Vintage Marshall vs Handwired Replica?

ajtonly1

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2022
Messages
38
Reaction score
74
like everyone stated, it's about the transformers.........

OT affects the sound and IMO this is the most important
the PT affects the attack..... I had to replace one with a Merren and it sounds as great as it ever did

FYI the amp I am referreing to is a late 68/early 69 SB....

and when it comes to the sound remember, everything drifts, the sound we hear today from these amps is not what they sounded like when they were new. Just like guitars, caps drift, pots drift, etc...

And please, replace the filter caps, from a collectors stand point they want everything original, but from maintenance stand point and usability, if you play with original filters, be prepared for the amp to die

That's why it's so important to get them serviced right and maintain them.

I've had many "holy grail amps" and plan on spending 3-600 right off the back to get it looked at and serviced right off the back. I also use voltage monitors as home power sources will spike from 125-130 easily. These things were not designed for todays power grids.

I have mine biased at 110 and run them strictly at that

Good luck on your search and these guys here know a lot, but some are confused about todays prices LOL

Price depends on location in the world and rarity
 
Joined
Nov 26, 2021
Messages
56
Reaction score
92
with modern high quality components, and good tubes you can get pretty close.
check my 2204 clone (mind the shitty playing it was 10 years ago. today i play even worse! :drunk:).

you can watch my shitty building skills at the end of the video. this was my first amp build.
check 2:55 for some akadaka goodness.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: TM1

boola1

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Messages
484
Reaction score
398
The reissues from Marshall have a stiffness and more spikey tone. It's hard to describe but that's my experience anyway. The old amps seem more touch sensitive and obviously nail that sound.

I would be pefectly happy with a 1987x, especially if I were gigging. But there's no better experience than cranking up an original Marshall or Fender for that matter.

I'm not sure it's all about the transformers. I have a 1962 Tremolux with a replacement OT. It's arguably the best sounding amp of the lot and sounds identical to others I have seen on youtube.
 

ajtonly1

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2022
Messages
38
Reaction score
74
Things I have owned and what I have learned from experiences & I restate.....

Most experts have never owned some of these so take opinions as a grain of salt in an open wound

1 Remember what you hear today is not what they sounded like, so as electric parts drift and wear, they all don't age the same Some are just worn out and need some love. IMO that's why some shine and some are just not that great

2 The output transformer is where the magic is, that's why people like Dumble and Diaz used NOS or used OT in their builds

3 Power transformer is important to how the amp attacks

4 Run your amps at safe voltages and bias them on how you intend to run them

5 PTP is better when it comes to servicing and modding.........other than that the PCBs are awesome and still great deals to be had, just be careful some Jimmy Joe may have modded it and burned the board. ****Remember JCM 800, 900s and Silvers are PCBs. The 900 and Silver are Diode clipped & IMO sound great. Amps are like an ice cream shop, different flavs for everyone. Like what you like and screw the forum fanboys.

6 The reissues sound great, don't listen to the elitists, it's the speakers that are really important

If you are wondering my experiences, i own or have owned a few good ones

two 10000 SBs
78 SL
Jtm45
JTM45 offset RI
64 AA763 Vibro
Diaz (that guy) modded 64 SR
Cougar modded 67 SR
Selmer Thunderbird
59 Bassman
68 Bassman
69 Princeton

and a lot more. Peoplpe's opinions may differ, but I'm just stating mine from experiences

In all of these, they always sound better serviced, old speakers only sound good when they are not worn down, I'll take a proper recone over a beat to death roast beef sandwich

 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: TM1

mAx___

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2012
Messages
616
Reaction score
372
I recently had to replace an output transformer in a '72 Marshall Major with a new MM clone. I was impressed when the amp came back to life sounding exactly like before. I had several recordings made with the original transformer and I could confirm that the sound of the Mercury Magnetics was identical.
I believe that when taking component inconsistencies/drift out of the equation, a modern clone can sound virtually the same as a vintage amp.
The only thing that can't be reproduced anymore is the sound of the old speakers. If I had to choose to give up my vintage amp or my vintage cab...it would be no contest.
 
Last edited:

ajtonly1

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2022
Messages
38
Reaction score
74
I had to replace a Power and Chris Merren hooked me up, the amp sounded as phenomenal as ever. Will it take a hit on the market........... Yeah but I don't care, I bought it to play not to collect.
 

ajtonly1

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2022
Messages
38
Reaction score
74
I recently had to replace an output transformer in a '72 Marshall Major with a new MM clone. I was impressed when the amp came back to life sounding exactly like before. I had several recordings made with the original transformer and I could confirm that the sound of the Mercury Magnetics was identical.
I believe that when taking component inconsistencies/drift out of the equation, a modern clone can sound virtually the same as a vintage amp.
The only thing that can't be reproduced anymore is the sound of the old speakers. If I had to give up my vintage amp or my vintage cab...it would be no contest.
i agree, I collect speakers and cabs just because those are the most important to me. Original cones in good shape are so hard to find these days and there are many fakes out their.

BygoneTones a member here, his site has been such an awesome help for me over time. I reference his knowledge all the time

Also, bro, long time sub to your Tube channel, great playing and got a treble boost from you not to long ago. Thanks for all the info you share too.
 

JamminJeff

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2021
Messages
258
Reaction score
572
Location
USA
@Geeze Actually, a JMP 2203 is what I'm interested in. I'd pretty much have to buy it off reverb, which seems like a bit of a gamble. I was suspecting/hoping that vintage was mainly about resale value and just wanting to own an original. Then again, I haven't heard any side by side comparisons online between a vintage Marshall and a clone, so I can't say for sure. How was your 73 clone compared to the vintage Marshalls you owned tonewise?
As a side note, almost EVERYTHING on Reverb has drastically inflated prices and it's getting worse, not better. If you decide on a certain model of something, scour the internet and even small music stores for the item you're looking for. If you find it and it's the quality grade your looking for, you will easily save some serious money.

If you are truly motivated and capable buyer, start posting WTB ads. Be willing to say no thanks.
 

Tele.4 amplifier

New Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2022
Messages
5
Reaction score
6
The reissues from Marshall have a stiffness and more spikey tone. It's hard to describe but that's my experience anyway. The old amps seem more touch sensitive and obviously nail that sound.

I would be pefectly happy with a 1987x, especially if I were gigging. But there's no better experience than cranking up an original Marshall or Fender for that matter.

I'm not sure it's all about the transformers. I have a 1962 Tremolux with a replacement OT. It's arguably the best sounding amp of the lot and sounds identical to others I have seen on youtube.
A very sympathetic opinion. I think this is a very important concept, especially when playing rhythm guitar.
I want a slightly sweet sound and a quirky drive tone.
I think that depends on the skill and aesthetics of the amp builder.

 

paul-e-mann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
19,475
Reaction score
21,181
Depends on the investment value and what you can afford, I'd rather go for a $1000 clone over a $3000 vintage amp, its smarter money spent. :yesway:
 

ajtonly1

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2022
Messages
38
Reaction score
74
Depends on the investment value and what you can afford, I'd rather go for a $1000 clone over a $3000 vintage amp, its smarter money spent. :yesway:
It depends on what you can afford but you’ll seldom see your money back in a clone minus a couple makers. On a vintage amp you will either get your money back or make a few depending on some things.
 

David Rivers

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
55
Reaction score
61
I'm wondering about the tone of vintage Marshall amps vs handwired replicas done today by experienced amp builders. I've seen the schematics for vintage Marshalls posted online. So, that makes it seem like a current day builder could 1:1 reproduce a vintage Marshall and build an amp with the exact same sound. Then again, perhaps not. Is there anything that makes a vintage Marshall tonally superior compared to what an amp builder could make these days with a remake/clone? I wonder if there are certain parts, materials, etc. used back then that aren't available anymore that make the old amps somehow sound better, or if the replica would sound essentially the same as the original.
plenty of great builders,.although i think sometimes the tubes"mullards" and how an amp is biased makes a huge difference in sound along with the cab/speakers being used ..there are probably components used in the past that aren't used today like "mustard caps" or musturd caps...George Metropulous made a great clone marshall amps..but they're about the same as a real vintage marshall..2.5k -3+k..and a handwired amp is the best
 

Trem man

New Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2022
Messages
12
Reaction score
16
My experience: I had an original 1966 18 watt 2-12 combo with 90's English made Greenbacks. It was a great amp for sure. Then I had Roy Blankenship make me one of his Leeds 21 heads (an 18 watt clone). It was every bit the equal of the vintage Marshall in terms of sound. That, combined with the versatility of having a head for studio use and modern reliability made it a little easier to part with the '66 when I needed the money to purchase more studio gear. If I could have kept both I would have but it would only have been for the collectability. The Leeds 21 always delivers the goods.
 

paul-e-mann

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2009
Messages
19,475
Reaction score
21,181
It depends on what you can afford but you’ll seldom see your money back in a clone minus a couple makers. On a vintage amp you will either get your money back or make a few depending on some things.
Totally agree, I wouldnt get a clone unless I planned on keeping it. :yesway:
 

AustinPaul

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
28
Reaction score
47
I'm wondering about the tone of vintage Marshall amps vs handwired replicas done today by experienced amp builders. I've seen the schematics for vintage Marshalls posted online. So, that makes it seem like a current day builder could 1:1 reproduce a vintage Marshall and build an amp with the exact same sound. Then again, perhaps not. Is there anything that makes a vintage Marshall tonally superior compared to what an amp builder could make these days with a remake/clone? I wonder if there are certain parts, materials, etc. used back then that aren't available anymore that make the old amps somehow sound better, or if the replica would sound essentially the same as the original.
Absolutely "close enough for rock & roll". My JTM45 RI? I have no idea if it sounds like what Marshall made back in the day, but I don't care. It's an absolutely fantastic amp. I don't have one complaint about it. Every single time I play it, it feels like an experience. I mean I have things like, '68 Super Reverb, a ' 68 Leslie model 16, and then various other tube amps that are newer. I'll admit that the Super Reverb with the Leslie is also an 'experience'. The other amps are excellent, but the Marshall and old Fender, and said Fender w/ Leslie, give me chills at times. As a tone obsessed friend said of my Marshall "OMG, that is the best amp I have ever heard! Holy s-*t!

Suffice to say there are my two amps - the Fender being the real thing, the Marshall, the new thing and they get along together incredibly well. If I am possibly missing +/- .001+% difference from an original one, I just don't care. If it sounds great to me, that's all that matters. The audience? They never can tell this from that.

Besides, you just can't do an A/B comparison. An original plexi, Vox, Fender, etc., has had all of those years to age, so values of the components drift. If you're adding in the cabs and speakers of yore, the aging process is even more pronounced.

Beyond that, we're just cork sniffing if we don't accept modern production reissues because they aren't assembled the same and use some pcb which as we know varies greatly from junk, throwaway quality, up to entirely repairable for a lifetime.

Lastly - the clones that profess to be 1-1 reproductions? If they're really expensive, they're not worth it IMO. If they are reasonably priced and that's what floats your boat, go for it. Me, I'm fine with production reissues. The brain, or your mind, is, you know, like really close to your ears. Your brain can VERY easily and very often 'tell' your ears what to hear and what to spend. Lol

That's my .002 FWIW
 
Last edited:

FleshOnGear

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 2, 2017
Messages
693
Reaction score
1,262
Location
Virginia
Totally agree, I wouldnt get a clone unless I planned on keeping it. :yesway:
Well, I plan to keep all the gear I buy! Things don’t always work out, though.
Absolutely "close enough for rock & roll". My JTM45 RI? I have no idea if it sounds like what Marshall made back in the day, but I don't care. It's an absolutely fantastic amp. I don't have one complaint about it. Every single time I play it, it feels like an experience. I mean I have things like, '68 Super Reverb, a ' 68 Leslie model 16, and then various other tube amps that are newer. I'll admit that the Super Reverb with the Leslie is also an 'experience'. The other amps are excellent, but the Marshall and old Fender, and said Fender w/ Leslie, are give me chills at times. As a tone obsessed friend said of my Marshall "OMG, that is the best amp I have ever heard! Holy s-*t!

Suffice to say there are my two amps - the Fender being the real thing, the Marshall, the new thing and they get along together incredibly well. If I am possibly missing +/- .001+% difference from an original one, I just don't care. If it sounds great to me, that's all that matters. The audience? They never can tell this from that.

Besides, you just can't do an A/B comparison. An original plexi, Vox, Fender, etc., has had all of those years to age, so values of the components drift. If you're adding in the cabs and speakers of yore, the aging process is even more pronounced.

Beyond that, we're just cork sniffing if we don't accept modern production reissues because they aren't assembled the same and use some pcb which as we know varies greatly from junk, throwaway quality, up to entirely repairable for a lifetime.

That's my .002 FWIW
I mostly agree with you. I do believe, though, that individual vintage amps take on a personality of their own as they age. So, if you’re lucky, you might get to play several amps and keep the one that sounds the best to your ears. And maybe it’s not technically “better” than a clone, but it’s maybe a better fit for your ears and your playing style. Of course, I haven’t had the opportunity to play several old JMPs, so I don’t know how true this belief might be.
 

vtrain

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
279
Reaction score
490
Location
Chicagoland
I'm not sure it's all about the transformers. I have a 1962 Tremolux with a replacement OT. It's arguably the best sounding amp of the lot and sounds identical to others I have seen on youtube.

It might all be about the transformers but there’s no guarantee that an old one will sound great or that a new one won’t totally blow it away.
 

Theresa

New Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
5
There are 3 things IMO that makes a vintage Marshall superior:

1. Unregulated components that cannot be precisely reproduced due to environmental laws and regulations.

2. Idiosyncrasies (parts usage varying from individual amps each week and component drift occurring over time), which contributes to the amp being smoother/rounder/mellower/more…”??” etc. Note: individual variation and/or component drift can work for OR against what the user wants.

3. Confirmation bias. People who paid $250-$300 for a 30+ year old MIJ Boss HM-2 (complete with component drift) are going to find a way to reason why their purchase of the noisy old pedal is better than the new HM-2 Waza Boss released.

I agree with V-Man on many points... but also when taken in account that the amp is a sum of it's parts, it becomes hard to compare apples to oranges. The 1959HW is a different animal compared to say a 1959 SLA from 1967-1969. Tubes were different then, transformers, capacitors and resistors were all very different. Some would argue that the modern day components are superior to that of the 60's era versions. Modern day amps of boutique stature (Friedman, Bogner, Divide 13, Dr. Z. Morgan) are some of the best amps to hit the market. When the 1959 SLA's were new "back in the day" they were not considered with the same reverence as they are today. They were all "just amps" . They really didn't sound all that different between one another... similar yes, but pretty much the "same". Fender, Marshall, Hiwatt, and Vox all scrounged for parts to complete production builds and changed schematic specs to accommodate the shortages of parts or whims of the design team. It was a different time then and lends the mystic to the amps that have survived a half a century later.

My favorite is the fact that some of these amps with original components have such a component value drift due to age that they somehow become amazing sounding. My 1968 Bassman is an example. In 1970 the amp was "ok" but now it's amazing. LOL The same is true with those 54 year old Marshalls and Hiwatts.

If I had my ruthers, I'd opt for a true 1959 SLA or SB. But If you want "road reliability" then get a modern equivalent that sounds and reacts similar to the amp of choice.
 

Pleximan1968

New Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Location
Ohio
I've had a really great Marshall JMP50 clone it was a 1986 bass spec. Made with NOS parts. The PT and choke were Marstran. The OT was Merren. It sounded exactly like a 1969 1986 bass spec JMP50. I think something that gets overlooked is wall voltage and actually cranking the amp up. I hooked the amp up to a variac and a power conditioner. I lowered the voltage to about 112-117 v. It really does something to get a more vintage vibe. Maybe it softens it or makes it less biting.

To answer your question there's a lot of amps that will nail that tone. It's just a matter of how close you want to get. A 2021x or 1974x is a good choice you can actually get some power tube distortion at a reasonable volume. I had to use a Fryette power station to get breakup on the jmp50 clone. It's insanely loud. Also, those amps are pretty low gain. I recommend an EP Booster if you want some bite out of those kinds of amps.
 


Top