JC-120 Review

manufacturer: Roland date: 01/04/2011 category: Guitar Amplifiers

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Roland: JC-120
In 1975, Roland welcomed the arrival of the first JC-120. A revolution in guitar amplifier technology, the JC-120 Jazz Chorus looked and sounded like no other amp. Thirty years later, the JC-120 remains in high demand by guitarists around the world.
 Sound: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9.5
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 10 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.8
JC-120 Reviewed by: dafrimpster, on august 24, 2006
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 550

Purchased from: eBay

Features: This amp circa 1981 is from when Roland still made JC-120's cabinet from plywood instead of particle board and before they screwed up the chorus circuitry. It is a 2x60 watt stereo amp. Chorus and vibrato are lush and beautiful. There is a distortion knob but it sounds like a duck fart! It is solid state rather than tube. 2x12" speakers on board. It is very heavy (65lbs approx) and very well built. The included casters make moving it around much easier. // 9

Sound: You want crystal clear sound? This is your amp. It can get ridiculously loud if needed. If you look at most amp modelers they have the JC-120 included for clean sounds. This is a solid state amp so you won't get the warm, honky sound of a tube amp but it is surprisingly warm for a solid state amp. I have found, however that if I use my visualsound Jekyll & Hyde pedal I can get pretty killer distortion warmth and depth. It is a great backend for a Line 6 POD. It also makes a great acoustic amp too. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have owned this amp for 5 yrs with no problems. It is 25 years old and still rockin'. It is built like a tank. It is always ready to goI have owned this amp for 5 yrs with no problems. It is 25 years old and still rockin'. It is built like a tank. It is always ready to go I have owned this amp for 5 yrs with no problems. It is 25 years old and still rockin'. It is built like a tank. It is always ready to goI have owned this amp for 5 yrs with no problems. It is 25 years old and still rockin'. It is built like a tank. It is always ready to goI have owned this amp for 5 yrs with no problems. It is 25 years old and still rockin'. It is built like a tank. It is always ready to go. // 10

Overall Impression: I play everything from Beatles to Yes to metal and beyond. This amp works flawlessly time and again. I have played over 100 gigs with this amp and it never has failed me. I would definitely buy another if I lost this one. I would however seek out another old one. The newer ones as I mentioned above are not of the same quality in sound or construction. // 10

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overall: 8.5
JC-120 Reviewed by: zzzaaaccc, on january 04, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 450

Purchased from: Craigslist

Features: About a month ago I bought a JC-120 and it's an amazing amp. The serial number system is very unreliable, but my best guess is that its an '89 or at least from sometime in the 1980s. The amp provides the best cleans I've ever played with and I even prefer it over '60s Fenders my teacher owns. It is a solid state amp, but a very good one that doesn't sound harsh like other solid states can. It has 2 channels; the first is a plain channel with 3 EQ knobs and the second has 3 EQ's plus all the effects on it. The effects are reverb, vibrato, distortion, and the famous chorus. Both channels do have a bright switch, which do what they say very well. The amp does have channel and effect switching optional if you have the pedal, which I do not unfortunately. It also has high and low inputs on each channel; the high is for regular guitars and the low is for active signals like from EMG's. I use it at home for practice and it is quiet enough at the lowest volume but it also can do gigs easily as its two 60 watt amps playing through the 212 cab in stereo at once. I do wish it had an effects loop, as the newer ones do. That would help me a lot with EQing and with effects I'm going to buy in the future. If it had the effects loop I would have given it a 10 easily. // 9

Sound: I play two different electrics through this amp. My main axe is an Aria PE-Anniversary, which is an awesome LP copy with abolone trim and inlays plus Seymour Duncan pickups. My other is a black ES-335 copy that I usually use at school for Jazz Band with its stock humbuckers. The amp fits my style excellently as I'm really into jazz and progressive. I like to play metal sometimes too which the amp can't cover on its own of course. I have a Metal Zone but I'm having issues getting the sound I want, but I think its the pedal and not the amp. The first channel has some noise issues but that is because I bought it used and it's older that I am. The channel volume makes noise when turned on this channel. I don't use the first channel since it doesn't have the effects on it so it doesn't matter that much to me. On the second channel I can get very mellowed out jazz tones with the 335 especially. With the Aria I can get the very bright and ringing Pat Metheny tone, with the chorus and some reverb. The clean interludes from Metallica, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Agalloch, and more are easily and beautifully obtained. The amp has very little distortion when the volume its raised. I played it at my jazz band concert and it sounded great, but it reverbed a little too much since we were playing in a gym that is horrible for music concerts. The distortion on it is nothing to be proud of for sure and it has few uses. If you use it on the lowest settings it can be used for getting longer sustain which is a cool feature. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This is where I am not quite as confident in this amp. The amp is obviously over 30 years old and looks the part but still in good condition. Nothing is broke on it and everything works with the exception of the first channel having some noise. I would use it without a backup since it is playing great now, but also because I wouldn't want to carry any more amps that I have to as its very heavy. I bought it knowing that it could break down from age but also knowing that its worth fixing and popular enough that techs know how to work on it. For the time I've had it I've never had a problem with it at all. I got a free road case with the amp when I bought it so I plan to protect it to prevent it breaking down. I give it a 7 since I'm not the original owner and its over 30 years old. // 7

Overall Impression: For playing jazz, progressive, and metal with some help from pedals, it is an amazing amplifier. The chorus is divine and sounds divine. I've been playing for almost 3 years now and I play more now than ever since I've acquired this. I was disappointed that it didn't come with a footswitch for the channels and effects as I could have really used it. I wish my older model had an effects loop on it too. If it were stolen I would probably cry as I don't know if I could buy a used one again for that cheap while still playing good. As I've said I love the chorus as it gives me the perfect sound I've been looking forward to for a long time. In the comment section below I commented months ago wishing I could get one of these, and I finally did. // 9

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