best JCM 800

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Mr. G., Jun 23, 2005.


  1. Mr. G.

    Mr. G. Member

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    I've alway's wanted a JCM 800, but just haven't got around to owning one YET. So, my question to you is, with all the variations between them, what do YOU concider to be the best model, and why?
     
  2. JTM100

    JTM100 Member

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    It's all subjective. But, I have owned 3 JCM800's. 2 2204 and 1 2203. all were around '83 or so in thier age. I like the '83 2203 the best by far. It is thick , raunchy , and has alot of balls.
     
  3. dave s

    dave s Member

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    I still like the early, mid-80s 50w JCM800s. The preamp models. 2203 I think? And loaded with EL34s.

    I've owned 4 of them over the years if you count my 212 50w combo. They all sounded a bit different from one another. Maybe my ears have gotten better, but the current one I own is the best sounding. All original and EL34 power.

    A Gear Page member passed along a tone recipe for using the 800 heads that works like a dream. Here's how my amp is set when I use the 800 head:

    bass - 10; mid - 3-4 range; treble 0; presence 0; master volume on 10 (yes, TEN!) and overall volume output is controlled with the preamp control.

    The tone that comes out the amp is the thickest, fattest, most focused vintage marshall tone. I use pedals to get OD, dist and high-gain tones as well as the other time-based pedals on my board. It does 60s spank with no pedals, SRV with OD and nails that 80s hair band sound with a keeley modded DS-1.

    This really works. Try it some time if you get your hands on an 80s JCM800.

    dave
     
  4. gizmo

    gizmo Guest

    Mine! :D

    But seriously, I prefer the early vertical input models and with EL34s. I currently have a stock '83 50 watt combo - 4010 model - with good NOS tubes. Awesome classic rock/old metal amp.

    And I second that idea of diming the master and controlling the volume with the preamp. Lotsa good tones to be had there.
     
  5. Mr. G.

    Mr. G. Member

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    So basically, an early 80's 50 watt with vertical input's would be a good place to start looking?
     
  6. gizmo

    gizmo Guest

    It's a good place to start but there will always be those however that prefer the later horizontal models with extra didode gain, channel switching capabilities and reverb. I'm not one of those but you might be.

    Are you looking for a classic hard rock sound or a more modern heavier gain sound with channel switching? That should give you an idea where to start looking.

    If it's not clear, I love mine. Plug in, dime the volume, hit a big fat A chord, and watch me giggle like school girl. :eek:
     
  7. Mr. G.

    Mr. G. Member

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    I'm just looking for a balls to the wall hard rock tone that's fat, but not flabby. I'm not worried about channel switching or reverb, just a plug and play thing. If I want something heavier, I'll throw on an MXR ZW-44 overdrive.
     
  8. hear and play

    hear and play Member

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    Just so there's no confusion for PRSplaya...

    Not all horizontal input models are diode/channel switching/reverb. Later 2203s and 2204s have horizontal inputs but none of those features.
     
  9. jonny guitar

    jonny guitar Member

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    For the type of playing you describe the 2204 is a great amp, 2203 is heavier sounding with more thump and less aggressive breakup, 2210 with work for you with the master up and the preamps down.

    A dark horse that you should look into is the JCM 900 SL-X -- no diodes in this one. It is a great sounding, very organic amp that sounds like a hotrodded 2204 due to an extra preamp tube and it has cascading preamps so there is a ton of very useable sounds in it (except for clean). I have owned 3 JCM 800 and I liked the SL-X the best out of all of them. I sold it to a guy who has a Vert - 2203 and he is really happy with it because it is plug and play at even the lowest of volumes. These are great deals so don't write it off because it says 900 -- it is very different from the Dual Reverb 900s which I hate.
     
  10. Shawn Lutz

    Shawn Lutz Member

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    my favorite JCM800 also is an 83 2203 with 6550's.
     
  11. gizmo

    gizmo Guest

    hear and play is correct...I'm guilty of oversimplifiying the vast array of JCM 800 models that were made. Nonetheless, playa should first consider if he wants "plug -n- play" or "bells and whistles."

    It sounds like he wants simple plug-n-play rock and roll so I highly recommend earlier single channel models.
     
  12. mmorse

    mmorse Member

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    I have an '82 vertical input 2204 and a '90 2550 Jubilee. Both are great for old classic rock IMO. That's all I play. The 2204 is a gritty crunch and the Jube is a smoother crunch. With the proper tubes and speakers, the fizz can be tamed and I can get my Jube to sound pretty close to my 2204. With the 2550, I can work the tubes hard on half power and get some great tones without having to leave the room. Hard to get the 2204 to get warm and thick without putting out some serious volume. I like both flavors. That's why I have both. :dude

    mark
     
  13. IIIBOOMERIII

    IIIBOOMERIII Member

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    2203 100watt with the first 3 or 4 mods from this web site.
    SOUNDS bada$$ and it is free. No kit to buy, the guy is just
    sharing knowledge.

    After the first 3 or 4 mods I was a happy cat with the tone
    and did not feel the need to keep going. It was easy to do.
    The details he gives are great and the color pictures walk
    you right thru the process. All I had to buy was a 68K resistor
    and a local gear tech gave me 5 of them free.

    If you do not like it you can always put the original parts
    back in.

    http://www.tone-lizard.com/Ultimate_JCM800.htm
     
  14. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Agreed! The ONE stock newer Marshall I really like! If you can find an SLX with EL34s, JUMP on it. FAT sounding amp with tons of overdrive. Not nearly as buzzy as most Marshalls. The ones with the 5881s do not sound nearly as good imo.
     
  15. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Unless you've got a stadium to play in, I'd go with the 50w 2204 instead of the 100w 2203. My 2203 was an 81 and it really didn't want to break up til stupidly loud levels (and I'm happy cranking a 71 metal panel, so we're talking LOUD). The 50w was still very loud but breaks up at levels that leave the pictures on the walls.
     
  16. Swarty

    Swarty Member

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    In case you missed this thread:

    Click here

    Blatant self-promotion aside, this thing turned into the best JCM800 I've ever heard.
     

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