Marshall Fiasco- Artist 3203


First post, long time lurker. How should I approach this?

I bought a Marshall Artist 3203. When I brought it home, the amp had very low volume. Then it BLASTED on for about 10 minutes but the sound was brittle and harsh as hell. Then it crapped out again.

Brought it back, and they replaced the preamp tube and cleaned up a capacitor. Picked it back up today and it sounded normal.

I go back home and play it for about a half hour. I notice that the boost channel really isn't boosting the volume. It seems to just add bass and gain. Not what I had in mind.

So the cleans sound good and I plug in a Boss Distortion. Click on the boost and volume craps out again. I unplug everything and plug it back in a few times and the volume returns but is brittle and harsh again.

I like the store I bought it at, and they will take care of any issues but I really just want to get this over with ASAP.

Does anybody here have a clue what the issue could be? I've been told the resistors might be wearing out.. I got the amp for 378.

I don't want them to lose money working out the bugs- small shop, good guys working there. I also don't want to have one resistor fixed at a time only to have a domino effect of problems every so often.

My goal is to sell my JCM800 2205 for much more than 378. But I can't do that if this thing is going to crap out like this every so often.

I'm thinking to tell the store look, I don't want fixing this to cut into your profit. I'd be happy to pay some more money but I want you to go thru and fix this thing 100%.

I play pretty hard and I need an amp that can hold up. Should I just return the amp or do you think I can get this thing totally revitalized for a reasonable amount of money? I'm thinking a 50/50 split with the store on whatever parts need replacement.

Any help is hugely appreciated.


Time Warped
I vote return.

Or if you really like the amp take it yourself to a good tech who will find the problem(s). Could be as simple as a ground, or multiple failures.


Thank you all so far!

It'd be easy to just return it, and I probably will.

What's the WORST case scenario if I were to pay someone top dollar to repair it? There doesn't seem to be a whole lot to the amp...

The thing is, I never use my JCM800. I'd like to sell it to someone who would. I love the sound of the 800 and this amp for the 40 minutes or so it worked sounds just like it with the added bonus of a usable clean channel.

If I could have the amp fully restored for 100 or less I'd be happy. I just don't want to piss money away on an amp that is never going to be reliable.


Silver Supporting Member
Return it, there's probably a good reason somebody got rid of it in the first place.


Year and a half late on this one, but the 3203 Artist amp had a problem with the effects loop jacks on the back of the amp causing the volume to go out all of a sudden. The effects loop input/output are connected via a patch cable on the back of the amp, and the cable has to be inserted into both even when the effects loop is not in use. When the effects loop jacks get dirty, or the patch cable is bad, it causes the sound to drop in volume and short out out of nowhere. I believe a simple cleaning of the jacks of the effects loop should fix.


I recommend getting rid of the thing ASAP. Artist 3203 head was my first amp. I owned the amp for a little over two years. Amp was problematic. Was in the shop about once every 6 months. Took out two power transformers during my time owning it. It melted one transformer. Replace the transformer, then it happened again a year later, the second time with small flames in the back. After the fire incident I was done, switched to a Mesa rig.

I don't know what happened to my 3203. I didn't sell it, but I haven't seen it in years. Maybe you have it.

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