Marshall 1973x Handwired Reviewed

Discussion in 'The Squawk Box' started by alnico59, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    A few weeks ago I purchased one of the last two remaining (discontinued) Marshall 1973x's from SW. Both were B stock and were marked down into used territory. My amp came packaged (and smelling as new!) in the original box with all the tags and most importantly the five year warranty. Of course a few days after I hit the button the zero percent promotion went from 24 months to 36!

    Sound wise plugged straight in it's not too far off from my HW tweed Bassman clone. Great blues amp. Maybe a tad more thump from the 12's. I love amps that straight in at low to medium volumes can get nice, rich, harmonically interesting tones from my both my Strat and the neck position of my LP. This amp does that in spades and with a decent taper on the volume knob.

    The two channels are voiced distinctly different. The normal side with just vol/tone is drier, has more low end and more gain. Here I prefer the tone high up around 3/4's. Once past that to maxed out the amp's tone changes where you can hear all the low end being sucked out. My feeling is when the amp is cranked up into OD this is where it might sound best, retaining clarity and tightness.

    The channel with the tremolo is bright and spanky. The tone knob anywhere from 9 O'clock to 2 O'clock yields nice results. The tremolo is a nice feature. I'm no expert on tremolo so take this with a grain a salt. To me it sounds like a nice effect, not over bearing and with no weirdness going on. I also like the vintage looking footswitch. Actually the whole amp gives off a nice vintage vibe. I'm really into that stuff so this amp hits on all points for me.

    I have yet to crank it into natural distortion but will have an opportunity after this upcoming holiday. I will post those results along with a few pedals out in front here. However from the little experience I have with the amp already my guess is it will be too loud for me to gig turned up into OD. But I actually bought the amp for the cleaner tones halfway up the dial. So I'm not disappointed there.

    Another great feature is the aluminum chassis Marshall used on these. For a 2x12 combo at 50 lbs it's very doable. Because the weight is distributed well I find it very similar to a DRRI I once owned.

    Stand by for my reviews as I play it more.

    I will also try to post some pictures once I get a new host as my tinypic acct is on the fritz.

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. tigger

    tigger Senior Member

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    I've never had the opportunity to play a Marshall made clone but normally the magic happens when you dime it. It's loud but not murderous, and the sound is really smooth since preamp tubes, powertubes, and speakers all break up at the same time.
     
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  3. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    I'm going to get the chance starting July 10th to do that. And man oh man am I looking forward to it! It's always nice to know what I have and it's potentials.

    I know I'm probably in the minority here with these amps (this 18 watter and my tweed Bassman HW clone) by not running them on 10 or 12 and going off the guitar. But the real world fact is in my area must potential gigs are smaller tiki/restaurant style establishments and "diming" most boutique/hand wired tube amp over 5 watts is just not going to happen.

    While 18 watts does not appear loud on paper this amp with the 2x12's has some muscle. But I agree if comparing it to Bluesbreaker, JTM45 or a Plexi - this amp is less.

    For me this was not really a case of the amp I want over the one I need. The way I see it I was unable to crank my DRRI and this amp straight in smokes it! Goes to show sometimes people buy the same thing but for different purposes.
     
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  4. tigger

    tigger Senior Member

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    No, I agree- I have a TMB 18W at home and I like the shimey clean quiet sound a lot. And the MW channel is just fine for dirty tones as well.
     
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  5. goldtop0

    goldtop0 Senior Member

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    Have you seen the Joe B video demoing the vintage 1973 etc and 1974X combos?
     
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  6. Gridlock

    Gridlock Senior Member

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    Congrats, I've owned two 1974x's and a vintage Marshall 1930 "Popular" (look it up, it's rare) 2x10 converted from 10 to 18 watts.

    Same circuit as the original 1974 model from the late 60's.

    Very cool amps and the best looking Marshall's ever made.

    Enjoy.
     
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  7. bulletproof

    bulletproof aka tarddoggy Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Outstanding!!!
     
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  8. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    Not what I really think of when I think Marshall. However it is a cool clean tone that likes both the LP and the Strat. Hey, SRV used Marshalls too.

    Yes I did. Amazing how they all had their own distinct mojo going on.
     
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  9. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    Cool stuff. I thought about the 2x10's instead of the 12's. But I have a tweed Bassman so all covered there.
     
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  10. goldtop0

    goldtop0 Senior Member

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    The 1973 did it for me just a great overall sound and tone.....love 2x12s:cool2:
     
  11. Gridlock

    Gridlock Senior Member

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    My issues with my two 1974x's was the lack of bass. Curious does the 2x12 add more bottom end to the amp?
     
  12. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    Huge low end with the 2x12's! Plus the GB's designed special to this amp have a 75 c/s bass response and are "aged" for an even warmer tone. It definitely hangs around in the low mids dept.

    While shopping and trying to decide I watched as the 1958x's (2x10) models were selling out fast on the SW site. I knew I wanted multiple speakers and the 2x12's seemed like the obvious choice after reading thread after thread of exactly what you just mentioned. No regrets now.

    Btw, today my bud bought the last 1973x SW had. Apparently it's catchy!
     
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  13. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Recovering Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    Congratulations on a killer amp!!!

    I think you did the right thing and given the choices, I would go with the 2X12 setup as well. I had a 1974X and I absolutely loved it so I can only imagine how much better the 2X12 version would be. Forget the 2 10s, 12s all the way with that amp circuit. I also think the stock aged greenbacks sound the best too. Enjoy the hell out of that amp!
     
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  14. goldtop0

    goldtop0 Senior Member

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    Yes that aged G12M20 is a very good speaker and has a rounder more robust tone compared to the reissue brit made ones I had a few years ago.
    However, I have had a Blue in my 74X and now a Gold is in there.........just a tad more shimmer and sweetness with those.
     
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  15. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    Yeah it does have a rounder tone. I have a pair of Chinese reissue GB's which actually don't sound bad to my ears. I have one of them in a small el84 combo. But these are very different sounding --- fuller with less crunch.

    With the added 12" speaker and increased headroom from it, I can see (hoping!) this amp being more than a one trick pony. But time well tell. Several days from now I will be running it with several LP's and a Strat at stage volume several hours a day for 10 days straight. I even bought a few new Barber pedals I was eyeing to run through it. Stay tuned for more..

    Thanks!

    I can see why some guys go for the single speaker in these, closer to the goal of being able to dime it.

    On the Joe B video, when he plugged into the 1958 he said it felt and sounded more like a Fender. That's cool just not what I was going for. I love 10's in a Fender, but prefer four of them.
     
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  16. goldtop0

    goldtop0 Senior Member

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    Yes Joe said he liked the tighter sound he got with the 2x10......... but to me it just didn't have the grunt, complexity and crunch of the 2x12.
    The way that 1973 sounded on the video was like the sound I heard in my head when Joe played it.......Bernard Jenkins Clapton/Mayall......I just love the tone on that track.
     
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  17. ac/dcfan87

    ac/dcfan87 Senior Member

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    I love Bernard Jenkins. Imo that is what blues guitar should sound like.
     
  18. EndGame00

    EndGame00 Senior Member

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    You ought to crank these suckers to experience an all out roar...
     
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  19. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    Update: I had the first chance to crank this baby up today. All I can say is wow! For reference I've owned several super lead heads from 1970 to 1973. I also had the 35th anniversary 1987 white half stack, an original silver jubilee 1x12 combo, plus countless JCM 800's of various formats. I also currently have a special JCM 900 2100 (the one they made for only three years). I run that through an all original 1978 Marshall 4x12 cab. Tone wise this amp hangs right there. Classic Marshall crunch, grind and punch!

    This amp is insanely loud! and quite the thumper, especially through the channel without the tremolo. No lack of low end here folks. If anything with the LP I was trying to dial back bass.

    I spent about three hours with it and ran four pedals through it. An early Lovepedal Plexi 800 (killer Page BBC Sessions tone!), Barber Direct Drive (a little too dark and smooth for this amp), a Freakish Blues M22 Rock Crusher (too AFD Slash for me) and lastly a Barber Barb EQ ( very usable for everything I'd play without crunch)

    I'm not sure which channel I prefer as it kind of depends on (A) if I'm using a pedal and (B) which pedal that is. The good for me is I really like the amp straight in on around 2 1/2 which would be gig level for me, taking into consideration the establishments in my area and the material I see guys playing along with the levels they're using. The amp is still clean at that volume but has that killer British type of clean. Very Hendrix, ABB, etc.. I also went straight in with the LP with the amp turned up to 8. Gotta hold on tight there! Nice experience but volume wise it's unusable for me. I was surprised how tight the low end was. My wife doesn't normally complain about my amps but stated it's the loudest amp she heard me play. I'd have to disagree though. It's not as loud as my Boogie Mk IIB or my 100 watt JCM 900. But those amps give up the goods much earlier. If we're talking sweet spots for crunch? Than yes, this 1973x is the loudest amp I have.

    If the fear of lack of low end or not enough volume is preventing you from buying this amp? Don't worry. It thumps hard and is almost too loud for the type of music one would be playing with it. Also if you are a blues, funk type of guy this amp will work. By the time it breaks up without a pedal it's too loud. Yeah it's only 18 watts, but the 2x12's make all the difference.

    I have to experiment more tomorrow but I'm thinking for my uses it will go down like this: straight in for the funk, blues and Motown stuff with the neck and middle positions with the LP or the Strat. Maybe a little echo and reverb. Then a dirt pedal to rock out in the bridge position of the LP. I like to keep things simple.

    Anyways for an amp that's commonly described as a "one trick pony" I'm finding with a little imagination that's really not the case. Well at least for me. Thanks for reading.
     
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  20. bblooz

    bblooz Senior Member

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    Congrats on your NAD! I gotta quit reading these review, though, That amp sounds fantastic, and I don't even have room for another!
     
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