Price paid: $ 550
Purchased from: Craigslist
Sound — 10
Well my guitars are so various, but the one I like best on this amp would be the one that I slapped together myself some years ago. It's kind of a EVH theme guitar very similar to his first black and white. It has a maple 22 fret neck, floyd rose, tone zone pickup with a popla body. I like doing the EVH thing now its been fun. The amp with a bit of playing with pre amp and the power tubes has given me the desired brown tone very well. I think you can get this tone locked in on most tube marshalls with a little futtzin around. I finaly settled on two JJ EL34's v1, v2, V3 tung-sol 12ax7's and an electro harminox 12ax7 in v4 to remove a minor level of fiz that the tung-sol were producing. Ended up with a very clean rich sustain from the amp that was needed. I also use an old tube screamer because I just like the thing always have (not fizzy). I also use a Boss eq in the loop for some nice additional thump to the 1960A slant. Can't say enough! Use good cables all through your chain. Monsters for me. A bit pricy and thick but tone tone tone and be consistant. The clean channel to me sounds every bit as good as my old Marshalls and quite frankly damn good through my blown ear drums. This amp can be used mostely for any kind of rock with the right tweeking of the knobs tubes pedals etc. As you would do with any new Marshall you just purchased. I think people are nut to buy new magnetics to change the tone. From what I have heared with my own ears, you get more versitility from an eq in the loop than any new xfmr you would ever put into it. anyway,, I could go a mile on that subject.. (freaken useless expensive mods...argh!!!!)
Overall Impression — 10
The amp is a good solid Marshall amp with the use of some cheaper electrical components its still a great amp. I do want to say though, for what you can pick these up for, they are a steal. You get all the same tone as any other Marshall at a fraction of the cost of others. (Vintage my buttt! Just and old crappy looking expensive amp that does no more or less than one of these as far as the tone you are playing at the moment you are playing it. Oh did I forget to say most of the tone is in your FINGERS! Buy this amp if you can find one. They sound great and look as great as any other friggin Marshall with just the right amount of knobs. Good Luck! Paul
Reliability & Durability — 9
Had it for a year now. Not a single issue.. oops except for the standby pop earlier mentioned. Can be easily fixed with a mod! argh did I say mod! Nahhh no mod. Just always turn the volume down when switching... lol It's built as good as any prior Marshall in my eyes as far as outside construction.
Features — 9
Made in 2003. Was purchased from the original owner in perfect un-modified condition. Lucky buy. This amp out of all the many Marshall heads I have owned in the past is the best. I have owned two jcm 800s 2203 and 2204 two jcm 800 Slash signatures. all bought brand new way back when.. All of these were great in there own right, but I have to say each one sounded always a little different than the other. Back in the 80's I was kid of playing ozzy / ac dc / dio / george lynch stuff. Hair band balogna. Never realy grew out of it. Never realy cared for various channels because I only needed one. I use this amp in the house and obviously 50 watts is very loud. I think it's all most would ever need. Why pay for the extra tubes? As Marshall matures they always add new flavors to there list of amps. To me all there solid state stuff is junk, but all solid state stuff is junk to me. The amp reflects it's low cost in cheaper electrical components. ie thinner pcb,s which are flimsy but very functional. When you push in the 12ax7's you can feel the springyness in the pcb. The rubber gromets are loose and sloppy around the tubes as well. The intermittant popping of the standby Switch can be an ear popper if you forget to turn the volume down before switching. They could of maybe added some caps / res across the Switch to surpress the intermittant spike maybe comming from the high spot in the sign wave. Knobs feel nice and tight on this head not loose and sloppy like others. The outer construction is and still is consistant with the older models. No cutbacks that I can see there.