Is a Bluesbreaker a good choice for a 1st Marshall?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Stormin, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    I've never owned a proper Marshall, but there are a few Bluesbreaker reissues for sale near me for decent prices. Is this a good choice for a first Marshall? I do love AC/DC and ZZ Top tones - will I be able to do those with a BB?

    Thanks....
     
  2. DICKIE C

    DICKIE C Member

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    Early AC/DC and early ZZ Top tones, yes. Generally speaking, pre-1980 tones.
    For some later tones, say Back in Black & Eliminator tones, you would probably want a pedal for the extra overdrive. A JMP 50 (or a superlead, if you like 100-watters) would be a better choice to cover the wide range of tones from these two bands, as these amps have more overdrive on tap.
     
  3. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    It would work for that, but keep in mind, old Marshalls really only get that sound when they're turned up loud. You'll get those tones, but you'll be peeling paint when you do it.
     
  4. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    I love Marshalls and don't care for the BB at all.
     
  5. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    For stage or bedroom?
     
  6. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

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    Mostly for at home. Should I be looking for a 1974 instead? Will the 18 watt get those kinda tones?
     
  7. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Just about any Marshall will get those kinds of tones. The old-school, non-master ones will do it best when they're turned up very loud.
     
  8. AcousticBoom

    AcousticBoom Member

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    Like everyone else has said, you'll want something with a master volume to play at home. Personally, I got a decent deal on an '84 JCM800 channel switcher. It sounds good at low-ish (emphasis on the "ish") volumes and will definitely get you in the ballpark of AC/DC and ZZ.
     
  9. Tylenol Jones

    Tylenol Jones Member

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    Keep in mind it's an incredibly heavy amp! I do mean this in the literal sense.

    There are 2 versions ; a shallow and a deep cab version. The whole reason for the BB to exist was to recreate the Beano tone. For that, you need KT66 tubes. The shallow version doesn't have enough room to insert real KT66 tubes. The only ones that can be used are the non-true KT66 ones like the Tung Sol which are basically 6L6 tubes stored in a KT66-shaped glass that isn't as tall as the real thing.

    It still sounds quite good with those in, but if you were to get yourself some Gold Lions, it'd sound better. From memory, I think the shallow version has a depth of 9" and the deep one is 10.5".

    They're also incredibly LOUD! Get an attenuator to get the most of this amp.
     
  10. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

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    Good point ^^ and something the OP needs to take note of - especially if new to Marshall amps. The Bluesbreaker (JTM45) is really a different animal in terms of tone, feel, and response compared to the plexi and metal panel JMP's that followed. Great amp - just much more 'Fender-like' which could very well be not what the OP's expecting if new to Marshalls. FWIW, I love JTM45's, but personally prefer using my 4-hole JMP's for AC/DC and early ZZ Top.
     
  11. itstooloudMike

    itstooloudMike Member

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    If you are just playing at home, but want those classic Marshall sounds at reasonable volume, try to find a JMP1c 50th Anniversary amp. This is the 1-watt combo that recreates the sound of the 70s non-master volume JMP amps. It's surprisingly loud for 1 watt, and sounds great for home use. It gets the sounds you are looking for easily. They were a limited edition, and may be difficult to find, but well worth the effort. These also come in a head version, if you want to use an external cabinet. The head can drive any size cab, even a 4x12 if you want. I have the combo, and love it.
     
  12. Frankee

    Frankee Wartime Consigliere

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  13. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    If I was playing at home mostly I definitely would look for something with a good master. And the two amps you mention don't have that, so you will (very) shortly be searching for an attenuator. Do you have a cab? I hear the 5w Slash Marshall combo is pretty cool... The bluesbreaker would make a terrible 'home' amp IMO. One of the worst actually lol.
     
  14. Charlie Dango

    Charlie Dango Member

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    It shouldn't be that surprising considering all speaker SPL ratings are at 1W/1M. If you're playing through a speaker that's SPL rated between 98-100db, then that's how loud it's going to be at one watt.

    OP, If you want your guitar to move you (literally) then get a NMV JMP. If you're going for recording/bedroom level rock, then there are a lot of options available. Don't expect the lower-wattage amps to sound as authentic in a practice/live volume situation though.
     
  15. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    I suggest looking at the Gries 15. It's powered by 2 6V6s and has a JTM preamp along with a master volume. It's 20 watts and is stock with a Celestion G12M65 Creamback.

    No, it doesn't say Marshall on the front but it's handwired and you deal directly with the builder.

    http://griesamps.com/id4.html
     
  16. Tylenol Jones

    Tylenol Jones Member

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    Personally, I think a 1974 would probably be a better choice... unless you get an attenuator. I find the BB sounds "better" (it's all subjective) than a 1974 but volume-wise, the 18W amp would be able to make more than enough noise for a home environment.
     
  17. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    Even the 18 watter without a MV or attenuator is WAY too loud for the house.

    A marshall class 5 or those 1 watt amps are a better choice for home use.

    I just bought an Avatar JTM45 style amp with a matching 1x12 with creamback speaker. It comes with the PPI MV which is considered the best MV circuit for a marshall. It works well but to maintain full tone you really cant go any lower than 5. It sounds decent at 3 but definitely a bit more buzzy and less full.

    I have my amp in a basement music room and can turn up any time I want within reason. With the bright channel at 7-8 and the MV at 5 I have to face the speaker cab away from me ( open back facing me) AND cover the front of the cab with a packing blanket to keep my ears from bleeding. Even setup like that, anything that is not bolted down will be rattling. This is how I will probably run it live unless I can find a cheap attenuator that doesnt ruin the tone.

    As of now I think that the PPI MV sounds better than any of the "affordable" attenuators ($200 or under). i just spent $1500 on the amp & cab. I'll be damned (and broke) if i drop another $400+ on boutique attenuator.
     
  18. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

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    This. The BB is where the Tweed Bassman handed the baton to Marshall and then Marshall went their own distinct direction with subsequent revisions. I to would recommend something JMP to JCM for the more signature Marshall tone.

    As for the 1 to 5 watt Marshalls, they do sound really good and capture the essence of cranked up, larger Marshalls as heard on recordings, but they suffer from Small Ampitis. Big iron just has more push, more raw power, that feel.
     
  19. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    A 5 watt amp cranked will sound better at low volumes than 50 or 100 watt amp turned down to the same relative level. The big iron amp wouldnt even be distorting at all unless you had a MV and you'd have to turn the MV way down to get in the ball park.

    Conversely a 5 watt amp pushing an efficient 4x12 would be loud enough to play with a drummer (I did this with a fender vibro champ using just its 10" speaker!) You'd have zero clean headroom but the dirty tone would be really good.

    18 watts is giggable. 45 watts through a 4x12 is giggable at wembley stadium.
     
  20. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Not true. There are plenty of high powered amps that sound great at low volumes and plenty of low powered amps that get really farty when you push them. All depends on the amp and the design.
     

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