Price paid: $ 1660
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 9
I have owned a lot of Marshall Vintage re-issue amps. I have owned a 1987X, 62' Bluesbreaker, and the 2061X. Those have been the Vintage Marshall re-issues I have had hands on experience with. I recently sold my Bluesbreaker and 2061X to downsize but I still needed a Marshall Vintage sound that was preferably as low wattage as possible, I knew that this amp was a keeper. Did I play this amp before purchasing it? No. I don't think I needed to either. I know what these Marshall's are like and how they are supposed to sound. When this arrived it was no different in general than the others but still had its own voicing. First and foremost, I play classic rock/blues. You take one part Les Paul and one part Marshall and I am a happy, happy individual. First thing I did was fired this amp into the tremolo channel with the LP and instantly had great tone. At volume 2/10 this was already getting to early breakup. Very good for that Marshall Vintage clean, for those of you who know this clean it really isn't clean, definitely not a Fender Blackface clean but Marshall clean is a gritty, angry clean. At 4/10 this really started cranking, beautiful sustain, crisp accentuation of each and every note in a power chord and vibrant biting highs in open chords. This is generally regarded as the baby Bluesbreaker but with the EL84's the chime is accentuated and it really stands out differently from the bass heavy Bluesbreaker. This amp can really cut through the mix and is hands down loud enough for any venue you will ever play. I was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful mix of bass and treble, the physical volume of this amp, the differences that separated it from the rest of the Marshall Vintage amps yet the core values that it still retained. My biggest gripe of the 2061X was that the 2x12 cab was loaded with Celestion G12H30's, one of my most disliked speakers. My favorite amp (that I am still having slight sellers remorse), the Bluesbreaker had a beautiful warm sound with the two Celestion Greenbacks. The T1221 is an aged Greenback rated at 20watts and 15ohms. This is a perfect pairing for this amp just like a steak and a fine wine. The amp with the EL84's has a great chime but the aged Greenback balances it out while accentuating the subtleties of the amp.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall I am very pleased I purchased this item. I am amazed by the tonal intricacies of this amp as compared to others in its family. I would really like a Marshall Vintage voiced amp rated at about 12 watts but unfortunately I do not have that control unless I want to get a clone. I personally believe that $2400 for a new one is extremely high for this amp. Fair market value for used amps is around $1600 so I got a fair deal. This was in excellent condition with original footswitch case and it was the same amount I sold my 2061X for. I think if you can get it for a used price you will be happy with what you are getting. A truly authentic Marshall tone for something that you can play in your bedroom. This thing will still get extremely loud, if you are in an apartment complex this is probably not the best choice for you unless you attenuate it. For those of who have bashed me before for saying 20 watts is loud and all you ever need, well it pertains to the style of music I play; the one where you have a guitar a cable and an amp. You set the volume on your amp and use the volume on your guitar to alter the sound. Pure-Tube-Tone. No pre-gain Mega distortion with cascading gain levels through a reverse phaser actuated death ray. Simple old circuitry. Check this amp out, its loud, it's great, it's Marshall. Enjoy your tone and happy pickin'. Feel free to contact me!
Reliability & Durability — 7
Marshall had an enormous problem with the transformers blowing on these when this series was introduced. Here is the good news; all the new ones you can buy will be fine. If you are buying an older one and it has the original transformer it should be fine too. They usually went within the first six months. Luckily this problem has been completely dealt with and moving forward, if you do decide to purchase one, make sure you get one with the original transformer! In my mind this amp was not designed for heavy road use but with a good ATA travel case I see no reason why this cannot stand the test of time. Marshall took a lot of time to perfect this amp and no details were overlooked. The unit itself is built solid like most of the Vintage series models so if you want this with you at a gig go ahead and take it with you. Ideally I think this is best utilized for high quality studio recordings. The 100% recreation of the die-cast foot pedal is fantastic as well, luckily if you have the tremolo activated you do not need to shut it off, just plug into the tremolo channel turn down the speed and sensitivity when you are done with it.
Features — 8
This is the classic recreation of the 1974 model. This is completely hand-wired in the Marshall factory in England. I own a 2005 1974X that I purchased from eBay. Before we get in to it too much the new price on this is $2400 from any major detailer which is, in my personal opinion, way too much money. For what it is you get all the features you really need in an all tube Vintage Marshall amp, a Volume and a Tone knob. Specifications are below: - 18W - 2 EL84 power tubes - 3 ECC83 preamp tubes - EZ81 rectifier tube - Tube-driven tremolo - Aged reissue 12" Celestion T1221, G12M-20 - 24"W x 20"H x 9"D - 42 lbs. For what it is this is a very well done recreation. All the features you would expect. The aged Greenback (T1221) is fantastic and makes this amp different from its big brother, the Bluesbreaker.