Plexi reproduction panels now in production and available.

Matthews Guitars

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As many of you know, I've been making restoration quality metal panels for metal face JMP Marshalls for some time. These have sold pretty well for me and I have a lot of happy customers. And admittedly, a few who were not entirely happy because I have admittedly had a few glitches in the system along the way. But I've used those experiences to improve the process and quality control. And try not to get caught flat footed, when I have orders for a type I just ran out of. That gets embarrassing.

I've been working on and promising plexi panels for quite a while but I've had a lot of growing pains in the process.
I said I'd release them when I am ready, not before. That time is essentially here now.

Finally I got the problems solved that kept me from being able to produce them. While I'm still not 100 percent totally satisfied with the specific color of the gold backing coat I'm getting on these, it's very close to that of original mid-late 60s examples and MUCH closer to that original gold than literally anybody else has managed to deliver on any "plexi style" panel, even Marshall, since the 60s.

I solved my supply problems, I solved the gold paint problems, I solved the undercoat and primer problems, and I'm ready to rock.

I'm now working with production batches of plexi panels in six variants.

1967 Black Flag Plexi
JTM45 Mark II
1959 "early" using the Gill font, JMP no polarity switch
1959 "early" using the Gill font, polarity switch version
1959 "late" using the later font, Century Gothic, as near as I can match it, JMP version with no polarity switch
1959 "late", Century Gothic font, polarity switch version

These are precision matched to original panels with regard to all details. Legend sizes, positions, font types and sizes, kerning, all are adjusted to precision.

In the process of making these I print on transparencies at 100 percent scale, lay the transparencies over the original panels, measure the differences, and make adjustments so they're dead on within thousandths of an inch. Repeat until there's nothing left to adjust.

I'll be offering back panels soon, too. 50 and 100 watt, all relevant variants that were originally available on plexi models.

I may even offer white backs for early JTM45s, if I can get good artwork to work from.
 
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Matthews Guitars

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As I'm now doing the paint work on the new batch of plexi panels, I've been doing it just a few panels at a time and experimenting with various paint factors and have found how to get consistently good results. Such things as distance from spray nozzle to panel are critical, and when I learned this it cost me a few panels. I had been backing the nozzle away to get a wider, more uniform fan pattern, but this resulted in clumping of droplets and a blotchy or coarse grained appearance that isn't satisfactory. Getting in closer, with a faster nozzle travel speed, and taking more passes to cover the panel width solved that problem.

I'm excited to be able to start offering panels for sale in just the next few days. I'll post photos of finished examples over the next day or so.
 

william vogel

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As many of you know, I've been making restoration quality metal panels for metal face JMP Marshalls for some time. These have sold pretty well for me and I have a lot of happy customers. And admittedly, a few who were not entirely happy because I have admittedly had a few glitches in the system along the way. But I've used those experiences to improve the process and quality control. And try not to get caught flat footed, when I have orders for a type I just ran out of. That gets embarrassing.

I've been working on and promising plexi panels for quite a while but I've had a lot of growing pains in the process.
I said I'd release them when I am ready, not before. That time is essentially here now.

Finally I got the problems solved that kept me from being able to produce them. While I'm still not 100 percent totally satisfied with the specific color of the gold backing coat I'm getting on these, it's very close to that of original mid-late 60s examples and MUCH closer to that original gold than literally anybody else has managed to deliver on any "plexi style" panel, even Marshall, since the 60s.

I solved my supply problems, I solved the gold paint problems, I solved the undercoat and primer problems, and I'm ready to rock.

I'm now working with production batches of plexi panels in six variants.

1967 Black Flag Plexi
JTM45 Mark II
1959 "early" using the Gill font, JMP no polarity switch
1959 "early" using the Gill font, polarity switch version
1959 "late" using the later font, Century Gothic, as near as I can match it, JMP version with no polarity switch
1959 "late", Century Gothic font, polarity switch version

These are precision matched to original panels with regard to all details. Legend sizes, positions, font types and sizes, kerning, all are adjusted to precision.

In the process of making these I print on transparencies at 100 percent scale, lay the transparencies over the original panels, measure the differences, and make adjustments so they're dead on within thousandths of an inch. Repeat until there's nothing left to adjust.

I'll be offering back panels soon, too. 50 and 100 watt, all relevant variants that were originally available on plexi models.

I may even offer white backs for early JTM45s, if I can get good artwork to work from.
Finding a correct gold paint is fun. I went down that journey with gold making my Badges.
 

Matthews Guitars

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I'm finishing up the batches now. And then I inspect and weed out those that aren't up to my standards, and then I can post some photos.
I'm talking, photos tomorrow. That soon.

I found that by spraying too far away some are too dark, too grainy, or too mottled. Those will just get snapped in half.

Is there any interest in me making a small number with silver backing paint instead of gold? I'll probably shoot a couple like that just for the interest of it. Somebody might LIKE having something kind of unique like that.
 

Matthews Guitars

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Teaser photo...
Got the printed panels back, now I'm beginning the process of painting them. I'll be ready to ship some in a few days, and take orders as well, within a week. But I've got a lot of work to do before they're all ready. Gold coat, silver backing coat, primer coat, all take a full day to cure, each. And I'm having adhesive backing applied to half of them so you can order them up either with or without the adhesive.

Batches for back panels are coming soon, too. Now that I've got the bugs worked out.

I had the JTM45 panels run a bit long as a precaution. Wasn't quite sure where everything should be centered on that version panel.
If you like, you can carefully trim the edges to size. It's lexan polycarbonate.
 

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Matthews Guitars

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I'm in the process of painting them now. It's slow going because of a surface contamination issue from the printer's shop.
I have to basically hand clean every panel with painter's tape to take off contaminants before painting.

The print shop is aware of the problem and they say it won't happen again, and will credit me for any that fail to pass my standards due to the contamination or any related issues.

But it's just another annoyance to me. Having to put this extra labor into this batch is not what I intended to do.
 

Matthews Guitars

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I think it's time I said this.

I'm not making any JCM800 panels or newer types.

Why?

First reason: I haven't even got a good stock level on every JMP panel I make. And that's close to FIFTY TYPES!!!
Yes, it's nearly that many variations. There are fewer front panel variations than back panel variations but still a fair number
have to be considered. JTM45, standard or tremolo. Superlead/lead 50/Major, standard or tremolo. PA/Super PA, and I'm not even making those yet. Versions of several of those with or without the polarity switches. (Doubles the number of types to make.) Toggle
or rocker switches? Back panels, 50 watt types, there are SIX. And that's the lowest number of variants for ANY category of JMP Marshalls. 100 watt backs, I can hardly count the ways! Two or four speaker jacks, with or without the voltage selector cutout, early
or later pattern (post 70) if it's a 4 speaker jack version. PA, lead, bass, organ, 1974 or later gets Mark II added to the print work.... are you lost yet? I am!!!! And no, I do NOT make them with Bulgin cutouts. I make them cut for a grommeted power cord. For any other type of power inlet, get out your files, drills, punches, etc. It's up to YOU to match the power inlet hole to your chassis.

This decision has been made simply because Marshall never provided IEC receptacles from the factory for most of the JMP models, so there's no way that I can put an IEC cutout in the panel and have it be "factory correct" and has only a modest chance of matching up to whatever way that whomever hacked an IEC into your older amp decided to do it. And since the majority of JMPs seem to have grommeted power inlets, that's what I make. I have considered adding a Bulgin receptacle cutout for 50 and 100 watt JMP backs, but I haven't done it. I need the data to do that. Hole sizes and locations. And then that doubles the number of variants I have to make for selected types.

Second reason: I have to have something to work from. If you want me to make you a panel for your "JCM800" that's like asking me to bring you some food. Can you be a bit more specific? JCM800 is a SERIES, and there are many models within that series. Now that you've told me "1983 JCM800 series 2203", that's great....but I don't have an amp like that. Or a front panel to copy from.

I need DATA. Photos, GOOD ONES, and measurements, showing dimensions of the panel and the size and location of every hole and to a good degree of accuracy. Mistakes waste time and cost me money.

If you want to ask me for a panel for your JCM800 or newer series amp, be prepared to help provide the information I need to make it. Because I can't just pull it out of my backside.

The very best way for you to give me that data is to take the panel off the amp (if you can, without damaging it) and scanning it, in sections, and sending me the scans.

I understand that this may not be practical, but it is the best way IF IT IS practical for you.
 

Matthews Guitars

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Progress update. I've got enough panels done that I'm ready to start taking orders on the types I have here.

I've been processing batches after I get them from the print shop, working on them every day. After they come printed and punched from the print shop (CNC cut, actually) then I have to carefully clean them, spray them in multiple coats starting with gold, finish them with primer to give them some capacity to resist chipping and pull-off, and then they're ready to sell OR if you want they can be provided with an adhesive backer applied, as seen here.

It's a pretty good pile and lots still to be done in the current batch.

Available types:

JMP plexi, 1969 pattern, Gill font
JMP plexi, early 70s block font
JTM45,
JTM Black Flag Plexi, 1967
Plexi, block font, with polarity switch cutout

I also have a JMP version that has one minor error...the J in JMP is wrong. I'll sell those at a 15 dollar discount.
 

Matthews Guitars

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Photos.
First photo, the two version JMP fonts. The one where the J drops lower is incorrect. These I'm selling cheaper than the correct ones, by 15 dollars.
Second photo, some of the current plexi batch in progress.
Third photo, painting in progress (primer back coat stage)
Fourth photo, adhesive backed panels (available upon request, otherwise they come with no adhesive.)
Fifth photo, an example of each of the five types I have in stock and ready to ship right now.
 

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Matthews Guitars

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Correction: Six types. The JTM45 type pictured earlier is also available.
 

stickyfinger

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Those look good but do you have a original to show a comparison?

Also is the thickness correct? Most panels (valvestorm, Sparky) are half the thickness of a original likley due to the fact that most pots threads aren't long enough to use a lock washer. Are back panels available as well for JMP and JTM 45.

I dont know the asking price but the 75$ for the Metal panels were steep IMO considering the metal grain looked nothing like a original.
Id be interested at around 50$ if it all holes line up.
 

neikeel

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He had an original JTM45 front panel (plain back) and JMP front panel (green coated rear) of mine to copy so I am very optimistic;)
 

Matthews Guitars

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Yes all the holes line up. Wherever possible, I test all panels on my own growing fleet of vintage Marshalls.

Unfortunately because the amount of labor involved in making the plexi panels is MUCH greater than that involved in making the metal panels, I have to charge more. Only 10 dollars more, which is really too low but I will deal with it.

On a metal panel, once I get it from the print shop, I only need to clearcoat it, stamp in any requested serial numbers, and ship it.
On a plexi panel, once I get it from the print shop, I have to clean it very thoroughly without damaging any printing, and then paint it in multiple coats of gold, silver, and primer, one coat per day. If I rush it I'll end up with a crackle finish right through the gold layer, scrapping the panel. So it's a lot of careful work to get it right. I do have some that fail painting.

I price my panels based on a fair profit over and above my production costs. It has to be worth my while, and in fact it has been.
I've sold hundreds and shipped them to every continent.

Back panels (50 and 100 watt types) in plexi are scheduled for the next batches.
If you are asking for a JTM45 back panel, are you asking for the white plastic version? Or a different version?

For me to make it I need clear photos of intact examples with measurements.

Since plexi panels were discontinued in 1969, it turns out that the only two versions of 50 watt backs I need to make in plexi are the pre-Mark II 1987 type, with and without the voltage selector cutout. If I made other versions in plexi they would not be authentic.

Plexi back panels pose some interesting questions. They made those in three different serial number styles. Some serials are printed/screened before the panel was painted in gold. That requires pre-planning the serial numbers for each batch, which means a fairly long lead time. The window style is a little easier but I have to come up with a fixture so I mask off before painting in exactly the right window area.

The panels that I make are of comparable thickness to the originals. I understand that the construction of some types of Cliff jacks is
based on having the front panel in a limited thickness range.

I take issue with the idea that the grain finish of my metal panels looks nothing like the original. It isn't identical, that is true, but I've had
few complaints over that matter, as it is pretty close. I can't get any closer without going to the original source of the original material used by Marshall's original vendor....which is whom? Where? Do they even still make the same grained product? I'm guessing it's somewhere in Europe, but being in the USA that makes that search quite a challenge. And then once I find it, what should I do? Have it shipped to my production facilities in the USA at great cost? Or try to do contract manufacturing remotely by dealing with a sheet metal shop and a printer's shop in the UK? And deal with the international business regulations involved?

I think I'll pass on that. And I've sourced samples of various grained gold anodized aluminum from every manufacturer I can find any information on in North America. I'm already using the best matched product that any of them have available.

Actually I did find a material that's a dead perfect match as far as gold color and grain pattern, but I have not chosen to use it yet as it's a fiberboard based product (formica/laminate category) with a thin aluminum layer. It looks very correct but I don't think it would be well received. I would welcome anybody's input on that and I'll pose it as a question right now.


I can make the metalface JMP panels in a material that is visually indistinguishable from the original Marshall panels. But it's a Formica type product with a thin aluminum face. Would you prefer that, or the solid aluminum panels I am making now?

There is a possibility that the formica type material will warp due to moisture absorption on its back fiber layer.
 

Matthews Guitars

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Maybe I shouldn't post when I'm thinking too much, but I have to say that I don't much appreciate it when people who've made no attempt to do what I have done, and have never seen my work in person, dare to attempt to criticize it, particularly when I'm pretty much if not actually the only game in town and have invested more time and more money in my products than they could know or realize. I've WASTED hundreds if not thousands of dollars on early product runs that resulted in unsellable scraps, and absorbed those expenses and kept on grinding away at these projects until I've got products ready to sell that are literally the best in the world, that I will cheerfully compare to any of my competitors's products....if they HAVE those products.

While there are some people/companies that make a few types of "competing" products, nobody offers my range, and nobody beats my quality and authenticity when it comes to reproduction JMP and now JTM era Marshall front and rear panels. Some offer a couple of specific types, but they don't try to cover every model and every variant within the JMP and JTM families. I'm cataloging around FIFTY panel variants and have more to complete and bring to production. Despite having found very satisfactory gold paint I'm still looking for an even CLOSER to original gold paint matching formula. Yet what I have is generally more consistent and bright than even Marshall was making over the original years of plexi panel production.

Exact shade of gold paint and exact texture of the metal panels are the two biggest factors that I have had to deal with, where getting that exact match has been a real challenge. Sometimes you can only get a specific result by dealing with a single product made by a single company somewhere in the world, and you literally don't know who that is or where they are. But I'm closer to getting it perfect than any of my competitors, you can be sure of that! (Unless one in Europe may have the right sheet metal vendor....which I don't know.)


When I design these, wherever possible, I start with an original, measure it and its important details, create a first draft, then print that draft on transparencies. I then lay the transparency over the original and then start making dozens, or literally hundreds of small corrections to slowly move everything into exact position. A single design typically gets printed to transparency a dozen times or more as I make those little fine tuned corrections that make them EXACT to the example I work from. And then when the pattern is exact, I set it up for production, and I generate an artboard with 16 copies of that panel, spaced exactly to match the way the sheet metal work will be done, and print a full sheet of 16 copies of the panel to a large proof sheet. This matches how the sheet metal work will be produced, in batches of 16 per sheet section. I check this against the sheet metal hole patterns that I also print out for proof. I check all this against the original panels. If it's not a ton of work, it's at least half a ton.

And then when I send the data to my contractors, it's always the same result. They print a proof copy to cross check the work, and don't have to make any edits except those that are needed to accomodate their production equipment. But they NEVER say "You've got errors we had to fix" because over time I've become very meticulous about my work.

I'm not out to build a second rate product. I'm out to build panels that are up to the highest standards for restoration of the nicest, most valuable vintage Marshalls in the world.

If Marshall should decide to do another limited edition Plexi reissue and they want to kick their authenticity up a notch, I'd actually expect Marshall to get the panels from me. Because I KNOW that I'm making the most authentic plexi panels on earth since the late 60s.
 

stickyfinger

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I can make the metalface JMP panels in a material that is visually indistinguishable from the original Marshall panels. But it's a Formica type product with a thin aluminum face. Would you prefer that, or the solid aluminum panels I am making now?
I'm not in the market for repo metal panels. I'd rather keep my crusty, bent and rubbed off lettering original panels on my amps. It devalues the amp to replace it but I under stand folks like their amps looking new or may choose to do this for their own reasons.

I think a repo product that is indented to be for restorations should at least be equivalent to what it is being marketed as and these metal panels of yours are too thick, grain is not anywhere correct and the lettering seems to jump out at you. I don't need one in hand to notice how off they are.

Take a modern Marshall and look at the panels. Those in terms of grain and screen printing look really good like a Marshall should. So yes the product can be better.

But Im talking Plexi panels and IMO the Plexi pannels are a lot easier to get right than the metal panels. Sparky made some great panels for builds that only cost 35$. Maybe he sold them too cheap to not make it worth his while but still for that asking price they need to be 95% there.

That is all.
 

Matthews Guitars

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Take it from me, there's a lot more work in a plexi panel than in a metal panel. Once I get both types back from the print shop, the metal panel only needs an optional clearcoat that I apply so as to give the lettering some good wear resistance. (Satin clearcoat, which replicates the appearance and sheen of originals quite well.) The plexi panels as I make them take at least three paint stages that have to be sprayed at least a day apart.

I have the ability to either screen print or digitally print some types of panels. Digital printing is much more consistent. When I screen print,
I can only do a relatively small number before I start running into problems with ink migration in the screens, and ink starting to dry while I'm still screening panels. I do use screen printing to make optional additions to some panel types, such as marking 4 hole 100 watt back panels to turn two speaker jack holes into holes marked for an effects loop. And I screen "Mark II" onto some panels, which saves me the effort of having to have yet another type of panel digitally printed.

Again, I print everything to transparencies to compare to original panels. Adjustments are made to within thousandths of an inch. You WOULD be hard pressed to find any issues with my 2203/2204 front panels, as an example, not matching up precisely to the originals. Keep in mind that photographs do not always represent exactly what a product looks like in person.
 

TAZIN

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I assume your JTM 'black flag' panel is your own unique version since it bares little resemblance to the originals?
 

Matthews Guitars

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It's meant to be as accurate to the originals as my data allows. If you see any issues with it, TELL ME NOW and help by providing me with information that will make them more accurate. I have no issues with scrapping the whole batch I just had made, if they can be improved, and I haven't started painting them yet so now's the time!
 

Matthews Guitars

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Upon review I do see that my legend rows are too close to the centerline. I'll rework them and put them where they are on the originals. Thanks for catching that. Now I've got another pile to add to the scrap heap.

The Black Flag version will thus be delayed pending corrections.
 

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