Which Marshall Head should I get?

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by Fretboard, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Fretboard

    Fretboard Senior Member

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    So far...I have come to the conclusion that I am in desperate need of a new head (I have a valvestate 8100...lol). I am really in to the tone/sound that Marshall makes so I know I want another marshall. I like to play classic rock the most and I am looking for an older head like 65-79. I really want to get something that I will adore for the rest of my life. Right now I'm looking into the super-leads. Does any one have any other amp suggestions? Keep in mind Classic Rock tone. Oh and also I want a tube amp.

    Thanks in advance,
    Fred
     
  2. oilpit

    oilpit Senior Member

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    Super Lead...
     
  3. Fretboard

    Fretboard Senior Member

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    What is a good year?
     
  4. Jupa

    Jupa Senior Member

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    A JTM45 or JMP Super Lead will do it for you. The year's you should look for are 64-74.
     
  5. Fretboard

    Fretboard Senior Member

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    Wheres a good place to look I've checked ebay they don't have much.
     
  6. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    You won't find much. The people who have them tend to keep them. But JMPs do pop up from time to time.

    By the way, it's all very well to say, 'Yeah! Super Lead :dude::dude: Duuuudde!!!' but what are you going to do with it? These old (and old-style) amps like JTMs and JMPs are excruciatingly loud. I'm not saying they're useless, but I AM saying that I think you need to unpack this 'classic rock' thing a bit more.

    These amps don't have a preamp gain control. So they're clean until you turn them up so loud that they (and the speakers) start to distort. On my old JMP, and on the JMP of a guy I know, that ovedrive doesn't kick in until you've got it up to 6 or 7 on the vol. That's mind-fucking loud, and most venues will not tolerate a guitar player who does this.

    You might get an attenuator of some sort so you can get your drive at lower volumes. My experience of these is that they're OK at best. I use a THD hotplate, and it definitely colours the sound. It's also expensive. I understand there are newer speaker emulator / reactive attenuators that are much better, but with these you will still miss the sound of the driven speaker. This is a big part of the classic tone.

    But the bottom line is that you will either have to use some pedals or an attenuator to get your 'classic rock' sound.

    The alternative is to go smaller. I'm not really an advocate of 'small' amps in the 5 Watt range. But 18 to 30 Watts is quite enough to gig with, and you'll be able to turn it up to get that classic sound of overdriving power section and speakers.

    And you'll still need a pedal in all likelihood. Either an overdrive / distortion or a treble boost. Simply turning the amp up loud is likely to produce a waffling, flabby sound. An EQ, boost or clean overdrive can help tighten that up.
     
  7. Jupa

    Jupa Senior Member

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    Good point. I didn't even consider the volume factor. But any tube amp that is unattenuated will sound loud in a bedroom environment.

    If you go with an old Marshall head, see if you can get a 2x12 cab. That will reduce the amount of air being pushed thus reducing how loud it sounds to you. The best 2x12s are discontinued but if you check Craigslist/Ebay often, finding them shouldn't be a problem. I believe the model's are 1961 and 1966. The newer 2x12's(1936) are decent from what I've heard. I've also heard that you should stay away from the 1922's.

    And there's always the other option: Buying something other than Marshall. I've seen old Fender Bandmasters go for pretty cheap. Be careful with old Vox's though.
     
  8. Fretboard

    Fretboard Senior Member

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    You are so right...I was wondering that myself. The other amp I was looking at was the JCM 800 what do you think of those?
     
  9. Fretboard

    Fretboard Senior Member

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    But I am in a somewhat rural area so I don't have to worry so much about noise complaints. I'm still thinking the superlead so far but I'm really going to factor in the whole sound issue. Another thing is how much of a hit in the wallet am I going to be taking for buying one of these?
     
  10. Fretboard

    Fretboard Senior Member

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    like $1000? (I already have 4x12 cab)
     
  11. DRF

    DRF Senior Member

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    I bought a 900 series SLX and it sounds good,has an extra preamp stage to my knowledge. picked up the head and 412 cab for $850cn. Considering I was looking at buying just the head on ebay for around that much plus shipping etc. I think it was a deal at the time. Maybe their cheaper now.
     
  12. Fracture

    Fracture Senior Member

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  13. jppr8

    jppr8 Senior Member

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    try a vintage reissue. the slp59 is available, but that is stupid loud. The 1987xl is wonderful - and the RI has an fx loop - but it is loud too. Or you could look at a 1974x - but only get a recent one as they were plagued by transformer failures early on.

    A real vintage marshall will cost a lot of money and it's not like a vintage guitar. The electronics in an amp do not all age well (capacitors, and sometimes valves, resistors and signal caps too) and it can be very hard from photos to tell how much of the insides are still stock.

    The reissues are far cheaper, easier to obtain, have modern touches such as an fx loop, etc.

    My $0.02 if you love the idea of a vintage super lead, then a 1987xl is a great today solution.

    With that head, you could also consider getting a custom 2x12 combo cab built and put the chassis into it. Kind of like making your own 1987xpw except it wouldn't be hideous to look at (and they're unobtainable anyway - only 50 were made). Only 4 screws to remove the chassis and put it into your combo cab.
     
  14. Fretboard

    Fretboard Senior Member

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    Do the Reissues sound anything like the vintage ones?
     
  15. Fretboard

    Fretboard Senior Member

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  16. The_Sentry

    The_Sentry Senior Member

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    One other suggestion......the real deal....

    [​IMG]

    Buy Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker Combo Amp | Tube Combo Amps | Musician's Friend

     
  17. jppr8

    jppr8 Senior Member

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    damn - yeah I forgot that one. The 62 bluesbreaker RI should be added to the list. One just sold on ebay a few days ago for around $1300 too.
     
  18. jppr8

    jppr8 Senior Member

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  19. DRF

    DRF Senior Member

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    Bluesbreaker...I want one!!!
     
  20. Splattle101

    Splattle101 V.I.P. Member

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    The 100 W and 50 W versions sound quite different. There is not much difference in volume, but the tone is worlds apart. The 100 W JMPs are bright to the point of harshness. When combined with Brit voiced speakers this is a recipe for ice picks through the ears. If you go this route you may want to do the 'bright cap' mod.

    However, once you've tamed the treble the 100 Watt heads have more bass than the 50 w versions. This is just a function of power loading.

    The 50 W JMP head sounds warmer straight up. Once you've got it cranked it won't be quite as boomy as the 100 W head. Also, at any given volume you're running the 50 W harder than the 100 W, so you're getting more of that harmonic distortion. This creeps in above 4 on the volume and appears as nice consonant overtones even though the sound is still 'clean'. As the volume gets higher it turns into full blown distortion.

    You get this on the 100 Watt head, too, but it's louder when you get there.

    I like the 50 Watt version best. Your mileage may vary.
     

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