The Roland classic!
For over 30 years, its sound quality and built-in effects have made the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus Amp the choice of pro players everywhere. It features 2 independent 60W amps, 2 input channels (Normal and Effects) with 3-band ...
"By the time I started making solo records, I had developed some pretty bad attitudes towards vintage gear and the vintage cognoscenti. I think it stemmed from the fact I was working at a vintage guitar store—Second Hand Guitars in Berkeley—and I was broke. But back then, I only thought about music. So, in a way, I became 'Mr. Contrarian' when it came to tone. With Surfing, I went in with a Roland JC-120 and a ’68 Marshall half-stack that was modded with a master volume. I also used original Chandler Tube Drivers, a Boss DS-1 and an SD-1, a Scholz Rockman, a Nomad amplifier, and a borrowed bass amp."more
"I own a couple of Jazz Chorus combos, the [JC-120] 2 x 12. Nothing else sounds like it … it has a sound all of its own. I keep a minimum of stuff in my studio, but I always have at least one JC onhand. There’s a band called White Lion, and he [the guitarist] used the Roland JC heads. I bought four heads off of him at the end of their tour, so I have four of those and a pair of the Jazz Chorus combos."more
"Speaking of, did ever you experiment with Roland’s famous JC-120 Jazz Chorus amp? Oh absolutely. In fact, in the early Jane’s Addiction days, Perry used to use a Jazz Chorus on “Three Days” — one of our songs. He’d play rhythm guitar on it through the JC-120, and it always had that classic tone. I’ll tell you, that thing was louder than any other instrument in the rest of the band combined [laughs]. It just cuts through anything."more
"I go back to the beginning with the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus amplifier. I met with Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi in 1975 and he presented the amp to me. Never before had I heard such clean tones at low and very high volumes. The JC-120 does an incredible job of reproducing whatever signal and sounds are plugged into it. I need an amp I can use for clean tones, fat tones, pedal steel guitar, and acoustic guitar. I have even bussed background vocals from a recording console through the JC-120 in the stereo chorus mode, with a mic on each speaker and back to the console—beautiful! I have used the JC-120 on such songs as Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” and Donna Summers’ “Hot Stuff,” and on recording projects with Rod Stewart, Ringo Starr, and the TV series King of the Hill, to name just a few examples. I use it on virtually every live gig I do, from rock shows to classical guitar at the Kennedy Center with a choir and orchestra. Reliable, solid, sweet, and versatile, it is my go-to amp of choice. Very few guitar amplifiers are referred to as “iconic,” and the Roland JC-120 fits that description perfectly."more
"I first heard a JC-120 at a casual party in L.A. in 1977. Someone was playing some chords and noodling around—not very well in fact—but the sound mesmerized me. I had never heard an amp sound so pristine and beautiful. There was a shimmering clarity to every note. Then the player turned on the actual stereo chorusing. Wow! What an incredible sound. I nearly fell off my chair! I sat there speechless until I finally asked if I could play through it. Within the first two notes I played I was madly in love with the JC-120. To me, the stereo chorusing and vibrato were the single most beautiful guitar sounds I’d ever heard an amp produce. And I loved the way it looked: cool, modern, and unique. I was in L.A. at the time rehearsing with Frank Zappa, my first big break in the music business. I told Frank about the amp, and the next day one showed up for us to investigate. Frank liked it enough to advance me the money to buy my first JC-120. I still have it comfortably ensconced in my studio. I still love it and still record with it. Oh, and speaking of recording with it, here’s a short list of some of the records I made with my first JC-120: Sheik Yerbouti with Frank Zappa Lodger with David Bowie Remain in Light with Talking Heads Discipline with King Crimson And that list goes on and on… In 1979, I made my first trip to Japan as guitarist for David Bowie’s Stage tour. I was given the opportunity to visit one of Roland’s research and development facilities. And there I met the founder of Roland, Mr. Kakehashi, an incredible inventor and a sweet dear man who liked to laugh. The next year, I went back to Japan with Talking Heads, and the year after that with King Crimson. Mr. Kakehashi came to all my shows, and he and I became good friends. At a King Crimson concert in Tokyo, he noticed my tendency to create wild feedback with the JC-120. I would go back to the JC-120 and wave the guitar in front of it in different ways and it would make a crazy oscillating sound. This was caused by overloading the chorus effect with an Electro Harmonix Big Muff and EQ, then manipulating the chorus parameters. He loved that part of the show and afterwards he asked me, “Is it expensive to do that sound?” I said, “Cheap, if you already have a Roland Jazz Chorus amp”. He laughed and thought that was great. Whenever I saw him from then on he would remind me by imitating someone swinging a guitar around. When I think of how much Mr. K’s ideas changed modern music (and indeed my music), I am truly amazed. The Roland Jazz Chorus JC-120 has made a huge mark on the music of the last four decades and continues to do so today. There is simply nothing else like it. In my opinion, it has to be considered in the pantheon of the top three amplifiers of all time."more
From an interview Adam gave to Tzvi Gluckin of Premier Guitar in 2016 "That and a Roland JC-120 or a Fender Twin was sort of the go-to" quote from Adam Hann on what gear used to for the clean sounds on The 1975's second album. Furthermore, a caption on a photo on the same page states it accompanies two Hiwatt Custom 50s and the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus.more
"The Roland JC-120 has been a staple in my collection of amplifiers for as long as I can remember—probably from the day it came out! I have used it on many recordings for its distinctive clarity of sound and always-superior chorus. If I am playing away from home and amps have to be supplied, my first choice is always the JC 120. It is a no-fail amp in just about every situation."more
Tilley: "Justin introduced us to the Roland JC-120. Growing up, I was told tube amps are the be all and end all, so I may have written off this amp without Justin’s guidance. The JC-120 is responsible for many of the classic ’80s chorus tones heard on the Smiths and Police albums, and it pairs nicely with digital effects. I found that going with a good solid-state amp is a great way to diversify your sonic pallet"more
Jones is also a glutten for effects. On the intro to “Reflection” and “The Grudge,” both from Lateralus, he employs a vintage Moog Taurus bass pedal system. But aside from the Heil Talk Box on 10,000 Days, run through a Roland JC-120 and juiced up by a dynamic compressor, Jones’ choices of effects is less esoteric. His wah-wah pedal is a dependable Cry Baby, and his stable of other sound generators includes Boss DD3 and DD5 digital delays, a BF-2 flanger, a Line 6 Delay modeler (which also samples on the fly), a Strobostomp tuner, a tremolo pedal, chorus, and an array of distortion boxes. During experimental phases, Jones has taken the stage with multiple pedal boards at his feet. The irony of this rundown is that Jones has gone on record saying he doesn’t like to use pedals.more
Early in 1979, Buchanan switched to a Fender Stratocaster for a few years. He vacillated between guitars until 1985, when he permanently retired his ’53 in favor of a 1983 Tele loaded with Bill Lawrence pickups and a Gibson 30th Anniversary Les Paul goldtop. During this period Buchanan explored a variety of amplifiers, including Peaveys, Mesa/ Boogies, and Marshalls, before eventually settling on a Roland JC-120. He also began experimenting with a Boss DD-2 delay pedal.more
In early days of The Byrds, I used an Epiphone with two 10. speakers. We went direct in the studio. Later on, we used Fender Dual Showman amps for live work, which we liked a lot. John Sebastian turned me on to the Roland JC-120, and that was my amp of choice for years. Although it’s a great-sounding amp, I go direct onstage. I use an in-ear monitor and AM wireless. In fact, I start my show offstage, so you can hear me, but not see me. I plug into a Sennheiser wireless, into the Janglebox and then a direct box.more
Now if you want to talk guitar, ask Dave Gregory. He was crushed that he couldn't take his entire guitar harem (over 20) with him for Oranges and Lemons, but he made do with his faves: a 1953 Gibson Les Paul gold-top; a Schecter Telecaster-style ("quite versatile"); a 1963 Stratocaster; a semi-hollow 1964 Epiphone Riviera with miniature humbuckers, heard on the "Pink Thing" solo ("It has a nice Beatley sound"); and one of the first 25 Rickenbacker 12-strings shipped to England in the wake of A Hard Day's Night. Gregory uses Ernie Ball strings "out of force of habit," but creates his own gauge set: .011-.013-.016-.024-.038-.050. He has a Roland JC-120 amp "for those rare occasions that I go out of the house," and a Japanese Fender Sidekick 30 amp for home practice. Effects include a MIDIverb and D1500. For keyboard dabbling he keeps a Roland JX3P with MSQ-100 sequencer, and "an old acoustic piano."more
'As well as my Tele I'd just got a Squier Strat, and I used that quite a lot through a Roland JC120 amp. It was whatever I like the shape of that week, more than the sound! I had a big thing that we used to call "The Tower", which had all these effects built in and then a huge multi-core cable to this massive, customised foot pedal. You needed a forklift truck to move it around.'more
A thread on Gearslutz detailing the custom pedalboard built for Roland by Pete Cornish lists the following pedals as part of the board: Note the Roland JC-120 is just speculation by Pete Cornish himself. PC Buffer/Line driver Boss CS-2 Boss SD-1 Spare send/return 1 Boss CE-2 Boss VB-2 Spare send/return 2 DDL send/return (type of delay not known) Master Effects Bypass EQ send/return (type of EQ not known) System Mute PC Line Driver/ground isolation/Booster feed to amp (possibly Roland JC120)more
David runs his signal through Boss Vibrato, Chorus and Octaver pedals, a T.C. Electronic distortion box, and a master volume pedal. Though he owns a Vox AC30, a Roland JC-120, a 60/100-watt MESA/Boogie, and a small Gallien Krueger, Rhodes often defers to the engineer when it comes to making amp choices: “He knows the room and the sound he wants, so I’m happy to work with whatever he plugs me into.” Preferring the sound of worn strings, Rhodes uses gauges .010 through .046 for electric and .011 through .052 for acoustic.more
The Roland classic!
For over 30 years, its sound quality and built-in effects have made the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus Amp the choice of pro players everywhere. It features 2 independent 60W amps, 2 input channels (Normal and Effects) with 3-band EQ for each, and a pair of 12" speakers. Effects include reverb, distortion, adjustable vibrato, and true stereo chorus. Distortion, reverb, and chorus are footswitchable.
Dimensions: 30"W x 24-1/2"H x 11-1/4"D
Weight: 62 lbs.
Output: 120W (60W + 60W)
My favorite clean tone. Nothing else to say.
Drawbacks are is that ANY kind of breakup sounds like dog doo doo. This amp doesn't sound pretty with a slightly broken-up clean tone like a Fender would. On top of that, the older models have a fixed chorus setting with no control over the depth or speed.The only Jazz Choruses that have this option are the JC77, JC55, JC40, and the JC120H.
I loved the sound of this fella long before I knew what it was. "Chorus on everything!" Phase? Yup, had one. After that nonsense pasted it was used largely on Keys and lived a very hard life on the road. I was juuust coming back around to playing guitar thru it and well, she's gonna need a trip to the doctor some TLC before that'll happen.
It's a staple sound for sure- The amp & it's Chorus. There is a matter of taste with these matters tho. Me? I LOVE this guy. For a mix of reasons. Sturdy bastard! Lord we were hard on it (it's actually sitting next to me, serving as an end table sadly). I will admit there is like a mix of conscious nostalgia for its sound and also just baked into me from the music of my youth.
They're not too hard to find & I'd definitely encourage anyone to go & see if it's a sound you dig. Lord knows you'll have loads of company. Good company in lots of cases.
Dammit. There goes my day. I'm fixing my Jazz Chorus dammit.
Oh boy. I got this amp because I was tired of schlepping around with two or three amps for stereo setups. I also use many pedals to color my tone, and so a bright and glassy clean is the goal. As much as I love the warmth of tubes, I can forego them for now, as with this classic amp, the veritable Lamborghini of SS amps is in my arsenal.
The originator of the beloved, then forgotten chorus effect, this amp is a classic!
What attracted me to this amp was how clean and pure the tone is and how lush the chorus is. It does not try to be tube which is my least favorite thing about most solid state amps. It is just a big DI box with some nice color to the tone. The stereo chorus is almost always on when I play. It does a great job at adding a rich texture without getting in the way of anything. The reverb on the amp is nice and ample but nothing crazy. I am not much for vibrato but the vibrato can also provide some nice textures that mix well in the overall tone. The reason I did not give this amp 5 stars though was because the distortion is unusable. It is not a big deal for me because I have plenty of pedals but it was disappointing to find. The JC 40 has a really nice distortion effect though, that almost reminds me of a transparent overdrive, plus it is not insanely loud like this monster.