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Trusted musician and artist reviews for Marshall JCM800 2203 100W Tube Head Amp
Based on 13 Reviews and 99 Ratings
Those who are about to rock....
Definitive. Classic. Legendary. This is the amp that shaped a generation, and is the sound most think of when they think of rock, hard rock, metal and grunge. With the pre amp on about 2, your clean tone sounds like it is vibrating a metal tray covered in broken glass, just beautiful crisp and a little raw. Turn that dial and you go from a little raw to a big roar. I love turning this amp up to about 5, keeping the pre amp at about 2. The push from the air in front of the cab is far more rewarding and defined than the one coming from the kick drum. At home, bringing the volume up to where it JUST comes through to the speakers, guarantees a very rewarding 30 - 45 seconds of playing before the house and the neighbours get a bit wild.
My 1st Marshall and 1st BIG British amp. Here comes the boom?
Jim Marshall claimed this was his favorite Marshall model of all time. To this day I cannot understand why.
I remember buying one of these used around '99. I was so excited. Wow what a let down. I really wanted a 2203 and didn't know it yet. This didn't last long. The clean channel is kinda weak until pushed into overdrive, then it gets some Plexi vibe (didn't know how to describe that at the age of 20 either). The 'overdrive' channel? Whoa what a mess. I know Tom Morello gets tones out of this model (or a similar model, he may have the 50 and 50s are typically sweeter in Marshall's line), but I never could. Shorty after I got my 1st and longest serving Plexi and then I got a 50 watt single-channel 800 combo and the scales lifted from my eyes. "Let there be tone," I said... and then I got that 62 candy panel AC30 and the Marshalls sounded a little less sweet. I found it harder to hear the luster, just the fury and the bluster....
but I digress... the channel switching 800s leave a lot to be desired, but if its between this and ANY JCM900, get the 800. You may be thinking that I got a bad unit or something, but I assure you that compared to some 's I've tried in stores since the turn of the century mine sounded downright good. None of them have any feel or touch responsiveness. I guess you don't need that with a footswitch to change sounds. The 80s and 90s were a strange time. We live in a comparative renaissance when it comes to tube tone and really all things guitar. Bask in it.
In closing, you could use one of these early channel switchers to amplify your guitar in blues, classic rock or even certain hard rock and metal situations. I don't recommend it, but you can try it. If you can't afford a serious 800 get yourself a Laney GH50L or 100L. The older the better. While they are almost a dead-rip-off of a single channel 800 with some 'modern' features I choose to ignore, the build quality wasn't a knock on a 2203 and it got worse every year.
This is by far the best amp you could possible ever have in my eyes. To think guitar center sold it to me half off, because "Vintage is the same thing as used". I'd prefer it be vintage. So damn loud too. I can't get past 2.25 before my windows start shaking.
edited almost 2 years ago
My main for a while now since I retired my mesa triple rec and sold the mark IIC+ its a JCM800 its nice but I tend to rely on pedal distortion or overdrive (Boss DS-1 / Fulltone PlimSoul) although I love my AC30
You want 80's/90's metal & grunge rock? Get this amp
It's a classic...nuff said. I only wish I got the 50 watt because I literally never use this thing anymore seeing as I never have the opportunity to crank it which is what it was built to do and it doesn't sound right at low volume.