Marshall "Bluesbreaker" 1962HW vs. 1973X. Which do you prefer?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by EsquireOK, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    The tremolo equipped 2x12 30W combo has been a dream amp of mine since pretty much as long as I can remember. I am leaning toward getting one in the next year or so, maybe two. But part of me thinks that a 30W, large sized, 70+ pound amp is a bit impractical, and probably way too loud, when I don't even play guitar in a band at the moment (just bass). So I was considering the 18W version instead. What say ye? Do they pretty much do what the 30W does, but at a more reasonable level? I have played the 30 Watters, originals and repros, many times over my life, but never an 18W version.

    I'm talking about the recent or current Marshall versions, BTW. For a long time I had settled on doing a Ceriatone clone, but now I lean toward the Marshall reissues.

    Thank you.
     
  2. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    P.S. These are my current amps:

    '63 Gibson Skylark (GA-5) – 4W 1x10
    '68 Princeton Reverb – 12W 1x10
    '75 Ampeg V-4 head/cabs – 100W 4x12 or 2x15
    Late '70s Princeton – 12W 1x10
    '95 Ampeg Jet II Tremolo (J-12T) – 15W 1x12
    '90s Ampeg Reverberocket head/cab (R-50H) – 50W 4x12 or 2x15
    '90s Ampeg Super Jet (SJ-212RT) – 100W 2x12
    '12 Mesa Express Plus 5:25 – 25W class AB/15W or 5W class A 1x12
    '18 Fender Bassbreaker 15 combo – 15W 1x12

    I have sold:

    Fender '65 reissue Super Reverb – 45W 4x10
    JCM-2000 TSL-122 – 100W 2x12
    JCM-900 Dual Reverb head/cab – 100W 4x12

    ...but I only sold those in times of financial need, because they weren't getting used, not because I didn't like them. The Super and the TSL-122 in particular, I miss.

    ...and I am highly considering the new Bassbreaker 30R combo...which might scratch the 1962HW itch (although it doesn't have tremolo). I absolutely love the 15, and the 30R is basically just a more powerful version of it.

    And yes, I do plan on eventually playing guitar again in a band. The Mesa has the #1 gigging spot right now, but a simpler, less versatile amp like the Bluesbreaker 1962HW or the Bassbreaker 30R could potentially replace it, in the right band. The smaller amps are my preferred tones, but they usually don't cut it live.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  3. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    1962 you will not stop playing..it just is..when you know the amp is what you are looking for tone wise.i just cant do el84..clone isnt bad either..you can make it exactly how you want it..put a PPIMV on and play it anywhere at any level. I have 3 4 holers.& cant imagine not having em at this point..if i had to do a Marshall combo the 1962 no questions asked.no looking back..it just is..
     
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  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    The HW is a nice amp - but it's awfully big. And heavy. Did I mention big and heavy?

    Even if you do play out, unless it's outdoor gigs you won't get to crank it. Not that they don't sound good uncranked. A friend has a JTM45 clone with 2x12 and he runs it on 2-3. Outdoors.

    OTOH nothing sounds like EL34s IMO.
     
  5. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    The 1974x (same with 1973x but with 1x12) is my all time favourite amp.
    Still it doesn't sound like a Blues breaker.
     
  6. Synchro

    Synchro Tele-Meister

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    They are two different beasts. I’ve played both, back to back. I think that the 18 watt has about the same headroom as the Bluesbreaker. The Bluesbreaker was pretty quick to break up and had sort of a loose response curve; just think of Clapton’s work on the Bluesbreaker album.

    To my ear, the 18 watt was a little tighter and had a wider plateau between clean and broken up. My take, my opinion, and no one else’s; if you want a non-linear response, buy the 1962, if not, buy the 18 watt.
     
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'd say not the same at all.
    FWIW I think the 1974x circuit is sadly lacking compared to the aftermarket TMB variants. I have one original circuit (Lil Dawg Pug) and two TMB.

    While the little 18w is a great combo, I think the Bluesbreaker JTM45 combo is a foolish anachronism. Just no good reason to put the speakers in the same box as the head.
    Especially since your speaker choice changes that amp so much.
    Of course many will disagree, but back when they were original there was a tiny range of speaker options to choose from. Really there was two choices, give or take.

    I'd prefer the 45 over the 18w if I had to have just one.
    But I clearly love the 18 watter too!

    The BB combo is awfully pretty though, if one moved in I wouldn't cut it up for firewood.
    I love a Marshall that says "Marshall" on the front too, and would not put a Marshall badge on a Ceriatone, so there's that.

    And the volume?
    Not too loud by any stretch!
    Not much volume difference really, and an 18w with a gold might be as loud as a 30 with GBs.
    I would run a JTM45 through Golds for the cleans, and maybe through G12M20s for not too loud dirt.
     
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  8. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's a pity Marshall don't reissue a 20 W JTM with trem like they have the Silver Jubilee and JCM800. Although it's a single speaker combo my 2yo one is great and perfect with 5 watt (which is as loud as most people's 15 watts) and 20 watts (which can crank out enough to live with Fender Hotrod Dlxs)
     
  9. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very different creatures IME. My 18w is very bright and has a harshness to the distortion I can’t dial out. There is a thinness and a distinct upper mid range spike you get with EL84s. Mine does have a power scaling circuit so I can crank it at reasonable volumes which helps enormously. It is my least used amp but not too heavy.

    As mentioned above, modern TMB variants beat the original circuit.

    Of the two I’d def. pick the Bluesbreaker/JTM variant. It’s an amp dreams are made of.

    I currently use a 70’s JMP 2x12 (beastly heavy) and an Mesa rig (also beastly heavy) with master volumes and would always recommend a decent master volume amp if it’s an option when spending a lot.

    Don’t discount something like a DSL40CR too. The crunch channel (and the rest), EL34’s and master volume cover a lot of similar tonal ground in a far more versatile, lighter, very giggable form. Cheap too. No tremolo though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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  10. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's

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    I've owned two 1962HW Bluesbreakers, a 1962RI Bluesbreaker, two 1974x's, and a vintage Marshall 18 watt.

    I also seeked that Bluesbreaker tone. I found the the handwired Bluesbreaker had the best tone, but it was too loud, wouldn't overdrive without blowing out the windows, and it did not take OD pedals well. Despite the crazy big size and weight of 1962hw, I would have kept the amp, if the volume was not so ridiculously loud. An attenuator also didn’t help.

    I loved the looks, size and wattage of my 18 watt Marshalls. The 1974x's just didn't have enough bottom end for my taste and were very bright. I guess that I am just not meant to own EL84 powered amps.

    I never tried a 1973x but I ran my 1974x through a Marshall 2x12 with G12-65's and I still found it lacking bass (for my liking). Still, the I feel that the 1974x and 1973x are some of the best looking Marshall’s ever made and I’m still tempted to try one again some day, but 1974x will not give you Bluesbreaker tones.

    My Marshall Astoria Classic gives me KT66 power, great Bluesbreaker tone, in 1x12, 30/5 watt combo, and with very manageable volume control.

    After many years and dollars spent, I finally found my Bluesbreaker tone.

    2FA63E9A-1C4C-43E9-A5E5-BFA15DAED7CD.jpeg CCD3ACCC-6EB3-42C3-907E-5E5ADEBB7FE5.jpeg
    F77F929C-01DC-4CB5-B866-B9B302AA83E3.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  11. Synchro

    Synchro Tele-Meister

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    I wonder if an 18 watt with a single 15 would have enough bottom end.
     
  12. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's

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    It should help.
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The stock Marshall circuit with just a tone knob lacks bass but a TMB version has tons of bass.
     
  14. Synchro

    Synchro Tele-Meister

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    Changing some cap values might do the trick on the single knob circuit.
     
  15. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's

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    TMB? It’s late...
     
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  16. Synchro

    Synchro Tele-Meister

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    Treble, Mid, Bass.
     
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  17. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    P.S. Is there any way to add internal reverb to the 1962 HW without screwing up its "base" tone? Or at least an effects loop, so I can put an external reverb in it?
     
  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Not sure who drew up the TMB circuit but it adds a second 12ax7 and a second channel with the full tone stack. More gain more bass and that thing that happens when we can dial in the tone we want.
     
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    My old JMP 50w Bass head had an FX loop added but later removed in the unmods era.
    Reverb might be harder to work in there, have to cut holes in the chassis for two more tubes, but there are various builders that add a sub chassis reverb, I think maybe Dr Z and Kendrick.
     
  20. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    I have and play a JTM45 (head version of the 1962) and a couple of 18W clones.

    They are very, very, very different amplifiers, and I love them both. I play the heads into the same 2x12 cab.

    The JTM 45 has glorious, complex, harmonic cleans, with deep rich bass and mids. Beautifully punchy. Turned up it gets gritty and the fabulous harmonics just make it the sound of early blues-rock. It is blisteringly loud by the time you get there.

    The 18W is cathode biased and as such always has a softness to it. The cleans are quite nice, plenty of chime and incredibly sweet. There is not a whole bunch of bass. The harmonics sit mainly in the upper mids. Turned up the distortion is syrupy smooth and simply amazing. There's not a ton of gain, but just the right amount for sure. It is still pretty loud when you get there, but not frighteningly so. Getting into the crunch/light distortion is easy but full on dirt is still too loud for a house or small club, but if you have understanding neighbors...
     
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