I've never used one as a regular gigging amp, but have performed with
them. I also played with a guitarist who used one as his main amp for
about 10 years. I had been shopping for one back in 1996, but I got a free
SFTR from a friend. . .so. . .
In the Reggae world there are 2 standards. . .Twins and JC's. Most
Jamaican pros will take either.
As long as you wanna keep it clean, or want to only add color with your
effects, it's a nice one.
I did for aboiut a year. Decent amp, good tones. In the long run I got myself involved in a band that needed an amp with more headroom. The 120 is really two seperate 60 watt power amps, and two 60 watt solid-state power amps will break up faster than a single 120. I think the speakers were a little stressed at the volume levels I was trying to achieve as well.
I have used a JC120H head since purchasing it new in the mid eighties. I primarily play rhythm in a blues-jump blues band. I run mine through two ported 12" cabs. Speakers have varied over the years; currently I am running one EV 12s and one Kendrick Blackframe (first version). This amp is very loud and clean. The distortion is marginal unless you bump it with a pedal. This amp, with the chorus engaged, splits the mono signal into stereo, giving a nice, rich tone. You can set it in such a way as the chorus only adds “thickening”. My favorite setup was to use the line out on my Boogie into the power amp in of the JC. The reverb and chorus are post pre-amp. This gave a wonderful, broad tone-but you need a place where you can run some volume. The power amp with some tweaking, works very well with a Vamp or other pre-amp as well. IMHO grab one if you can fine it.
I am admitedly a tube amp snob. However, I had to use a JC-120 in
a rehearsal studio one time and I was thoroughly impressed! It's
definitely a gigable amp and loud as hell. I think I was using my
Boss Turbo Overdrive pedal at the time, and I was able to get great
overdriven tones. Excellent built in stereo chorus, too.
They're very clean, they react well to boxes, have great reverb and a cool chorus thingy that I've never used. I don't currently own one, but have in the past. Call me a heretic, but for ultra-clean I prefer their sound to anything, even a twin. They also have mojo - it's a sterile, solid state kind of mojo, but mojo nonetheless.
One of those was my very first electric guitar, and it was horrible! Just sounded rotten. I went to see a band a few years back and one of the players had a Sonex and sure enough the guitar sound was turgid and stuffy. However, I believe that the bodies of these guitars were made from pot resin, so they might have other uses.
Heh. I tried one a little while back, and it wasn't so bad. Sure, it didn't feel, play, or sound like a real LP, but then the stock super-distortions should be really nice for the crazy thrash-punk thing I'm involved with. You're not supposed to care about your tone when you play that kind of stuff. Of course, that's why I prefer to play other kinds of punk rock...
The main motivator is that I want a guitar that was made the same year I was, and the Sonex is a pretty cheap way of getting that.
1980 might have been a better year for players than guitars
I'd recommend an Ibanez or Yamaha from that period. Plenty of models to choose from. For thrasheroo you can't beat an Iceman, as played by the great, and probably late, Pig Champion of Poison Idea. They might be too expensive, though. 1980 was the year I started playing. I got a black Sonex for my 13th birthday.