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Which roland jazz chorus amp should I get?

essguitarman

Member
Messages
223
I've played a couple of these that I loved for that kind of tone, but which one should I get. I plan to get one of the older ones, not the reissue as the older ones are known to be more mechanically sound.
So, again, which one should I get?
 

Terry Hayes

Member
Messages
3,215
I had a JC77 for a few years and really liked it. It was nice and compact but the JC120 had a much bigger sound with more low end.
 

musicman1

Member
Messages
4,697
If you want the chorus effect to be true stereo then you have to go with either the 160 (very rare model with 4x10s) , 120 (2x12) , 90 or 77 (both have 2x10s). Of course you could go with the JC head version if you can find one and cabinets of your choice. All the rest have single speakers and as such are mono amps.

Run a search as there have been alot of Roland JC topics lately. New you can only buy a 120; the 90 was discontinued.

Ive been using a 90 on and off for the past several years and its a good amp. No its not tubes but its a very consistant clean amp with a lot of headroom and takes pedals very well. It also sounds good with every gigging gtr I own.

To me the JC series is one of the few pro level solid state amps ever made.
 
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Will Chen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,187
I'd go with the 77. I had a 120 and it was just too big and loud to be practical for me.
 

essguitarman

Member
Messages
223
I think I'm going to go with the 77 or mabey the 120 head, but does the head's chorus work the same way as the normal, like stereo wise?
Also, any opinions on the jc-20e as a little practice amp?
 

Baxtercat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,708
I liked the JC-77.
Seems I remember you could adjust the chorus speed [or intensity?] on the 77, but not the 120.
 

dunara

Member
Messages
1,900
I agree with the concensus here; the JC77 is the one to go for. It's more portable and has a sweeter tone - especially the distortion.

BTW - as far as JC120s are concerned, I far prefer the newer, Italian manufactured models - I've owned both (and a '77). As far as reliability is concerned, the originals have pisspoor speakers which have a tendency to blow when you use boost/distortion pedals (and who wouldn't?) The original Japanese models had a volume pot that went from bedroom volume to stadium in 2mm travel, and TMB controls that did next to nothing. The newer models have a fuller sound overall (possibly the better speakers) and far more tonal flexibility. The distortion's better too (more like the JC77/85), but still not that great. I'm guessing that distortion's not what you'd buy a Jazz Chorus for.....
 
Messages
6,663
I don't care for the distortion sound of the Jazz Chorus, yet I bought mine for its clean tone & spacial sound.

I like the sound of it too when slaving a high gain amp into its effects return. It sounds a little too bright but that can be tamed with an EQ. Very full.
 

Powerpopfan

Member
Messages
582
The JC 120 is loud n' clean and takes pedals well which is good because you don't want any dirt from this amp. Pairs well with a Rat pedal, which is a little surprising to me.
 

les_paul

Member
Messages
1,156
I once had a JC 120 that I bought for cheap because the speakers were blown. I put Weber California Customs into it and it sounded awesome. A few months ago I put it up against a JC 77 side by side. If your back can handle it get the 120. If you want a little more portability get the 77.

And regarding the dirt sound on this amp, its not TOTALLY useless. If you max it out and run an OD in front of it you can get some really cool sounds. It sounds crazy but its actually one of my favorite tones.
 

digital jams

Member
Messages
1,084
Own a 1986 JC-120 that I bought new, been to hell and back including sitting in a garage for 5 years in CT and it is still going strong.

Those silver cones are bullet proof unless you are running dimed for hours.
 

Stu Cats

Senior Member
Messages
15,241
The JC 120 is loud n' clean and takes pedals well which is good because you don't want any dirt from this amp. Pairs well with a Rat pedal, which is a little surprising to me.
I used a JC-77 with a RAT pedal in a thrash band in the 80s. It sounded awesome to my 16 year old ears.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,900
The JC-120 is too loud and too heavy. I had one and wished I'd picked the JC-77. Plus the JC-77 has the high treble control which I actually found useful.
 
Messages
65
I had a 120 combo about 10 years ago. I auditioned that and one of the smaller versions for about an hour and a half, back and forth. The salesman I'm sure was irritated because I was letting the sound breathe, volume-wise, but the 120 was the winner in the end. It was fuller and the 12" speakers sounded better with that amp than the 10". All of the version I tried were good, I just chose the 120 because it sounded best to me. It was heavy as hell to cart around of course.
 

Speeddemon

Member
Messages
576
Today I received a Roland JC-20 (AKA JC-20E), for ***** n' giggles, to fill out my modest Jazz Chorus collection. I also own a mint JC-55 and a USA-made JC-77.

Quick run-downs:

JC-20
The JC-20 being the smallest (20W, 2x5" speakers), it sounds the most nasal too. It does have distortion, but no reverb and the Chorus just has 2 presets. Preset one sounds beautiful, preset 2 is a bit too wobbly/sea-sickness inducing. The fun thing is that the distortion actually sounds passable, in a modded DS-1/RAT sort of way. One could easily do old Judas Priest with it. Just be careful with the treble control, as it can get really scratchy sounding quick. The amp does hiss noticeably (not really loud though). It has a very useable Headphone out, through which the sound can get really big (I needed to back off the Low button even!) Very useful for direct recording.

JC-55
The JC-55 I bought 3 years ago as my main home-practice amp. 50W (2x25W, 2x8" speakers). By itself it sounds a bit too middy, when you're standing up, but if you place your head in front of the speakers (or a mic, should you be recording), the low-end is there, although it could be bigger sounding.
The distortion of it sounds very muddy and mild; you could perhaps use it for a little wooly blues-grit, but that's about it. The smaller JC-20's distortion is miles above this. Now it does have reverb; nice sounding, but quite mild too. And the chorus has a preset position AND a manual setting, with independant Depth and Rate controls. But I usually leave it to the better sounding Preset.
2 Things are a bit negative: once you engage the chorus, it will add hiss when you're not playing. Not much, but it's there.
The 2nd thing is; the chorus has a noticeable volume DROP.
But the sound of the chorus more than makes up for it. Really nice.
I use my pedalboard in front of it, and the last pedal is a black MXR 6-band EQ, with which I've countered the middy character of the amp and added more low-end. Sounds great. Can get very loud (enough for pop-rock bands), at home the main volume doesn't go over 1,5 (out of 10).

JC-77
80W, 2x40W stereo and 2x10" speakers. Almost the same as the JC-55, but with the added Hi-Treble knob (and ofcourse bigger speakers). It does NOT have an effects-loop (the later issued JC-90 does have one).
Sound is definitely bigger than the JC-55's, and more tweakable too. Distortion was kind of between the JC-20 and JC-55's; it has a bit more gain than the JC-55's distortion, but it's still on the muffled side.
Just like the JC-55, it takes pedals really well. When I tried it out at the place of the guy I got it from, I only brought a Marshall The Guv'nor MK I (UK version) and it was a nice combination.
It can get REALLY loud; loud enough for pretty much any band situation. Takes modellers well too.

So, to complete my collection, I would have to get a JC-120 and maybe a JC-160. But with the JC-120 i would have all the different sizes of the stereo versions. (JC-85 and JC-90 are just updated versions of the JC-77, and from what I've heard, worse sounding.)
 

Rena Rune

Senior Member
Messages
3,218
I've never heard the "Distortion" setting on a Jazz Chorus, I'm pretty intrigued. People say it's not like regular distortion and not really suited to rock music, but that makes me want to use it all the more.
 




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