JCM800 2203KK Kerry King Signature review by Marshall

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (9 votes)
Marshall: JCM800 2203KK Kerry King Signature

Price paid: $ 1200

Purchased from: Harmony Central User

Sound — 10
I'm not a slayer fan so when friends recommended the amp to me I was pretty skeptical. However this amp epitomizes Marshall tone it hits everything from classic blues to heavy metal. You can go from Aerosmith to Guns N' Roses to Black Label Society to Metallica the amp is incredible. This amp in all respects is a true JCM 800 and lives up to it's pedigree. It's one of the most diverse amps I've had the pleasure of owning. The KT88 tubes gives the amp a distinctive raw or metallic character to the tone giving the distortion or crunch this unique and powerful presence to it unlike your standard JCM800. I'm a huge Guns N' Roses fan and use the amp to nail all of appetite for destruction and then some. The distortion is clear and solid having a great punchy quality to it. Notes stand on their own; chords feel full bodied and firm. The noise gate does exactly what it's suppose to and gets rid of any unwanted hiss or feedback when in "beast" mode while natural allowing the guitar to feedback when you want it to and kicking in the moment your fingers touch the strings. I highly recommend this amp and checking out sound clips of it on YouTube.

I typically use the amp with a Mesa Boogie Roadster 2x12 cab loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s and my Les Pauls. In conjunction with the mesa cab the amp has almost a darker quality to it but really preserves the low end that seems to be lost with a Marshall 1936 2x12 cab and gets rid of that harshness found.

Overall Impression — 9
I play everything from classic rock to hard rock to metal. This amp really is incredibly diverse while retaining its own sense of character. I primarily own a majority of Les Paul style guitars (Gibson, Epiphone, PRS, and Edwards) and they all sound fantastic through this amp. The only features I wish the amp had would be a foot switchable beast mode which would have made this amp absolutely perfect. Outside of that the amp is really a must have. If this amp was ever stolen I would tie the thief to a chair while playing "raining blood" and a mosh pit would form engulfing them, never to be heard from again.

Video from YouTube:

YouTube preview picture

Reliability & Durability — 9
The amp is rock solid. I'm still using the factory tubes to this day. It's really held it's own either at home or jamming with friends. I've never had an issue with it and definitely would gig with it without a backup. The tolex looks amazing and is absolutely perfect without bubbling or tears. The only complaint I have is that the custom face plate with tribal pattern has a finger print that must have oxidized when the pattern when etched into it and then sealed. Other than that the amp is everything you would expect from a Marshall.

Features — 8
The Marshall JCM 800 2203KK Kerry King Signature is a one channel amp with no reverb or built in effects. It features a custom designed tribal tolex. Additionally it also features a Kerry King signature mode called "the beast" with two adjustable controls, "assault" and "gate". The "assault" knob controls the extent of the built in Kerry King signature EQ boost, while the the "gate" knob is a built in noise gate allowing the user to dial their tone without worry of feedback. Ultimately the amp is pretty solid with some great features, however it leaves something to be desired in that "the beast" mode is not foot switchable and must be activated from the amp by the press of a button. I guess you can't have it all.

Features are as follows:

- 100W valve head
- 4 KT88s in the power stage
- 3 ECC83s in the preamp
- Master Volume
- Preamp Volume
- Standby Switch
- 3-band EQ
- Presence control
- "The Beast" Boost
- Gate Threshold
- Assault Intensity
- Jim Marshall and Kerry King signatures on control panel.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    Some killer examples of the tonal diversity of this amp for less than the price of a Marshall JCM 800 Vintage Series. Beast Section off (strat with bluesy fingerpicking)
    Enter Sandman (Beast Switch on)
    Welcome to the Jungle (no Beast switch)