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Roland JC-120 Vintage or new?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by smartsoul72, Oct 25, 2020.

  1. smartsoul72

    smartsoul72 Tele-Meister

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    Hello
    Im thinking about getting a Roland JC-120. Just something I'm interested in, as I've been messing with getting a post-punk type rig going.
    I was wondering if it would be better to buy a vintage 70s one or go with new.
    I guess there's always the "nothing sounds as great as the originals" & the "those old amps are nothing but trouble" responses, but that's the kind of things I'm interested in hearing. Pros and cons that will help me decide.
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. tweeet

    tweeet Tele-Afflicted

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    I used to use one in the '80's...good amp....cons...it's the size of a bus !
     
  3. Archtop Bill

    Archtop Bill Tele-Holic

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    And almost as heavy.
     
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  4. BelairPlayer

    BelairPlayer Tele-Afflicted

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    Roland/Boss gear has only gotten better as time marches on. They were built like tanks then and they’re built like tanks now. I’m inclined to go with a newer one under the argument that it will have more life left in it and a warranty. If price was an issue, I’d look for used, but it’s been my experience that some used 120 owners have outrageous value expectations.

    Disclaimer: I assign absolutely no “vintage voodoo” to an older JC-120. They’ve been made more or less the same for all this time. It’s not like you can argue, “the old point to point wired ones sound better,” since that isn’t a thing.
     
  5. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    one of my favorite SS amps , true stereo output ,I have seen used ones that sound standing , do some research on your own and look for the best deal.
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Maybe try a used one to see if you like it that well first? They weigh a ton.
     
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  7. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Is there a difference?
     
  8. harlycarly

    harlycarly Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Like everybody says, they are monsters to lift and move. Pretty dang dependable though. I had one from the 70's but sold it because I just couldn't move it up and down my basement stairs without needing a chiropractor and honestly didn't need that much power since I don't play out. It had great clean tones and chorus but I never cared for the distortion side of it. Might work a lot better for that punk tone you're looking for though. Be sure to play one and see for yourself.
     
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  9. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    How loud is your project?

    The JC40 is ungodly loud. I use it in my original punk band and have never had it over about 1/3 on Volume with the Distortion up around 1/2.

    Weighs 35lb.

    If you plan to run the chorus the amp is quieter to my ear.
     
  10. TonyAsh

    TonyAsh TDPRI Member

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    I can't weigh in on the new ones but I imagine they're just fine, plus you get the warranty. But, you can probably score an older one for less money. I found an early 80's one on Craigslist just a few months ago for $350. It sounds incredible. Deals are out there.

    They're the quintessential post-punk amp. Excellent choice.
     
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  11. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    Don’t know about the jc120, but on the newer version of the jc40 the distortion has been improved and the chorus is now digital (but still sounds really good to my ear).
    If it’s the same on the jc120, it’s not exactly the same amp as the vintage version.

    The JC40 I tried in a shop sounded a bit too trebly with my esquire (at least to my liking), but I bet it would be glorious with my 6120.
     
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  12. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Make sure it's what you want. They're crazy loud and crazy heavy. They're as reliable as a lump of granite, and about as tough too!
    It's a Roland flagship amp. Roland do not take chances on the JC range. Whatever you can afford/lift will get the job done.

    Has anyone mentioned how freakish heavy they are or just how loud they an go? :)
     
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  13. AlbertoMilanese

    AlbertoMilanese Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I had an '78 I think.. they came with great speakers - new ones just didn't hold a candle. You can pick them up rather cheap as well. Ungodly loud machine - kicked the ass of my Fender Twin - but great amp nontheless... and just forget about the distortion!
     
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  14. jimbo735

    jimbo735 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have one from the early 90,s and use almost every day,If I needed to I would buy a new one now.I use mild overdrive pedal and some times the amp distortion just ckicked on for a boost,the newer amps are supposed to have a more usable distortion,I wouldnt know how good or better it is.Its been very good for me,When the band was going I would use it mostly for cleans and a tube amp for saturated lead stuff.The weight isnt an issue yet.I use dollies! its liter than my SF Twin Reverb with EV speakers.It does low volume and loud,The more compact Rolands seem to be great and easily transported.Best of luck!
     
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  15. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Saw and definitely heard Roy Buchanan play through one. He sounded great.

    I'm sure it was dimed.
     
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  16. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler Tele-Meister

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    I’ve owned an 80s one and a 2000s one with the modern switch controls. They sounded slightly different but nothing you couldn’t dial in the tone controls.
     
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  17. Thoughtfree

    Thoughtfree Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    My 1980s JC-77 served me well for years. 2 x 10" speakers, 80 watts. Smaller and less heavy (not "lighter") than the JC-120. Still loud enough for any venue, loud enough to be heard over any drummer. The distortion sounds OK to me - a subtle raspiness, no more than that - so use your OD/fuzz/distortion pedal of choice. But the clean is very good. Recommended.
     
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  18. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    I've had three over the years and all were great sounding, heavy mamma-johns. Do you like the sound of elephant flatulation? If you do, use the distortion! A somewhat lighter version with around 2/3 of the power and 2x10 is the JC 77 or JC 90 (the later version). I've heard the JC 90 has had some reliability issues, but YMMV. I've had the 77, and it sounded really good- the 10s provided a more treble-centered voice than the 12s in the 120, but the bottom end was quite sufficient. Hope this helps.
     
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  19. trancedental

    trancedental Tele-Meister

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    I had four different versions, the late '70's dual channel JC120 (chrome corners) was the best sounding & heaviest, the single speaker versions JC50 & JC60 were more portable & you could use an extension speaker.

    The JC77 2 x 10" had the full stereo effect of the larger JC120 but lighter weight & more portable.

    The older versions didn't have the hiss that the later models had IME.
     
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  20. Tornado

    Tornado Tele-Meister

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    I have seen a JC120 head in a second hand shop. But if you can get your handson one you still have to carry a good cabinet with it. I would recommend a JC-40 as well. I tested one and it sounded great. I never tested one in a live situation.
     
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