So I play mostly punk rock, with some classic/80s rock too. I'm looking to invest in one of these 2 as my main stage and recording amp. It's seems most of the tones I LOVE (Slash's Appetite tone, Green Day's Dookie-era tone, Angus Young's tone, and so on) all have a JCM 800 at their heart. It seemed like a logical choice for an 800 then. But then I was suggested a 900 by a few different people actually because it can produce that 80s/classic rock tone AND it can have an extra kick to it for better punk rock. Thing is, I've got no way to try either before buying to compare them. No local music stores, and Guitar center is an hr away and doesn't have either amp anyway. I recently went and saw the band Anti-Flag in concert and noticed their guitarist plays a 900 (and I love their punk rock tone). I also know that Billie Joe plays a MODIFIED 800 in Green Day, I believe it has boosted mids. Would the 900 be closer to that, like an 800 with more mids?

I know that tone isn't just one component and I'm not going to buy the same equipment so-and-so uses and sound like them, and that isn't my intention. I don't want to sound 100% spot on like those guys, but those are the tones I love and want to base mine on. I'm just worried that a 900 won't be able to be as "warm" as an 800 if I want it to be, I already know it can be as aggressive as I want it to be.

Any thoughts?
See if you can try both amps out in person to get a good first-hand experience with both to see which one you enjoy playing more, that way you can really judge yourself for what you're going to be investing into.

Edit: Also you can look up both amps on youtube to try to get a general review/run-over of each amp.
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are you dead set on those two?
used or reissue or what?
do you have to have a Marshall?
do you gig?
what is your budget?
where do you live?

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jcm800s sound like bon jovi, if you want to check out the sound of a jcm900 try the manic street preachers or jimmy page
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jcm800s sound like bon jovi, if you want to check out the sound of a jcm900 try the manic street preachers or jimmy page

Jimmy Page totally rocked the SL-X!

No seriously, unless you need to take this amp to death metal territory, 800 > SL-X

Check out all the '800 clones out there. A lot of amps do Marshall better than Marshall.
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I wish I could really crank the one at my music store. Meh, it's not my kind of amp anyways.
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The 900 4100/4500 is one of the best punk amps ever made. It's all they do but they do it well. I've modded mine and it sounds better. The problem with the 900 is that its basically a hybrid. The power amp is all tube but there are 15 op-amps and 9 diodes in the preamp and they do most of the work. The worst of it is the diodes, that's what I remove. There is enough gain in the op-amps to drive V1 well into clipping. The diodes don't so much add clipping distortion as replace valve clipping with SS clipping. Dumb, dumb, dumb. with them out it gets much warmer approaching an 800. It doesn't get there but it approaches it.
The SL/X replaced most of the op-amps in th preamp with another 12AX7 and removed the diode clipping. They sound much better. However the SL/X is a single channel amp with two master volumes (ie. one gain knob) whereas the normal 4100 has two distinct channels (neither of which are as good as an SL/X).
What you want is a JCM2000 DSL.
Unless you get a Splawn of course. That's the one you really, really want. If you can afford a Splawn, buy it. No question, end of discussion.
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Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 29, 2011,
The SL-X was my dream amp for a long time, being a huge early Cannibal Corpse fan.

Except... IDK maybe it was the need for some KT88s or something, but my buddies just didn't fit my hands like I thought it would. Sounds good though.
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