#1
Hi All

First time on this forum :-)

A good friend of mine is offering me his Marshall JCM900 for $200.00. It's about 15 years old and in decent condition, but needs some repairs, quoted at about another $100.00. It currently retails at over $1700.00 new (in Australia).

So straight up, the price seems pretty damn awesome.

On the other hand, the countless threads about the JCM900 (particularily compared with 800) for the most part seem to agree that the JCM900 is a terrible disappointment, except for some particular styles and 80's stuff.

I should add, this will be the 1st and only Tube Amp I will have ever played. I have only ever had solid state amps, with the Roland Cube being the best. So my standards might be pretty low.

I myself like to have beautiful cleans and my dream amp would sound something like Richie Blackmore's Strat at the California Jam in 1974. If that doesn't tell you much I'd be happy with a Hendrix type sound. Obviously I love my classic rock but also like blues and jazzy stuff. For all other genres (e.g. Metal which I do love as well), I'd be happy with whatever results I can get with the addition of pedals.

I use a MIM 1994 Fender Strat and have an old Laney Amp which I have converted into a Cabinet running new 12" Eminence Texas Heat 150w Speaker.

Basically, I have 3 questions;

1. Given what I told you above, is there any chance I might actually like this amp? I know that's subjective and something I need to find out for myself. But having some advice would be great.

2. As the Amp will need some work anyway, I could install different tubes and/or do a range of mods, if those would help me get closer to my ideal type of sound. Could that get me closer to what I want?

3. For those of you who generally don't like the JCM900. If it cost $700 brand new instead of $1700, would you rate it better? I mean do you think it's no good at the price it costs, or is it simply no good irrespective of price?

Anyway, thanks for any advice on this.
#2
Which model JCM900 is it? $200 is awfully cheap so I'd be wary. Good friend can still stab you in the back.

It depends what's wrong with it. Does it run at all? Does he know what's wrong with it? What was the $100 quote for?
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NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#3
I definately trust my friend and have no problem buying the amp, if that was my concern.

The price is mates rates. No question.

I was afraid someone will ask about more specific details. I don't know which JCM900 it actually is. I just know its about 15 years old, which makes it late 90's to early 2000.

If this info is absolutely required, I can get it, but not until tomorrow.
#4
It's kind of necessary. If it's a dual reverb, forget about it, if it's an SL/X or a Mk. III it would be worth it. And depending on what's wrong with it could determine whether or not it's worth grabbing. If something like the OT is fried that could be an expensive fix, it could need a few re-cap or it could just need new tubes. It's hard to say.

I'm not questioning your friends loyalty or anything, but there's usually a good reason gear is priced so low if you know what I mean.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#5
Just talked to my mate and he's confident it's a 2100 although he can't check until tomorrow still.
#6
Quote by Eppicurt
I'm not questioning your friends loyalty or anything, but there's usually a good reason gear is priced so low if you know what I mean.



Absolutely agree. In this case I know my mate is wanting to get rid of it because he's got a range of other great amps and he's never hidden the fact that he dislikes the JCM900. So for him it's just a waste of space.
#7
Sounds like a Mk. III then.

Go have a look and see if it runs. If it works, $200 would be a steal.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#8
Even if it was a Dual Reverb, for $200.... and in Australia...

Could just need a new set of power tubes.

But yeah, TS see if you can play it, and try to give us as detailed a description of what's wrong with it as you can.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

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#9
Quote by Offworld92
Even if it was a Dual Reverb, for $200.... and in Australia...

Could just need a new set of power tubes.

But yeah, TS see if you can play it, and try to give us as detailed a description of what's wrong with it as you can.

That's the thing, until we know what's wrong with it we can't say it is worth it. If it needs a shitload of work done to it, it probably wouldn't be worth all the repairs.

It's all speculation until we get details on the faults.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#10
I would think that even if the OT needed to be replaced, at $200 TS could still come out ahead, since he's in Oz.

But idk.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#11
Fair enough. Seems I got ahead of myself making this post.

I'll try to check out the amp as soon as I get a chance and will come back with greater detail about the model and what is actually wrong with it. From memory, it does not work at all right now.
#12
It would depend on how much needed to be spent on repairs. Unless you look hard, repairs don't really come too cheap around here.

I'm hoping it's something simple. It'd be a good deal either way if he only need to spend an extra $100 to get it fixed. Whether or not a DR would do what he's wants is another question though.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#13
Try to look at the tubes, see if they're obviously burnt out (black/smoky looking). This isn't a very good method of evaluation, but if it doesn't work at all there's really no way we can help you identify the exact problem. You'd have to take it to a tech, and w/ tech fees in addition to parts it may end up being a bad deal.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#14
It's a 50W High Gain Dual Reverb 5581.

I had a look inside and there is no indication that there is anything wrong with the tubes. It simply won't fire up at all. If I decide to grab it, I do have a guy that has fixed amps for me before and he charges quite reasonable prices, so that's not so much of a worry.

And another great thing is that it turns out that my mates brother has the same amp (just the 100w version), so I will be able to try before I buy, which kind of resolves most my concerns.
#15
Hard to say if it just doesn't turn on. Do the lights still work? Tubes glow? I'd probably get a quote before buying.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#16
You said the fix was quoted at $100, but it sounds like that was just off the top of your head... Bad idea. Get a real quote before you pay anything. That amp could potentially be totaled.
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#17
If it is indeed $100 worth of repairs (like it needs new tubes) jump on it. $300 is ludicrously cheap in Australia.
They are a useable amp and with some small modifications can be turned into a really good amp. If you are in central Victoria I could mod it for you for $50. Without the mods you will still think it is a ball tearer of an amp after a Cube.
Find out what is actually wrong with it. If it's just tubes jump on it.
But 5581? Wtf is a 5581? That's not a model I have heard of. Maybe it's a 4501?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
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Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#18
Quote by Cathbard
If it is indeed $100 worth of repairs (like it needs new tubes) jump on it. $300 is ludicrously cheap in Australia.
They are a useable amp and with some small modifications can be turned into a really good amp. If you are in central Victoria I could mod it for you for $50. Without the mods you will still think it is a ball tearer of an amp after a Cube.
Find out what is actually wrong with it. If it's just tubes jump on it.
But 5581? Wtf is a 5581? That's not a model I have heard of. Maybe it's a 4501?


Well, I have come to the following agreement. I will take the amp to my repairer to find out how much it would cost to fix. Then we will come to a final agreement on price, depending on how much needs to be spent on it. My repair guy is heading to Canada for a month this coming Monday, so nothing is going to happen until he comes back.

And btw, 5581 refers to the type of tubes inside. If I do end up getting it, I'm sure I'll be back to find out how to get the most out of it which might include some mods.

Thank you all for your advice so far.
#19
Quote by MrStranga
Well, I have come to the following agreement. I will take the amp to my repairer to find out how much it would cost to fix. Then we will come to a final agreement on price, depending on how much needs to be spent on it. My repair guy is heading to Canada for a month this coming Monday, so nothing is going to happen he comes back.

And btw, 5581 refers to the type of tubes inside. If I do end up getting it, I'm sure I'll be back to find out how to get the most out of it which might include some mods.

Thank you all for your advice so far.

They are 5881 tube in that JCM900 (not 5581)
5881's are basically a different type of 6l6 tube
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#20
5881's in an Aussie JCM900? That's odd. I wonder if it's blown a screen resistor? Aussie JCM900's came out with EL34's in Australia as far as I was aware. Well, to be totally accurate, Tesla 6CA7.

Sounds like a sound plan, man.
While he's in there tell him to replace the clipper circuit of BR2 and D10 with a 100K resistor. It's a simple job. You pull out the bridge and run the resistor between two of the holes. He's got it apart anyway, you can do it without completely removing the board if you are good. The clipper is close to the edge of the board so you just have to lift the board up a bit and solder upside down.
It fixes 'em right up. channel 1 is ok, it has a tubescreamer sorta boost. It's channel 2 that is the problem, it's a dumbarse circuit. This mod fixes it. They scream without it. Without the clipper V1 gets slammed really hard by the opamps. Clean boost - lovely.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#21
hehe, oops. They are indeed 5881's not 5581's. I'd attach some pics, but I daubt they'd tell you anything new. Plus I'm not sure how to attach them anyway but my mates brothers 100w amp also uses 5881's, so they can't be all that rare.

And thanks Cathbard, I'll print your advice and hand it to my tech. He should have no trouble doing these mods for me.
#22
Print this out too. It has the components labelled properly. There are schematics for these published where the labels are missing.
http://drtube.com/schematics/marshall/cd0189-iss7.pdf

That's a 4100 from 1990.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band