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Good Marshall head
Old 20th November 2006
Lives for gear
Led's Avatar
Good Marshall head

Hi Metalheads, I'm lookin to buy a Marshall head for recording powerchords. Which ones are the classic sounding ones, and which ones should be avoided? I have a possible on an early 80's jcm800. Ano others? I'd like to keep it around $1500, heead only.
Old 20th November 2006
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bobx's Avatar
a big thumbsup for an original jcm 800 2204. preferably vertical inputs. if you're lucky, you'll be able to score one for way under a grand. i found myself an '82 in mint condition with a 4x12 cab for $1000 on craigslist. they pop up every once in a while. it's definitely that classic rockin' marshall tone.
Old 20th November 2006
Lives for gear

"classic" can mean a lot of things when talking about Marshalls. To try to put it in terms of a signature musician, the JCM800 will get you that Slash type tone. It's a great, great amp.
If the classic that you're looking for is Aerosmith Rocks, then think JMP 4 input. I think the model number is 1986 for the 50watt. This is basically the plexi after they stopped using a plexi faceplate. A little more than the JCM 50 watter, but still can be found for under your budget.
Both are versatile and make nice studio amps.

I just recently grabbed a little single 12"/50 watt combo. It's an early 80s JCM800 and the model number is 4100 ( i think). It's a regular 2204 head in a combo version. Great for studio and smaller gigs. It's also perfect as you can plug into a 4x12 cab if you need more "push".

There was one at a few weeks ago. I think the price was a steal at $599.

Old 22nd November 2006
Gear Maniac

Lots of great sounds can be had from the lower wattage Marshall type amps. The Studio 15 is killer for recording, as well as the 18 and 20 watt amps. Some of the clones are very good too.

For recording I prefer the lower wattage stuff. Run it through a 2x12 or 4x12 and it's HUGE!!!
Old 22nd November 2006
Here for the gear
InfidelSix's Avatar

I've got a few Marshall's:

1980 2203 JMP (100 watt)
1984 2204 JCM 800 (50 watt)
1996 2555SL (Slash sig version of Silver Jubilee 50/100 watt)

First - they ALL sound like Marshalls. The definitely all have a similar quality.
At a recent "Ampfest" with friends, we all picked the Slash amp as the best sounding. It does an awesome in-your-face crunch -think GNR. At the same time you can back down the pre-amp, roll-up the master, and get a great "Wind cries Mary" sound. $ for $, a lot more expensive than the JMP or JCM though.

In comparison, the 2204 nails the RATM/ Jane's Addiction/ AIC- "Man in the box" tone. The JMP 2203 was the most Aerosmith-like. They all sounded great. Both the 2203 and 2204 were much brighter sounding than the Slash amp. That was the biggest difference. With a Les Paul it fits fine but you may find it too piercing (ice-pick) with certain single coil pickups. The 2203 is better suited for classic rock and 2204 for 80's metal or grunge. But they really aren't that far apart. Since they tend to overlap quite a bit, I'd recommend a JMP. A good pedal can get you more gain if you need it. Also note: FWIW, I've read that the JMP's got more gain through the years and mine is one of the later ones.

You should be able to easily score a JMP or JCM for under $1000, a 2555 for around $1500.

P.S. They all sound best CRANKED (extremely, extremely loud!) but only the 2555 sounds good at lower volumes. The other two HAVE to be pushed.

Last edited by InfidelSix; 22nd November 2006 at 03:54 AM.. Reason: accuracy
Old 22nd November 2006
Lives for gear
marchhare's Avatar

You should be able to get a JMP in great shape for less than $1500. If I was gonna
buy a Marshall, I'd try and find a pre '77 JMP 50 watt 4 input non-master
volume head. Great rhythm crunch. For solo stuff, just add a Klon or the
boutique pedal of your choice. Wow, now I want one. I better hurry
up before they're $4,000.00
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