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Can you say...Plexi?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by pete-strych, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. pete-strych

    pete-strych Tele-Holic

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    I am thinking of getting a Plexi style head. Help me with some choices please, guys & girls. I have a couple I'm interested in, but I'm not going share that yet. My requirements are: a Pro head; 100 Watts preferred with ability to drop to 50 or much less; EL-34 tubes/valves: needs to plug into both 8 or 16 ohm cabs; switchable 2 channels or lead boost; shred machine; incredible tone clean & full throttle with clarity of notes. New & old amps considered. Budget unlimited, but I am frugal...expensive doesn't always equal better. I will probably sell some gear to justify a high price. I also prefer handwired amps. Let's see what you suggest!
     
  2. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Do you really need a hundred watts? NOT trying to be the watts police. I'm a firm believer in using what you need, and I think the "15 watts will handle any gig" mentality is... Forum rules do not permit my opinion on that... lol.


    But 100 is a whooooole lotta watts. A whole lot. Especially with a plexi style amp.

    One of my faves is the Dr. Z Remedy. It's a damn tasty twist on the plexi thing. 40 watts (louder than you can possibly imagine for a mid powered amp) that switches down to 20.

    Here's the catch- the Doc's 1/2 power switch works. You don't lose tone. You just effectively cut your loudness in half, but it sounds the same. It's a really cool feature. Worth looking into.

    Like I said, I am NOT the watts police, but a remedy into a 4x12 is plenty of slam IMO for anything short of an actual arena. If I was playing an actual arena, I'd just get two of 'em!
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well, "Plexi" is a way over used term, and what you describe is pretty far removed from what a Plexi is, and how a Plexi works.

    Maybe what you're thinking of is the '80s hot rodded Marshalls that started out as Plexi or early metal panel heads, and were gutted and turned into something like a JCM800 or 900.

    A Plexi is a one channel amp that distorts when cranked, and you control the clean/ distortion from your guitar volume.
    Then there are some modern amps that attempt to get some of the sounds of some eras of Plexi, (like the Z Jakedog mentioned), and while they can get great sounds, they are probably a whole lot more practical and less raw and scary than a real Plexi 100 at distorted volume.
    [ see what I did there?]
    A real Plexi 100 is probably around 150 watts, and will not show its true colors at club friendly volume, even with an attenuator.
    A JTM45 (with an attenuator) might do what you want though?

    There might even be a recent Marshall that will give you the sound you seek when you think "Plexi".

    Edit: I almost bought a Z Remedy and went for a Stang Ray instead, big regret on that choice, wish I bought the Remedy.
     
  4. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA Tele-Afflicted

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    Well I for one don't think 100 watts is too much.

    For me, I use all that on my marshall for cleans that rival my '68 Priinceton reverb.
    100 watts of Headroom, a small amp might not have enough to carry your cleans.

    Anyway, my recommendation is for you to find a Marshall 6100, can be had for around $800. I own 3 of them and am constantly trying to not buy ones that I find for under $800. The 30 anniversary model, 3 channels, clean. crunch. distortion. Switchable to 100w/50w/25w but I always leave it in 100w mode and dial down the master volume. Has a plexi tone and a whole pallet of others.

    Also, wait this year as Marshall will be unveiling a bunch of new stuff, they just released a reissue of the silver jubilee amp.

    Best of luck :D
     

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  5. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    This. A 100 watt Plexi will peel the paint off a Buick at 100 yards out when you open it up enough to get real break up with no pedals. It was designed for a time when PA equipment was not fully developed, and your amps had to fill an arena. That amp is beyond beastly. And I like big iron high wattage amps.

    I had a 50 watt '77 JMP head. Everybody hated that amp. It sounded glorious when it broke up nicely. But at that volume it destroyed Texas rock clubs. Leveled em.

    If you want manageable Marshall flavored natural breakup, a JTM 45 or a Remedy is as big as I'd go. One of those through four 12s will really flap your pants legs.

    Of course, I don't know you. Maybe you're playing Texas stadium and can rip that baby open. If so, rock it brother!

    If you need more, there's always the 200 watt RMS Marshall Major head!
     
  6. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If you're more concerned with cleans, and wanna use pedals for breakup, a hundred watter is not too much in a decent sized room. As good as Plexi breakup is, the cleans are every bit as good. I actually very much prefer them to Fender cleans.
     
  7. pete-strych

    pete-strych Tele-Holic

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    The WATTS POLICE just entered the building...step away from the boost pedal!!
    Just kidding. My 2 main amps now are a Blackstar 1 watt head & a handwired EF86 Vox clone 15-18 watts. I want 1 stupid loud amp that I could take on tour if I had to. A monster tone machine!! That Plexi sound is what I'm looking for. I do want the ability to drop the wattage way down if possible. I once owned a Traynor YBA-1 with 2 EL-34's that was louder than my hotrodded 100 watt Marshall JCM800. I regret ever selling that Traynor.
     
  8. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    You might really wanna look at a Remedy. Just sayin.
     
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I actually like Marshall cleans better than anything else too, though a Super Reverb is pretty killer.
    To me that is what is so great about some of the early Plexi sounds, where the distortion is not gritty and gravelly, instead it is more creamy singing almost clean.

    I'm not sure where my brain is tonight, but the OP did say 100w, so I skipped the Marshall 18w amps.
    I have three 18w Marshall clones, which have a lot of the basic Plexi tones at more friendly volumes, though you still can't really get low volume distortion.

    BUT, there is an advantage in the 18w 1x12 configuration which is that you can bring as many as needed for the venue, and also use two (or three) for cleans and switch to one cranked for lead.
    There are also 36w (clone) versions of the Marshall 18w, with features like 1/2 power, channel switching and usable MV for lower vol distortion, if that's what you want.

    Some Dr Zs are sort of along these lines, though the Prescription is non master like a "real" Plexi.

    Yes, I'm a Marshall snob!!
     
  10. Tinman46

    Tinman46 Tele-Meister

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    The Traynor YBA amps are still out there. I see used ones fairly often. Or there is the YBA 1-mod 1 reissues around as well with built-in attenuator.
    I have a reissue and it has the ability to get stupid loud. Although I've heard the originals are even more of a beast.
     
  11. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    There was an early 70's on Denver CL last week for $250. Said it needed a 3 prong and would probably benefit from a good servicing, but worked and was all there. If it was something I could use right now, I'd have been all over it.
     
  12. pete-strych

    pete-strych Tele-Holic

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    I've never heard the Dr.Z Remedy or the Marshall 6100. I will definitely check them out. To clarify, I am searching for a Plexi STYLE head, but modern. Classic Plexi TONE...on Eleven!! I've had Marshall hotrodded 80's JCM800, & it is not what I'm looking for. Actually, I'm not impressed with the tone of any newer Marshalls I've heard, so I'm Real curious about that 6100. I also like a lot of the "boutique" amp builders' gear...just don't know who builds what I'm looking for.
     
  13. ExiledonMainSt

    ExiledonMainSt Tele-Meister

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    I agree with some of the others - what you're describing is not a Plexi amp, for the most part.

    Honestly, I'm not that familiar with boutique Marshall-y stuff, but I think a Mesa Royal Atlantic would probably fit the bill for you. 4XEl34 power, with the ability to swap 6L6s in should you prefer. HUGE cleans, nice Marshally grind on the low-gain channel, hi-gain channel, great reverb. Half-power switch, and built-in "multi-soak" attenuator that will cut the power down to the equivalent of 3 watts or so. As you know I'm sure, Mesas are not completely handwired, but they are built like tanks.
     
  14. Mike_LA

    Mike_LA Tele-Afflicted

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    I own 23 amps, including '68 Princeton Reverb, '67 champ, micro terror, tiny terror, egnater tweaker, pod pro, they alllll gather dust, I only play the 6101
     
  15. pete-strych

    pete-strych Tele-Holic

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    Just to clarify, I'm on a tone quest for an obnoxious tone machine. Imagine this: your favorite 80's rocker turned all the way up while playing a Plexi modded by an amp guru. Glorious tube tone, screaming distortion, yet tight bottom & clarity of notes. No mush, flub, or fizz....just accurate & articulate!

    I had a Traynor YBA-1 in the past. I bought it in stock condition just to mod a little & resell for a profit. I'm considering buying another one of those poor man's Plexis again since the clear tone is actually in there. GLASSSSSY tube tone bliss, but no bells or whistles, so it's a trade-off, but very reasonably priced for such a fine head. Possibly the loudest amp I've ever played...& I've played thru twin Laney & Marshall stacks in throughout the 90's.
     
  16. simonc

    simonc Friend of Leo's

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    Checkout the ceriatone trainwreck clones...

     
  17. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I have a 100 watt JCM 2000.
    Classic channel clean to crunch, with reverb.
    Lead channel crunch to high gain, with reverb.
    This amp is from 1998, made in England.
    Sounds good to me...:cool:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've found the " no mush, flub, or fizz" has more to do with speaker choice than amp choice, but as they say, YMMV.
     
  19. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Just in case you're not really familiar-


    The plexi amps were single channel, with two sets of inputs, and two volume knobs, no master, shared EQ.

    The two volumes were bright, and normal. The classic plexi tones you're probably thinking of, come from "jumping" the inputs. Then you use the two volume controls to blend the two voicings. It also hots up the preamp.

    In the remedy, it still has both volumes, but a single input, and the inputs are hard wire jumped internally. So you only have one input jack. Then you blend the two volumes to taste. It's a good system, IMO.
     
  20. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    http://www.legendarytones.com/marshall-shoppers-guide-1/

    The Plexi Era of 100 and 50 watt Lead and Bass Heads

    1969 JMP 100 Watt Super LeadMarshall wanted to up the power of its amplifiers because players of the time were demanding it. P.A. systems were rather inadequate so were often reserved for key areas such as vocals, overhead fill, etc. And while I’m not here to talk about the invention of the stack, I do want to talk in general about the various models in the "plexi" era and then provide some detail on what to look for when shopping for them, etc.

    The earliest Plexi 100s were actually those that had the same front panel as the JTM 45, and are known as the JTM 45/100 heads. What differentiates these between the later JMP plexi Marshalls is the fact that they employed very large transformers and the filter caps for the power supply were all placed underneath the chassis. All Marshalls during this era were hand-wired point to point with no printed circuit boards. The larger transformers and high plate voltages applied to the earliest 100 watt plexis meant that they had a lot more headroom, were very loud, and also wore down tubes fairly hard. JTM and MK II issue 100 watt lead and bass amplifiers can be thought of as basically louder versions of their smaller JTM 45 cousins. These amps were produced in ’66-’67 and are the most expensive of the range. Again, they were available in lead and bass versions that were somewhat similar, many of the smaller differences disappearing after the volume was cranked up.

    In 1968, Marshalls "plexi" amps were labeled with a JMP logo on the front panel, and the sizes of both the output and power transformers and corresponding plate voltages were reduced somewhat, leading to a bit more reliable performance. The transition from filter cap placement from the bottom board chassis, to being top-mounted occurred gradually during this era as well. JMP plexi Marshalls are the most commonly available and are certainly the "most affordable" of the Marshall vintage plexi amp lineup.

    Sonically, JMP versions of the plexi had a touch more gain, some of this in theory can be attributed to the tone of the output transformer and resulting saturation occurring when it was downsized a bit. There were other technical changes in the circuit from shared to split cathode (though I’m going to avoid this type of technical talk in this article). The bottom line is if we had to place these amps in a comparison between the earliest JTM 45 amps and the next series of "metal-panel" Marshalls, while the JTM 45s would be considered the "bluesiest" and the early metal panels, the "most aggressive with loads of distortion", we could safely put JMP plexis somewhere in-between the two. This makes them very popular rock and blues amplifiers that happened to have also been very well built.

    Now like the JTM 45, there were various versions of these plexi amplifiers. There were Bass (50 watt), Super Bass (100 watt), Lead (50 watt), and Super Lead (100 watt) heads in addition to a range of p.a. heads and later the 200 watt Marshall Major. There also consisted of Tremelo and Super Tremelo heads that of course added – you guessed it – a Tremelo effect that could be footswitched. The 200 watt Major is rather rare and a different circuit and tube set. I honestly don’t have any personal experience playing through one so won’t comment on them except to note that they are said to be a different type of Marshall sound. The P.A. and Super P.A. heads on the other hand, while unusual to find, are probably the most affordable in the bunch and are quite a good choice for those looking for an original plexi on a budget. Why are they cheaper you may ask? – Are they worse amps to have? On the contrary, p.a. heads just don’t hold the same "allure" as Super Lead amps for example. That said, with eight inputs, it’s very common to have these voiced where the first set of inputs are set to lead specifications and the second are set to bass.
     
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