JCM900 4100 review by Marshall

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (24 votes)
Marshall: JCM900 4100
5

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: Friend

Sound — 10
I'm mostly using a Gibson SG Special, but will occasionally use other guitars (Squier tele, Epiphone les paul, Fender strat) and every guitar I play through it sounds amazing. It's a high gain amp, but not as ridiculous as today's high gain amps, so to me, at full gain, it's not very gain-y, but just perfect. I don't have the gain much above 3/4 of the way for the most part anyway. The clean channel is also very good. This amp never makes any unwanted noise. You can do anything with this amp. The clean channel will distort at high volumes because it has it's own gain knob so when you get the volume high enough, it will start to break up (but if you keep the gain really low like 2 or 3 you usually won't have that problem). The distortion is crazy, but can be dialed down and get some really good crunch and basically sound perfect for every style of music.

Overall Impression — 9
Like I said, I play punk and ska, and I can't think of a better amp to play that with. I've been playing guitar for several years (I never kept track) and I play this head through a Marshall 1960AV cabinet and I use a Gibson SG Special. I got really lucky when I bought this amp for suck a good price, and there's nothing more I could/should have asked about it. If it was stolen, I would have to wait forever to save up for it again, but yeah, I'd definitely buy this head again. I love everything about this head and I don't think there's a single thing I hate about it. My favorite feature has to be the recording compensated output. It makes everything so much easier. I compared it to a few other amps, and while it's no Mesa Triple Rec (ideal head) it's still better IMO than most other tube heads.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I can't afford to have a backup head, but I won't need to because this amp is dependable. It's 16 years old and still looks/sounds Brand New. I've never had any issues with it because I take care of it very well. But I'm sure if some owner neglected it, it would take quite a while for any issues to arise.

Features — 10
This head was made in 1993 at the Marshall factory in the UK. I play punk and ska for the most part, and this head is perfect for it IMO. Its has 2 Channels (Channel A-Clean/Channel B-Overdrive) and the channels can be switched with a button on the front of the amp, or by a footswitch. It has an FX loop with an effects level knob in back. It doesn't have a headphone jack, but it does have a direct out and a recording compensated out. I wish it had a headphone jack because sometimes it's nice to have one. There are no features on this amp that I don't use. I use this amp everywhere from my room, to practice, to live shows, and although it's a bit loud for my room, it's incredible for shows and practice. It's a dual reverb head (seperate reverb for both channels) which is nice to have. It's all tube (4 power amp, 3 preamp tubes), and it has a hi/low power Switch to go from 100w to 50w (good for bedroom and practice settings). It also has a 16ohm to 8ohm Switch to match cabinets better.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    SeanX3187
    nickofzo wrote: hmm... i prefer the 2000 or 800
    the 800s are amazing, but out of my price range. and my brother had a DSL100, and i prefer the 900 to that sound.
    SeanX3187
    holy crap, i just noticed that the picture they used of the amp (the one with the screw hole in it) is the exact head i bought. the guy i bought it from posted high quality pictures of the amp on a forum so i'm assuming the UG team picked it because it was big. but that picture is of the exact head i bought. weird.
    scottb630
    I put mercury magnetics transformers in mine, had the gain stage altered a little to take the fizzy solid state sound out. Awesome amp!! In 2010 & 2011 the JCM900 is the most requested rental(guitar amplifier) by touring pro's (most don't rent guitars). My friend rents stuff & is contracted to do sound for several touring bands from Journey to Kenny Rogers, to many other well know acts. They often request JCM 900's!!
    JamieIsHere
    That seems cheap for a Marshall head :o When I got some money behind me I might check this one out.
    saint_berzerker
    JamieIsHere wrote: That seems cheap for a Marshall head :o When I got some money behind me I might check this one out.
    It's because it's used.
    mfergel
    There are several flavors of the jcm900 as well. The earlier versions were only a single channel amp and are generally favored for their tone. I believe Dave Navarro used one early on. They aren't bad amps and with some mods, can be quite useful. Bugera is now making a clone of the jcm900 (the Bugera 1990).
    MetalUpYourRear
    My friend has one of these (not sure what year. I think mid-90s) and I hate it. It sounds waaay too dry and lifeless. It's just a boring amp. MOST Marshalls are just boring, overrated amps.
    SeanX3187
    MetalUpYourRear wrote: My friend has one of these (not sure what year. I think mid-90s) and I hate it. It sounds waaay too dry and lifeless. It's just a boring amp. MOST Marshalls are just boring, overrated amps.
    i suppose that's one opinion. what kind of amps are you into?
    mfergel wrote: There are several flavors of the jcm900 as well. The earlier versions were only a single channel amp and are generally favored for their tone. I believe Dave Navarro used one early on. They aren't bad amps and with some mods, can be quite useful. Bugera is now making a clone of the jcm900 (the Bugera 1990).
    i've played the 1990 a couple times, and it's okay, but i wouldn't say it sounds as good as the 900, but it still sounds good. the 1960 (i think) is much nicer though. i would even buy that over the jmps or jcm800s (they both had models similar to that) because it's much cheaper and i think it sounds very nice and possibly as nice as its Marshall counterpart
    BigMacFullerton
    Get a mod that bypasses the crappy solid state preamp gain and makes it a cascading tube amp and these amps really sing. Putting the right tubes in it like the Ruby12ax7ac5HG+(HG means high grade and Sovtek 5881WRX also really helps a ton! These Ruby 12ax7's are the best cheaper/newer tube for high gain amps. I have tried them in a number of high gain amps and they kill in every one! If you do all of this to your 900 it will sound just like all the ones you see on Axia TV!
    SeanX3187
    JamieIsHere wrote: That seems cheap for a Marshall head :o When I got some money behind me I might check this one out.
    yeah, since this isn't exactly a prized head, it doesn't sell for much used. but i love this thing so that's okay with me the jcm 800s will sell for over $1000 used.