- Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:25 am
For those that don't know BTW. The Marshall tone lineage is pretty damn linear all the way up the line of their flagship amps, because in a lot of ways they are VERY similar throughout the years in the core models. After the switch to EL34's and solid state rectifiers you can pretty much draw a straight line between Plexi 1959 up to the current JVM models:
Super Lead "Plexi" 1959 (100W) / 1987 (50W) models (these are model numbers, not years). 4-input, 2-channel (parralel) non master volume. The quintessential Marshall sound.
Master Volume 2203 (100W) / 2204 (50W) models. These started out in the classic headshell design, but later became the JCM800 series. They are essentially identical to the 1959/1987, but with a factory "mod" performed to cascade ch1 into ch2, resulting in increased gain, and the second channel volume became a rudimentary master volume control.
JCM900 mkIII 2100(100W) / 2500 (50W) models. These are essentially identical circuit to 2203/2204 but with a diode clipper added for more gain and footswtichable dual master volumes. Later on, the 2100 / 2500 became known as the SL-X, which removed the diode clipper and added an extra preamp tube gain stage.
After that came the era of incorporating multiple amp "designs" into one chassis. Starting with the 30th Anniversary, Marshall then produced amps that had a JTM45 circuit (slightly different to the amps above), a "plexi"circuit and "hotrodded (JCM800+) circuits all in one box. So, any of these amps can get you the classic Marshall sounds:
Marshall 30th Anniversary
JCM2000 (all models)
JVM (all models)
Of course, ALL of the amps had feel differences, due to things like different transformers, power filtering differences (for safety regulations and reduced noise) and, some would say, capacitor differences. They all though have the same essential Marshall voice.
There have been a number of models through the years though, that have strayed outside of this formula.
JTM45 is the most notable. Of course it was the FIRST Marshall design, and has a slightly different voice and very different feel.
The 25th Jubilee Series had their own unique voice, though still undeniably Marshall.
The JTM amps of the 90's were definitely more like modernised JTM45's (but manufactured more cheaply)
The Mode 4 was a completely different beast......SS power amp and one channel that was intentionally voiced to be more "Mesa"
These are all the "flagship" Marshall amp ranges. Of course there have been any number of sub-ranges over the years (Valvestate, MOSFET, AVT, Haze, MG etc etc) all designed to deliver Marshall-esque tone, by whatever means, on a budget.
"Volume is tone" - EVH
Electrics: ESP/Fender/Gibson/.strandberg*/Washburn/Music Man/Knaggs/Squier/Vintage/
Acoustic: Cole Clark/Godin/Takamine/Taylor
Amps: BOSS Katana Head / Soldano SLO100