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What is the ultimate Marshall - 1959 Plexi?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by reverbbb, May 28, 2004.

  1. reverbbb

    reverbbb Friend of Leo's

    Sep 12, 2003
    Just Plano, Texas
    I see all of the marketing hype surrounding the 1959 SL(?) RI. I would have to say, that the era of creating "that" sound certainly started around 1968 through 1971. Those are some intense years in comparison to earliers years of "gainy" sound. I know that more recent recording artist have had a lot of success with more recent era Marshalls.

    I had a 1969 100W Plexi (not a RI) with an era 4x12 cabinet. Like an idiot, I sold the rig for roughly $800 back in '87. It was not really for sale, but someone suckered me right out of it. My reason for selling it, was that it was WAY TOO LOUD!!!!!!!! I ended up getting a '82 50W JCM 800 and cabinet for around $800. I sold it too back in '89. The JCM was no as loud (which pleased me), but it did not have the throaty character of the Plexi. I tried to help the Plexi by using a Tom Schultz Power Soak. It was OK, but I considered it a hassle to deal with. Now days, the Hotplate, Weber and Power Brake Technologies seem to be a better way to go these days for pushing your amp with less volume.

    Having said all of that, what is your opinion of what Marshall amp will give you the BEST overall tone at a pushed volume? I want to know your experience with an original Plexi and a RI as well. There seems to be a missing era of the '70s for Marshall. I don't hear a lot of talk about the mid to late '70s.

    Tone reference? Early Billy Gibbons, Blue Oyster Cult, Trapeeze, Richie Blackmore, Foghat, Cheap Trick (remember, I'm stuck in the '70s).

  2. peteb

    peteb Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 25, 2003
    Why is a 1959 called a 1959? It wasnt made in 1959.

  3. Red Planet

    Red Planet Tele-Meister

    Feb 26, 2004
    North Georgia
    As far as today goes . What is the best in my opinion? You couldnt get me to play a 100 watt Marshall if ya twisted my arm. To Freakin Loud! The real deals are great but a little on the pricy side. To rich for my blood.

    My Vote would be (I'm a little biased) what I haphasordly ended up with. I took a reissue 50 watt Plexi and went through it milking it for the best Tone and Functionallity. I think what I ended up with is the best little screaming amp money can buy. That includes all the Bootteek stuff. I stuck the head in a really cool replica 18 watt 1x12 Cab and its off to the races. Potabillity and rip your head off sound if needed. Understand I did some major changes to this amp to get it there though.

    50 watts or less Please.Most of the newer Marshalls me no like. Except the new replica Amps.

  4. Tim Swartz

    Tim Swartz Friend of Leo's

    I've got a modest pile of Marshalls including a '68 100w, '69 100w, '71 50w, 2 circa '69/'70 20w, a '77 50w combo, mid '80s 2205, and a reissue JTM45 with Mercury Magnetics OT. There is really no best, they all honk beautifully (the mediocre ones don't stick around). FWIW, all of the attenuators are huge tone-suckers. IMO, you get a much better sound with a good OD box, but, the ideal situation is to size the amp to the gig rather than try to shoehorn a 100w amp into a 20w job.

  5. reverbbb

    reverbbb Friend of Leo's

    Sep 12, 2003
    Just Plano, Texas

    I currently have a Dr Z Maz 18 Jr. I think this does the job of nearly all the venues that you'll be seeing me at. But, it is a pricey amp that I don't want to tear up by toting around a lot. So, I am using a Peavey Classic 50 2x12 (imitation tweed). This is my primary amp because it can do "nearly" what I want, and it did not cost me that much. I have a Crate VC-20 that is my little suitecase jam box. Don't sound huge, but it is very portable and can be my "Johnny on the spot" amp.

    I am looking for an affordable Fender Blues Deluxe that can be my clean "Johnny on the spot" for exploring the 6L6 side of life. . . . Still searching.

    I had bought the Line6 Flextone Plus (original and the II) to be my swiss army knife of amps. I finally got a little burned out on the sound of those amps. They just could not capture the essense of "all" the amps. They did a real good job of coming close, but the models just did not "breathe" and "growle" like the real deal.

    Out of all the amps that I have and have had, none of them have close to the sound of the '69 Plexi. Again, I cannot bear the volume of those 100W amps. But I want to use one in my bedroom home studio for recording (to which I can put some control measures in place). The Maz 18 can get very tasty, but does not rumble , feedback and sing like a 100W Marshall. That sound is revealed even on recordings (which is 90% of our ear reference to these amps). On a recording, you can here the squeezed notes, the harmonics, the controlled feedback and it has a fatter sound that the lower watt amps just don't have. The lower watt amps definately win the tone and character catagory, but not the monster sound catagory.

    So, what is missing from my "shoebox" is, that huge Marshall sound for those special occassions when I want some more of my hair to fall out (believe me, there ain't much left).


    DADGAD Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 18, 2003
    Why don't you go ahead and get another old plexi? Maybe it would work with one of those isolation boxes to put the cab in. It might be the size of a small car but it would get you there.

    Best regards,


  7. squirrel

    squirrel TDPRI Member

    May 27, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    You could get one that surrenders the goods a littel sooner, like a 50 watter maybe. I have a 71 smallbox 50 and it just kills in every respect. You could probably pick any number of these up(years 69-73) with comparable tonality for cheaper than a 100 watter of the same vintage. These "little" 50's can grind, growl and sing with the best of them.

  8. Admin

    Admin Tele-Holic

    Mar 2, 2003
    I know exactly what you want (good news/bad news)

    ... but you may not like the answer. The good news is that the amp you want actually does exist. The bad news is that it ain't cheap.
    I understand completely. And I wouldn't have known the answer until a few weeks ago when I played through this magical amp at an EL84 amp "shoot-out." Two words:

    Aiken Invader.

    It's an 18w (or 30w) combo that has a "plexi/aluminum" switch on the front to choose which Marshall sound you want, and it has a <u>built-in attenuator</u> that actually works. To quote from the Website: <u>"It was designed specifically to capture those old plexi/aluminum panel tones at less than ear-shattering volumes."</u> Read all about it here:

    Btw, I don't own one of these amps, or have any connection to the company. I do own a small roomful of other cool amps, and I had thought that my amp G.A.S. was pretty much under control – until I played one of these. Yowza. Seriously, it was very impressive. It totally nails those Marshall sounds, AND lets you get them at bedroom levels when you need/want to.

    The downside: $2K+. (sigh) :-\ But at least you know there's something out there worth saving up for. Best of luck, CS

    P.S. There IS one affordable answer:

    I haven't played through one myself, so I can't recommend it personally – but a bunch of folks over at The Gear Page seem to be real fond of them. Worth checking out, anyway. :)

  9. stantheman

    stantheman Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 10, 2003
    White Mountains
    My choice of Marshall

    the Model 1987 50 Watt. That's the one you want for
    Tone and Balls.
    There are so many 100 Watt Heads out on the market
    that can be had for cheap money that the 100 Watt thing
    is overplayed and under used.
    The Model 1987 is one of the "5 Greatest Marshalls".
    Heck I even love the Re-Issues.
    Think "Allman Brothers - Live At The Filmore East".

  10. marshallmelloman

    marshallmelloman Tele-Holic

    Apr 7, 2003
    What other el84 amps were in the shootout? I would like to put either of my Winfield Thomas 84 loaded amps (the Winfield and the Brat) against them and hear the difference. I can tell you these amps sound amazing and are an incredible value.

  11. mkossoff

    mkossoff TDPRI Member

    Apr 27, 2003
    Sarasota, FL
    Re: My choice of Marshall

    All of these, and more....Germino Masonette 25 watts. Reliable, built well, reasonable price, great Marshall tones.
    Reasonable volume too, great for small, medium clubs.

  12. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 5, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    Admin Post
    I've heard from Marshall fanatic friends that the plexi-era 18-watt Marshall is a truly wonderful thing...


  13. marshallmelloman

    marshallmelloman Tele-Holic

    Apr 7, 2003
    I would definitely suggest checking out Winfield Thomas amps for some killer sounding Marshall style amps in a lesser volume. I have heard Germino amps on his site, a friend of mine has an 18 watt blockhead which I have heard many times. I also own a real 50 watt mk II. All great sounding amplifiers! You can't go wrong with any of that stuff. Winnie stuff stands up to every one of em' tho and is much less $. I don't know how he does it but I am glad he does.

  14. Steven

    Steven Tele-Holic

    Mar 17, 2003
    I ´ve got one of his "Winfield" amps and I totally agree with marshallmelloman: The Winfield is a wonderfull amp if you´re after the Plexi-Marshall sound, it doesnt cost a fortune and it is switchable between 18 or 30 watts so you can crank it without killing the audience in the front row. The best 600 bucks I have ever spent on an amp (and I have spent a lot over the years :) ).

  15. 57or62

    57or62 Tele-Meister

    Feb 23, 2004

  16. shines

    shines TDPRI Member

    Aug 12, 2003

    another vote for the 1987. i have a made in 1969 50 watter and it is a great amp. i use it with a Klon for ultra smooth clean at a tolerable volume sometimes i add a boss cc2 and for balls the landgraff pedal supplies whats needed. for bedroom levels just add reverb!

  17. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell Tele-Holic

    Mar 17, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    1959 is the model number of the 100 W Plexis, as 1987 is the model number of the 50W Plexis.

    The best "Marshall" on the market today is the THD "Flexi". Beyond that, there are a lot of great options, from original amps to tweaked reissues to boutiques.

    Just be aware that a 100W Marshall sounds very different than a 50W Marshall, and the 18W Marshalls (and clones), while sounding great, don't sound anything like their larger cousins.

    For me, my fave is a JTM45 or Bluesbreaker, followed by the 100W Plexi, cause I love how those amps sound on the verge of breakup. If I was after more gain, I'd pick a 50W Plexi.

    The "Jubilee" Marshalls and the Slash model are great sounding amps as well.

  18. [ terb_ ]

    [ terb_ ] TDPRI Member

    Apr 8, 2004
    I don't like that much the superleads. To my hears the 2203 is a much better sounding amp, and I think the 2203 (JMP MkII and first JCM800) is the absolutly best marshall amp ever.
    however the 60's 4x12 cab that used to go with the superlead is really an excellent cab, it sounds incredible with a 2203 on it. 8)

  19. JTM45blues

    JTM45blues Tele-Afflicted

    May 14, 2003
    JTM45, why I ever got rid of mine, I just don't know. Idiotic I guess, and mine was only a "gussied up" reissue.

  20. Deacon Blues

    Deacon Blues Tele-Holic

    Mar 24, 2003
    Northern New Mexico
    Marshall 18 watt

    Marshall just reissued the 18 watt 1x12 amp. I saw/heard one last weekend at he Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas. The sound is what drew me to the Marshall booth.

    However, I'm waiting on Winnie to finish building my Winfield chassis to go into my Mojotone Mini Bluesbreaker cabinet. :)

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