Roland JC-120

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by poopie boy, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. poopie boy

    poopie boy Member

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    Okay I'm thinking of buying one of these amps pretty soon (within the next two months at most) but have a few questions since I can't exactly test every amp out on the market..

    I want an amp between $300-500 used that I can gig with. I have never been in a band but have been learning guitar for a year and a half now, and since I practice a lot I have gotten pretty decent quite quickly. I think by the summer I'll be ready to join a real band and start playing live.

    I want to know two things:
    1) Is this amp respectable in terms of what it can do in a live performance? Does it sound decent and will it be reliable?
    2) Is this amp versatile? I like clean, chorus, and reverb, and I know its got that down. But what about other effects? How does it play with Wah, Compression, Delay, Fuzz, etc. I'm thinking of investing in a BOSS GT-10 so I'm wondering how it'll play with this.

    Lastly, anyone know what years are best to look for and what mods would be good to invest in?

    Thanks.

    PS. Type of music I will be playing will be along the lines of Smiths, Stone Roses, Pulp, Interpol, etc. and I'd like to play really f-ing loud! Lol
     
  2. mikem

    mikem Senior Member

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    I got a JC 120 for Christmas. I used it at a gig and I really liked it. I used it with an Epi LP on the neck pickup with the bright switch on. I didn't use any pedals. In the future, I'm going to use my Boss ME-50 for effects and OD/distortion. They take pedals really well and are very loud. What I liked about the amp was that it cut through the mix with very little tweaking. It's pretty dynamic for a solid state- I found I didn't need to turn up for solos the way I had it set up- I just dug in a little with the guitar.

    Mike
     
  3. Waxhead

    Waxhead Member

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    poopie,
    the JC-120 is one of the best SS amps you can buy and the Boss GT's were made to couple with this amp. Many people use them for gigging and they're super reliable like all Boss/Roland products.

    That said - it's not at all versatile - it's a totally clean amp with chorus and reverb. Has a little OD but that's pretty crap and zero distortion. Can sound cold/harsh at times and doesn't like some analog pedals.

    Don't expect it to compare with a good tube amp and use it as a decent base for an MFX and you'll be happy
     
  4. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    Good solid amp... but they can be loud too. If you like the clean/chorus sound, you can also look at the JC-77. It's smaller and can work with a small tube amp nicely.
     
  5. dr.morton

    dr.morton Member

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    The JC-120 is always in demand so if you get one for a good price you'll get your money back if you come across something better or do not like it.
    The JC-120 is a real workhouse and gets really loud when you want it to be.
    It is difficult to get a very nice tone in a small room on low volumes (it's lacking bass mostly).
    It is a heavy beast and dealing in a good tone can be a problem sometimes (it's missing the nice warm analog tube sound).
    Reverb and tremelo are ok, distortion is an utter failure but the chorus is nice (in a 80ies kind of sense).
    But I could imagine that it might work great with a GT or ME unit.

    Please note that these experiences are based on my preferences and with one older model only.
     
  6. slegros

    slegros Member

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    I play regularly through one at a local studio.

    Sounds great clean, one of them, in one studio room, has the stock speakers changed out for Celestion CL80s-I LOVE that amp!!!

    Itll take any pedal Ive tried with it very well, fuzz, dist, wah, name it. The only thing that may not work well is a boost/OD pedal designed to push a tube amp. The JC-120 is SS so youll want to get your distortion out of the pedal not the amp. The built in Distortion is CRAP, but the amp sounds great with a pedal like a Proco RAT.

    One nice thing is that the JC120 has a HUGE sweetspot. Its not like a tube amp where you need to give it some juice to get the best tone. The JC120 will sound very consistent from relatively low volumes up to cranked. Makes it very versatile.

    The built in distortion is CRAP. The reverb is passable, and the chorus is pretty good. Its best IMO as loud clean platform. Its also really heavy!
     
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  7. mikem

    mikem Senior Member

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    This is absolutely true- the built in distortion is a bad joke. The only thing I have used it for is getting a nasty boost with a distortion pedal. Sounds like turd by itself.

    Mike
     
  8. Laheart

    Laheart Member

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    Another option is the Yamaha G100 212. It's was Yamaha's answer to the 120 back in the early 80's. It doesn't have chorus but does have a decent reverb. It's really a great sounding amp that takes pedal very well. You can find them in the 200-300 range.
     
  9. bluescube

    bluescube Supporting Member

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    I would get an older Fender Stage 160 over the FM212 model. There are some great Fender SS amp bargains out there if you can't find a JC120.
     
  10. mikem

    mikem Senior Member

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    Yup, those are pretty good , too. I wasn't too fussy about the Fender SS amps I tried, but that's just me.
     
  11. mikem

    mikem Senior Member

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    They're not too bad, but I really prefer my JC120. I just wasn't enamoured with the way it was voiced. YMMV, of course.

    Mike
     
  12. Mcclassic

    Mcclassic Member

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    Great amp and tone and normally a good work horse, also if you are looking used look for the older models with the leveler for a switch instead of the ones with a push button, I compared both and the older sounded better.
     
  13. roadfilm

    roadfilm Member

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    I gigged with a JC-120 exclusively for 6 or 7 years. Never had any technical issues at all. I used various pedals with it but always had an overdrive/distortion a Vox wah and a Boss digital delay. Ran those into an ART solid state preamp then into the JC. It was very versatile and dynamic, ultra cleans to raging distortions. I also have a Roland GR 1 guitar synth that is great with it. My JC is the older model with the throw switch not the push buttons. Like someone else mentioned you can get the same sounds at relatively quiet volumes to very loud volumes.
     
  14. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    Big +1 on the G100. And there is the 112 option for a smaller footprint. I like the JC120 a lot, but prefer the G100 (owned a 212 back when) for its voice and parametric. Great amp, and easily one of the best SS ones out there, IMHO.
     
  15. poopie boy

    poopie boy Member

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    Thanks everyone for their input. I'd prefer a tube amp personally and am trying to stay away from solid state but my price range is $300-400 and this (i think) is the best within that range.

    One final question - In my very humble opinion (and having only been playing for a year and a half now) what seperates a good guitarist from a great and memorable guitarist is their knowledge in theory, their creativity and ability to phrase well, and a signature tone. Is the JC120 going to be enough for me to build my signature tone? I am looking for a wall of sound type of thing.. Something loud, sweet and clean, and reverborous with many of subtle details seeping through.
     
  16. Neill

    Neill Member

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    listen to discipline era king crimson or remain in light era talking heads... that should lay your worries to rest. i personally love those amps, especially when the bulk of your 'sound' is conjured through pedals.
     
  17. mikem

    mikem Senior Member

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    IMHO, the answer to this question is yes.

    Mike
     
  18. Neill

    Neill Member

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    ahhh i didn't see your vid posts.


    i must say that belews od sounds around the time of remain in light and then subsequently discipline/beat/toapp crim was just huge. those amps really are capable of so much more than just a good chorus or clean sound, with help the help of some good pedals.
     

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