Marshall JCM 800 Amp Series!
With origins in the 1970s but actually dating to the 1980s, the Marshall JCM 800 series brought a new look and some new features to one of the biggest names in electric guitar amplification.
Started in the early 1960s, British maker Marshall became a well-established force in the amplifier world almost immediately.
As music evolved into a new decade, players were pushing their margins and wanting new sounds from their increasingly complex instruments that old amps weren’t able to offer.
The MV series, originally called the JMP series actually, was introduced by Marshall in the mid-1970s to address player concerns, and it laid the groundwork for the JCM 800 series.
Techies had been modifying Marshall amps for years trying to get more distortion.
Marshall responded by bringing a product line with more distortion to the market.
A master volume control was added to make it easier to manage volume levels.
Players like Zakk Wylde and Slash liked the changes because they gave Marshall amps a new sound that was edgier and more cutting.
The MV or JMP series evolved in the 1980s into the JCM 800 series, named after Marshall himself and his car’s license plate number.
Eventually, several amps came out under the series name, including the massively powerful 2203, a 100-watt amp, and the less powerful -- but just as good sounding -- 50-watt 2204.
An effects loop was also added, something Marshall had never offered before.
The look of the amps also changed with the introduction of the JCM 800 series.
Previous models were all vinyl, but on these, grille cloth replaced the top two-thirds of the head box.
The logos on the heads and the cabs were quite a bit bigger, too.
People liked the new design, and it was continued in the JCM 900 and JCM 2000 series amplifiers from Marshall.
While the JCM 800 line has since been discontinued, a large number of these amps are still available used, both in local used music shops and from eBay and other online dealers.
They still bring a reasonably high price because they are genuine Marshall tubes amps that offer more options than their predecessors without sacrificing any of the quality of the already-venerable Marshall name.
If you happen to see one, you owe it to yourself to try it.
The Marshall JCM 800 series represents a first step in the evolution of one of the world’s foremost amplifier makers.
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