JCM 800 combo identification help

mkayers

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Hey guys, I have a question about a JCM800 2X12 combo that is for sale here locally. I am only going by texts and a couple pictures right now but I’m trying to find out what model it is. It just says Lead Series on the front panel & lower left corner. Front panel controls etc looks like a 4212. Back tag says 50w and the model number is 5787. Serial number is SO5787. I can’t find any model like that in my Googling. She has $875 on it to start but I have no real idea what it is. Any ideas?
 

dju

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looks like the combo version of the 2205 2-channel JCM 800.

dj
 

Big John

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Looks like a 4212 that somebody wrote the wrong model number on the tag. I've seen that twice before where owners re-wrote the numbers because the factory numbers had faded. But in those two cases, the owners got the numbers correct. This one seems like they just went off the serial number since they didn't know what model it was.
 

mkayers

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Awesome, thanks! I already have a DSL40C, how much different would this be in comparison? I guess I'll have to go try it out!
 

Big John

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I don't know what the preamp signal path of the DSL40 is (probably all tube), but these old "dual reverb" 800's used diode clipping in the lead channel. It's a different sounding distortion than tube distortion. A lot of people dig it. I never did. I think the single channel master volume 800's sounded better, especially if you goosed the front end with a pedal. The Jubilee's from the same era also used diode clipping, but it was a way better sounding distortion.
 

mdubya

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It is a monstrous beast of an amp. Modified Marshall 80's tones. It will level buildings. Not what I would consider classic Marshall tone, but some would beg to differ and some really like them.

FWIW - I owned a 2205 for the better part of a decade, so I know the amp and tone pretty well. I prefer the more classic tones of the 2204
 

Gridlock

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Probably right. I just glanced at it. I’ve owned early ‘80’s JCM800’s.
 

grumphh

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I used to have a 100w JCM 800 channelswitcher (4211)
The "normal" (not "clean") channel was pretty much your average low to medium gain Marshall tone, only with no mid control. I'd guess it hovered somewhere between Plexi and 2203 levels of distortion with gain at 10.

The gain channel had a lot more distortion (think of the dimed normal channel with a pedal) and it worked fine in a band context - but if anything i found the distortion to be ever so slightly "mushy". Perfectly workable amp for Marshall and Marshall with a boost tones.

Bear in mind - these amps came in two circuit revisions, where the earlier pre-'87 is said to be the worse sounding with some channel bleed problems as well. I wouldn't know, only had a late version.
The later ones, which is what i had, are like i described - fine amps, just not collectibles. And heavy.
 

Freddy G

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I had a pair of those exact amps. They are exactly as Big John described. Diode clipping on the lead channel....totally different and artificial sounding compared to a real JCM 800.
 

grumphh

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Diode clipping on the lead channel....totally different and artificial sounding compared to a real JCM 800.
Oh, get over yourself... and "diodes" my shiny behind. Where would the 2203/4's be wthout either SS pedals or circuit mods?

No the channelswitchers don't sound like the 2203/4's, (and in fact there are many good amps that don't sound like a 2203/4) but they are by no means "artificial" sounding, they just have a different lead sound that is actuall very good in its own right.

However, the 2205/10 amps are, despite their 800 model number not "desirable" ones - so the price should reflect that.
But if you can get one cheap there are old school Marshall sounds in abundance to be found - and you can switch from a good rock rythm tone to a big lead sound, and there are not many Marshalls from that age you can do that on without SS pedals.
Far bigger sounding than anything made in the dreadful JCM 900 era...


If people just could stop comparing instruments/amps to the few internet fetishized icons out there, the internet would be a far more informative place - but as is, all we get to hear from a few individuals is the incesant "it doesn't sound like icon XXX and therefore is no good"...
 

grumphh

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Just putting my opinion out there. My experienced opinion. What do you care? I'm the one that shelled out the money for two of them, so I would say I'm entitled to spout my opinion on them. Why so grumphhy?
Yup, "artificial" sounding...


...not that "artificial" has any more actual meaning than "chewy" when talking of distortion - but using meaningless terms apparently does make you sound knowledgeable and gives you status on internet forums, i give you that...
 

Freddy G

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Yup, "artificial" sounding...


...not that "artificial" has any more actual meaning than "chewy" when talking of distortion - but using meaningless terms apparently does make you sound knowledgeable and gives you status on internet forums, i give you that...
Yes. Artificial. That's the word I used and I stand by it. When I first got the amps I couldn't understand why they sounded the way they do....I thought they were JCM 800s....like my old JCM 800. But they were different and I didn't like it. My own first hand experience is the only thing that is meaningful to me...unlike the totally useless video you posted.
 

mdubya

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I had my 2205 and 2204 at the same time and provided both as backline for many infamous house parties played by most of the popular local bands of the day. Other guitar players raved about my tone through the 2204. But...when it came time to plug in, almost all of them wanted to plug into the relatively high gain option of the 2205.

Tone is subjective.

There is no accounting for taste.

People have made the argument that you can get "classic" tones out of the 2205. I don't agree. Pretty killer high gain (for the times) tone? Yes. Keep in mind that JMP and plexi amps were $300 - $400 bucks at the time. NOTHING was stopping anyone from choosing that tone. Most did not.
 

grumphh

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Yes. Artificial. That's the word I used and I stand by it. When I first got the amps I couldn't understand why they sounded the way they do....I thought they were JCM 800s....like my old JCM 800. But they were different and I didn't like it. My own first hand experience is the only thing that is meaningful to me...unlike the totally useless video you posted.
And you have not yet understood that "artificial" has no meaning at all when describing amp distortion - all of which by its very nature (designed into an electronic circuit) is artificial :D

I understand that you must have been disappointed if you expected the sound of a 2203/4 out of a channelswitcher, because it is not the same sound - but slagging amps just because of your personal disappointment is sort of inmature, isn't it?

The "totally useless" video actually just shows that the channelswitchers are eminently useable on the "normal" channel, and that even the maligned lead channel can be put to good use.
If you can't get good Marshall blues and rock tones from this amp - it ain't the amps fault.

...in fact i think the amps only fault is that it is part of the JCM 800 series, but just not is the actual 2203/4 circuit that is so fetishized by your average opinionated internet warrior...
 




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