Price paid: $ 750
Purchased from: Craigslist
Sound — 10
I run an Epiphone Zakk Wylde Les Paul with passive EMGs. I play classic rock and metal so this amp suits me perfectly. This amp is perfect for getting that eddie Van Halen sound. This amp is very brown sounding when distorted, and has a ton of low end, especially at higher volumes. To fully enjoy this amp, you need to turn it up pretty loud. With the boost and the gain all the way up, turning the master volume to just 1 will be plenty loud enough. The clean channel is very rich and warm as well. This amp is perfect for classic rock and metal, but if you want to play nu metal, black metal, or death metal, you're going to need a Boss metal zone or something like that. The distortion is very warm and bright, with lots of low in. The clean channel does not get distorted with the channel volume low and master volume high, but with the channel volume at ten you can get a very natural distortion sound. This amp sounds so good, you might think God himself is talking to you.
Overall Impression — 9
I play classic rock, so this amp is perfect for me. I've been playing for a couple years now and I must say, this is the best amp I've heard so far. If this amp were stolen, I'd buy this exact model to replace it. I love the warm distorted sound this amp makes. I chose this amp mainly because of it's high gain and the reputation the JCM800 has.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Since is a tube amp made by Marshall, it's reliability and durability are second to none. This amp was made in the late '80s and it's still stingin. All you need to do with this amp is replace the tubes every couple of years and you're in good shape. I'd gig with it without a backup because that's just how dependable it is.
Features — 9
This amp may not be loaded with the features of todays Marshalls such as the DFX, but when you get right down to it, you don't really need those. This is actually the JCM 800 lead series 2x12 50 watt combo with two channels, unlike most 800s. This amp runs on all tube power, and was made in the late 80s. It still has it's original celstions, but the tubes were replaced with JJ tubes. The clean channel has a treble and a bass control and the boost channel contains a gain knob, a boost knob, and the standard treble/mid/bass knobs. It also has master volume, presence and spring reverb control. There is also an effects loop with a knob that controls how much of the effect is present. This amp is 50 watts but it is a loud 50 watts.