run and will be truly satisfied with your tone.

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 22:03h, 07 April

                    Well thats all great info my friend. I have looked over at Ceriatone’s site & I recon a 2×12 combo would cost just over $1k maybe a tad more with UK import duty? I am at that senior stage in my life & feel the need to finally nail that tone, so the 99% is heartening. I suppose some of these old vintage amps will need a bit of work after all their use over time so I guess a new clone amp would be a killer straight outa the box. A bit like vintage guitars…some are quite unplayable! I really appreciate all your input and guidance and concern for not wanting me to fall into an expensive trap. This is certainly one big learning curve for me. This is such a great site with loadsa info from great folk. I’ll also see if any amps turn up here on the Bay yet if they are as good as you say I doubt I will find a used one. Guess I shall have to save a few more pounds!

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 02:15h, 08 April

                      Also watch videos of the amp your gonna buy and make sure it’s going to do what you want it to do. Also if you go with the plexi get the 100 watt because there is only 3db difference which barely audible. The 100 has more headroom and that gives it an overall better sound even when cranking it. Also you can order the amp without transformers and put some Metro ones in there if you would like. But I still say don’t get something that you hope will have the tone. Because when it doesn’t it’s basically heartbreaking to us guitarists lol.

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 15:46h, 08 April

                      I was not aware that Ceriatone did a 100w combo? Yes the extra headroom would be a bonus.I looked at Gabkites for a cab but they only have a 1×12 combo cab? which surely would not take 100w ? I am now scratching my head, do I go JTM45 or Plexi ? certainly a lot to digest. Over the coming week I am gonna go try out the Marshall MV2104 combo thats up for sale near me. Do’nt worry I will leave all cash at home so I am not tempted to make a rash decision! Will also check out some amp vids. And I thought this quest would be easy! :-)

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 23:34h, 08 April

                      Oh no I don’t think Ceriatone does a 100 watt combo. I wasn’t thinking you only wanted a combo. I’m not going to tell you to go Plexi or JTM 45. If you can get a beano tone out of the 2104 and want to go with clone, you should go with the Plexi as it is going to have a wider range of sounds. However, the JTM 50 they have is a cross between a JTM 45 and a 1987. I’m not sure if they make it as a combo though. I know this is a lot to take in but when spending a grand you have to take everything into consideration.

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 11:34h, 10 April

                      Its gotta be a combo, though I understand the advantages of the 100w head & cab…..been there done that in my youth (though never really had the technical knowledge of the amps) I will report back after the MV2104 tryout. I will also contact Ceriatone and see exactly what combos they can offer. Might be able to buy a chassis and have a cab made here in the UK?

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 17:36h, 17 April

                      Hi Angus. Well I did it!! Went and viewed the MV 2104 combo. And bought it!!. Its a 1976 model and the seller was the second owner from new. The seller put his Telecaster through it at not very high vol and boy it sounded great!! So I knew plugging my LP in would be da bomb! Which it was! This is such a powerful amp…….roll the vol off and the tones are clear…wind the vol up and boy it starts to break up just right for me!! So I is well pleased. The cab has a few scuffs & the handle is not original but that can be fixed. Has the original Marshall speakers. In fact I would not want to change anything ..other than the damn weight! Its quite a large cabinet and one handle in the middle does not really allow an easy lift, though this is a minor point. I am eagerly awaiting our next band rehearsal to put it through its paces with bass & drums, that’s when the fun starts…..tweeking the sound. I paid £400 pounds sterling for what many would see as a tired old combo…but who cares it gives me THAT sound! For once I will not have to use any pedals in front of my amp….a first for me! Just like to thank you sincerely for all your time & effort into helping me with constructive info….its all paid off & I am now a very happy bunny. Cheers.

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 18:37h, 17 April

                      Congrats, and have fun with your new old amp!

  • avatar
    Posted at 00:57h, 29 April

    a damn :( why is the great jmp so hard to buy? im from slovakia and i cant propably spend more than 1600 euro something like that can i even get it or i should get some alternative? btw awesome info helped me alot 😀

    • avatar
      Posted at 02:40h, 29 April

      I thought 1,600 Euro can get you one…In America, I see most JMPs going for 1000 – 1200 USD, sometimes even 850. It depends what kind you are looking for as well.

  • avatar
    Posted at 14:05h, 22 April

    Vintage Marshalls- Very informative….Great.

  • avatar
    Posted at 20:41h, 10 April

    Jim marshall passed away a few days ago… R.I.P Jim

  • avatar
    Posted at 11:34h, 22 March

    Are there really such a huge differences sonic and quality wise between a good vintage tube and a good modern replica tube made nowadays with good materials and by skilled people?

    The materials nowadays isn’t everything exactly like they used to when they made tubes back then, maybe some are forbidden due to enviromental factors and health factors and that’s understandable, i often hear talks about modern tubes not coming anywhere near the reliability and sonic quality of vintage tubes since supposly, the older vintage tubes made back then was supposly made with materials of higher quality and was not forbidden back then and so on and on, how accurate is this really?

    I mean, i’ve never heard a vintage tube, i probubly wouldn’t be able to hear too much difference and probubly wouldn’t think about it if i didn’t knew i had changed for vintage tubes in one amp and modern in a similar one and compared, i doupt there is much difference to be honest, or is it?

    Are older tubes really made better and produces overall much better sonic quality compared to modern tubes made really well? Ofcourse there are bad and good tubes even with vintage tubes i know, same as with guitars, some are good, some are bad, it’s all relative and to each persons ears i think.

    Any opinions of this?

    • avatar
      Posted at 12:04h, 22 March

      oh yes, i do have a opinion about this !!
      Different tubes and different brands of tubes produce different sounds. That`s a fact !
      Mostly it isn`t that huge difference, but indeed different, how different, belongs to your ears to the amp and even to the speakers. Some tubes give you the impression of a “cold” sound, some of a “warm” sound. Some bring the bass more out, others the highs. Tubes can you give you an early aggressive sound or a very late distorted sound. And many dealers and companys are making much money with the word “vintage”.
      Don`t listen too much to the word vintage, it is mainly there for making money. Old tubes are mostly not better than newer ones. Think about, that tubes wich have been much in use for a long time are losing their sound.

    • avatar
      Posted at 14:20h, 22 March

      Here’s an interesting article on tubes, modern, “NOS” etc…


      Like Angusrocks says it’s up to your ears more than anything in the end. I do notice a difference in sound when I switch preamp my tubes around. It’s a bit harder to test power amp tubes as your amp needs or at least SHOULD be biased when you do.

      • avatar
        Posted at 15:51h, 22 March

        Great link Atomic 😉

        • avatar
          Posted at 16:18h, 22 March

          I guess in the end I’d go for those old JAN tubes since they probably went through more bench testing than the average tube. That is not to say that I’d buy an old dead JAN tube some guy has sucked the life out of in a screaming guitar amp for years though. I had heard/read that in the military they had scheduled tube changes, as in, they did not wait for the tubes to be dead or broken before changing them so many perfectly good tubes were taken out of radio equipment and put into storage. I’d like to get my hands on some o those.

          • avatar
            Posted at 17:23h, 22 March

            Because I like this topic a lot and also because Fil and I discussed this today, I made some recordings with crappy playing (partial shookme and and few chords) with 3 different ECC83 preamp tube brands: TAD, NOS Mullard and Sovtek.

            Now, which one sounds the best, and which differences can you spot?

            Here are the mp3s: http://www.banane.at/media/solodallasnet/tubetests/

            • avatar
              Posted at 17:50h, 22 March

              I think I like the sound of mp3 #1 the best. Next would be #4.
              I find in the first one that the note definition is still clear whether you attack the chords soft or hard. It seems to have a sort of roundness to the sound (that I like!). This also sounds true to me on #4 but to a bit lesser degree.
              #’s 2 and 3 seem to sound a little grittier or”gainy” sounding maybe even a little harsh at times (for AC/DC that is…).
              Then again I am listening to these at work with a pair of ear bud headphones that I once dropped in my coffee… lol
              I’ll give another listen to these when I get home though to hear better. :)

              • avatar
                Posted at 18:15h, 22 March

                Thank you! :) Will solve that when we got a few more guesses :) If you want to know it now, drop me a mail to banane@exception.at :)

                • avatar
                  Posted at 19:46h, 22 March

                  Sent you an email! :)

                • avatar
                  Posted at 00:26h, 23 March

                  Hmmm, is it possible now that I have heard them through my speakers that I like #1 less than I did before in comparison???

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 01:23h, 23 March

                    Hi Franz! I like the sound of #2 the most. To my ears, they break up nicely and have good definition.

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 08:34h, 23 March

                      Hi Jim! Thank you for listening. Will solve up after few more guesses :)

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 08:33h, 23 March

                    Hmm…maybe, but now you know which is which, that could eventually fool your ears :)
                    So, what’s your favourite then?

            • avatar
              Posted at 20:47h, 22 March

              I definitely like the sound of #2 best. But it also seems noisiest. So it may not be ideal for clean playing. Can’t wait to hear what they are…

              • avatar
                Posted at 21:10h, 22 March

                Thanks for listening! Yes, had the same impression, #2 seems to be a bit noisier.

            • avatar
              Posted at 07:23h, 26 March

              Ok, I’ll solve it:
              #1: Sovtek
              #2: Mullard on v1 (first input tube, other 2 sovtek)
              #3: Mullard v1-v3
              #4: TAD

              • avatar
                Posted at 19:52h, 03 May

                Would love to change my current set of Electronic Harmonix tubes (12ax7s and EL34s) into mullard or generalex nos tubes, and since i have a 100 watt 2203 i gotta have three 12ax7s and four EL34s, that might be a problem perhaps, i mean isn’t it prefered that one should buy a full quad of tubes like the EL34s in my case and have them matched?

                I’am not so sure about trying to induvidualy buying tubes since that might prove it problematic if they have to match very closely and stuff like that and what year the tubes should be from since my amp is from 1980.

                Any advices?

                Preferly if i can find, i’d like both kinds of NOS set to be each package so it will be like three 12ax7 and four EL34 to know they should be balanced or whatever if they are true nos.

                Would love to try out Nos tubes :)

                • avatar
                  Posted at 20:40h, 03 May

                  You can mix and match the 12ax7 tubes but yes the el34 tubes should be a matched quad. The one in V3 which is usually closest to the power tubes (in these type Marshalls anyway) is what is called the phase inverter. This one can be “lower quality” than the other two but should be a low noise tube. V1 being the first tube in the circuit should be your best sounding tube. You can test out different ones and combinations to see what is most pleasing to your ear. No biasing is needed to change the preamp tubes and you can even leave your amp on and set it on standby to swap these ones. Just let them warm up a bit before switching the standby back on.

                • avatar
                  Posted at 20:45h, 03 May

                  Also beware of so called “NOS” tubes. They are not necessarily superior to good quality new tubes. People like to charge a shitload of money for tubes just because they are labelled NOS.

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 21:04h, 03 May

                    Can powertubes like old vintage ones be rematched if you have four of the same brand and year and in equal good condition?

                    And thanks alot that really helped! :)

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 22:15h, 03 May

                      Check this site out. It can answer your questions much better than I can. As far as I know you can’t “rematch” tubes. You can maybe find 4 tubes that match closely enough to be able to use together but you can not manipulate tubes that aren’t matched to be matched. Matched tubes just means that the plate current in all of them is within 5% of each other.

                      Hope this helps! :)

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 01:47h, 04 May

                      Just like some resistors or caps are rated at a value +/- 20%, so are tubes regarding some of their electrical qualities. These things are fixed and unchangeable, which is why you need to bias your amp when changing tubes. Biasing is just changing resistance in the circuit to be compatible with the actual tube installed.

                      Matching power tubes is partly so that you don’t have to set 4 different bias resistors… You select matched tubes and set one resistor to handle them all as a set. Also, in theory you would get a different sound if they were not matched. If true though, there is no reason to suspect it would be a worse sound… Might be better in certain combinations. But the amp circuits are not usually set up to handle it.

                      For the really rare and desired NOS tubes , it is common to not match very closely… It is just too hard to find a matched set of some types. So people deal with it… Have an amp tech tweak things to make it work, or just live with one tube being cold biased so the other is in spec.

                      BTW, watch out for counterfeit tubes. It’s not hard for a Chinese or Russian company to use a black base and silkscreen some old Mullard logo on a $20 tube, and try to sell it for $200.

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 11:54h, 04 May

                      Allright thanks both of you that really helped! :)

                      But let’s say i would happend to find a matched set of four NOS EL34 tubes in exellent condition, never used and only tested and they are matched, how long will the tubes be able to hold in their exellent condition in my amp?

                      They say vintage tubes are so much more reliable and is able to hold for much longer, some have their old vintage tubes in their amps still 30 years afterwards and seemingly working good, can they hold for several years if i avoid to abuse them and let the amp warm up and stuff like that before playing and so on?

                      I’am kinda going for having my amp checked by someone if i can find anyone good enough, changing filters, having it thouruly checked to see if it have any issues and so on.
                      I changed tubes as i stated at one point and they should be pretty much broken in now i think, not that i play everyday on it but the combined time i’ve played so far might have been enough i think.

                      Vintage tubes might not be enourmusly changing the sound, i don’t have that good ears like some people here and able to tell what it changes in subtle ways but for me it would be more of a fun thing to have NOS tubes in it if i could find :)

  • avatar
    Posted at 12:39h, 19 March

    Didn’t Marshall also produce a head called Marshall 2959 which also had Reverb and a boost included in it’s features?

    • avatar
      Posted at 12:18h, 04 May

      ”This amp was in production from 1978 up to 1980. It was fitted with a reverb and a 6dB Boost foot switch. Only a couple of hundred of these amps were manufactured”


      That sounds interresting, both a 6db boost foot switch function AND built in reverb(extra knob on front panel) on basicly a stock Marshall Super Lead amp, that minimises the need of any reverb pedal as far as i’am concerned unless the reverb doesn’t sound good to ones ears ofcourse :)

      There was rumor that Gary Moore was gonna have a signature amp build to him, it was gonna be an ordinary Super Lead, but with build in spring reverb, internaly linked channels and having some sort of boost switch for solo playing, he apperantly had tried the amp and was supposly very happy about it but sadly he died before he could have decide if he wanted it made or not so they scrapped the plans for making the tribute amp.
      Story is written somewhere on Marshallforum i think.

      I think the amp might have been based upon an JMP 2959 amp but who knows really :)

      Now wonder if there is some way to build in the replica Vega into a Super lead and making it foot switchable and adding spring reverb.. :)

      Would love to own that kind of amp, but they are rare and hence probubly VERY expensive.

  • avatar
    Posted at 19:14h, 11 March

    I know so, that only on the 100W heads (aka 2203) had an effect by changing from the vertical input to the horizontal. They also removed one filter caps to reduce costs, that‘s why they sound so thin. So they didn’t change the circuit of the 50W heads (2204) and combos (4010, 4104), the only change they made, that they removed the flying lead wires of the input jacks and pots, and they mounted them directly to the printed circuit, which actually has no effect on the sound. Am I right?

    • avatar
      Posted at 20:02h, 11 March

      They used cheaper components, smaller pots, etc.
      They certainly sound different, even with big caps. The filter caps don’t change the sound that much.

      • avatar
        Posted at 09:36h, 12 March

        Can you recommend me, to change these cheaper components to better ones? Will I hear much difference in the tone? I own a 4104 model from 1985, I like her sound, but if it is possible to change the questioned components, I would not miss the opportunity. Thx!

        • avatar
          Posted at 09:43h, 12 March

          No, all the components are on the pcb and are a pain in the ass to remove/replace.

          Just get good tubes, a good bias job and the amp will sound great. Its still a beast amp.

          • avatar
            Posted at 13:14h, 12 March

            Thank you. Mine has JJ Electronic EL 34 tubes. Can you recommend me a DS or OD pedal to boost my solos? The combo has no FX loop.

  • avatar
    Posted at 19:55h, 03 March

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnBY41t4iwE take a look at guns for hire videoclip its definetely eazy to see that its 2203/2204 at 2:45 a bit of blue color and 4 outputs uncovered back :)

  • avatar
    Posted at 13:58h, 26 February

    Reason to why bigger tubes may sound ”cold” or ”sterile” in a tube swapp with KT88s into amps like Plexis and similar amps reading about 50-100 watt is because the amps first and foremost were probubly build around the smaller tubes like 6l6, EL34 and similar tubes first and foremost.

    When the makers do their amps, they have to make sure the amp is designed properly, each component designed and build properly to each other so that they ”flow” good when working together. Proper transformer, tubes, voltage, everything counts.

    When you take an amp like a Super Lead, a Plexi amp, 2203,2204, a 50 watter or 100 watter, doesn’t matter so often, the problem when just swiching to larger tubes is that the larger tubes are simply not getting enough current to reach their potentional.

    For example: take a small European car, an British classic sports car for example, put a very big engine like an American big block V8 over 7 liters, (very large engines!), and don’t modify anything else than just making sure the engine sits properly, the wirings and everything is connected and so on, what will happend?

    Well, if you do it properly, it may start. But it wont be efficient.

    Why? Because the car was likely not designed to use the larger engine that requires much more fuel and things to be efficient properly.

    The car will most likely not become faster, but clumsier, much front heavier, much more fuel consuming, slower, harder to controll and not much possitive since the components aren’t matching the larger engine, if you have just swiched engine that is.

    The point is: it’s the same thing basicly with amps and tube amps as well. If you just swich to much bigger tubes in an amp designed for the use of much smaller tubes, it may work, but the current and voltage may not be enough to even make the tubes hot enough to reach their potentional capacity.

    That is why many people think that larger tubes like KT88s sounds ”cold”, ”sterile” e.t.c in their 50 and 100 watt heads. The current and load and everything doesn’t match the larger tubes from the beginning.

    The transformers in most of our 50 and 100 watt amps we use simply can’t deliever enough voltage to make these tubes really sing, what makes EL34 tubes allmost being driven to their max capacity might in one word not be enough to make the larger tubes like the KT88s sweat!

    However, that is not to say that KT88s and such big tubes are bad, quite the contrary!

    If designed properly around the tubes and everything, those tubes might in fact sound alot ”better” if everything is build right, proper voltage, transformers and everything.

    Larger tubes can really sing just as ”good” as smaller more common and much smaller tubes, they just need more voltage and power to drive them higher to make them work to their potentional :) ”More juice or gas” that is! :)

    And one last thing: there is no wrong with a cold tone at all, if you like the tone of a bigger tube in your amp designed for much smaller tubes, go for it! Some people actually love the tone they can deliever! Afterall there is no ”right” or ”wrong” tone 😉

  • avatar
    Posted at 17:28h, 21 February

    Hi, Folks. I’m new to the Forum. Great site! Regarding the (4) speaker outputs: I’m the original owner of a ’80 Marshall 2203 (6550 Power tubes stock) and it does have (4) speaker outputs and they all work fine. I’ve had (4) 16 ohm cabs hooked up at 4ohms, (2) 16 ohm cabs at 8 ohms and also used them seperately at 16 ohms (’70s Marshall 1982 model cabs with G12H speakers). I think you may have read too much into what the poster in the Marshall Forum stated. He said they were UL required to have (4) outputs but he didn’t say (2) of them were non-functional. The Marshall ’71 Super Bass model 1992 and Marshall ’71 Super Tremelo model 1959T heads that I previously owned also had (4) speaker outputs that all worked. My current favorite, a ’01 100w Marshall Plexi re-issue (EL34 Power Tubes stock) has (2) speaker outputs and thankfully no effects loop. The 2203 (snarls, sizzles and will bite your ass) and the Plexi (full bodied creamy sustain that screams bloody murder) are different beasts, but both killer amps. Thanks for reading.

    • avatar
      Posted at 01:33h, 22 February

      I own a 100W Marshall Plexi Re-Issue…I love it…I really don’t know what I would do without it….I want to get a 2203 so bad though, but I really need a better cab first to finish off my tone

    • avatar
      Posted at 03:35h, 22 February

      I agree fully. I never saw that in the Marshall fourm where he said that. The ’78 2203 (w/ 6550’s) that I bought recently is completely stock with 4 outputs and they are ALL wired in for use. If they were “non-functional” they would have no reason to be there.

    • avatar
      Posted at 01:42h, 04 March

      Ah. Sorry guys. I think I was imagining things then. Sorry.
      I’ll fix that. I was kinda busy so I didn’t read it through with attention.

      Thanks for the heads up. If anyone see more strange things, just write me, okay? :)

  • avatar
    Posted at 14:13h, 10 February

    the 50w PA with 8 inputs is called a super PA. and the Majors are very different from superleads and superbasses – its a very different circuit – much cleaner sounding

    • avatar
      Posted at 18:50h, 10 February

      Hey there :)
      Ah. Now that you mentioned it, I did a little search and I think you are right. The 8 input 50w Marshall is called Super PA too. – lol – My bad. 😛
      So I guess PA heads are really rare. I’ve never seen a pic of that one to be honest :S

      Yeah. Majors are different indeed. Aside from the circuit differences, there’s a 12au7 instead of the 3rd 12ax7. 😛
      And also, I’ve just found out that Blackmore’s amps were heavily modded – hehe.
      So they weren’t even “Majors” anymore.


  • avatar
    Posted at 22:17h, 26 January

    Just a little question, can an amp be modified to have double amount of wattage?

    • avatar
      Posted at 01:37h, 27 January

      Anything is possible. The question is, is it worth it. In most cases, you would be far better off just running multiple amps (which is what ZZ Top, AC/DC, and others do).

      But, depending on the amp, there are sometimes mods that can double wattage, etc. For example, there is a mod that does (or almost does) this for the Fender Blues Jr. It requires a new transformer and tube sockets, and basically converts it from one type of tube to another that has more amplification.

      Not sure why anyone would do that, but it is possible.

    • avatar
      Posted at 11:47h, 27 January

      You have to find new tranny’s, a new chassis, a new pcb board, new tube sockets, an 100W shell with a top vent, etc.

      So, you’re building a complete new amp basically.

      • avatar
        Posted at 11:11h, 11 February

        Sometimes that can be worth it to be sure you really have Your sound which someone else just can’t copy by buying a similar amp from a shop :)

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:33h, 14 January

    Hey guys which mic is better, the sm57 or sm58???

    • avatar
      Posted at 01:56h, 15 January

      sm58 is a voice mic.. no instrument mic. But it has the same internals like a sm57, only a bit more presence and an other polar pattern.

      • avatar
        Posted at 02:22h, 15 January

        Wow, im retarded lol, but thanks again dries, ur the man. Also, dries do u know if guitar center will ship heads from one store to another, meaning if they have a 2203 in california, would they ship it to ohio so I can test it before I buy?? I emailed them, but no response yet

        • avatar
          Posted at 02:29h, 15 January

          Don’t expect a reply from them through e-mail. I tried that way 4 times w/o a response. :( If it’s in the vintage section call the # and they will help you out. 😉 I’m actually looking into buing a 2203 from them myself. They won’t ship from store to store just for you to try. You have to buy it and you have 30 days to return it if you don’t like it.

          • avatar
            Posted at 04:01h, 15 January

            Alright, thanks for the help angusrudd :)

  • avatar
    Posted at 07:20h, 13 January

    So… I might have a small update to the 2203 section here. Andre, you said in a caption below the pic of the “handwriting” 2203:

    “Example of the “handwriting letter style” of a 2203/ 2204 (this particular head seems to be modded – Note the 2 extra jacks – They are probably from an effects loop).”

    I have been looking into buying a 2203 for a while now and have run into something interesting in my research. While not fully understanding what the purpose is yet, I DO believe that the “extra inputs” on the rear are stock.

    Below are some pics that show some of my reasoning. All of these amps “claim” to be stock. Including the one I plan to purchase. Also there is a link to the page where I found the rest of the pics. If you read through the thread there you’ll see these guys say that the amps are stock??????

    Any of you out there with 2203’s have any confirmation of this????? 😉

    (note: all of the rear inputs are bridged/ soldered together using rigid wire. None of these appear to be tampered with solder joints)

    ’78 2203 I’m planning on purchasing.
    ’79 2203 Front View
    Same ’79 2203 Rear View
    ’78 (Top) Different than the above ’79 (Bottom)
    78′ 2203
    Page link to the pictures source and the info I’m refering to:

    • avatar
      Posted at 08:26h, 13 January

      Here’s my 1979 2203 and yes all those inputs are stock


      • avatar
        Posted at 03:33h, 14 January

        Hey Kyle :)

        I think these are “effect loop” jacks. It was probably installed and then reversed to stock (so they aren’t connected to anything right now, I think. Did you check that yet?). Really awesome amp nevertheles. 😛

        How does it sound live? 😀

        I see you borrowed a non-MV from your friend to test. If you don’t mind me asking…. How does it sound when compared to the MV? 😛
        And how loud do you have to set it to get that “crunch”? 😛

    • avatar
      Posted at 03:10h, 14 January

      Well… I still believe these extra jacks are mods. They are usually for effect loops. My take is that they were installed at some point (This is a REALLY common mod) and then someone reversed them to the stock configuration, leaving the holes there. I’ve seen this many times too, but I also saw MANY amps with only two holes. Like:

      Fil’s 1979 2203 (With tons of mods. Still…):

      And this is a 1980 2203 from a friend of mine. It has just one additional hole, wich is an extra output:

      This is what it would look like if it was really stock:

      And another one:

      You can see the black sticker with the amp’s specifications where the jacks would be.

      Plus, there’s no writing under the jacks on any of the amps, what also makes me believe they were added later (you can see that everything else has a writing indicating what it is for: Outputs, Voltage selector, etc).

      But don’t worry. All of these that you showed seemed to be reversed to the stock circuit (as you said, the jacks aren’t connected to anything). And even if the effects loop is still there, it’s really easy to remove it. Also, it’s a really non-intrusive mod, so it could be left there anyway. (I’d get any of these in a heartbeat if I could – xD)

      So, I say go for it! 😀

      • avatar
        Posted at 19:48h, 14 January

        Thanx Andre!!

        I see you’re point. :) I’m still questioning this to a certain extent though. The originals you’ve shown here both have a voltage selectors. (is this a Europe thing only?) While the ones I’ve shown do not have the selector option. (U.S. Option?) KyleSG’s also has no voltage selector.

        So, is it possible that some of the U.S.variants had this? Just kinda seems funny to me that all the 4 hole ones here have the exact same spacing for the “extra” holes. Especially since they would be modded by different people? 😉

        I think I’ll be digging into this further…..

        • avatar
          Posted at 20:09h, 14 January

          I started looking around right after I posted this and I believe I found the answer to confirm my thoughts.here it’s a link to a Marshall forum page.

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


          • avatar
            Posted at 21:23h, 06 February

            Hey buddy :)
            Sorry about the late reply.

            This is really a fantastic discovery! this thing was puzzling me for months! lol

            Updated the article with the new info! Thanks a lot mate!


            • avatar
              Posted at 02:05h, 11 February

              Hey no sorrys needed here Andre! 😉

              A couple of other ineresting things to mention:

              1) I did buy the 2203 I mentioned in the begining of our conversation. It’s 1978 unmolested US variant. So on the US variants, instead of the black “spec” sticker they have a gold sticker, in place of the voltage selector and they are stuck on over the imprinted “shock warning”. The one in your photo above looks like it’s missing the sticker and has only the “shock warning.”

              2) On my sticker it lists the Model as a “M 1959″ and not a 2203? Is this true for the Euro/Canada versions as well?

              Cool that you updated the article but you didn’t have to credit me. (thanx though :) )
              I just think it’s cool that all of us here can research and discuss w/o animosity and actually learn somthing while also contributing to a cool database of rock history. (seems to be a rarity these days….)


  • Notice: Undefined variable: user in /homepages/15/d576095465/htdocs/solodallas.com/wp-content/plugins/add-local-avatar/avatars.php on line 1441
    Ноутбуки Samsung
    Posted at 17:40h, 28 December

    Ноутбуки Samsung…

    […]The Vintage Marshall Guide[…]…

  • avatar
    Posted at 15:27h, 09 October

    How much does the distortion and agressive tone change from 1968 Super Leads up to 1980 Super Lead?

    Supposly there is no tone difference between PCB and PTP, correct?

    Then, would it matter at all if it’s an early 70s PTP Super Lead and an late ones up to 1980, at least distortion wise?

    Did the amps get more and more agressive and had more distortion over the years or am i’am wrong?

    Just thought since it supposly isn’t any difference tonewise between PTP and PCB.

    • avatar
      Posted at 00:40h, 11 October

      In some extent, yes. Later Super Leads tend to be brighter (and start to distort earlier). These changes are caused by different components or small changes in the circuit itself (the voltage values and such things). Don’t expect HUGE differences in drive though. It’s mostly just the “character” that changes (and it’s very subtle). So you can have an idea, Van Halen’s Super Lead was a 1968.
      The tonal differences between PTP and PCB, if there are any, are minimal. The only bad side of the PCB is that your tech will have tougher job to fix the amp if something goes wrong.

      PS: regarding your comment about speakers and cabs… Let’s see what we (the community) can do xD

      • avatar
        Posted at 20:17h, 13 October

        I’am specificly interrested into what speakers and cabinets Lemmy have used. I know he used an early 70s 1979L A/B 4×15 cabs that were supposly rated at 200 watt. Would like to know what 4x12s with speakers he have used :)

  • avatar
    Posted at 21:06h, 08 October

    Great informative article, but I must must say that I have a Jubilee 2555 that when used as a non-MV can get some great Classic Marshall tones. Very versatile!

    • avatar
      Posted at 00:28h, 11 October

      Yeah. The good old Jubilee has a lot of good reputation too. 😛

      Slash sure knows that. XD

      • avatar
        Posted at 11:45h, 14 January

        Wonder how the 100 watt jubilee sounds like with 4 GEC KT88 tubes, it should sound incridible since those sounds so great those original tubes they say. Far better than todays tubes some say :)

        • avatar
          Posted at 19:10h, 21 February

          Sorry for the late responce OldSchoolRocker666. Right now I’m using EH 6Ca7’s with good results as they compress less than EL34’s. This amp is very versatile and responds well to tube changes. KT88’s may sound great and would be worth a try as well as 6550’s!

      • avatar
        Posted at 19:13h, 21 February

        It’s a great versatile amp with a lot of good tones to be had! It really shines when you get the Master up!

Post A Comment