JMP 2203 Review

manufacturer: Marshall date: 04/11/2013 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Marshall: JMP 2203
Being 100 watts, this thing is LOUD. I would even venture to say that its the loudest amp Marshall has ever made.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 9.6
 Reliability & Durability: 8.2
 Features: 7.4
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (5) pictures (1) 25 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 6.8
JMP 2203 Reviewed by: dlguitarmaster7, on january 06, 2010
2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1000

Purchased from: private seller

Features: My JMP was made in 1980 according to the serial number. I, as a guitar player, do not look for much variety. I doubt you would either if you're reading this review. For the classic sound, effects and features aren't needed. I gave this a 4 because it does have 2 inputs, high and low (would've given a 1 if it only had 1). High input is for more high gain and trebly stuff. Low input is more bassy and clean. Even with the pre-amp all the way, this input is still incredibly clean. Being 100 watts, this thing is LOUD. I would even venture to say that its the loudest amp Marshall has ever made. The master volume does allow for more versatility than a non-master volume amp. // 4

Sound: I use a Fender Strat with this amp. Single coil pickups. Sounds great with humbuckers but it is a little darker than the singles in my opinion. I play classic rock/blues/anything Vintage. This amp totally nails what I play. This amp is NOT a high gain amplifier. Try out a Mesa Dual Rec if thats what you're looking for. With the pre-amp all the way up, this amp growls, perfect for early Black Sabbath. Lower the pre-amp, crank that master volume, and you start to hear the AC/DC in it. AC/DC did in fact use JMP 2203's in the late 70's. I'm also not sure, but on the Let There Be Rock album, you can swear they're using JMP mv's. Plug this puppy into a cab with greenbacks, G12H30's, or even V30's and you will definitely hear "the" tone that is heard in the classic rock albums. If you plug into the clean input, and really crank teh volume (which is almost impossible to do with this amp) you also get a pretty nice tone. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I only rated this a 5 because I haven't had this amp for too long. I haven't gigged with it yet. Obviously if you don't take caer of it, it wron't function properly. If you do buy one, DO NOT neglect it. They are not only awesome amps, but a piece of rock 'n' roll history. I believe that in 30 years or so, guitar players everywhere will be seeking for this tone. It can really only appreciate in value too with good care. The older things are, the more valuable they become. // 5

Overall Impression: I've been playing 5 years and I doubt I will ever need a new amp again. If it were lost, I would have definitely buy it again. I would get a non-master volume amp, but its really hard to get the tone I'm looking for without an attenuator or having modifications done (I'm not a big fan of mods). I wish that the guy who originally had this amp hadn't put an effects loop and then have it taken out. He also added a half power switch. On full power it is a stock amp, but mods like that just take value away from the amp. I also wish I had come upon and earlier model (1976 to be exact) instead of a 1980. But other than that, its perfect for me. The one thing I love about this amp is just the overall look and feel that it has. The head shell is awesome. The simplicity of it is awesome. Guitar -> Amp -> Cab. The classic rock setup. The power and standby switches are pretty cool too. Hope this has helped! // 8

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overall: 10
JMP 2203 Reviewed by: robertcollins, on november 02, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: Uncle Bob's Music

Features: I have a 1979 Marshall JMP-2203. I bought it brand new in 1979. It is in my opinion the finest guitar amp ever made. It is very simple in design, and works perfectly every time I use it. I play classic rock, and blues, and this amp has the best tone of any guitar amp ever made. I use either 1 or 2 Marshall speaker enclosures, depending on the size of the room. I run Boss and Morley pedals through it. It has plenty of power, and headroom. I am on my fourth set of groove tubes, other then that, the amp is 100% original. // 10

Sound: I have 3 guitars that I use, a 1968 Gibson Les Paul, a 1978 MusicMan Sabre 2, a 1985 Fender Strat, all have been modified with special pickups. Depending on how you set the volume and tone controls, you can get any sound you want. As I said earlier, this amp has the best tone of any guitar amp ever made. As far as volume goes, it has plenty of volume for any sized gig. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have owned this amp since 1979, when I bought it new, and it has never ever given me any trouble. I have my amps serviced regularly, and I am on my fourth set of groove tubes, but other then that my amp is 100% original. I have an Anvil road case that I use to transport my amp, and I always let the amp cool down for at least 20 minutes before trying to move it. This has been the most dependable amp that I have ever owned. I could use this amp, without a backup, if I wanted to. I have 3 other amps that I use in conjunction with this amp, depending on what music is being played. // 10

Overall Impression: I play classic rock, and blues. I have been playing professionally since the late seventies. I have 3 other guitar amplifiers, a Fender, a Mesa Boogie, and another Marshall (a JCM 2000 TSL). None of them has the tone, or reliability that this amp has. If this amp were to be stolen, I would definitely replace it with another JMP-2203. I love the tone of this amp the most, I love the reliability of it the second most. There is absolutely nothing that I hate about it. // 10

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overall: 8.3
JMP 2203 Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 11, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 900

Purchased from: eBay

Features: My amplifier was built in the year 1979. Master Volume model, 100 watts & 6550s power tubes. Extremely loud! Two Channels vertical (High and Low), no effects loop. A major minus to some. Just get pedals with effects loops it will sound okay. Very simple and user friendly. Simple is sometimes the best. This amp will hold its own in club venues no problem and beyond. A loud amp... // 7

Sound: Great overdrive tones straight in the amp no pedals. This amp sounds better with an overdrive or tube-screamer in front. Above average clean sounds in the Low channel. This is not a high gain amp and that's what is good about it. You can bring your assortment of pedals to this amp and go from there, it is a very versatile amp. Also, the 2203 can be a very quiet amp. No hideous noses in the background what'soever. Like I said if armed with your favorite pedals you can achieve any sound with this amp. From heavy metal to classic rock and Jazz even. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have not had this amplifier for too long yet. Maybe about half a year now. This amp can take a trashing. It has not broken down once. This proves to me its good enough. Though, I take good care of mine; as you should any amplifier. // 6

Overall Impression: I love jazz fusion and I use it for those applications this amp can do that too. Right now I use this for my heavy metal duties. This JMP blows away any JCM. My opinion though. Any one with the opportunity to own this amp do it! If this amp were lost or stolen, sadly I would not be able to replace it completely. Cos there is not too many of these floating around anymore. This amp rocks hardcore! // 10

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overall: 9.3
JMP 2203 Reviewed by: ivan987, on september 09, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 700

Purchased from: Used

Features: The amp I am reviewing was made in 1978, and has only basic features when compared to modern guitar amplifiers. It's a one channel amp, with two inputs with different sensitivity. The "Low" input will give you a clean sound even on full preamp gain, while the "High" input will be much louder and quite dirtier. There are six controls on the front of the amp besides the Power and Stand By switches - Presence, Bass, Middle, Treble, Preamp Volume and Master Volume. Presence controls the amount of high frequencies and should be adjusted to match the guitar and the room you are playing in. The EQ section is simple, but you should take some time to adjust it well (too much bass = muddy, scooped mids = not with this amp, too much treble = ears bleeding). Preamp Volume controls the preamp gain, and when plugged in the High input can make your sound clean or totally dirty. Master Volume controls the power amp volume. It's not possible to plug in both inputs, and switch between clean and overdrive sounds with a AB box, because when there is a jack plugged into the High input it overrides the Low input so you can't use it. Even if you mod the amp to be able to do that, the volume difference would be to much, and the amp reacts quite good to rolling off the volume pot on the guitar so you can achieve clean sounds that way. There are three ECC83S preamp tubes, and 4 EL34 power tubes. I use the amp for rehearsals and open and indoor gigs, and I can say it's a bit too loud. Actually not really a bit, it's probably 3-4 times louder than I would ever need it to be, but I like it that way. Not really suitable for rehearsals and indoor gigs, a 50w combo would be better in those situations, but when you take it to an open stage it rocks. Literally. As you can see, there aren't many available features, but it's not a big deal because if you like the sound of the amp, and you wish to play the music most commonly assigned with this sound, you probably wouldn't even need any extra features. The main feature of this amp is it's massive sound, and it's quite enough for me. An effects loop would be nice, and you can mod the amp to do it, but I advise you not to. One of the main contributors to the classic Marshall crunch is the power amp distortion, and since the effects loop must come in front of the power amp you wouldn't get a good sound out of it. If you are a effects freak, then this is not the amp for you. // 7

Sound: The guitars I played through this amp are HSS and SSS stratocasters and a few Les Pauls. I use a Marshall 1960A box with 4x Celestion G12T - 75 speakers. I liked it best either with the SSS strat or with a Les Paul. The amp sounds great with single coils, which can sound very thin and weak on modern compressed high gain amps, but they sound so open and powerful with this amp. Perfect for blues & rock. You just have to be careful with the presence and the EQ because it can get too bright sometimes. On the other hand, when you use a LP, you get a fat sound, with a lot of bass and mids. Sound gets darker with adding more preamp gain. Adding master volume gets more mids in the mix and opens up the sound even more. This amp should never be played under at least 1/4 of the master volume, it really doesn't sound good on lower volumes. My favorite combination with this amp is a LP plugged into the High input with full preamp gain, and a tubescreamer in front of the amp. I set the gain control on tubescreamer to 0, and volume and tone on half to boost the amp. In that way I get a fluid hard rock sound, screaming on the bridge pickup and singing on the neck pickup. Sustain gets much better that way, and it's easier to play. Clean sound you get on the low input stays clean even on higher volumes, but it's not really the best sound you can get out of it. It's a lot more dry than a Fender Twin Reverb clean, but it has a funky snappiness to it. The amp is really touch sensitive, with great dynamics. To get a really good sound out of it, you really need to be in a good playing shape, because it's not easy to play on it. Each tone you play must be played perfectly to sound good. I didn't like that when I got the amp, but I realized it makes me practice more which is really a good thing. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This is really one of the best things with this amp - it's truly reliable, and because it's simply constructed, it's easy to repair if something breaks down. These amps have been around for ages, and many electricians are already familiar with them. My amp is over 30 years old, and the only thing that has ever been changed were the tubes. It still works perfectly. // 10

Overall Impression: My favorite type of music is hard rock, but since I play in a few bands, I often play blues, classic rock and alternative rock. This amp is a perfect match for the music I play, it's really warm and fat, and capable of getting really heavy when boosted. My favorite guitar sounds are those of Steve Ray Vaughan, Slash and Gary Moore. I get similar sounds with my amp using a SSS strat for Stevie Ray, and a LP for Slash and Gary Moore sounds. I have to boost it though to get to the Gary Moore zone. It's not the same sound of course, and it's not that I really wish to achieve the same sound. That is just the character of sound I prefer. I love the simplicity of the amp, because I don't have to think about all those channels, mid boosts, reverbs, effects, and so on. I just plug in and have a really good time. I really wouldn't change it for any other amp. // 10

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overall: 9.8
JMP 2203 Reviewed by: Dex Vegas, on april 11, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: Made in '78 or '79. 6550 power tubes. Mass headroom, less gain than later 800's with EL34's. Two (one, really) inputs, 6 knobs, 4 speaker out, the most perfect layout ever created. If I have a complaint - it's with the 1/4" jacks and cabinet corners - they are all plastic. In the '70s? If I was going on the road with it I would replace the jacks that I use with metal ones. No pots or jacks are connected on the pc board, it's guts are Neat and clean with a small pc board, just a step beyond point to point. Ya don't need more than 2 sounds a nite anyway, you clean, you dirty. // 9

Sound: 6550's are harder sounding to me, gives a good kick to the head. Have had the opportunity to hear it on stage and pegged (lent it to a guy, Randy Hanson, who used to do a Hendrix tribute round here)in an average little club (200 peeps maybe), all controls on '10' from straight guitar to phaser and fuzz a single 4x12 cab used (top cab, lower cab used for looks) he could make it moan and screech on cue, man this amp is LOUD. Likes front end slammed with more gain, still cleans up nice with guitar volume(with right pedal). Want to get rid of rehearsal rat's? Set master to 10, preamp to 4, spank the guitar hard, HEAD CUTTER! This amp's sound = Rock // 10

Reliability & Durability: Played hundreds of gigs with no backup. Sloshed beer into to vent at a party, amp must have been on standby or just turned off, I discovered next day it didn't work and found the far left power tube shattered (it smelled like beer in there). Good thinking Marshall - we sell to rock musicians! Never known to indulge in drinking! Or excess. I Taped over that vent now. Still has plenty of airflow. Before I bought it I blew it up during a Jam at my bud's place, That was around 1983 or so. Paid for half of re-tubing (dude took us for $200 for four 6550 and three 12AX7 tubes and biasing. 1983! At least they were all USA made groove tubes. The shattered tube was replaced by me around '89 or '90. 2 months ago I replaced the power tubes with Tung-Sol reissue units from Russia have a good supply of NOS preamp tubes (25+)so this re-tubing cost me $140.00, it's 2013. I did just what an official Marshall repair center does, open back - replace power tubes - close back. Did not need re-biased. Heck of a reliable workhorse. Just them plastic bit's mentioned above. Blame the British economy and Thatcher. // 10

Overall Impression: Kick a-se amp. The sound that 800 buyers thought they were getting. They came with less headroom and less CHUNK! Have played metal, hard rock, blues, classic rock, punk, power pop and other junk and it works for all of it. Turn the Master above the pre volume and it slices 'bout as good as a twin. Plug in a tele and country the crap's out of it! Freak the goober's out ("Hey, Zeke, that ain't no Fender! That one o them devil music makin Marshillz!") then cut their head's clean off. Show then it ain't just fer "rawk". // 10

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