Torn over what I should do about my '72 Marshall Lead 50 Watt (#1987).

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by requiem for a dream, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. Earplayer

    Earplayer Member

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    that is a tough one...... i had about 12 vintage marshalls the last 10 years. and i can tell you from experience that you need to work on them sometimes it takes time and money.... maybe there are some caps and resistors or pots drifting and you need a really good tech that is specialized and knows his stuff in the marshall camp to get it sing.

    my personal opinion when i read your story - get rid of it. but not for cheap... otherwise you will regret selling it for nothing...
     
  2. requiem for a dream

    requiem for a dream Member

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    This amp is defiantly giving me a headache. I'm going to get it sorted in a couple weeks when I have the time.
     
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  3. zenas

    zenas Member

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    My 1987 is a 73 one of the first with the printed board. The board is different than the later ones.
    Anyway the best thing I ever did to it was replace all the old electrolytics and change out the volume pots. (Pretty sure those weren't original anyway and they acted like switches, off/rip your face off, also smaller than the other pots and the solder wasn't OEM quility.)
    The amp has a fantastic "cleaner" sound I love, it'll rock too but it's loud at that point. Very loud.
    You want dirt out of a 50 watt Marshall nonmaster you either play loud or use some outboard device like a pedal or attenuator. Or try less sensitive speakers like FDM ones from Eminece. But even turned all the way down to 91 db it'll still be pretty loud cranked, not a "bedroom" type solution.

    If you decide to sell you'll probably do better if it's not serviced first. A lot of people (like me) will pay more for an untouched one. Simply because so many "techs" don't get it right and you gotten weed through their mess. I'd rather replace all the electrolytics (and hopefully nothing else) myself.
    If you get it done by a well respected Marshall tech things may be different. But you'll probably have to ship it.
     
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  4. requiem for a dream

    requiem for a dream Member

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    Yeah, the amp is pretty much too loud at all times.

    Some things I have tried without tweaking the amp:
    - Gibson Attenuator
    - Ibanez TS808HW, Pro Co Rat White Face Reissue, and EHX Big Box Big Muff Pi
    - Upgrading my Marshall 1936 Cab to Celestion Greenbacks

    I also biased the amp with JJ tubes.

    So basically something more needs to be done to get it where I want it to be. I want it to sound like Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force tone.

    At one point I had a Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Strat, Celestion G12T-75 Speakers, and YJM308 Pedal and still couldn't dial in the tone. While my Marshall AVT50 head I COULD dial in that tone.

    So obviously something is wrong.

    I was hoping maybe there was a fix for it. Maybe something is just off a little and needs tweaking it just doesn't sound like it is in the same ball park of where it should be.

    Selling it "as is" may eventually happen.
     
    zenas likes this.
  5. big mike

    big mike David Grissom Wannabee Gold Supporting Member

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    This
     
  6. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Odd. I had a totally stock 1972 50 watter that would tear your head off with gain. It had almost no clean tones. At 2 on the volume it was already starting to seriously break up.
    I had Dennis Electronics go through it and they assured me it was stock, so no idea how these 2 amps could be totally different. It's the only Marshall I owned that I loved, and I owned almost all of them.
    :dunno
     
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  7. requiem for a dream

    requiem for a dream Member

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    I tried a Marshall 1987XL that sounded exactly like you described. Mine sounds like a Twin Reverb in comparison. WTF.
     
    Tag likes this.
  8. bluejaybill

    bluejaybill Supporting Member

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    You mentioned that the transformers have been changed, that's a big change that could definitely change the amp's tone and gain characteristics. Do you know what they are?

    If it was done a long time ago, better ones probably exist now. Many companies make more accurate replica trannies.
     
  9. requiem for a dream

    requiem for a dream Member

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    Eighties Drake power transformer and probably a ninties output transformer.
     
  10. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

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    Only if it's stock.
     
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  11. requiem for a dream

    requiem for a dream Member

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    I talked it over with a relative and we agreed that it would be best to get it looked at.
     
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  12. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

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    Oh wow... I was initially under the impression this was a bone stock '72 50 watt Lead which is a highly desirable and collectible amp and certainly worth exhausting options to make it right. Without the original transformers - not so much. While there are better replacements available, and certainly an option, I'd probably lean towards selling it at this point.
     
  13. requiem for a dream

    requiem for a dream Member

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    I got to ask...

    What do you think a stock one is worth?

    What is mine worth?

    What would it be worth after getting fixed?

    How much could it cost to get fixed?

    If I have an estimate I can make a better decision.
     
  14. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

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    While I'm no expert on this for pricing, with new boutique Marshall clones routinely selling for $2500 and up, I see no reason why an all original bone stock '72 50 watt from Marshalls golden era shouldn't command a similar or more price? At least to my way of thinking. The transformers are the heart and soul of those original amps. I may be way off on this, but without the original transformers I'd expect that value to be cut in half, possibly more.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  15. Sol

    Sol Member

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    A lot of the gain in old Marshall's is determined by the values at the input stage, an under specd volume pot or a dry joint on the volumes treble cap are just a few very simple things you can check that could transform the sound and gain of your amp.
    I soldered a 470k resistor in parallel with my 500pf treble cap on the volume pot and almost doubled the gain with one component.

    Don't do any electronics unless you're qualified to do so, get a pro every time it's not worth the risk.

    This worked on my amp it does not necessarily mean that it's the solution for yours, I simply wanted to illustrate my point that the solution can sometimes be a simple one. Keep us posted on your progress
    Best wishes
     
  16. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Gold Supporting Member

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    Turn it up. Should sound like heaven, but very loud. Any clean sound should be over with by the time you get to 2.5 on the volume. After 15 years you owe this amplifier some TLC. Did you share your location?

    By the way this should be fun. Pretend it is a “barn find”, get it gone through by a vetted professional who really understands the Marshall sound. A Fryette power Station, or any number of attenuators or stomp boxes will get you volume flexibility, a 1987, loves pedals.
     
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  17. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Gold Supporting Member

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    . Tag loved a Marshall! I can’t tell you how much this delights me, :banana!:dude
     
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  18. pickdropper

    pickdropper I am Soldering Iron Man Vendor

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    Yeah, I initially thought this one was clean as well. Without the original transformers and with possible parts changes, it's difficult to guess how much work would need to be done. As you noted, the transformers are a significant part of the sound and value, so that's going to cause a significant hit on the resale.

    I think photos of the insides would be helpful. If nothing else, it might be useful for estimating how much potential work a tech would need to put into it.
     
  19. jdel77

    jdel77 Supporting Member

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    DO. NOT. SELL THAT AMP. WITHOUT. GETTING IT LOOKED AT.
    Those things should absolutely crunch like no one's business. I would get it fully serviced by someone who knows Marshalls, cos I bet if you knew what it was capable of, you'd never consider getting rid of it.
     
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  20. requiem for a dream

    requiem for a dream Member

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    I'll just hint that the condition it is in has made me uninterested in it for 15 years. LOL. Time flies by.

    I have an urge to just take it to GC and trade it in for a '65 Princeton Reverb Reissue...
     

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