JTM30 review by Marshall

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (12 votes)
Marshall: JTM30

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: guitar center

Sound — 10
Guitars with humbuckers, tubescreamer for blues & classic rock, distortion for the heavier stuff, are the primary tools fueling the sound behind this amp as well as a wah, super-shifter, tuner. It's not easy piecing together a single rig that'll accomodate a vast range of musical styles and genres without shelling out big bucks but I've managed to piece this whole thing together for a very reasonable amount of money and I would'nt change it if I could. Prior to this rig I was using various tube amps that were rated between 50-85 watts and I was NEVER even able to unleash the full tonal cababilities of those amps as I was never able to turn the volume up past 3 or 4 no matter where we played. The JTM30 affords me the opportunity to crank up the volume and open up the unlimited tonal range of this amp. I've got a ''thousand-dollar Marshall tone'' here for $500. The clean channel alone at mid volumes is boderline between ''clean'' and ''dirty'' and lends itself very well to a vast number of musical possibilities. The gritty sweet tone of the clean channel with the right distortion pedal GROWLS with crazy ''holy grail'' metal tone complimenting stuff like tool or metallica and an overdrive pedal is heavenly sounding and is ideal for everything from blues to zepplin to buckcherry to ACDC and everything in between. The clean channel by itself at high volumes is beautiful with the classic Marshall tone and could be used as it is without any effects if your set list doesn't demand sounds outside of the realm of that particular classic tone. Despite all of the pedals in the chain of this rig there is only a minimal amount of unwanted noise common with any tube amplifier. That's it. I'd only briefly checked out the gain channel as I already knew what I was going for when I got this amp and knew I wouldn't even need it and although I've never been a fan of built-in amp gain, they DID do it proper with this particular model and I'm sure it'd suit anyone whose in the market for that sort of thing. No matter where we play, every guitar player in the house makes it a point to wander by my rig at some point to see where the awesomeness is coming from and I never tire of the endless compliments with regards to my tone and overall sound literally every time I Switch that badboy on. Forget about what everyone else says about this amp. See for yourself that it compliments any broke-ass guitar player's arsenal. This amp ''glows'' with sound as a good amp is supposed to. It does'nt obviously & forcefully spew out sound through the speaker as lesser quality amps do.

Overall Impression — 10
Playing for more than 20 years now and having owned just about everything under the sun at some point in time over the years, I can honestly say that the JTM30 is without doubt one of my favorite amps I've ever had the privilege of playing through for a number of reasons. The 30 watts actually is quite beneficial to obtaining the sweetest tones and sounds and is proving to be truly ideal for the typical bar band applications. It affords players lacking a big bankroll to throw down on an amp the chance to sound great for a reasonable amount of bread which is awesome. The only way you could arguably do any better than this would be with a comparable jcm800/900 50 watt combo but speaking from experience, you'd be hard-pressed to ever have the luxury of playing anywhere big enough that would permit you to crank it up enough to get the tones that you can get effortlessly from the jtm30. If this amp was stolen/lost I would undoubtedly get another without even thinking about it.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I can't say enough good things about this amplifier. I understand that there are ''common'' overheating issues etc. Associated with this particular model but it's unlikely you'd have problems and if so, it's not an expensive fix anyway as long as you're not a sucker. I NEVER use a ''back-up'' amp. It sucks enough lugging around the stuff I actually use and the JTM30 has my full confidence that it'll get the job done. This amp is reminiscent of the ''good'' Marshall amps with the same craftsmanship that we've come to expect from the brand.

Features — 10
30 watts. Treble, mid, bass. Reverb. 2-channel. Footswitchable. Effects loop on FRONT face of amp. 1X12 celestion speaker. External speaker cabapility. tone controls are great. I can actually clearly hear the change in tone with the slightset adjustments of the knobs. This amp has all the features that any yokel local bar band guitarist would ever reasonably need. Don't scoff at the mere 30 watts behind this amp. I researched this amp extensively before I'd bought it and my only real concern was if it would be loud enough for bar gigs or even rehearsal and I'm hear to tell you that IT IS. I have the volume set at around 5 or 6 leaving myself with plenty of headroom and still find myself turning it it down slightly at times. If the opportunity to play larger venues happens to present itself the amp could be miked and run through a PA as it should be for a big room anyway. In the meantime, there's not a room in town that this amp cannot fill with sound. The effects loop input/output jacks on the front of the amp are nothing short of genius and I can't help but wonder why this isn't more common. I can attest that running effects (stomboxes)through the effects loop are golden and sounds delicious. I cannot testify as to the gain channel in practical applications because I don't even use it as I rely on the clean channel and an assortment of pedals to accomodate the vast & versatile range of material our band covers but I can say that it is respectable based on what I've heard of it.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I bought a JTM60 3x10" combo new in 1994 as a backup amp for my original '69 50w Marshall half stack, which I had purchased a year earlier for $700 (that was for the Head; the 4x12" cab was a Peavey 5150 I picked up from a friend for $400). Two months ago, I was moving and someone broke into my new spot while I was in between runs and snatched my '68 Head. That killed me... until I finally plugged in the JTM60. I had read about the heat problems, and I have plugged it in a few times over the years, but only to set it up for gigging. I've always plugged in a small fan behind the chassis to keep air flowing. I recently turned it WAY UP - 10 o clock - and kept it there for over two hours with no loss in volume or fried transformers. I mean, damn, this amp is 21 years old! Now, I've only used the clean channel. My '68 Marshall was basically a single channel amp, so with the JTM60, I chose to push the power tubes hard. When I take a solo I just hit a good Overdrive pedal out front. The point is, I dunno, maybe I got a good one? As we all know, there are "Good Ones" and "Bad Ones" in every amp line! I have no problems with the amp overheating. Like I said, I push that clean channel hard. And this JTM60 sounds so damn good I cannot believe my ears... I don't even wanna get started on the 3x10" configuration. I've switched between those 3 10"s and the 4x12" Peavey (the thieves didn't want to pack that beast I guess), and I keep coming back to the 3x10" combo. I get less clean headroom with the 3x10" combo, but I mic my amp and run it through the house anyhow, so... All in all, my JTM60 is outfreakinstanding! But we'll see how it handles gigging 4 times a week. That will be the true test. I'll post an update in 6 months or so.
    Great amp except some overheat. I assume it's the fixed bias which is one of Marshall's dumbest ideas. I had a JTM60 which is basically the same setup and it cooked two power transformers. I gave up on it and bought a Fender but the Marshall's amazing tone left me wanting another one. Years later I found a second hand JTM30 2x10 and decided to have it modded to avoid any problems. The problem is easily fixed by installing a bias pot as my local amp tech ( Valve Heaven st Surry Hills in Sydney) did. Grant who runs Valve Heaven alone is one of those guys who does it for love. He has a passion for valve amps, always does a great job, guarantees his work and charges very reasonable rates. It's been 2 years and the amp still sizzles with no sign of cooking anything and the amp sounds better than when it was new. Amazing little amp, I've had several Marshalls from JTM45/1972TV JCM800/900 100 watt stacks etc etc etc but this JTM30 is the best sounding of the lot. Tone from classic Marshall pants flappers to sweet crisp Fender type clean which you don't normally get with Marshalls. They are great.
    i have one, bought it new. has been a great amp, awsome cleans, not bad OD. Never had any problems with it. Believe me when I say, 30 watts is LOUD
    I borrowed a friend's JTM-312 (he just bought it off Craigslist) and within an hour the power transformer had fried itself. Very bad smell. It was idling when it happened! Still, I am intrigued enough to repair it and buy it (at a very low price). I will install a muffin fan by the power tubes and take the cage off. Also will probably run stock 6L6's vs 5881's. While they are in the same family, I think traditional 6L6's will better deal with a "hotter" bias (less negative)that these amps are known for. There is also the possibility of replacing the 3rd zener diode (9.1V) with a 15V zener.