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Marshall; would modifying help?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sharpcut, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. sharpcut


    Apr 11, 2005

    I have a Marshall JCM 800 Bass Series 100w head that I'm not really happy with. I'm looking for more bottom end, kind of "Ampeg-sound".

    I've heard all these stories about people "modding" their amps. I'm don't know possibilities you have with modifying.

    So, can I do anything to improve the sound or should I just sell it an buy a V4BH (for example)?
  2. Many guitar players "mod" their amps in an attempt to get some mysterious "tone" that they're after, whether it's more of a vintage blues sustain or a metal crunch. (To a certain extent it's debatable whether their mods help or hurt.)

    When it comes to bass amplification, though, amp mods (in my opinion) are generally not that useful. Changing a preamp tube may give a subtle tone change; some people report tone changes with different power tubes too. Heavy-duty modifications are not all that terribly common, since for bass, power is the main goal (in my opinion). Some people prefer a clean articulate hi-fi sound, others a warm tube sound, but these tones are subdued when compared to the sounds guitar players are seeking.

    So, in my opinion, I don't think any mod is going to turn your Marshall into a fire-belching, bottom-end tone monster. Changing to a different cab will probably have more of an effect than trying to mod your amp IMHO. Maybe an efficient 2x15 inch cab, with quality drivers, might work for you.

    Going to the Ampeg will get you more of the vintage tube sound, but even the Ampeg has limits on the amount of bottom end it can deliver--after all, it's only 100 watts, even if they are "tube watts".
  3. sharpcut


    Apr 11, 2005
    Thanks for the info!

    Still I'm not really eagar to change my cab, which I like. I got a Mesa RR 2x12" that is not too big (let's not talk about the weight :) ).

    I'm been dreaming about an SVT Classic that's 2/4 ohms and my Mesa is 8ohms. Of course an extension cab could be an option, but I like to keep it simple with just the one cabinet.

    Perhaps an entirely new rig could do the trick. Could anyone compare these tubeys: Orange, Traynor and the V4BH.

    And of course I welcome any other tube amp suggestions :hyper:
  4. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    Don't you dare modify that marshall!!! :mad: How would you like it modifying you? :eyebrow:
  5. +1

    My daughter (www.aroarah.com) plays a 1985 JCM 800 that is 5 months older than she is. The head is entirely stock and does that Marshall-thing soooo well. She drives a Marshall half-stack with it.

    You either like the Marshall or do not. If not, don't f*ck with it... just sell it as is and get what you want. Let somebody else own it, love it, coddle it.

    Those old heads are priceless to the right owner, and should be left as they are. My daughter's 800 is a product of an age passed by, where they don't make things like this any more. Hers is massive, and built to last, just like Godzilla.
  6. 1985, good year :smug:
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    What year is the amp? Some of the 80s JCM800 bass heads can be converted to guitar specs very easily, since the two models shared the same circuit board for a number of years. I did this for someone once, and I'd put money on the amp I worked on being worth far more as a guitar head than it was as a bass one. You would want to check into this (please, please, please!) for yourself though, of course. It would have been no problem converting it back at any time in any case. There were no holes drilled or other hack-butchery involved, just some component swaps and additions that were already screened onto the circuit board. IIRC, it took an hour or two and maybe twenty bucks (tops) worth of parts to do this. I wouldn't recommend tackling this yourself though unless you're very experienced working with tube amps.Your question pretty much says that's not the case, eh? ;)

    This won't help directly with your problem, unless you sell the converted amp (if it's the right model to do this with) to some lucky guitar player and buy what you really want. :cool: You'd probably do well just to find out if it's one of the right models for conversion, and if it is, sell it to someone who's interested in having that done (or not). Check it out, it might put you bucks-ahead.
  8. el_Kabong


    Jul 11, 2005
    Trouble with modifying something is that often you don't know what you are going to end up with. If what you want is available ready to go (ie an ampeg) you might save youself a lot of time and effort as well as getting what you really want. If you modded the marshall would you really stop lusting after an ampeg?
  9. godraphonic


    Jun 6, 2005
    I would get an ampeg and leave the Marshall alone.

    I'm in a similar situation. I have an ampeg, but wanted a smaller tube amp that i could push harder and have break up at lower volumes.

    I wanted a v4, but bought a $200 sovtek MIG 100H instead, and am going to have it modded to 100B specs if its not to much money. I have the scematics now and it doesn't look like there are any major differences. I know the 100B won't sound like a V4, but I'm hoping it will get a marshall super bass type sound. And it was cheap, so what the hell.
  10. sharpcut


    Apr 11, 2005