The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Guitars for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Roland JC-120 worth it?
Old 7th May 2003
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Roland JC-120 worth it?

Someone local is selling a JC-120 for $340. I don't see them come up very often, so I'm wondering if this is a good price, or I should offer him less, or pass it up altogether.

I could go for that clean Andy Summers sound (he used one alot with the Police), but how well does this thing handle stompboxes, and can it provide acceptable distortion on its own? Also, I'm thinkng that if I get one of these, I'll never want for guitar chorus again.

Anyone have some experience with a JC-120?
Old 7th May 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
StuartMac's Avatar
 

To be honest, I personally find it hard to see past all-valve amps, so I'm possibly not the best person to comment here, but FWIW....

The chorus is nice, but not a patch on what you can get nowadays on a good stomper and certainly nowhere near a decent rack FX unit. Nice live, perhaps, but I doubt you'd use it in the studio (I think Andy Summers generally used the large Roland chorus units rather than the built-in one on the JC).

The amp will give you NO usable distortion whatsoever, IMHO. It's got a truly hideous distortion circuit, which is like the lead track on The Worst Dreadful Solid-State Distortions...Ever!!

Also, I used one (briefly) in a rehearsal room recently and was struck by how little it like my overdrives in front of it (Fulldrive, Brown Source, King of the Britains, Blue Collar).

Having said all that, it's not a bad price, it WAS used by one of my all-time favourite guitarists for a while (Johnny Marr) AND I believe Chic used them heavily. Actually, in that last application with a nice pedal compressor like a Carl Martin or something in front, it probably makes sense.

As purely a clean amp, it might just be your thing, but I'd be surprised if you could really get much more than that from it, to be honest.
Old 7th May 2003
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Kent's Avatar
 

$340 for a JC-120 in good operating and cosmetic condition is a good deal. Naturally, you should try to talk him down. Just 'cause...

The distortion sound on those amps sounds like a thin fuzzbox. Whether you like that kind of thing is up to you and the context of the mix you are working on. Personally, I feel that everything has at least one useful tone and then it is up to us to find it, or to use it creatively within the mix.

Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine used to really work on the clean sounds of his amps and, only when that was perfect, would he bring in the distortion. He claimed that if the clean sound (that was 'carrying' the distortion of the fuzzboxes) wasn't any good, then the fuzz/distortion would never be good. That said, the JC-120 is easily one of the kings of clean. I personally have never had good luck with it in terms of distortion though.

I guess the short version of my answer is: If I could find a JC-120 for $340, I'd buy it.
Old 7th May 2003
  #4
Lives for gear
 
XHipHop's Avatar
the guitar player from sublime used one almost exclusively. i like his tones.
Old 7th May 2003
  #5
Lives for gear
 
David R.'s Avatar
 

Good clean tones. Great chorus. I had one for years and finally sold it because I never used it (I'm a bass player). Very loud amps, noisy when quiet. Distortion - fagetaboutit. Nothing doing.

If you have the space to store it and the $$ to buy it, I say do it.
Old 8th May 2003
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Saucyjack's Avatar
 

Jax,
that's an ok deal.....JC120 does not excel at natural overdrive but can pretty decent with a good pedal.Early on Adrian Belew used a Jc120 and he got some great sounds out of it.
The Chorus is nice ..IIRC it's a true stereo chorus (2 separate amps?)super lush and very 80's.
Personally for that amount of cash I rather have a SF Fender Deluxe Reverb or Princeton Reverb for "clean"sounds.
Old 8th May 2003
  #7
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I can't add too much to what's been said. It's really loud, really clean. If you want distortion you'll have to use a preamp or some kind of pedal. A lot of metal bands used them for clean sounds in the 80's & 90's. I remember seeing pictures of Metallica around the Black album and James had a couple of JC120's for his clean tones and Boogies or whatever for grind. $340 is a great price IMHO but as always try to offer him $300.

BTW, Saucy, if you can score me a silverface Deluxe Reverb for $350 drop me a line. Guitarget has two of them tagged at close to $1800 each!!! So now all the guys out here who were selling for that are asking $1000 each when they used to be $400-500. A grand is way too much IMHO.
Old 8th May 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Saucyjack's Avatar
 

Yeah Jay,
The Fender SF stuff has finally starting going up...keep your eyes peeled though I've seen some of the SF "pull Boost" DR go pretty cheap .The SF stuff still doesn't command the ridiculous prices like the BF...in the case of the Deluxe and Princeton Reverb and Champ there isn't a whole lot difference.
Old 8th May 2003
  #9
Lives for gear
 

What year are we looking at for the Fender SF's? I see all kinds of Fender's go up on the (top secret) website I browse.
Old 8th May 2003
  #10
Gear Addict
 

IME, the bargains on SF's have been few and far between for at least the last five years. Even beat to hell, completely oxidized ones have been pretty steep. Certain models aren't so bad as others, but I'm seeing what I'd call ridiculous prices on Deluxes and Princetons. If I could find a Deluxe Reverb for $600, I'd be startled (though I still am not sure I'd buy it).

Bear
Old 9th May 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Saucyjack's Avatar
 

Jax,
As a rough guide..(I.e don't hold me to this)..The first Fender SFs are around 68-69 on most models,The earlier SFs(before 70) tend to be more highly regarded than later 70s SF amps.In some cases (Champ,Deluxe,Princeton)the differences are mostly cosmetic.
I got a 70s SF Princeton Reverb off Ebay last summer for $360..great recording amp as is my Deluxe reverb.
Another useful little Fender amp is the Pro,jr...kinda like a champ with EL 84 tubes...it can get raunchy when dimed....I've seen these for under $200.I rather have either than a JC120 for recording.
Ymmv
Old 9th May 2003
  #12
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Yeah, but nothing does what a JC120 does. They're great amps for just about anything. I've run keys through them, vocals even bass.

BTW, how is the Pro Jr. compared to a Princeton? I know it's going to be different, but how different?
Old 9th May 2003
  #13
Lives for gear
 
David R.'s Avatar
 

Jax, I saw a smaller Jazz Chorus (JC-60 I think) on Craigslist yesterday. Cheap. Could be worth checking out.
Old 9th May 2003
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Saucyjack's Avatar
 

Jay,
The Princeton is able to still get a nice Fender shimmer at lower volumes and will develop more crunch the more you push it.
The Pro jr from the get go has a grindy,slight overdriven sound even at lower volumes and can "snarl" when cranked up...great for power tube distortion no pedal needed.
Old 9th May 2003
  #15
Lives for gear
 
imacgreg's Avatar
I was able to get a good deal on a SF Bassman head recently. I think it was like $250 on eBay or something. Kind of a gamble but it kicks ass. I did a little mod from torres that is supposed to give it more of a BF sound. Don't know if it really worked, but the amp sounds great clean. It's my clean channel, while my 2203 is my distortion channel. I love the setup... anyway, sorry for the OT.

Ian
Old 9th May 2003
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by David R.
Jax, I saw a smaller Jazz Chorus (JC-60 I think) on Craigslist yesterday. Cheap. Could be worth checking out.
Hey I saw that, too. It's a JC-55 and it does look worth an audition.

Old 9th May 2003
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Saucyjack
Jax,
As a rough guide..(I.e don't hold me to this)..The first Fender SFs are around 68-69 on most models,The earlier SFs(before 70) tend to be more highly regarded than later 70s SF amps.In some cases (Champ,Deluxe,Princeton)the differences are mostly cosmetic.
I got a 70s SF Princeton Reverb off Ebay last summer for $360..great recording amp as is my Deluxe reverb.
Another useful little Fender amp is the Pro,jr...kinda like a champ with EL 84 tubes...it can get raunchy when dimed....I've seen these for under $200.I rather have either than a JC120 for recording.
Ymmv
SJ, thanks for the insight! I saw a Pro Jr. for cheap on the same site as the JC-120. I'm starting to zero in on the sound I'm looking for: complex harmonics, bell-like overtones, both happening while clean or distorted (to a point). Fender seems to build that sound.

I'm also seeing a Hot Rod Deville 4x10 that keeps showing up on the site. Not sure what year it is, but if its something good, I'm considering holding off on smaller amps in favor of something loud and maybe better.

Anyone mess with a Deville at all?
Old 10th May 2003
  #18
Lives for gear
 
StuartMac's Avatar
 

The Deville is pretty good, but I don't think it has the same kind of harmonic detail as the other amps you are talking about. Also, for a similar price (at least over here) you can get a '59 Bassman RI, which I personally think completely smokes the Deville and does all the things you are talking about.
Old 10th May 2003
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Saucyjack's Avatar
 

Jax wrote
Quote:
I'm starting to zero in on the sound I'm looking for: complex harmonics, bell-like overtones, both happening while clean or distorted (to a point).
You know the more you talk the more you're describing the Vox sound.Check out a Vox AC 30(the new ones are pretty solid) or do what I did and get a Tophat amp.
I think of Vox as Chimey and Bell-like,middy with some hair(think Beatles Rain/Paperback writer or at the overdriven extreme Queen).
Fender to me is more forward and twangy, smiley face eq....both great sounds just depends on whatcha want.

Stuart is right about the Reissue Bassman as well.....
Old 12th May 2003
  #20
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Yeah, but a Bassman on 11 will blow you right through the wall. That's one LOUD amp. Also, they can be kind of nasal on some things and can sometimes be difficult to record well without making them sound harsh. If your not careful 2k5 to 3khz can rip your ears off with a Bassman. I think it has more to do with the speakers and maybe the cab then the head.

I'm not a big fan of the DeVille amps. The clean sound is good, totally useable but the gain always leaves me wanting more as a player and as an engineer. I just went though HELL trying to get one to sound good. The other guitar player in the band and I spent about an hour and a half trying to get a tone out of a 4x10 DeVille and we eventually just gave up and had the other guitar player use a different amp. It was either too thin, or kind of murky. Also, we couldn't get anything other then a compressed, gainy kind of fake tone.

Yeah, the Vox thing sounds like it's right up your alley. If you can't find/afford an AC30 look for an AC15. Those are great little amps.
Old 12th May 2003
  #21
Gear Head
 

The Blues DeVille is much better than the Hot Rod DeVille, IMO.

Vox will definitely give you the sound you are describing.

I don't know what kind of amp techs you have around you but there are some pretty good mods that can be done to some SF Fenders that make them sound real real close to a BF.

Fender Bandmasters are pretty good deals still- and can be modded fairly simply to sound like old Vibroluxes, which go for $1000-2000 these days.

And the only OD pedal I could EVER get to sound good in a JC120 was a Sans Amp (original one). Something about that pedal being a tube modeler really worked with solid state amps, while I pretty much can't get anything very remarkable out of it with a tube amp.
Old 12th May 2003
  #22
Gear Head
 

You can't use overdrive pedals with a JC-120, as they work by hitting the tube input stage of an amp, which the JC-120 lacks. With a solid state amp (esp with a really clean one like a JC-120) you need a distortion pedal. The Boss Heavy Metal and Zoom Driver 5000 work wonderfully with the JC-120.
The Heavy Metal pedal into the JC120 with the chorus engaged gets the sounds of Adrian Belew and David Gilmour (well, the sounds he had on Momentary Lapse at least).
And with a 12 string acoustic, you can get the Joni Mitchell sounds.
Used clean with delay, you can get a lot of Andy Summers/Edge tones, circa 1983. But the ultimate Summers tone from the Police was loud clean (on the verge of not being clean) 100W master volume Marshalls, and the primary Edge tone is an AC30 with one greenback and one blue alnico speaker. But yeah, they used JC-120s, too.
I think the bands that would really typify the JC-120 sound would be the Smiths (JC-120 and Twins) and the Pretenders (same combo). But that's a lot of compression, not just the JC-120.
All that said, I really wouldn't recommend buying a JC-120 for studio use today, as that's one of the sounds that the PODs actually nail, for less money. I wouldn't suggest the POD instead of most amps, but if you want a JC-120 sound, well, solid state is pretty easy to model.
Old 12th May 2003
  #23
Gear Head
 

And if someone's looking for "Vox on a budget" check out the Peavey Classic 30/50 amps. Change out the cheap tubes for Ei ECC83s and JJ/Tesla EL84s and you'll have a nice inexpensive amp that happily lives in between Fender and Vox. Kinda like Hiwatt, too.
The trick with these amps is to keep the "post" gain high (full or almost, depending on the volume you need) and keep the "pre" gain at about 9:00. That makes the power tubes work, so you hear the EL84s doing their thing.
The speakers also make a huge difference. That amp into Webers or Jensens is a much better amp than it is into the stock Peaveys.
Old 12th May 2003
  #24
Here for the gear
 

The other guitarist in a band I played in had a JC-120. Nice amp when it's by itself..It never seemed to blend with the overall sound. I ran a Mesa Mark IIC along with a Marshall half stack.

The draw backs of the JC120 are fixed chorus, you can't vary the rate and the amp had a strange bump in the volume control. The bump was right around 2 - 3 on the volume knob. It was either a bit load but sounded full yet if you dropped it below that threshold the overall amps fullnest just disappeared. It's a decent price and might be worth getting just to have in the amp arsinal for the studio.

If I was looking for something like that amp, around the sametime the JC-120 was in fashion (mid -late 80's) Peavey came out with an amp called the Stereo Chorus. It had 2 12" speakers and two discret channels.
The chorus was variable so you could dial in a variety of sounds. It came out after the JC 120 was popular so Peavey had improved on all of the JC 120's shortcomings.
Old 12th May 2003
  #25
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Saucyjack

The Pro jr from the get go has a grindy,slight overdriven sound even at lower volumes and can "snarl" when cranked up...great for power tube distortion no pedal needed.
Yup. I just bought a Pro Jr. about an hour ago. It's a blonde tolex model, used for $185. What a freakin' great little amp!
heh
Old 13th May 2003
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Saucyjack's Avatar
 

Jay,
that's a sweet deal
I bet you're gonna luuuurve it,mine really records nicely (even with the stock speaker)..I did put in some Ei tubes ,though.
Old 14th May 2003
  #27
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I guess you replaced the speaker then. What did you put in?
Old 14th May 2003
  #28
Lives for gear
 

To me, the only drawback to the Pro Jr is that it's not very powerful (loud). 15 watts ain't gonna shake the air in the room very much. It might be a great little recording amp, but I would like to pick up something that won't be a wallflower when rehearsing, and still be just as good or better than the Pro Jr. Regardless, it sounds like just the ticket for recording and I plan to pick one up. Even new they won't kill the wallet.

I'm not seeing the '59 Bassman RI come up anywhere... that must be saying something. But they're not cheap, either.

What's a good source for Fender amps, new or used?

One other question: Any other Vox's besides the AC30/15 (thanks Jay), or are those pretty close to the sound I'm after?




Time to hit up ebay!
Old 14th May 2003
  #29
Gear Head
 

Those are the ones you want, but only get an original JMI (late 50s- late 60s, and very expensive) or a post 1992 Korg-made reissue ($800-1600, depending on speakers and condition- the ones with 15W Celestion "Blues" are the ones you want, not the Greenbacks). Avoid the 70s/80s "AC30s" like the plague, and all Vox solid state amps. There were some other tube amps, like the AC50, but those don't give the sounds you're after.
Old 14th May 2003
  #30
Gear Addict
 

There were some American made tube Voxes (Voci?) that were made in the 60's or 70's that were supposed to be cool and used to be affordable before Guitar Player included them in a roundup of affordable vintage amps sometime in the 90's. (Funny how that sort of thing happens.) Models are the Cambridge, Berkley, and the Pacemaker. I think some of the names have been recycled for later solid state amps. Also worth watching for are the AC-4 and AC-10, both low powered amps with a pentode preamp stage and a tremolo circuit.

Voxalikes tend to run in the boutique crowd, though there are a few affordable possibilities. The Trace Elliot Vellocette amps are moderately Voxish and much cheaper than the repackaged versions Gibson put out as the Goldtone series. The one thing I hear from hardcore Vox heads about these is that they don't feed as much preamp gain to the power section as Voxes, so they don't get quite the same grind.

Interesting point for DIY'ers, their is a solid state Vox box, so to speak, an AC-30 simulator circuit, linked from www.geofex.com. It looks interesting, but I'm not sure I'm finding all the available info on it.

Bear
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
incubism / So many guitars, so little time
39
Necron 99 / Electronic Music Instruments and Electronic Music Production
66
JohnWetton / Electronic Music Instruments and Electronic Music Production
8
Stabby / Electronic Music Instruments and Electronic Music Production
2
Mike24 / So many guitars, so little time
1

Forum Jump
Forum Jump