The Vintage Marshall Guide

05 Jan The Vintage Marshall Guide

 

This is my first article here at Solodallas.com. I hope this can be useful to all of you who are interested in buying old Marshall amps.

(SoloDallas’ note: it is with pleasure that I introduce to you our already very well known friend Andrè, aka  Jaiminho Pagina: he’s now a contributor of SoloDallas.net!)

(NOTE – I did some updates at the 2203/ 2204 section of the article ~JaiminhoPagina)

Before starting, I must warn you that acquiring vintage gear can be really risky. You can end up buying something that is not what you expected or even something that is damaged or modded beyond repair. So, always keep your eyes open for “fishy” deals, look for information, and always ask for high definition photos (especially from the interior of the amps – the circuit, the tubes and transformers) to make sure everything is right. If you don’t have much experience (myself included, to be honest :P), I recommend asking help from the members here of the community. Post a link of the desired amp on the “Ebay Watch Post”, so we can help analyzing it.

In this article, I’ll try to cover the more “desirable” Marshall amps that were built since 1962 up to the JCM800 series, wich most consider to be the “last” great Marshalls produced (That until Marshall released the Vintage Modern series. These amps are really great!).

I’ll concentrate on “how they sound”, “how they look like” and also “how to tell them apart”. I will also try to give examples of where they were used..

So, here we go. I hope you like it :)

Understanding Marshall model numbers

One of the most confusing things concerning these vintage amps are the model numbers. I’ll write down the most important ones and what they mean.

  • 2245 – Although I believe the first JTM-45s didn’t really have a model number, this is the code that is related to them on Marshall’s website.
  • 1987 – Any Marshall Lead circuit (50w, non-MV)
  • 1986 – Any Marshall Bass circuit (50w, non-MV)
  • 1959 – Any Marshall Super Lead circuit (100w, non-MV)
  • 1992 – Any Marshall Super Bass circuit (100w, non-MV)
  • 1963 – Any Marshall Super PA circuit (50w, non-MV)
  • 1968 – Any Marshall Super PA circuit (100w, non-MV)
  • 2204 – Any Marshall Master Model circuit (50w, MV)
  • 2203 – Any Marshall Master Model circuit (100w, MV )

These are just a few of the thousands of codes that Marshall came up with for their amps. I won’t write the rest because it may confuse you even more. So, let’s stick to those for a while.

It’s important to note that, for example, a 1959 amp has nothing to do with the year 1959. Why they chose those numbers then? I don’t know.

More important notes:

  • The addition of a T at the end of the code refers to a Tremolo amp.
  • The addition of a S at the end of the code refers to a smaller version of the head, made to fit with a 4X10 cab – This only aplies to the 2204S head from the JCM series.
  • Combo versions of the amps always had a special code attributed to them (for example, the combo version of the JMP 2204 was the 2104).
  • The 1959S and the 1987S are the codes for the first “Plexi” reissues, made in 1988.

The JTM Era: 1962 – 1965

The JTM-45

JTM-45 with “block” logo

The first Marshall ever made. It was basically a copy of the 1959 Fender Bassman. It had ECC83 (a.k.a. 12ax7) pre-amp tubes and a GZ34 rectifier tube. The first amps had 5881 power tubes. They were changed to KT66 shortly after. It was made as a head and as a combo (known as the “Bluesbreaker” combo). There were many cosmetic changes on the first years until it finally got the “Classic Marshall Look” by 1964.

The front panel has “Presence”, “Bass”, “Middle” and “Treble” controls, as well as 2 volumes and 4 inputs. In 1965, the plexiglass faceplates were introduced. This is the reason why Marshalls of this early era (up to 1968) are known as “Plexis”.

The sound of this amplifier is “creamy” and “warm”. I would say “crispy” too. This amp is more suited for blues players, with a smoother sound.

Eric Clapton used a JTM-45 combo on the legendary Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton “Beano” album (Now you know why this amp was called “Bluesbreaker” :P) He used his Les Paul through the Normal Channel of the amp. He discovered that, by playing really loud, it would start to “break up”. It was something really new. It changed music forever. The then “horrible” distorted and saturated sound turned into what we know today as the “rock tone” (maybe not yet… But we will get there).

Another example of this amp can be heard on AC/DC’s Ballbreaker album. Free’s debut album Tons of Sobs was probably recorded with a JTM-45 too.

The transition to the JMP: 1965 – 1967

This is a confusing era, with lots of changes and new models. So, I’ll try to explain it the best I can. 😛 The transitition from the JTM to the JMP amps happened, in my view, with three steps. The first one was the creation of the first 100w amp.

The JTM-45/ 100 (JTM-100)

The JTM-45/100 with the “block” logo

Pete Townshend and John Entwistle of The Who needed amps that could overpower the noisy and energetic crowds.

Marshall then “hot-rodded” the JTM-45 using four KT66 and two 50w output transformers to handle the extra wattage. A larger headbox was also used. The result was the JTM-45/100 (JTM-100, for short). With more power tubes, the amp had more headroom, a tighter bass response and more definition. It was the first Marshall with a solid state rectifier.

Another player that acquired some of those was Eric Clapton, who used them to tour with Cream.

The change to EL-34s

The change to EL-34 tubes resulted in the increase of power. The name of the amps was also changed. This is when the confusing model numbers started being used I believe.

The JTM-45 was now called Marshall Lead 50w #1987.

This amp had a more edgy sound than the JTM-45, due to the EL-34s. But it also had the characteristic smoothness of the tube rectifier. For this reason, this amp is known today as the JTM-50.

JTM-50

I’m not sure what recordings this amp was responsible for. But Fil’s Metro is a reproduction of this very same amp, so you might be familiar with it by now.

Please note the “Black Flag” JTM marking that was used at that time.

The JTM-100, now with four EL-34s too, also gained a proper 100w transformer. The name? It was called Marshall Super Lead 100w #1959 (Although they still didn’t have the “JMP” mark on the front, In my view, this amps are already into the JMP territory, because they have all of the JMP characteristics).

This is a photo of a JTM-45/100, but it’s the same headbox used for the early Super Leads

Back of a Marshall Super Lead

I think you are all familiar with this amp. Many consider it to be the ultimate rock amp. It’s indeed, a lengend on it’s own. This early “Plexi” versions (up to 1968) are really articulate and have a real nice “roar”. If you want to hear this amp, listen to any Free live performance. Paul Kossoff was the man who really knew how to use these. When I listen to the Free Live! album, and I hear the sweet tone of that Les Paul through his Super Leads, I feel I’m in “tone heaven” 😛

The change to the solid state rectifier

By late 1966 – early 1967, Marshall stopped using the GZ34 tube rectifier in all the models and started using a solid state rectifier instead.

The JTM50 now definetly turned into the JMP incarnation of the 1987 model, although the “formal” name ramained the same.

This amp is basically the 50w version of the Super Lead, so the sound is really similar to it’s “big brother”.

New Models of the “Transition Era”

While all those changes happened, new models started being developed to expand Marshall’s catalog. Here are some of them:

Marshall Bass and Super Bass

Back of a Marshall Super Bass

The Marshall Bass 50w #1986 and the Marshall Super Bass 100w #1992 appeared after the change to the EL-34 tubes. Related to the #1987 and the #1959 respectively, they were designed for bass players. But many guitarrists also decided to try those and they found out that they could get really interesting tones with them. They were a bit smoother and had a tad less gain than their Lead counter-parts. They can easily be converted into Lead circuits as well. So, if you find one for a good price, grab it :)

It used the same headbox as the Super Lead. Front panel was also identical.

Marshall Super PA

A damaged Marshall Super PA

The Marshall Super PA 50w #1963 and the Marshall Super PA 100w #1968 amps may scare you a bit when you look at them. These amps had two “sections” (The most common thing to do was to set one section to Lead specs and the other one to Bass specs). With a standard eq (presence, bass, middle, treble), a total of 8 inputs (4 for each “section”) and 4 volumes, this thing is a real Frankstein monster.

So… How does it sound like? The Lead section sound like a Lead circuit. The Bass section sounds like a Bass circuit… duuuhhh 😛

This is a really underrated amp. It is just as good as the other (probably even more versatile), but the “weird looks” probably scare people a bit and they think this is not a good amp. For that reason, these amps are less expensive and are a really great deal (if in good condition, of course).

Ah… Did I mention that Free used a lot of Marshall Super PAs on stage? 😛

Marshall Major

The back of a Marshall Major. Note the 4 KT88 tubes. The extra knob probably is a Master Volume mod.

If you thought a Marshall Super Lead was already too loud. Stay away from this thing. This is a JMP on steroids. It’s 200W of pure loudness

The Marshall Major 200w has a different circuit than its “little brothers”: the pre-amp has two ECC83s, but the third tube (the “driver tube”) is an ECC82 (a.k.a. 12au7). The power section has four KT88 tubes. These amps were not only stupidly loud, but also really really clean.

Ritchie Blackmore was a famous user of the Major, but they were heavily modded at the Marshall factory (as said in an interview) and later by a man called John Dawk. Blackmore’s amps had extra power tubes, making it even more powerful, as well as extra gain stages. Don’t ask how that’s even possible. I have no clue either.

These amps also CAN NOT TAKE ANY KIND OF BOOST OR OVERDRIVE. Its nicknamed “Smoke On The Water Effect”. These amps would blow because they were already working at critical point without anything, so if you plugged something to make them run even hotter… well…

This is one of the reasons why the Major was discontinued in 1974.

Marshall Tremolo amps

Marshall Super Tremolo. Note: 8 knobs instead of 6

These amps had an extra 12ax7 tube for the “tremolo” effect. They are easy to tell apart because the two extra knobs (“speed” and “intensity”) on the front panel.

These amps weren’t much popular and were discontinued in 1973.

On a side note, a faulty Marshall Super Lead #1959T was modified by Tim Caswell (he used the extra 12ax7 as another gain stage on the pre-amp), and it became the legendary #39 of SIR studios in California, USA. The amp was desired by every musician that rented it. SIR studios declined all the offers they received for it. Then, this amp was used on the rehearsal sessions of Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Appettite for Destruction album. Because of rumors that Slash was going to steal the amp (and legend says he did it!), SIR studios switched amps, and Slash ended up “renting” #36 instead: a late 70’s JMP, also modified like #39 (He didn’t notice the difference?). AFD was recorded with this amp. Then, a misinformed roadie returned it a year later (and was probably fired afterwards). Both amps never were seen again. (Creepy, huh? XD)

The “Plexi” JMP era: 1967 – 1969

Close-up of a “plexiglass” panel JMP

And now, we are oficially into the JMP era.

The first JMP marked amps came out around late 1967, although, as you saw, all of them already had JMP characteristics. So, it was more of a “brand” renewal.

An important note is that, by 1968, there were some changes on the circuits that made the amps more aggressive. All the models mentioned above are still being produced here.

The amplifiers that were shipped to America had an extra toggle, wich was the polarity switch. That happened until around 1976.

A notable user of these amps is a guy named Eddie. Yes: On Van Halen’s debut album, a 100% stock 1968 Marshall Super Lead #1959 was used. With a thing called variac, he was able to kind of “attenuate” the amp and obtain more gain.

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin is well know for his use of a 1959 Les Paul and Marshall Super Lead #1959 amps (Did you notice that both have 1959 on their name? Coincidence? :P). I’m not sure of the year his amps were made, but something tells me that they are from around this period (1968 or 1969) or maybe from the early Metal-Face years. Anyway… It’s said that his amps were modded to accept KT88 power tubes, boosting their power to 200w (and actually, he really told so on an interview in 1977), but the question is: When was it done? – My opinion is that maybe he did that around 1974, since his tone was a lot different in the 1975 tour, but, of course, I might be wrong. 😛

Malcolm Young said his favourite amp is an old Super Bass amp, probably from this period too (it could be an early Metal-Face as well).

The “Metal Face” JMP era: 1969 – 1976

Close-up of a “Metal-Face” Marshall

In mid-1969, the plexiglass faceplates were replaced by brushed aluminium faceplates, hence the nickname “Metal-faces”.

This change didn’t affect the tone directly. What happened is that there were more changes in the components and the amps became even more aggressive: they were brighter and had a more drive than before. This was actually good for most guitar players, since they wanted more and more gain.

Another good side here is that amps made after 1970 doesn’t have so much collectible value as the early “Plexi” amps. These are probably the best oportunities to own a “Plexi style” circuit without spending a fortune (with some tweaks, they can be converted into the “smoother” late 60’s circuit).

It’s important to note that from 1972 onwards, Marshall amps that were shipped to America had 6550 power tubes, because american dealers said EL-34s were breaking too much often inside the warranty time.

There weren’t much changes afterwards. The only one that worth mentioning is the switch to PCB style assembly on late-1973. Did it affect the tone? I can’t really tell. It got worse? Definetly not. They are as reliable as the PTP Marshalls. You can read more about this here.

Another change (wich is not that important) is that now the 50w chassis were put in the same bigger style headbox as the 100w. So, the only way to tell them apart (besides the model written on the back, and the number of power tubes) is by looking at the top. If it has a top vent, then it’s a 100w. If it doesn’t, it’s a 50w.

Due to all the hype around the PCB, post-1973 Marshalls are even more accessible to us. 😀

AC/DC probably used Metal-Faces from this era to record High Voltage, TNT and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, as well as live performances up to 1976 (Angus used to play his solos with the neck pickup a lot back then, probably because he coudn’t always play with his amps loud enough to get the desired overdrive).

The PA and Super PA heads were discontinued around 1975.

The Marshall Master Model

In 1976, Marshall decided to try something new. After receiving many complains, they decided to put a Master Volume on their amps. They used the #1959 and the #1987 as a base, removed the normal channel and added a pre-phase inverter master volume on it, so it was possible to have the pre-amp saturation at lower volumes. The panel of this model had only 2 inputs, standard eq section , a Pre-Amp and a Master Volume knobs. They called it Marshall Master Model 100w Lead #2203 and Marshall Master Model 50w Lead #2204. Did it work? Yes and no. Yes, it was possible to have pre-amp drive at low volumes, but since it was the power amp saturation that made Marshalls so great, guitar players complained that they couldn’t get enough “distortion” at lower volumes. So… Marshall had to come up with something to solve this problem…

UPDATE: It seems that the early versions of the 2203 (100w – with the old cosmetics) already had the cascaded pre-amp. Only the 2204 (50w) suffered from the lack of gain at low volumes.

Early version of the JMP Master Model #2204 (no top vent = 50w)

The “Rocker Switch” JMP era: 1976 – 1981

1979 Marshall JMP Super Bass 100w #1992

So… Here we are. This is the part you wanted to see, right? All of you AC/DC gearheads (myself included! :P) here at the Solodallas classic rock comunity want to know more about the Late 70’s JMPs, don’t you? Well… I’ll do my best to let you satisfied! 😀

Around this time, Marshall decided to upgrade the cosmetics of their amps. They started using rocker style switches instead of the old toggle switches (yes. This is why I called it “Rocker Switch Era”. No pun intended), the “Marshall” logo was bigger and there was a thicker white binding on the corners, as well as under the logo. The only thing is: there were many parts left on stock and they had to use them! So, if you find a weird looking 1976 – 1977 JMP, it’s probably just because they were using some old parts to assemble them. By mid-1977, they were over and only new parts were used.

An example of a “mixed up” 1976 JMP: Notice the old style headbox and, at the same time, the thicker binding, the bigger logo and the rocker switches

 

Interestingly, the amps for the Canadian market kept the EL-34 tubes and the old toggle switches.

Canadian version of a late 70’s non-MV JMP

[Thanks to KyleSG for the information 😉 ]

 

The “NEW” Marshall Master Model

While the sales of the non-MV volume amps continued steady and well, Marshall faced a serious problem with their new product: Most people didn’t like their Master Model amps (this refers only to the 2204) because there was no enough gain at lower volumes. It was a disaster: After 14 years selling non-MV amps, always relying on the power amp saturation, Marshall, the company that made the best RnR amps in the world suddenly had an amp with “no enough gain?”

[Warning: lame joke coming up!] Well… The heads at Marshall worked with the volume on 11 to find a solution. After many blown tubes, they decided to try something really different this time: to cascade the pre-amp to get extra pre-amp saturation.

And on late-1976 or early-1977 the magic happened… It was an instant success! You had a great overdriven tones at any volume (Of course, the louder it was, the better it would sound). It could also work as a “Plexi-style circuit”, by keeping the Master on 10 and working with the pre-amp volume. Of course, it also had a unique and distinctive voice.

NOTE:

A way to find out if a 2204 have the cascaded pre-amp or not is the Two Cables test.

Just get two cables and plug them into both inputs of the amp. Turn it on and put your hand on the other end of the cables to produce sound. Theorically, if you get sound only from one input, this means you have the cascaded circuit. If you get sound from both, you have a non-cascaded circuit.

Marshall JMP Master Model 50w #2204

In 1976, AC/DC launched the international version of the High Voltage album, wich actually was a mix of songs from the Australian High Voltage and TNT.

Marshall realized the potential of the new band and decided to sponsor them. When they got into the studio to record the Let There be Rock album, they already had brand new JMP “rocker switch” amps. So… what they used? MV or non-MV? The nasal and overdriven tone is unmistakable. They used the 2203/ 2204 Master Model heads extensively through the years. But also, they still were faithful to the old non-MV circuits So, they almost always mixed them on stage. Powerage, Highway to Hell, Back in Black… up to the Blow Up Your Video… all recorded with amps from this era. It’s hard to tell when they used what amp, but you can’t go wrong with these beasts.

Master Volume vs. non-Master Volume

But wait a minute… The old non-MV were still being made with the new cosmetics? Yes. They were. So, if you are looking for a late 70’s JMP, always look at the number of inputs so you don’t end up buying a Super Bass thinking you’ve just got a 2203! 😛

You can also look at the back. The model will be written there. So, just to make sure you won’t get yourself into trouble:

  • 1959/ 1987/ 1992/ 1986 (non-MV): 4 inputs, 2 Volumes, Model of the amp written in block letters at the back.
  • 2203/ 2204 (MV): 2 inputs, Pre-amp and Master Volume, Model of the amp in handwriting letter style at the back.

Anything different from that (3 inputs, extra knobs, etc) is a modded amp.

Example of the “block letter style” of a non-MV amp

Example of the “handwriting letter style” of a 2203/ 2204

EDIT: A new finding by user 06AngusSG

The two extra jacks that appear on this head are actually STOCK!
They are simply extra outputs. Here is what he found out:

“I started looking around right after I posted this (a little chat on the comments of this page regarding this same subject) and I believe I found the answer to confirm my thoughts. Here is a link to a Marshall forum page.

http://www.marshallforum.com/marshall-amps/23862-jmp-2203-speaker-outs.html

The guy here states that the U.S. variants
were required to have 4 holes to attain the proper UL rating.”

 So, this means the U.S. export versions had 6550 tubes AND the two extra output jacks. All of them are useable.

Quite funny, isn’t it? 😛

The combo versions of these amps are really interesting too. So keep your eyes open for those as well.

50w JMP combo, a #2104 or a #2187

Around mid-1979 there was another minor circuit change. The result was, as you expected, more agressive amps. Also, the serial numbers started to be printed on the front panel, close to the switches.

In 1980 , Marshall started using a bigger logo. At this point, Marshall’s exclusive distribution contract with Rose Morris was expiring. Free from the contract, Marshall decided to, again, renew the whole Marshall line.

Larger logo used from 1980 – 1981 (And serial on the front panel)

The JCM800 era: 1981 – 1989

Marshall JCM800 100w #2203

In 1981, Marshall launched the JCM800 series. It was mostly a cosmetic change. But some claim that there were, again, small changes in the circuit. making these slightly more “modern” sounding amps. The “simple circuit” JCM800s are, in my view, still quite interesting amps. Let’s take a look at what we still have here.

A note here is that the name “JCM800″ itself is, many times, related just to the 2203/ 2204 models, but the JCM800 was a series. This means there were other models. Altough rarer, the non-Master Volume amps (#1959/#1987/ #1992/ #1986) were still being made under the JCM name.

Marshall JCM800 Super Lead #1959 (non-MV)

Some amps with JMP style will surface there and there during the 80’s too. But they are basically a JCM800 in the old headbox.

Combo versions, are, again, really interesting. Try to look for the ones with the same circuits as the heads mentioned above.

Marshall JCM800 50w 1×12 combo #4010 (2204 circuit)

Well… Here we got to the end of the line. There were no new interesting “simple circuit” amps launched during this period.

A last important note: Avoid the JCM800 2203 and 2204 amps with “horizontal inputs” (made after 1986). The different position of the inputs meant a change in the circuit. This one was not a pleasant change and the result was a much more grainy and thin-sounding tone as they were turned up.

“horizontal input” JCM800 Master Volume. Not a really good deal

In 1989, the JCM800 line was over, and the high gain JCM900 era begun. :(

So… This is it. I hope you liked this…. “little” piece of Marshall’s history. 😀

Serial Numbers

Serial numbers are a great way to find the model/ year of the amp. Here is some info about them:

Prior to 1969, the amps don’t have serial numbers.

Model Code Explanation
A/ or /A 200 Watt
RI Reissue Series
S/ or S/A 50 Watt
SB/ or SB/A Super Bass – 100 Watt
SL/ or SL/A Super Lead – 100 Watt
SP/ Super PA
ST/ or ST/A Tremolo – 100 Watt
T/ or T/A Tremolo – 50 Watt

Date Code Year
A = 1969-70
C = 1971
D = 1972
E = 1973
F = 1974
G = 1975
H = 1976
J = 1977
K = 1978
L = 1979
M = 1980
N = 1981
P = 1982
R = 1983
S = 1984
T = 1985
U = 1986
V = 1987
W = 1988
X = 1989
Y = 1990
Z = 1991-92

Cheers! Thanks for reading! :)

Interesting links:

http://www.superiormusic.com/page024.html

http://www.legendarytones.com/marshallshoppers1.html

http://www.legendarytones.com/marshallshoppers2.html

http://www.legendarytones.com/claptonearly1.html

http://www.drtube.com/marshall.htm

avatar
André Heiji
andkoz2010@hotmail.com

I'm a Blues and Rock and Roll fan. Jimmy Page, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Paul Kossoff, Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, Peter Green, Gary Moore, Paul Mahon, BB King and others are my biggest influences. In my view, if it doesn't have feeling, then it isn't music.

311 Comments
  • avatar
    Ronz8in
    Posted at 07:01h, 01 December

    Great article!! And just FYI: I have one of those “weird” 1976 100 watters with the “mixed up” components of thin gold binding and a larger Marshall logo: https://reverb.com/item/384567-1976-marshall-jmp-mkii-100-watt

  • avatar
    Ronz8in
    Posted at 07:00h, 01 December

    Just FYI: I have a 1976 100 watt with the “mixed up” components of thin gold binding and a larger Marshall logo: https://reverb.com/item/384567-1976-marshall-jmp-mkii-100-watt

  • avatar
    Obsolet
    Posted at 17:23h, 14 November

    I was always wondering which amp I really own and found now this great site with the perfect guide. Anyway, my question now:

    I have a Marshall amp, JMP MKII Super Lead 100 W

    Serial is stating SL/A:3230G

    From what I now understand, I own a 1969-70!? If this is true, I wonder what’s the value of it! Unfortunately it was mod to “High Gain”, but reversable. Thinking if I should bring it back to the original configuration, though the high gain is really doing good! Any comments appreciated! Thanks

    • avatar
      Obsolet
      Posted at 17:30h, 14 November

      Need to correct myself, I think the year is coded by the char in the end of the servial #, so it’s still vintage, as it is from 1975 then. Still my question open :)

  • avatar
    danielesindaco
    Posted at 22:49h, 04 October

    About the JMP2203. In this nice article it is mentioned that “Around mid-1979 there was another minor circuit change.”. Does anybody know what this circuit change consist of?
    Already thanks to your reply.
    Dani

  • avatar
    Robertos
    Posted at 18:12h, 14 August

    Hi, is there comparison video between The Schaffer Replica™ and the The Schaffer Replica Pedal?

    • avatar
      AngusRudd1019
      Posted at 07:40h, 15 August

      There is no difference between the Pedal and the Gold Tag versions. They both do the same thing.

    • avatar
      sct13
      Posted at 15:27h, 11 August

      I don’t know about this one, need to look at the guts.

      Unless Marshall released an obscure model that had metal corners, metal knobs and a particle board cabinet…???? You need to research this one, because I have never seen this. And maybe I need an education.

      Check with the Marshall Forum in the vintage section as well.

      • avatar
        Chris Moiny
        Posted at 17:39h, 11 August

        Me neither, I’ve seen all kinds of Marshall but this is totally new to me ! Although I gotta say it looks cool !
        They might help you out on the Marshall forum: http://www.marshallforum.com/lets-talk-vintage/

      • avatar
        Spellbound
        Posted at 06:30h, 12 August

        Never seen one of these either. I don’t think this is an original amp to be honest. The back looks totally different to any other MKII amp I’ve seen. Front faceplate seems off too.

        I would personally stay away unless someone gives the okay of legitimacy, but I don’t think it’ll get one.

    • avatar
      Dries
      Posted at 09:18h, 12 August

      This is certainly not a marshall.

  • avatar
    bassmanswidow
    Posted at 18:35h, 07 August

    Hi. I have NO idea if I’m doing this the right way, but please forgive me. My husband died suddenly, and while I intend to keep his bass, I would like to sell his amp. Thing is, I am not sure what it’s worth, or where/how to list it. I’m hoping folks here are like musicians of ‘old’… and treat each other like family. While I was a musician’s wife for 37 years, I am not a musician. I’d like the old Marshall set to have a loving home. They are 1972 Super Bass 100W amp and cabinet. Amp isn’t working, hubby wasn’t into fixing it, since he was no longer playing. Speaker’s fine. Clearly could not ship the thing – how do you guys do it?

    • avatar
      Chris Moiny
      Posted at 19:15h, 07 August

      Hey there,
      first of all, my ( and if I may speak in the name of the whole community here : our ) condolences.
      Don’t worry about your post, it’s fine here, you did the right thing. The ‘ nerds ‘ of our little family here always watch this post if there are any question about vintage Marshalls :)
      I’ll do my best to help you out.
      a 1972 SuperBass can be worth quite a bit depending on its cosmetic aspect, if it has been modified or not and if it is fully working.
      You are saying it is not working. Do you know if it has been modified over the years ? If not, the better. You should try to find someone who knows how to detect the problem on your amp and fix it. A fixed one can be sold easier than a broken one ( and at a higher price ).
      If you would give us your location more or less we could try and find you help around that area.
      If the cabinet matches the head this is a big plus for the sale, but shipping is the next question.
      Such things are hard to ship ( we know this pretty well ) but on the other way also pretty hard to sell depending on your location.
      There a websites like ‘ craigslist ‘ , ‘ ebay ‘ , ‘ reverb ‘ where you can put it on. Can’t you ask a family member to help you out with a possible shipping ? This would make it a lot easier for you actually.
      About the price: Hard to say as I mentioned before.
      If it’s in great shape and fixed it could go up to 2000 $ with the cabinet. Most like these ( amp only ! ) go around 1000-1300 $ if they are fully working.
      So I recommend you try to find someone who could fix it and then try to sell it.
      Hope this helps :)
      If you have any more question feel free to ask them here :)

      • avatar
        bassmanswidow
        Posted at 00:05h, 08 August

        Thank you, Chris, for the condolences, and your reply. The amp and the speaker are original. I can’t remember what the issue with the amp was, and why David opted not to fix it, but I think part of it was, even though he loved it, and had used it for many years, he was kind of in the mood to try something new. Heck, he even had a new bass on order, which I found shocking (but he had a “legit” excuse – the old Precision’s frets were worn way down….).
        I’m in southern New Mexico, kind of in the middle of nowhere. I suppose maybe I could find a Guitar Center or something in El Paso or Las Cruces… maybe there are even some old musicians around here who can tinker with amps and things… I’ll have to scout around a bit, I guess.

        • avatar
          Chris Moiny
          Posted at 09:17h, 08 August

          I’d really fix it if it’s not that much.
          If it gets fixed you should think about shipping it, would make the sale a lot easier although you will have to watch out for scammers, pack that thing and send it etc.
          Don’t be in a hurry for that sale. It always takes time

        • avatar
          Chris Moiny
          Posted at 09:44h, 09 August

          If you want I’ll make a post here on the website saying that you are selling such an amp.
          If you are in, please send me as much details as possible ( with pictures etc ) on this following address: depuis1899@gmail.com

    • avatar
      HumanJHawkins
      Posted at 09:50h, 08 August

      Greetings, and indeed, very sorry to hear the circumstances behind your question.

      First, an important note: If the amp has not been played in a long time, do not turn it on. The capacitors can change with non-use over several years, such that just turning it on after a long time off can cause all sorts of problems. I believe this is especially true of capacitors that were very old when last played.

      You have a gamble on your hands. but it is a pretty safe one. Selling a non-functioning amp will always lose you a lot of money. I think it would likely auction for maybe $500 with an unknown reason for not working… Possibly less.

      If you find a reputable amp technician, they should be able to do some level of testing and minor servicing for maybe $60 + Parts (i.e. Tubes, if that is all that is needed). It might be another $150 or so if the capacitors need replacing. Of course it could be even more if something major is wrong.

      If the amp is in great condition, and having gotten that handled yourself, the repair should pay for itself easily in a higher sale price. If this is unmodified one-owner stuff in good condition, $2000 may even be a low estimate. However, like anything, quality is key. If it is modified or beat up, or has holes drilled in it from some old thing someone once added to it, it could go for as low as $600-$700. Everyone likes to think their amp is worth a lot, but if you read these forums enough, you find that most people have a story of getting their own amp cheap… That’s because not a lot of amps actually sell for the higher prices people ask.

      Best of luck to you.

      • avatar
        bassmanswidow
        Posted at 18:51h, 11 August

        Hi again, kind folks. So, I have taken pictures, and Chris, I will email them to you. HumanJ, and Chris, I appreciate that it would be better if I got the head fixed, but I am apparently living in a black hole, and it might as well be 1960 for health care, but 1860 for other services… I’d have to blindly trust that some name I picked out from a list of unknowns 75 or 80 miles away would not only know what he was talking about and doing vis-a-vis a ’72 Marshall SuperBass, but that he wouldn’t try to take advantage of my truly rudimentary knowledge of equipment, and either way over-charge me, or do a crappy job. If I were still in San Diego or NY, no problem… but this place is a sinkhole. It makes more sense for someone who knows, loves and understands the amp to either fix it themselves, or take it to a place they trust to rehab it, no? Sure, I’d love to be able to get what I can for it, but I have to weigh the pros and cons of my situation.

        • avatar
          sct13
          Posted at 19:06h, 11 August

          Hi, and so sorry to hear of your loss, this sort of life change is very difficult. I have been following this thread quietly. I might be interested in seeing pictures of this amp, and possibly have some interest in fixing it up since I do have skills. How do I get some photos? Are you able to open the head box and pull out the chassis? Can you post the pictures here or do you need an email address?

        • avatar
          HumanJHawkins
          Posted at 19:31h, 11 August

          One thing I forgot to mention… The amp (not cab) is relatively easy to ship. Just find or buy a box big enough. And find or buy some good (not newspaper!) padding. A sheet of foam insulation might or something similar may be needed. I think you can get those cheap enough that it works out.

          Anyway, one option (amp only) would be the following:
          – Take good pics
          – Box it up, well packed (but maybe not sealed as it seems someone always asks a question that you have to look at it to answer)
          – Weigh it so you can calculate accurate shipping.
          – Take good pics and post it on eBay with the shipping charges spelled out.
          – Give it a good description
          – Make it a 10 day auction so more people will see it
          – Post a link to that auction in the for sale sections of this and maybe MarshallForum.com to increase exposure.

          The thing about auctions is, you tend to get what is is actually worth. Sometimes more. It might sell for $450 +150 shipping. Or, it could go for $750. I doubt more, because no one wants the risk of buying a broken amp. If that’s OK with you, go for it. The alternative may be sitting on it for a long time, or dealing with flaky Craigslist people who claim to be interested but cancel, etc. You might give it a month or so, just to see if someone here bites, before going that route.

          Anyway, speaker cabs are harder to sell. You can ship them in the neighborhood of $150 or $200 also. But you’ll get few takers because of that. You can post it. People will drive for a couple of hours for a cab they think they will like if they can’t afford it otherwise. The price will be low, but that’s life with big heavy equipment.

          Best of luck to you.

    • avatar
      Monstr
      Posted at 13:10h, 12 August

      I can buy this amp! only need to agree on a price

  • avatar
    Ryley
    Posted at 02:25h, 06 July

    Hopefully this is the right place to ask this… Does anyone have any input on a getting a vintage 1959 vs a reissue? I can NEVER find any decent vintage ones, especially the one Fil has here (the 1976 i believe). I feel getting a reissue would be much easier, but could be more expensive.

    Id also like to know the sound differences between a newer reissue 1959 and the original… any input at all here guys?

    • avatar
      HumanJHawkins
      Posted at 06:03h, 06 July

      Are you mainly (or only) after having an amp that performs and sounds like a vintage 1959 SLP? Or are you also into collector value and/or Marshall mystique?

      I ask because the exact circuits and parts are well known. So reproductions can be essentially identical. By “essentially” I mean that no two 1973 Marshall SLPs are identical. Some even have minor circuit differences due to parts availability, etc. So building one (or having one built) today with the closest modern equivalent parts will produce an amp solidly within the range of sounds you would get from different true vintage SLPs.

      Also, the quality may be better. Things like the heater wiring on original SLPs varies in quality. Most people doing reproductions do it really well.

      Reproductions from Marshall are WELL over $2000. The cream of the crop repros can cost even more… $4000+/-. But you can get the parts together yourself for less than $1000. And/or get a good reproduction for as low as $1200 to $1400 new. Or $800 used without much effort.

      • avatar
        Ryley
        Posted at 06:18h, 06 July

        A bit of both i suppose… but mainly one that sounds and performs as a 1959 should. I’ve already got an original 1979 2203 which is simply amazing, and a Mojotone 18W clone of a 1974x. I’d really like a Marshall 1959 (this is the purist in me lol) but i know there are kits and other options available for a 1959. Unfortunately i can’t really afford a freidman or a roppoli clone, because as you stated VERY expensive.

        So if i’m understanding you right, all the 1959’s from 68 – the mid/late 70’s and even the reissues all achieve that “expected” tone that we all know?

        • avatar
          sct13
          Posted at 06:30h, 06 July

          There are kits available, or you can gather the parts for a kit. I have built a few. I am planning a JTM45 soon.

          here is a video demo of my build against a real 68 Plexi, the difference is really in the compression (I think) Its not the best sounding video capture. and a lot of buzz from the switcher. which has since been fixed :~)

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl5592lqBZQ

          • avatar
            Ryley
            Posted at 06:49h, 06 July

            i definitely agree about the compression, thanks for the video man. both sound great, but i think i slightly preferred the actual marshall (or what i thought was the original marshall LOL)

        • avatar
          HumanJHawkins
          Posted at 07:46h, 07 July

          Regarding the sound difference between 1968 and 1970’s, there is a difference. But they are all pretty fantastic. Like, when the Who used Marshalls, they were the 1968 vintage I believe (because they used them in 1968, no?) And Hendrix used a modified JTM45/100, which is very close to a 68 SLP. And the Young brothers (who sound pretty different from each other) used a variety of amps as is well documented on this site, but certainly many of them SLPs from the 70’s.

          The bottom line is that this sound that we all love is not solely a Marshall sound. It is the combination of Marshall lead and/or rhythm guitar with some well matched bass lines and drums hitting just right. If you mix a 68 plexi or a 73 plexi with the right other tones, you get this sound. By itself… Yes, but not as much. (And you have to be a hell of a lot better player to sound good without all that support.)

          Also, amp tweaking was not invented by us… Many of those old Marshals at least had simple mods applied like moving the NFB to a different OT tap, based on the preference of the player.

    • avatar
      Dries
      Posted at 12:54h, 06 July

      The sound of old marshall’s = all about the transformers. The ones in the replicas and reissues just aren’t the same. I could recommend a metroamp though, but they are pretty expensive and imo you can get a nice late 70’s SL for about 2/3s of the money of a new reissue. Keep lookin’ !

  • avatar
    Robertos
    Posted at 16:42h, 05 July

    Hi,
    what is the differente between Marshall Super Bass 100w #1992 and its MKII “upgrade”? I read here about an easy conversion from Super Bass to Super Lead, I would to do so, but I wander if it is possible also on MKII.

    I would like to buy this one:
    http://img.hudebnibazar.cz/cache/1280×1280-0/img_inz/818219.jpg

    It is supposed to be 1979, but is does look older or mixed up (rocker switch and an older headbox)

    Would be the coversion to SuperLead possible?
    Thanks!!!!!

    • avatar
      Dries
      Posted at 18:44h, 05 July

      If it’s a Super Bass after 1978, it has a whole different tonestack than the normal supers, it doesn’t sound like the old ones and is a lot of work to convert. Easy to date on the serial number. Really, only buy SBes older than 1978, on SL’s it doesn’t matter.

      • avatar
        Robertos
        Posted at 21:25h, 05 July

        Hi, thanks for an advise… ! I will ask for the serial.. the year matters that much? What changes happened there…?

    • avatar
      Spellbound
      Posted at 20:04h, 05 July

      80s amp in a 60s/70s headbox… That’s an interesting one for sure.

  • avatar
    bm229
    Posted at 02:09h, 13 January

    Hi Guys
    I was keen to purchase a YJM100 as ive read nothing but good things about the amp and its supposed to be good for producing an ACDC tone. But, i just came across this on some local classifieds.
    http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/carindale/guitars-amps/marshall-jmp-100w-lead-mkii-head-1978/1035488822
    What do you guys think? Its not in the same state as me, so would be going off the sellers word and photos on its condition and if any mods have been done.
    Can anybody spot anything that doesn’t look right? I don’t really know what to look out for on these.
    Thanks
    Brad
    Perth, Australia

    • avatar
      sct13
      Posted at 02:17h, 13 January

      Buy it….or I will….

      I have a 77′ JMP…. You want AC/DC tone? There it is.

      that one is kinda nice as it still has its
      Daly Caps in it. Is it all original?

      • avatar
        sct13
        Posted at 02:22h, 13 January

        The inputs on the front have been replaced…you might want to ask what else has been done. If its modded its might be worth slightly less.

        The transformers look to be original but there is no way to tell on the internet. See if he can get you a gut shot. I can tell if anything is amiss. But its got to be a good one.

        • avatar
          bm229
          Posted at 02:29h, 13 January

          Thanks.
          Will make the call and see what he has to say.

          • avatar
            bm229
            Posted at 02:45h, 13 January

            He said that he had it serviced last year and the tech apparantly said he couldn’t believe how much of it was still original.
            He said he could try and take it apart if i wanted a photo but i said i would try and find out how hard or risky it is first.
            I wouldn’t want the guy to fry himself.
            How hard would it be for him to get a shot of the internals?

            • avatar
              sct13
              Posted at 02:59h, 13 January

              If he has no experience doing this then he probably shouldn’t. He could accidentally touch something inside and get a good whack from a cap that has not discharged.

              That being said……Its easy, four big screws on the bottom and the chassis comes out. But its heavy and awkward.
              Getting it back together is goofy too. Those Transformers are heavy.

              The amp needs to be upended (heavy side down) first the two bottom screws. then while supporting the chassis remove the two top ones. The chassis will slide out. but like I said its heavy and awkward.

              Touch NOTHING inside. Assembly is revers of removal. Another way is to straddle it on a narrow work bench or table and get to the screws that way.

              • avatar
                bm229
                Posted at 03:16h, 13 January

                sounds a bit risky then because he didn’t sound too confident with fiddling with it.
                I might just have to take a gamble on it.
                So IF there have been mods done, are reproduction parts available to restore it back to original?

                • avatar
                  sct13
                  Posted at 04:11h, 13 January

                  Yes, I mean it depends on the part your looking for but there are parts out there.

                  One thing you should do, is have a GOOD Vintage tech look at those filter caps. Electrolytics do need to be changed after so long. It will hurt your amp if they are going bad.

                  Also the output selector and voltage selector on those are the older pull out ones and they should be changed. There is updated selectors that are safer. I can see on his photos that someone had taped the output selector down as a precaution. thats something you do not want to vibrate out during play and kill the output transformer. I changed mine to the newer rotary ones.

                  This did happen to my vintage plexi but I was aware of the problem and caught it.

                  I asked about a gut shot because i saw that tape. I wanted to know if the output transformer had been changed because of that. However that is a smokin’ badass amp.

                  • avatar
                    bm229
                    Posted at 09:34h, 13 January

                    Does anybody know the weight of one of these?
                    Im trying to get a freight quote.
                    Ive googled but cant find any info on this

                    • avatar
                      Chris Moiny
                      Posted at 10:01h, 13 January

                      around 22 and 24 kilos… I have a hard time moving them from cab to cab 😆

                      If I were you, I’d get a 2204 or 03 instead, difference might be even bigger.
                      For sure a 1959 from that era will get closer to the AC/DC sound thant your YJM, but the YJM is modded 1959, so soundwise they’ll be closer than with a 2203/04.
                      BUT: It is true that there is a difference between new and old 1959. Friend of mine was here on saturday, and he tried my 1959 from 76. This is what he said: The hand wired 1959 from Marshall ( reissue ) is a great amp, but it’s missing something compared to a vintage one. Also the higher frequencies are more modern on a 1959 reissue than on a vintage one. And this all makes the difference from a great Marshall to a good Marshall.

                      So either way my friend, as long as it’s vintage and stock, you’ll be damn satisfied :)

                    • avatar
                      bm229
                      Posted at 12:27h, 14 January

                      Well hopefully i will have the 2203 in my hands sometimes next week!
                      Just scored these as well.
                      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1981-Celestion-G12-65-speakers-15-ohms-set-of-four-4-/271352251952?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f2ddac630#shpCntId&autorefresh=true
                      Now just have to wait for the pedal to get shipped.
                      This is adding up and I also need an attenuator and the Aracom doesn’t come cheap:(
                      Im sure once its all setup and plugged into the SG though, there will be a grin from ear to ear!

                    • avatar
                      Chris Moiny
                      Posted at 12:41h, 14 January

                      you luck you, vintage G12-65’s :) !

                      Well with the 2203 you don’t really need an attenuator. I sounds really good with master on 2. But thing is, if you really want that very last final bite in the sound, like on Down Payment Blues, you will have to crank it up at least a 6-7.

                    • avatar
                      bm229
                      Posted at 12:52h, 14 January

                      Yeh im pretty shocked i found those speakers straight away and in a set!
                      well im sure it might be a bit of a sin to never play that amps master volume above 2! The Aracom is a must, ive gone this far already.

                    • avatar
                      Chris Moiny
                      Posted at 13:00h, 14 January

                      I’m almost this far too, just haven’t got 4×12 yet, and not vintage G12-65’s :)

                      Got a Ted Weber attenuator, but it’s not really working on my 2203… Working fine on my Orange though.

                      Next on my list is: SG to paint in black / G12M’s :)

  • avatar
    Miguel Almeida
    Posted at 17:28h, 27 December

    Hi, anybody can tell me what the difrence between: S and S/A in the code model series?
    Thanks

    • avatar
      KyleSG
      Posted at 18:02h, 27 December

      It explains the S ans S/A at the bottom of this article :)

      • avatar
        Miguel Almeida
        Posted at 21:30h, 27 December

        Yeah! But what i want to know is why there is two ways (S and S/A) to say 50w? Probabli it means there is a diference, don´t you think?

        • avatar
          sct13
          Posted at 22:09h, 27 December

          In 1968 /69 they were they were still getting the serial #’s together. Remember that the plates that the serials #s are on did not follow the chassis until they had to be put on. This also means that the serial does not mean that 0001 was second to 0002
          They could be in any order.

          so in Jan 65 thru June of 69

          /A 200 watt
          SL/100 watt super Lead
          SB/100 Watt Super Bass
          SP/Super PA
          ST/ 100 Watt Tremolo
          S/ 50 Watt
          T/50 Watt

          Then in July 69 to sept 1992

          A/ 200 watt
          SL/ 100 watt Super Lead
          SB/A 100 watt super bass
          SP/ super pa
          ST/A 100 watt tremolo
          S/A 50 watt
          T/A 50watt tremolo
          RI reissue

          Then the year is a suffix starting with A (1969 late)
          Through Z 1992

          Also remember that its still a mess, some older codes have been known to be on newer amps.

          They changed conventions in mid year of 1969, hence the confusion.

          There is a chart you need to get and its from the book “History of Marshall” by Doyal.

  • avatar
    cevapcic
    Posted at 20:58h, 10 November

    I’ve just bought a Marshall jmp 2104 lead 50 watt combo from 1980. It arrives on friday and I’m pretty excited. I think this is the combo version of the 2204 head. Amp looks really neat, it is bought from the first owner (supposedly).

    So does anyone have any experience with the amp?

  • avatar
    sct13
    Posted at 06:10h, 12 October

    Nice info page. Could you address the Canadian import rules?

    It seems that the Canadian Imports (which seem to be popping up recently) had some interesting rules that altered the appearance of some early Marshall amps. I have a 1968/69 1987 JMP that has the HT Fuse internally, Old style Laydown Transformer, The mains power cable does not detach, The inside of the cabinet is painted matte white, The large Data tag states its a JTM 45 it is clearly a JMP. Solid state rectifier. And no Voltage selector. It does have the very early output selector.
    Any info on these would be helpful.

    • avatar
      KyleSG
      Posted at 18:15h, 27 December

      Hey there noticed your post and I am from Canada and have have 2 JMP’s a 1979 U.S 2203 and a 1981 Canadian 2203 The Canadian ones back then due to some CSA electrical code thing they couldn’t import amps with 16ohms although I don’t know why. My friends 1987 jcm 800 has only a 4 and 8ohm selector switch. My 81 does have a 4,8,16 switch but the transformers are only wired for 4,8 so you couldn’t even have the 16 wired up which I tired to get done lol. The Canadian imports also more rare as they all have a lay down transformer instead and metal toggle switches no plastic rocker. The Canadian ones like the U.K one still have the EL34’s which like my U.S 2203 they went to 6550’s. Also power cable on the 81 does detach.

      • avatar
        sct13
        Posted at 18:25h, 27 December

        Thanx, that is consistent with mine. What about the white paint on the inside of the cabinet?

        Mine has a 16 ohm tap however the older style selector is too flimsy to use, I had to hardwire it to 8 ohms for safety. Also the HT Fuse is internal preventing any “quick fix” during a gig to get it running and subsequently dealing with negative consequences. (Talk about control)

        Yep EL 34’s…..

        2203’s rock. I have a 1977.

        • avatar
          KyleSG
          Posted at 20:42h, 27 December

          I know the main fuse on mine is on the back of the amp but no HT fuse but my U.S 2203 has the main and HT on the back of amp. My CA 81 ohm switch has a slot and can be changed with say a flat head screw driver but my 79 U.S has the 2 prong switch that can come out which you have to be careful not to lose lol. Didn’t notice any white paint on the inside from what I can remember the last time I had it open.

  • avatar
    Angusrocks101
    Posted at 16:55h, 05 May

    Also would it be better to have a clone of a 68 or 73 Superlead
    Lead AC/DC sound wise.

  • avatar
    Angusrocks101
    Posted at 03:52h, 24 April

    One more thing about clones. Granger Amplification makes some awesome high quality clones of the Super Lead and the JCM 800 along with hot-rodded versions of these. They are also made in the U.S.

  • avatar
    Angusrocks101
    Posted at 05:45h, 12 April

    Also know that the early JCM 2203/2204 or 2104 combo has the sound you’re after. It’s going to be the 2 input heads. High and low sensitivity. So you don’t have to limit it to just the JMP’s. Also if you were to get a head an attenuator would be a good addition. You could play a Superlead in your bedroom at tv volumes with an Aracom. But that’s a whole other thing and you may not be after that option. Just let us know when you find another amp.

  • avatar
    Angusrocks101
    Posted at 00:46h, 12 April

    I also don’t know how it’s set but yes I would assume it would just be flat.

  • avatar
    Angusrocks101
    Posted at 00:44h, 12 April

    The channels I’m sure would be okay. But for you I would recommend a 2104 as it would be much closer to the tones you want. However, the 2412 has a mid control on the overdrive channel just not the other one. The normal channel has volume, treble, and bass. Probably like a metal panel superlead or something like that. But for all I know could be more JTM 45ish. Listen to some clips of the 2205 head version(more videos) and see if you like it.

    • avatar
      cevapcic
      Posted at 01:33h, 12 April

      After checking out a handful of videos on youtube I just didn’t feel the sound like I do when I listen to the JMP ones. If I’m gonna go with Marshall it will probably be a proper, one channel JMP, even if it costs a few hundred bucks more. I’m really thankful for your input mate, I’ll be sure to ask around again when I see a new amp that interests me. Don’t want to spend my money on something I wouldn’t be completely satisfied with. :)

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