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Marshall Plexi vs 800 vs High Gain Amps - I dont get it...

cap217

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,327
I have been playing guitar for 30 years. I have a studio and I know all the "tricks" to get a good, big sound. But I am talking about sitting in front of an amp and playing.

I have owned many amps chasing the marshall sound but only to be let down every single time. I owned 800, 900, 2000, jvm, friedmans, bray, mohave, modded marshalls, yjm, zw 2203, and more that I lost track of. What I dont understand is how people get plexis or even 800s to sound so big and mean. The closest I got to getting an 800 to sound like I want is adding the soldano hot mod. Thats close but I hear guys doing it without that. I feel that the internet misleads people on that sound. You think a plexi is the key to all Marshall tones and you buy one and its just a loud PA or ad/dc at best.

The worst was the ZW 2203 that I bought. I thought Id be getting No More Tears sounds out of it and I got Angus. But I hear youtube channels of guys getting great tones out of an 800 or plexi, so how? Am I missing something?

My 900 slx sounds good but not ZW good. My 84' 2203 stock sounds good but nowhere heavy. Add the hot mod and you are closer but at whitesnake at best. Yes the JVM and the 2000s DSL on the red channel gets heavier but thats what I would expect from a stock 800 when listening to youtube clips. And yes, I crank them, attenuate them, iso cab record them and still dont get ZW sounds. I even bought a 4x12 EV cab and it just got cleaner.

This guy for example:

 

Endr_rpm

Member
Messages
3,311
Dont forget the ZW tone is also recorded, so theres multiple mics, tape compression/saturation, actual compression, board EQ, post recording effects, multi tracking, mastering.....

Some of it is also touch/technique, but a better comparison would be live audio, vs studio sounds.
 

jturner

Member
Messages
455
The plexi by itself, is kind of unremarkable until it's cranked and channels bridged. Even then, it's kind of bright and definitely not "high gain". you summed it up well:
>You think a plexi is the key to all Marshall tones and you buy one and its just a loud PA or ad/dc at best

Boost in front of the amp is essential for the big, aggressive sounds. How much and what "flavor" of boost leads to about 1,000,000 other discussions here at TGP.

Or attenuation (Tube Driver BELOW parity signal level) if you want to find Eric Johnson's warm violin tones.
 

ToneGrail

Member
Messages
1,743
What kind of pickups are you using? I find that the gain and tightness increases exponentially when I switch from vintage output humbuckers to high output humbuckers.

I have a Hot Rails in the bridge of my strat and I get sustain for days from my stock JCM800 2204. When I switch to other guitars with lower wind PAF style pickups it doesn't get much more than a gritty semi-clean crunch.
 

cram

Member
Messages
13,910
it seems your focused on the zw sound from the ozzy years. He did use an sd1.

Guitar World
" His main setup consisted of various Gibson Les Pauls with EMG 81 and 85 active humbucking pickups, four stompboxes - a Cry Baby wah, Jim Dunlop JH-4S Rotovibe expression pedal, Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive and Boss CH-1 Super Chorus - and a pair of Marshall JCM800 2203 100-watt amps, driven in stereo via the Boss chorus pedal’s outputs.
For No More Tears, he eschewed the wah and Rotovibe, using just the Boss pedals and Marshalls to generate the song’s bone-crushing crunch.​
Several key elements of Wylde’s rhythm tones on the song include boosting the bass and treble almost all the way while still retaining a decent amount of midrange to provide ample definition and body for individual lines, the tighter attack and extended treble and bass response courtesy of the Marshalls’ 6550 tubes, heavy-gauge strings on the low E, A and D, and the extra output boost from the EMG pickups and Boss SD-1.​
The chorus pedal remains on throughout the song as well, to provide extra body and just a hint of modulation. The delay effect at the end of Wylde’s solo was added during mixing using a digital delay unit.​
"​

I have a 2204 and a 4100 right now and I've always hit those with drive and eq combinations. The punchiest of tone for percussive rock sounds have been with a midhump eq. This is entirely opposite of what GW lays out here for ZW's tune. I would avoid boosting the low end because I like a tighter response at volume. Perhaps that is isolated to accentuating the main riff? who knows...
I can certainly hear tight delay and/or chorus on the tone.
 

jjaaam

Member
Messages
933
Everyone here said what I was going to. I had always thought the amp was king for 99% of the monster tones we’ve heard over the years. I myself in the past have plugged into Marshall’s and have been underwhelmed.

Doing a lot of reading up on the topic, putting a tube screamer or an SD1 in front of the amp (with the pedal set for low gain but high level) drives the preamp and is the secret sauce which many people don’t realize is part of the equation.

Marshalls can rock, but they can rock harder with a little help from their pedal friends.
 

pepedede

Member
Messages
3,429
it seems your focused on the zw sound from the ozzy years. He did use an sd1.​
" His main setup consisted of various Gibson Les Pauls with EMG 81 and 85 active humbucking pickups, four stompboxes - a Cry Baby wah, Jim Dunlop JH-4S Rotovibe expression pedal, Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive and Boss CH-1 Super Chorus - and a pair of Marshall JCM800 2203 100-watt amps, driven in stereo via the Boss chorus pedal’s outputs.​
For No More Tears, he eschewed the wah and Rotovibe, using just the Boss pedals and Marshalls to generate the song’s bone-crushing crunch.​
Several key elements of Wylde’s rhythm tones on the song include boosting the bass and treble almost all the way while still retaining a decent amount of midrange to provide ample definition and body for individual lines, the tighter attack and extended treble and bass response courtesy of the Marshalls’ 6550 tubes, heavy-gauge strings on the low E, A and D, and the extra output boost from the EMG pickups and Boss SD-1.​
The chorus pedal remains on throughout the song as well, to provide extra body and just a hint of modulation. The delay effect at the end of Wylde’s solo was added during mixing using a digital delay unit.​
"​

I have a 2204 and a 4100 right now and I've always hit those with drive and eq combinations. The punchiest of tone for percussive rock sounds have been with a midhump eq. This is entirely opposite of what GW lays out here for ZW's tune. I would avoid boosting the low end because I like a tighter response at volume. Perhaps that is isolated to accentuating the main riff? who knows...
I can certainly hear tight delay and/or chorus on the tone.

And the EV speakers in his cabs.
 

Alchemist XP

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,187
Marshall Plexi vs 800 vs High Gain Amps - I dont get it...

This is why boosts, EQ's, overdrives, distortions, Fuzz's, attenuators, amps with preamp gain and re-amping devices were created.

(Getting guitar > MV Amps to sound badass overdriven at anything near reasonable volume levels is not an easy thing to do)
 

Alchemist XP

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,187
I believe that, but my stock '69 100w and '76 50w won't get to VH levels with PAF style pickups.
Saw a Pete Thorn video where he did some pretty serious pickup investigative work and came to the conclusion that Eddie was using pretty high output pickups and most likely not PAF's by the time his signature tone through his variac'd Marshall became "the thing."
 

Hansi

Member
Messages
31
Guessing lots of people are goosing them with something in front?
The Swedish guy you linked to in the video (Euge) uses a Boss SD-1 infront of nearly everything. Not sure if he mentions it in that video, but in the description he does.
I don't have much to contribute to this thread but felt obligated to say that he's Finnish, not Swedish... :p

And yes, he pretty much boosts all the Marshall style amps with a SD-1 in the front.
 






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