Marshall 1987 vs. 2204 for vintage AC/DC (Angus) tone?

MisterScary

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Hi. I'm looking for a Marshall amp but haven't decided which one yet and was hoping to get some feedback from the good folks here in the Forum. Currently I have a 1959 SLP (RI), a couple of SG's, and a Marshall 1960ax cab with Celestion 25w Greenback speakers.

I'm trying to nail the Angus Young Tone from the Back In Black and For Those About to Rock (1980-81) era. I know Angus has used several Marshalls over the years, more recently the 1959 SLP (reissue), but that amp doesn't quite get the tone I'm looking for. Thus, I'm looking for a vintage JMP. I've read that he used a 50w JMP (which one???) to record BiB along with a JTM 45. I'm not sure which speakers his cab had in it at the time - I'm guessing G12H or Greenbacks since Vintage 30s came out in the mid-80's, I think.

I've played a 1used 1987x at a local shop and was surprised at how much gain it has! The tone was certainly close but I didn't spend a lot of time trying to dial in the Back in Black tone. Also, this amp was a reissue so I'm not sure how it would compare to an original. Then again, I don't know what years the 1987 was actually made.

I haven't played a 2204 (50w JMP). Does it have more gain than the 1959? How does it compare to the 1987x? I see that this amp was rebadged to the JCM 800 around 1984 so I'm more interested in the late 70s or early 80s version of this amp - if it indeed can nail the tone I'm looking for.

Well, that's my dilemma - the 1987 or the 2204? Any input you can provide will certainly be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

:headbanger::headbanger::headbanger:
 

LPMarshall hack

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I think the set up you have now is as about as close as you can get. The 1987x is the 50 watt version of what you already have. The 2204 will get you close too, but of the two amps, I would think the 1959/1987 would be best for early AC/DC. Do you have an attenuator for your 1959? You must crank it to get the AC/DC tone. So if you are not cranking it, that may explain why you are not satisfied with the tone. Also keep in mind the Vintage Modern. Excellent Angus tones to be had in there!
 

BluesRocker

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+10000000000000000000000 For the VM. You can get both 1987/1959 tones and JCM800 tones. Its an amazing amp. But you do have to spend time with it due to the duel gain stage preamp and the 2 dynamic ranges.
 

LPMarshall hack

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+10000000000000000000000 For the VM. You can get both 1987/1959 tones and JCM800 tones. Its an amazing amp. But you do have to spend time with it due to the duel gain stage preamp and the 2 dynamic ranges.


The VM is so awesome cuz it covers all those tones. I was blasting away at Highway to Hell today, and except for the shitty playing...the tone was there!!!!!
 

019228

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I've got a '79 2204 and can nail AC/DC's Back in Black sound.
 

wkcchampion

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An attenuator is needed because both 2204 and 1987 are very loud amps.
But cranking is not needed.
My 1959 of 1981 gets at AC/DC gain level at about 3 on Channel I (Channel 2 off), but the Parkers have a very high output.
Probably a 2204 will get there a bit earlier (Master volume at maximum of course).

But these amps at a volume higher than 1 are insanely loud!

I think that the 1959SLP coupled with G12M or G12H is a perfect rig for that sound.
 

MisterScary

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Thanks for the replies everyone! I am using a THD Hot Plate and that could definitely be why I'm not thrilled with my sound. I can't play the 1959 amp at max volume:-(

Does the 2204 have a master volume or would I have to crank it and use the Hot Plate with that too? If so, I'm afraid it's not going to work for me - darn neighbors!

I really want to check out the VM now! It sounds like it's a very flexible amp! I don't know much about it, but am heading over the the main site now to learn more!
 

jcmjmp

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The 2204 has a master volume. You can definitely get AC/DC with that amp and the right guitar with the gain dimed and the master at around 7.
 

MisterScary

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I was just looking into the 2266 VM and see that it's discontinued. Why?
 

wkcchampion

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I would leave the MV to 10 and play with the preamp. AC/DC is not much about gain but power amp saturation.
I think Jcmjmp would give too much gain for that.

If u think using a cab is too loud, get a speaker sim like Palmer or Motherload units. I have a Palmer PDI-03 - and I can crank a 100W to full at bedroom levels.
 

jcmjmp

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I would leave the MV to 10 and play with the preamp. AC/DC is not much about gain but power amp saturation.
I think Jcmjmp would give too much gain for that.

With my T-Top PAF pickups, dimed pre and MV @ 7, its pretty close to Back In Black.

When I posted, I did mention with the right guitar. T-Tops are fairly low output pickups but have tons of clarity and crunch.

AC/DC toured mostly with 2203s for that tour. The recordings are apparently done with many amps, but contrary to popular belief, they were not all set to "11".... so no, you shouldn't have to set the master @ 10 to get the tone.
 

BluesRocker

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This has to be the saddest day ever. Why would marshall do this? The VM has to be the best sounding amp since the JCM800. Damn. Check ebay. Id say there might be one or two there
 

dptone5

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I own both a 1987XL Reissue and a 1980 JMP 2204. The tone is very similar, but the 2204 has the MV and sounds quite good at low volumes. I have a THD Hotplate for the 1987XL. This works pretty well, but it always sounds better loud!! :)

Although I don't own a Gibson (wish I did), I have gotten amazingly close to AC/DC tone with the 1987XL, the 1960BX cabinet and my Eric Clapton Strat and no pedals (the strat has a dB boost tone control that gets it closer to a humbucker). In sample recordings, I can honestly say that the 1987XL gets me closer to AC/DC tone than the 2204, but I love them both. The gain is greater with the 2204, but AC/DC did not use a lot of gain.

Hope this helps!
 

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MisterScary

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Thanks for all the replies everyone! I dropped of my 1959SLP at an amp tech on Monday and should have it back later this week. I failed to mention that it picked up Mexican radio stations when powered up - lol! It's likely due to a bad ground somewhere. I'm hoping after some good bench testing that it gets a clean bill of health and sounds better than when I brought it in!

I'm leaning towards getting a 2204 mostly because of the master vol and 50 watts. Plus it sounds like the 1987x is the 50w version of what I already own. My amp tech said I could run the 1959 at 50w but would have to switch it to 8ohms. My speakers are at 16ohm in the 1960ax cab and can't run stereo - that I'm aware of.

Thanks again for all the great info!
 

SGACE

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I am and recently was another ac/dc tone seaker. I tried a plexi 1959, jcm, 1987x, 2061x,etc and I was not even close. I searched all the files that I could find in internet and I found my answers in the video (Rock goes to college) in Essex University in 1978 , [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVLRKk0EJTI]YouTube - AC/DC- Let There Be Rock, 1978[/ame]

In this live concert both Malcolm and Angus use JMP master volume, of course its not possible to determine if there are 2203 or 2204, but for me didnt matter. Anyway my next move was to find a clean jmp 50w 2204 and buy it. Now I have it for about three weeks and all I can say is that THIS IS IT..
The amp nails all AC/DC sounds and not only. Mine has EL34 tubes with mullard preamps and I use it with Gibson SG's (1981 and 1990 models).
 
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Bieling3

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I can get pretty close to that video with my JCM 800 with the pre on about 5 and the higher the master goes the better. I've gone from dime'n the eq to a more subtle treble - 5, mids - just a hair under 8, and bass just a hair under 6. Presence at 2, much more flexible at different volumes and with different styles that way. I just wish my fingers moved that fast. What an awesome video.
 

MisterScary

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Thanks for posting the video. I love his tone which really shines during the solos and completely agree that Angus appears to be using a 2203 or 2204. What year did Marshall start using the rocker switches (I think that's what they're called) for the power and stand by? We know they had them in '78 and I've seen a 2204 from '77 with them, but it was only a single channel amp.

Were both amps available with 1 or 2 channels? I've read somewhere that the dual channel JMP amps are made for the UK and the single channel, while made in the UK, are shipped to the USA. Is that true?
 

core

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Rockers switches in mid 76.

Damn that video is clean. Looks like it was shot recently rather than over 30 years ago!
 


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