Marshall JCM 800 tone....a little dull.... - Jemsite
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-30-2003, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 128
Marshall JCM 800 tone....a little dull....

WOW, it's been a long time since I've posted here! Anyways, I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I recently bought a 1983 Marshall JCM 800 2204 Canadian import model, and I can't seem to get a very usable tone from it. I am aiming for a really growly, not necessarily heavy tone but very fuzzy and powerful. I think we can all imagine this sound I am trying to get....but I can't seem to do it. The treble below 10 sounds muddy, and the mids seem to have little impact on the overall tone (strangely enough). But they are set to about 8. The bass is effective but doesn't really change the "feel" of the tone per se. I just can't seem to get it sounding right. Any distortion boxes that might help? I tried a TS-9 but it didn't help too much....and added alot of noise. I can't use an equalizer because it doesn't have an effects loop. Is modding the bejesus out of it the next step? I really like the basic tone of it, the JCM 800 sounds really nice. But I put alot of money in this and I just want the perfect tone. Anyone with any experience with this please give their 2 cents......
P.S. - I am using UV's and Les Pauls for guitars, a 1960TV for the cab.
UVmanMike is offline  
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-30-2003, 06:46 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 228
It can be such a large number of different things causing it.

I found my 2203 very bright as most people do which is kinda strange. You find it Muddy? Are you really cranking it? If not I suggest you look into a THD hotplate. The basic tone of the amp cannot be dialed out with EQ.

Have you tried it with any other cabs? Dont be fooled by the big pricetags on those types of Marshall cabs. Others can sound WAAAY better with any given amp. Its a matching game though some cabs sound great with large numbers of amps and others dont.

Another very real possability is that everything is still stock and worn to high hel|. If the person who owned it before you played the bejesus out of it at high volumes, many vital components can be worn out.

Another real possability is that the tubes need to be replaced BADLY.

Yet another possability is a completely faulty component.

Anyone who buys a vintage amp really owes it to themselves to have it gone through by a vintage amp pro. People who know about all those little thing. Ive known many people (including myself) whove been turned off to an amp, theyd otherwise love to death, by just one of the scenarios Ive mentioned. Its very possable its a combination of those things.

I would say that you maybe just dont like the JCM800 but the way you described it is the opposite of how most people, including me, describe it. I owned one a while back and I was real sorry I ebayed it. Real sorry. The good thing is there still cheap.

So at the very least try it with some new gear (mainly cab) and new tubes. Then have it checked out. If nothing is wrong with it it wont be expensive and then you know you truely dont like it.
Dan D Mahnn is offline  
post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-08-2003, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Somerville, MA
Posts: 6,200
Yeah, new tubes would be my first recommendation... And if you don't like the results, you can advertise it as "retubed last month with a set of..." and get most of your investment back. Tubes make a MASSIVE difference on the fundamental tone of an amp.

Drew is offline  

les paul , les pauls , marshall cabs , thd hotplate

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