Modelling: Not Dead Yet…

Line 6 AX2
A few years ago it seemed as if the whole future of guitar amps would change in a 1950 s science fiction style way with Line 6 s arrival into the marketplace in the late 90 s. Modelling technology offered users the chance to imitate famous amplifiers and effects by digital simulation, some of these simulations were better than others. But the versatility of the technology, coupled with affordable pricing was an exciting new development in a normally conservative landscape of valve based amplifiers.

By 2001 Modelling simulator amps were the buzzword in the industry with quite a few major artists using either the kidney bean shaped recording preamp, the now legendary POD or software processors like Amp Farm on major recordings. The popularity in modelling also coincided with the arrival of Nu Metal and the detuned Mesa Boogie rectifier tone being the guitar sound du jour.

The new modelling products all did a very passible impression of a Boogie Rectifier and so the Line 6 midrange of Spider amplifiers became very popular with young guitarists.
pod

About 10 years ago Line 6 and Fender were releasing mass market amps for the serious gigging guitarst, it seemed that the 2 x 12 combo format was the most obvious format for a modelling amp customer. The most likely market would be guys in cover bands who needed to cover a lot of tonal ground, or the player who simply wanted a lot of sounds in one box. Fenders Cybertwin and Line 6 s Duotone looked like the most promising contenders that would finally tempt away guitarists from their prehistoric valve amps. The versatility of sounds from one box would make channel switching amps redundant and….
Fender Cybertwin

In 2012 the biggest news in guitar amps are now the lightweight “Lunchbox” sized valve heads. Hughes & Kettner, Vox, Orange, Carvin. all make a compact lightweight low wattage valve head from 5-50 watts. As many musicians struggle with new UK legislation on noise and the rise in decibel activated powerbreakers, a generation of guitarists suddenly have realised that the big smoking Massive Marshall Stack in the corner might be too loud for their Sunday night blues set at the Dog & Duck
H&K Tubemeister 36

It appears that the great modelling amp wave never really caught on as far as Giggable amplifiers go. Nowadays many practice amps utilise modelling technology, but for the big 50 watt upwards head or combo?

The Fender Cyber series were actually very credible at sounding like classic Fender clean amps, but other sounds…..?

The Line 6 Duotone was a similar problem, a great clean sound, but the few times Ive seen these amps gigged, players have just used them as a single channel clean amp amd done the rest of the job with pedals. The same evergreen classic pedals people have used forever…

The Fender Cybertwin has had a handful of famous users, Steve Winwood and the Guitarist from Doves. But aside from that big names have generally stayed away. Phil Collen from Def Leppard is rumoured to used the Fender Cybertwin v2 as his impromptu go to small gig amp. But I imagine he s the only guitarist with such an overcompressed FX drenched tone to truly take advantage of the Cybertwins potential.

Cyber Deluxe

I recently bought the Cybertwins little brother the Fender Cyber Deluxe 65 as a house amp I wanted something small lightweight and powerful enough for a small gig or jam session as it was small had a lot of clean headroom and some lovely Fender Twin type clean tones in a compact and lightweight package. The Cyber Deluxe used to sell for £799 new, although its rrp was nearer a grand so I was amazed to pick a box fresh one up for £200 recently. Whole there are some nice Fender Twin and Deluxe Reverb type tones it does do a passible impression of a Vox AC30 warm overdriven tone (Think Peter Buck on REMs ‘Green’).

The Fender Cyber Deluxe has 2 big problems, which from what Ive read on internet forums from unhappy users it shares with big brother The Fender Cybertwin…

1: Its got a crappy user interface and comes with a manual the size of a telephone book. Endless possibilities do not neccesarily make a useable amp. Its a guitar amp, not the Space Shuttle.

2: the power amp stage is simply not credible for serious amateur or pro use, its so impervious to electrical interferance. Ive picked up quite a lot of strange buzzing sounds from my various neighbours washing machines, drills and (possibly) sex toys in a way that my old valve combo and heads never did. I once owned a beat to shit 1970s Marshall that was fond of certain Taxi Radios in Nottingham, but it was falling apart, not a supposed great leap forward in technology.

I dont mind this as I paid peanuts for the amp but if Id splashed a grand on one…….Id be pretty pissed off.

In a way this has been the problem with modelling amps. the manufacturers agenda seems to have been to sell us something that was cheaper and less labour intensive for them to build than a multi channel valve head and yet they wanted to charge us the same money for it? Anyone who spanked £1300 on a new fangled Fender Cybertwin in 2002 would struggle to get £350 for it now, wheras if they d bought a plexi reissue head they d still be able to get at least half its value back used.

Line 6 have recently teamed up with boutique valve amp guru Rheinhold Bogner to rectify this and are now making a top end of amps The DT series with a software front end teamed with a Valve power stage, but this combination of technology means the combo s are incredibly heavy, back breakingly so. Once again if your a musician without a crew, do you really want to move a 42 kilo combo amp with a software driven preamp into your old Volvo at the end of a gig? Fender and H&K have all but discontinued their serious gigging modelling amps. Marshall make a software driven Valve amp the JMD-1, but y know Ive never seen one on a stage yet. Ive never seen a big name use one…

Fractal Axe FX

But as that side of modelling technology appears to be dying off another is growing, the all in one modelling pre amp FX system. companies like Fractal audio with the Axe FX2 and Digidesigns ElevenRack have taken off with a younger generation of musicians not so tied to tradition, the ‘Djent’ movement in metal guitar seems to have been internet based and started from young guitarists using PODs and communicating their ideas over the net and forming bands. quite a few big names have started using software pre amp systems like Deftones Steph Carpenter. Australian band Dead letter Circus have had a hit album in the US that was soley tracked using a Fractal Axe FX 2. Their modernist textural approach to guitars seems perfect for this type of rig.

In addition the Kempler Profiling amp offeredd users the chance to store their own rigs and amp collections digitally and modify them to taste, with massive improvements in processors in the last decade, the future looks bright.

But if one glances at the myriad range of equipment on the indie band photoblog “OtherBandsStuff” the most popular peice of equipment across every band and every genre by far is a modelling pedal, the now legendary Line 6 DL4 delay modeller pedal. Launched in 2000 this has remained in constant production and can be found on many pedalboards, including my own, its list of users range from people who play toilet gigs to stadium heroes.
Its secret is not that it sounds exactly like a Roland 301 tape echo, more that it has a wide range of musical useful sounds and is easy to use.

Line 6 DL4 a popular choice

Perhaps this is the magic bullet for all modelling equipment, build something affordable that sounds good with a simple user interface and they will come.

Revamping The Rig

After having not gigged for over 2 years now. Im now relocated, rejuvinated and feeling the itch to play live again. This has also been compounded by moving in with my girlfriend. So with domestic issues of space at the forefront of my mind Ive had a rethink about my gear recently.

I guess my main amps for the last decade have been Marshall JCM2000 TSL heads with a 4 x 12 (in both 60watt and 100 watt varieties). The plus side of the TSL has been its ability to give me both an impressive jangly clean and a choice of modern hard rockin crunch type sound. However nothing is ever ideal, while the 60watt version has a brilliant transparent and footswitchable FX loop, channel 2 is on the whole rather undergained.
tsl60

The 100 watt version has seperate EQ’s and master volumes for each channel, also the 100 watt has an awful 2 loop FX design that sucks tone from the amp in a rather blatant way.
tsl 100
The good thing about the TSL 100 is that all 3 channels are very useable, the channel 2 is basically a JCM800 sound, while Channel 3 is a little fizzy, but as I never run my gain beyond 1 o’ clock, its a perfectly usable beast, the mid-boost control on the clean channel has always been impressive, especially with my telecasters vintage style neck single coil.

But in a modern new build apartment space is paramount, so the head and 4 x 12 cab idea is gone for now. Sold to a lovely bloke in a hard rock covers band.

With the cash burning a hole in my back pocket, I made a decision to return to the 2 x 12 combo format.

In some ways the 2 x 12 combo is actually much better for smaller gigs. While a 4 x 12 cab with its air sealed back is very directional in its output, plus you don’t really get the sweet spot tonally unless your about 15 feet from the rig. A 2 x 12 combo on the other hand with its exposed back gives a nice even spread of volume across a much wider area, the sweet spots probably only 8 or 9 feet away from the amp. Theres also a psychological advantage when dealing with sound engineers, with its global master volume a TSL60 must be about the most quietest head Marshall currently make, but the sight of such a huge rig always encouraged the majority of sound engineers to tell me to turn it down. Often before I’d even played a note. I’d say the TSL60 was very much a sheep in wolfs clothing

With the decision made on a combo, there was then the question of which one?

At one point i’d decided to go for a single channel amp and just use pedals to get my sound. This would make for less cables and less time on setting up and breaking down. I’d seen some video footage of the band Fiction Plane (featuring son of Sting Joe Sumner) playing live in a club in Holland, their guitarist Seton Daunt seemed to have a very versatile rig consiting of a Vox AC30 or Two Rock head & Cab being fed from a comprehensive pedalboard made up for various Pete Cornish,Pro Co, Sansamp, Eventide and Dunlop pedals. Stylistically he seemed to go between Edge like textures and Frusciante type clean sounds. With the odd heavy moment thrown in. I could see that his solution was useful. Less cable and less faffing around.

Ampwise I was wary of Vox AC30′s. I did play a gig with one once in 1992 and it sounded heavenly, but I’ve heard so many things over the years about “reliability” that I had my concerns. The AC30 Heroes of Switzerland borrowed to make our album was a 1960′s one that had been extensively rebuilt. So again even with the new chinese made AC30′s coming onto the market at very affordable prices I wasn’t sure.

My next thought was a single channel amp like a JCM800 combo or even a 900, 800′s are becoming stupidly priced and I was unsure about finding a decent one. So I even looked at the Vintage Modern series amps by Marshall. But after trying one out I was underwhelmed. I love the look of the Bluesbreaker combo’s but again I wasn’t sure it’d do what I asked of it.

Blackstar Series One

I then got to try a Blackstar series One 45 watt combo, which I liked, although the control knobs felt a bit cheap, it did sound good, but new they are like a grand. My Budget was £600. no more

I went to see the Cult with a friend of mine last month and during our pre gig pint I reflected over my choices. My friend (who’s a bass player) basically thought I’d gotten a great sound out of Marshalls over the last 10 years so why change. He felt the only time I had a bad sound was when I went down the rackmounted route about 15 years ago, when I was “trying to have a rig that was all things to all men”.

With that in mind I returned to the idea of the Marshall TSL, but this time in combo format. The Marshall TSl 122 is essentially a TSL100 built into a 2 x 12 cab. Theres usually a fair amount of them in the classifieds and Ebay. Prices range from around £450-700 depending on age and condition. I bought a cleanish one on Ebay for £450.00

New Rig with TSL 122

The big problem with this is basically putting such a huge amp chassis into such a small cab. They weigh around 30+ Kilo’s so its not an amp for the faint hearted. In terms of playing round the house even with the master volume on 1, this is screamingly loud dumping its 100 + watts of sheer power into 2 x 8 Ohm Celestions, also the lack of space for the tubes in such a cabinet means it gets very hot, much hotter than the equivalent head as I recall.

My first thoughts on this amp are that I need to go back to using an Overdrive pedal as it doesn’t seem to like the Pro Co RAT 2 I was using for solo’s before, so my immediate thoughts are towards a Boss SD-1 or similar, maybe a Keeley modified one?

I’d also like to add a compressor pedal to the rig and maybe a chorus/flanger of some description. But my immediate thoughts are towards a new pedalboard. My Electro Harmonix Gigbag style has been ok, but in reality offers little protection and the pedals simply do not bond to velcro pads easily.

I’ll update when Im gigging next.

A Tonal Journey and Methodology

Pedalboard 2008

Im Jez……Im a….. a guitarist.

Ive been playing since I was 11, gigging from 17 onwards and for much of that time, like many guitarists Ive been on a quest for the perfect tone.

But Im also a pragmatist. Ive not lived the life of a Rock Star, there are no roadies or private jets for me. My equipment has to work and work hard. Ive always demanded maximum versatility from my set ups and also reliability. The kit I buy has to work…..RELIABILITY!!!!!

In the last studio project I worked on (the Heroes of Switzerland album), Ian and myself used the following amps we collectively owned

Marshall JMP 100 head
Marshall TSL100 head
Marshall DSL100 head
Sansamp Tri AC preamp
Plus Ians sizeable collection of boutique pedals and his Boss ME-10

We also borrowed…

Vox AC30
Mesa Studio 22 combo
Mesa DC-5 Combo
Coopersonics Audio Distortions

Now thats a lot of tones available to use.

HoS recording commitee Sept 2006

Live however, we both used Marshalls. Ian started off with a JMP100 and a 2 x 12, running the ME10 in the front, but as he decided to move towards a more natrualistic guitar tone he later switched to a JVM410 head and 4 x 12, resigning the ME-10 for modulation and delay effects duties in the loop.

Live my rig changed during my time in the band. I’d started off with a TSL60 head and 4 x 12 and bought a TSL 100 on a whim, While the TSL100 had a slightly better clean tone and a brilliant crunch channel, I found the lead channel somewhat overgained and fizzy. But the big issue was the FX loop, it put a film around the tone as soon as it was engaged, even with no devices in the loop. Live it was noticable as soon as it was engaged. Wheras the 60′s seemed perfectly crystaline no matter if it was on or off.

After an experiment with using a DSL in rehersal led to much frustration. I went back to what Id owned previously.

By 2008 my rig was as follows

Guitar—–Cry Baby Wah Wah—–TU2 tuner—-RAT 2 (for solo’s)—–TSL60 (2 delays on the FX loop, my trusty green Line 6 Delay modeller and the brilliant, but badly laid out TC Electronics Novadelay) then out of the power stage into a Marshall 4 x 12

After I’d exited the band in Dec 2008 I decided to have some time away from the guitar. Now in Oct 10, Im starting to feel an itch to try and maybe play again.

One of the big plus’s of having time away from the guitar is that when you return it makes you come back to things with fresh ears. My early 20′s rig evolved out of my teenage set-up. Basically a multi fx pedal into a combo, with a secondary delay on the back end and a good quality Distortion pedal and my trusty 20 year old cry Baby Wah wah on the front end. Ive always found the distortions in Multi FX’s to be useless for a solid rock tone. So I would use them for either warm overdrive tones or special FX, feedback type things etc. The primary distortion device would usually be either a original Mark 1 Marshall Guv’nor, Marshall Drivemaster or Pro Co RAT 2. Every band I played in from 19-24 had a keyboard player and I found this to be a useful way to be versatile and it fitted nicely on compact stages. I build the whole rig into a board and it was quick and easy to set up.

Coming back to my 2008 rig, there were issues

1: Its big, a head and a 4 x 12 take up space and unless your standing 15 feet away from it you never get near the sweet spot. Wheras the sweet spot on a 2 x 12 combo is about 9 feet from the amp.

1a: Its difficult to store especially in a small flat.

2: FX loop and cables, theres lots with the amp footswitch and FX loop, more cables means more shit to go wrong.

3: Its not easily adaptable for others. At the very least Im playing a 3 band bill, sometimes 5-6 bands on and off one after another with no soundcheck, your tripping over each other, shit gets damaged and or broken.

4: Sharing gear, Ive lost count of the number of times Ive had to lend my gear to some pasty faced indiekid, they are always ungrateful and surely, but if you don’t you’ll get slagged off and people will think you are difficult. This is compounded by them trying to negotiate a 3 channel amp with several ways of controlling gain and volume. Sometimes I had to help them with getting a basic clean and dirty tone, showing them how the footswitch worked and perhaps adjusting their guitar strap.

This last issue has put me off gigging the indie circuit quite frankly. Im a rock guitarist, not a special needs teacher. I find this amateurism quite an English affliction. A hangover from Punk and the wanker journalists of whats left of the weekly press.

So my feelings are now that I want to work towards a simpler rig.

My first step was to remove the TC Delay, which thanks to a uk price hike meant I sold it on without losing money and I’ll probably replace that with either a Boss DD-3 or a MXR Carbon Copy, the TC was just too fiddly to use live, whoever designed the user interface has never gigged, every time I tried to change the presets I changed the tempo and viz a viz.

Ive used my Sansamp TRI AC as a backup rig with the TSL and its programmed up with a similar set of tones. So my simple live rig would have been

Electric Guitar—Cry baby Wah—TU-2 tuner–RAT2—Sansamp TRI AC—-Line6 DL-4—-simple delay——–into a single channel 2 x 12 combo running loud and clean.

With a decent pedalboard, this would be a simple and highly effective rig. Also if I had to borrow an amp, it would mean consistancy. If someone needed to borrow mine, it would be simple for them and me.

My basic idea was to use my Sansamp and RAT pedals for distortion and then direct into the 2 delays then into the amp.

So far so good.

In terms of a shopping list. My thoughts were in Staying with Marshall. I love VOX AC30′s I really do, but in terms of consistancy and reliability they have a long way to go, Ive not tried a chinese made one. But I prefer the devil you know. So that really means a Marshall, I loathe Fender amps tonally and didn’t fancy spanking £600 on a beat up Fender Twin.

JCM 800 combos are becoming pricey now, as are bluesbreaker reissues so its either a 900 or a more recent Vintage Modern combo.

So today I tried a VM2266C combo out and…

Marshall VM2266C

To say I was underwhelmed is something of an understatement. It sounded ok in terms of being a clean amp, the mid boost just muddied the sound. When I switched to the higher dynamic range though…..It just sounded awful. I know Marshall amps were based on Fender designs and they didnt switch over to EL-34 tubes til 66, but….

I just thought it was unuseable for me. I think that people will buy them and its a good concept, but not for me.

So this leaves me back at square 1 again……

Perhaps the TSL60 is just the devil I know, it has its shortcomings, I need more gain on the crunch channel and a mid boost on that would be handy too to make the crunch more useable…. but on a loud stage it does deliver. Id like to mod it, but here in the UK most people only mod older simpler designs, so my dream TSL is unlikely.

One interesting aspect of this is that the JCM2000 series is still on sale, yet the JVM and Vintage Modern are well established amps now. The JCM900 was out of production quite quickly after the 2000 series introduction. Yet here we are several years later and the 2000 series shows no sign of being discontinued. Perhaps that answers my question regarding the success of both the VM and JVM.

A Lesson In Manners For The Would Be Buyer

” Is your amp still for sale?”

My Marshall

I got this text on Sunday morning, I was bleary eyed as CJ my girlfriend made me a delicious breakfast, we had croissants, cereals, fruit, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, sausages…..oooooh and wine gums.

Having left Heroes of Switzerland in Dec 2008, I’ve found myself in the position of not gigging and quite frankly not missing gigging. The experiences of the last 4 years had made me think that a 2 x 12 combo might well be a better proposition as despite the TSL60 being the quietist amp Marshall make, all sound engineers just see its gleaming logo and imagine Motorhead and then treat it like a plexi and try to turn you down before you’ve even played a note.

In addition I figured that with modern drumming styles using a lot of ride cymbals, I’d be better off with a crisper midrange to cut through rather than turn up. So on my watch list among others such as Vox and Orange was a used Boogie Lonestar. As they seem to go for around a grand and have the parrallel FX loop like the TSL. But as I’ve been really getting into photography recently. I was in no real hurry to try these theories out. If a band or project appears in the future I’ll make my choices then and not before.

So the Marshall JCM2000 TSL60 and its 1960A 4 x 12 have been sitting in my room for the last 18 months not really doing much. I’ve not fired up the amp for at least 3 months and with the possibility of relocating down to the smoke still a long term goal, as well as CJ’s flat having limited storage (after her Imelda Marcos style shoe collection is in place), I’d put the amp up for sale rather tentitavely on Guitarmarts website. I wasn’t desperate for a buyer, but if one came around I’d be happy to sell, maybe buy a mac laptop or something.

“Err Yes”

“Great” came the reply. “I’ll give you £500″

H’mm

I didn’t advertise my rig at that price

The going rate for a used Marshall TSL60 (and as I write the worlds 107th best guitarblog according to what some website recently said, I ought to fucking know) is around £380-£425 depending on condition, mines had a service from Hotrox and new JJ Tesla tubes, and has a newish footswitch, the 1960A 4 x 12 is clean apart from a small tear in the levant on the back, they go for around £200-250 used depending on cosmetic condition.

Bearing these factors in mind, I’d advertised the whole rig for £625 and figured I’d drop to £600 if I could smell the money. Mine is not immaculate, but y’know its not trashed either and has been on the whole looked after well.

After explaining that wasn’t really an acceptable price and I found the texters manner quite rude another text arrived

“I’m sorry Im only 16 and don’t have any more money”

“Well, start saving then”

“I’ve seen them elsewhere for £500″

“Really so go buy that one then” I replied

“they are too far away, the head is in Belfast and the cab is in Plymouth”

So after explaining the going rate of said items, this whippersnapper informs me of the fact he’s seen a TSL60 head on ebay for £300. He’s right there is one, but its a brochure photo and the seller has a rating of Zero, all the other TSL 60 heads for sale are £400 upwards as they are on Gumtree……….Hmmmm. If its too good to be true, it usually is as my mother used to say. I’d say its a scam, but my young friend is having none of it and chooses to look elsewhere.

I don’t know whether its the decline of educational standards or to blame the parents, but i’ve found that a lot of potential buyers and sellers on the used guitarkit market to not only be abrasive, but profoundly stupid to boot.

Accordsing to GAK and Coda (2 of the biggest dealers in the UK)

A new Marshall TSL60 is £741
A new Marshall 1960A 4 x 12 is £469

Thats £1210! so even though mines a decade old, Im not likely to let it go for nearly a third of its retail am I. Well not unless I need to buy crack rocks urgently…..and I don’t.

Add to this that VAT is rising to 20% in January, that ‘ll bump it up another £30, plus Marshall usually have a January price rise and I reckon you could see the new retail of said kit go to £1300.

So I’m staying put. I don’t need the cash, and to be frank I’d rather it sits there and rots away than be used by some ill mannered imbecile with no concept of politeness or even decency. If your gonna hagggle don’t take the piss. If this lad had gone up a bit, maybe we could have done a deal, but no he wanted to dictate terms and nothing could have fucked me off more.

I’ve been buying a lot of camera kit recently, most of it at a very reduced price, but when dealing with potential sellers, I’m always polite and never try to dictate terms. I’ve gotten some great bargains, but I’ve never taken the piss and considering i’ve paid about £900 less for my complete EOS system (2 lenses, DSLR Body, Speedlight & Transmitter) than the systems current retail prices. Manners do go a long way.

An Open Letter to Marshalls Marketing Dept

We guitarists are weird creatures, some of us are all gadgets an gizmo’s, with racks like the Starship Enterprise and pedalboards and multi fx units all blinking lights (The Edge for example), others are the opposite Beaten up old guitar into beaten up old amp via curly lead (Bernie Marsden/BB King et al).

Now Im not knocking either approach as to me both are valid ways to go if the end result is excellent. But Ive been thinking recently about the idea of choice and choices in the modern world. I guess this started with me looking to upgrade my Digital SLR camera amnd realising there were only 2 or 3 serious choices at best Nikon, Canon, used or new etc.

We guitarists are very lucky though, there are literally hundereds of gear options available from a plethora of manafacturers and quite frankly in this age of cheap foreign labour and CNC manafacturing (nearly) all of these options are affordable to the average player.

However at a social event the other week I was introduced to another guitarist and of course (as usual) the talk turned to our guitars, gear, our own experiences and stuff we liked or disliked. Then this chap threw a great question in the mix….. to name my dream amplifier in an ideal world.

Now this got me thinking, as a long time Marshall user (JCM2000/JCM800/Jubilee & Artiste combos, plus my brief sojurn with a JMP-1 rack based system) I realised that what I’d really want isnt actually made by Marshall, well not in the form I’d want it.

I find this strange as Marshall have launched loads of products in the last 3 years and currently their offering is bigger than its ever been. But my ideal amp is strangely not there.

So here goes from Fantasy amp land the Marshall Jez Sullivan JS50+ 2 x 12 combo.

like this but with more bells and whistles please

The specs are all stuff Marshall currently make, so if anyone from Marshall is reading this I suggest you knock one up now.

Cabinet: Bluesbreaker style birch ply cab (this has a bigger physical Mass than Marshalls current 2 x 12 cab and so will deliver a lot more low end, so a 4 x 12 cab player like me will find it less of a compromise and also with the open back, will get a bigger spread onstage at a smaller gig.)

Chassis: Essentially a DSL 50 50 watt 2 x 12 EL34 based amp, but with a couple of tweeks to my taste…..such as

1: Switchable gain stage on the dirty channel like the DSL401 combo

2: A Parrallel FX loop, serial loops are rubbish and offer less tonal control over the effected signal. Why people even try to use them is absolutely beyond me

3: 1 Clelestion Vintage 30 Speaker and 1 Celestion G75 (for a great combination of vintage and modern tones)

4: A seperate midrange switch on the extra gain stage as this will likely be the only EQ stage choice you need between channels

I’d retail these for around £1000GBP and you know what…..

I think they’d sell…. and not just to me….fucking loads.

The idea of having a vintage style Marshall that looks not only classic, but with more features and juice under the hood would be an absolute winner, think about it. All guitarists (guys in Function/Covers bands who need versatility in a smaller format. Guys on the toilet circuit who want the tone to come from the amp rather than additional pedals. Indie Schmindie guys who want the reliability and tone, but don’t want the “Metal ” image….etc etc. Baby Boomer guitarists who can spend a grand or two on a Mesa Boogie and go on about the good old days with their JTM 45 and how they once had a fight with Clapton down the Dog & Duck in Peckham in 1967 or whatever). Hell I even thought of a name for it

The “Hot-Breaker”, Son of Bluesbreaker, all the heritage, all the tone, all the Marshall….

Now I really really dont understand why Marshall dont make something like this as it would be a great competitor to all the boutique combos out there, but then I had a quick scan of the marshall range and really what there doing now is reacting to trends rather than setting them.

Take the last few big Marshall amps to have come out

Vintage Modern – Single channel front end with gain stage you can back off (Not unlike a Cornford Richie Kotzen me thinks)

JVM410 – 4 channel, Hi gain multi modes, midi switching (Did anyone say er Diezel VH4….er….. cough)

Class 5 Combo – Its one thing to have your employees leave and start their own company (Blackstar), but really making a competitor to their best selling amp the Blackstar HT-5 just reeks of pettyness.

Thing is to me Marshall should really not worry about the competition and just build amps that people want. Its a tough market now and with the likes of Bogner deciding to go mass Market with their chinese made Alchemist series. Perhaps the boys and girls of Bletchley should start to once again set some trends rather than following them.