JTM45 wars- to clone or not to clone, that is the question..

electricfactory

Gold Supporting Member
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2,074
So- I took it into my head that I need a Marshall JTM45 to pair w/ a nice 2x12 Germino cab. I went on-line to begin familiarizing myself with the JTM45 market so I had a reasonable expectation as to what I should expect to pay for one when I found it. The path led to eBay whereupon I had my mind blown- it's the land of a thousand JTM45's !
I must have stumbled onto 25 JTM45 lisitings of varying descriptions, many of them clones, and priced from $800-$2K and much more.
I thought this a good time to solicit some JTM45 clone knowledge and wisdom here at the briar patch; who's using a JTM45 head, Marshall or otherwise ? Anyone using one made from a kit ? What are your experiences w/ JTM45 kit amps ? What JTM45 head would you suggest ? Vintage or Re-production ? Any hands-on thoughts or hands-on experiences would be appreciated.
 

SGspecial

Member
Messages
857
I have an Avatar 45. Handwired in the US for one third the price of a recent production hand wired Marshall. I love mine.

 

JoeB63

Silver Supporting Member
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13,908
I have an Avatar 45. Handwired in the US for one third the price of a recent production hand wired Marshall. I love mine.
Cool. Nice amp. Has anyone directly compared the Avatar 45 to a Germino Classic 45 or a Metropoulos GPM45, or any of the "bigger name" Marshall cloners?
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
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13,291
Do you want a real jtm45 tone or an adjusted jtm tone.
Higher gain of the later jmp or the cleaner early radio spares tone.
Problem with some like the avatar, is there are enough changes to make it not accurate. Not that that is a bad thing, it depends on what you need..

If you want earlier radio spares jtm45 tone (bit cleaner) I'd go with Germino. If you want more 66 era slightly crunchier and thick..metro is a. Good choice as is Wallace and also th germino still fits.

If you want 'close enough' the Marshall reissue is decent but not very accurate

Im a purist on jtm....don't like jumpered internal channels. Added
Boosts or the like.
I built a metro kit came out great. You can most of the parts from valvestorm and iron from classic tone, marstran, heyboar or mermen and have a great amp if you have patience.
 

electricfactory

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,074
Thanks Big Mike,
How do the Weber kit amps stack up in your opinion ? Frankly I'm overwhelmed by all of the choices, very happy you weighed in, by all means please contunue to share.
The Metro sounds like the way I'd go based on price, vintage examples are pretty pricey though they're out there.
I'm on the hunt..
 

Terry McInturff

40th Anniversary of guitar building!
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,046
Im learning that one of the things that makes certain of the oldies sound great is the "drift" away from fresh specs that have happened over the years (talking caps and resistors). Im about to embark on a build and Ill be conferring with some folks about that "drift"
 

JoeB63

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,908
Do you want a real jtm45 tone or an adjusted jtm tone.
Higher gain of the later jmp or the cleaner early radio spares tone.
Problem with some like the avatar, is there are enough changes to make it not accurate. Not that that is a bad thing, it depends on what you need..

If you want earlier radio spares jtm45 tone (bit cleaner) I'd go with Germino. If you want more 66 era slightly crunchier and thick..metro is a. Good choice as is Wallace and also th germino still fits.

If you want 'close enough' the Marshall reissue is decent but not very accurate

Im a purist on jtm....don't like jumpered internal channels. Added
Boosts or the like.
I built a metro kit came out great. You can most of the parts from valvestorm and iron from classic tone, marstran, heyboar or mermen and have a great amp if you have patience.
Mike, I know you're a big fan of Germino, Metropoulos, Wallace and a few others. But there's no denying that that there are several other companies building clones, or near-clones for half the price of those guys. What I'm trying to figure out (as is the OP, I think), is what do you gain, tonally-speaking, by paying 2X or more from an amp from one of the big (relatively-speaking) names.

So the Avatar 45 has some mods from the originals. How is that a bad thing? When might it be a good thing?

All things being equal, I like what I see from Germino a lot. But all things aren't equal. If I can save $1,200, that's a good thing.

Thanks
 

electricfactory

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,074
JoeB63,
Who else comes to mind besides Avitar 45 as it relates to saving $1200 ? And what do you like/ not like about the Marshall re-issue ?


Mike, I know you're a big fan of Germino, Metropoulos, Wallace and a few others. But there's no denying that that there are several other companies building clones, or near-clones for half the price of those guys. What I'm trying to figure out (as is the OP, I think), is what do you gain, tonally-speaking, by paying 2X or more from an amp from one of the big (relatively-speaking) names.

So the Avatar 45 has some mods from the originals. How is that a bad thing? When might it be a good thing?

All things being equal, I like what I see from Germino a lot. But all things aren't equal. If I can save $1,200, that's a good thing.

Thanks
 

JoeB63

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,908
JoeB63,
Who else comes to mind besides Avitar 45 as it relates to saving $1200 ? And what do you like/ not like about the Marshall re-issue ?
At the lower price point there's Rockitt Retro, though he does Plexis, not JTM45s, and, as you found, there are several on Ebay around $1,200. And then there's Retro-King and a couple of others around $1,500.

I've never played one of the Marshall re-issues. I guess what this comes down to is this: If you're looking for an amp that's as close as possible to the originals, you probably need to pay one of the big boys, and spend $2K+. If you just want a great sounding Marshall-style amp, there are several cheaper alternatives, some of which probably sound pretty close to the originals. But those are 2 different motivations. Lets say you already have a great sounding Marshall-style amp. You might now be looking for vintage-authencity rather than just another great sounding Marshall-style amp. In that case, go with Germino or Metropoulos.
 

Bieling3

Senior Member
Messages
2,986
Ceriatone
Triode USA
Marsh

...all come to mind.

FWIW I've had a '90s reissue Bluesbreaker in the past. PCB sounded fine to me. I wouldn't pass up something like a Buddha superdrive 45 (that I saw recently on craigslist for $850) or an Avatar just because they stray from the original specs or because its on PCB instead of turret board.
 

M40A1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,930
Mike, I know you're a big fan of Germino, Metropoulos, Wallace and a few others. But there's no denying that that there are several other companies building clones, or near-clones for half the price of those guys. What I'm trying to figure out (as is the OP, I think), is what do you gain, tonally-speaking, by paying 2X or more from an amp from one of the big (relatively-speaking) names.

So the Avatar 45 has some mods from the originals. How is that a bad thing? When might it be a good thing?

All things being equal, I like what I see from Germino a lot. But all things aren't equal. If I can save $1,200, that's a good thing.

Thanks
Part of that Germino price, I'm sure, is the lifetime transferrable warranty. Any builder who offers that is certainly standing firm behind his product!
 

louis

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,262
Do you want a real jtm45 tone or an adjusted jtm tone.
Higher gain of the later jmp or the cleaner early radio spares tone.
Problem with some like the avatar, is there are enough changes to make it not accurate. Not that that is a bad thing, it depends on what you need..

If you want earlier radio spares jtm45 tone (bit cleaner) I'd go with Germino. If you want more 66 era slightly crunchier and thick..metro is a. Good choice as is Wallace and also th germino still fits.

If you want 'close enough' the Marshall reissue is decent but not very accurate

Im a purist on jtm....don't like jumpered internal channels. Added
Boosts or the like.
I built a metro kit came out great. You can most of the parts from valvestorm and iron from classic tone, marstran, heyboar or mermen and have a great amp if you have patience.
Big Mike !

What would you suggest for someone who
wants to get the Udo's tone or as close as possible ?
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,291
Rocket is just building a exact copy of metro jmp kit. I have a personal issue with copying someone else's instruction kit and marketing yourself as an amp builder. Sounds like he does a good paint bye numbers build of George's instructions. I won't comment on him further other than to say it's NOT a jtm45

Greg and George both know these things inside snd out. You don't see them asking questions on forums you see them answering them. Big difference IMO.

avatar has done some mods for their liking. That's fine if it's what you want. I prefer more exact builds. Marshall hs varied from spec too far as well for my taste.

Can't comment on retro king. Don't know anything about them.

Greg, George and Brian Wallace have all built off actual tear downs are impeccable builds with quality parts and are tuned to sound like the originals. This is where thE dollar difference comes in established businesses. Backing. Their products, and tuning that o sound right. No borderline "hobby builder" or kit builder can do this right IMO

Closest to Udo's tone is going to be Gregg or George IMO
I give a slight edge to Gregg on the lowers gainers. But George is really equally as good.

Weber kits aren't accurate and IMO have inferior parts. At least the ones I've seen.

As for 1200 cheaper you are comparing someone's prediscounted price to retail elsewhere
Going through dealers costs more money but you generally get better support and the builders I've mentioned have a long track record of being industry leaders and having great service and warranty over multiple years.

Not flavor of the week kit assemblers

Again YMMV, you ask I'll answer. It's my opinion, vote with your wallet

But if it was me...I'd go germino, metro, or Wallace

Might also look at Union Jack who seem to have been doing this for awhile now but I haven't seen one personally.
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,291
Big Mike !

What would you suggest for someone who
wants to get the Udo's tone or as close as possible ?
I'd get Gregg or George on the phone, tell them whAt you want. And go with the one that makes you feel the most comfortable
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,291
Ceriatone
Triode USA
Marsh

...all come to mind.

FWIW I've had a '90s reissue Bluesbreaker in the past. PCB sounded fine to me. I wouldn't pass up something like a Buddha superdrive 45 (that I saw recently on craigslist for $850) or an Avatar just because they stray from the original specs or because its on PCB instead of turret board.
PCB doesn't Bother me but don't tell me it's a jtm 45 and then put a bunch of switches on The front and only give me one input
 

Dan40

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,505
Not exactly true to the original spec but Tube Depot also offers a JTM 45 style kit with decent components and great instructions. Their model also offer a switchable rectification (tube/diode) for a variety of tones. Just another option at a very affordable price. Personally, I am very pleased with my metro/valvestorm kit that i built this year but there are many lower price offerings out there to choose from.
 




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