While it’s often been the subject of criticism, the Marshall JCM 900 has without a doubt cemented itself on Marshall's list of the all-time most iconic amps.
Even then, while cranking this amp up to blast your audience with some classic Metal and Rock tunes may be the best feeling ever, you’re going to have to replace the tubes at some point in time.
If you’re reading this, perhaps that time is now for you. No worries though. We’ve prepared a list of some of the best options to get you back to your grooving ways.
First off, let's go through what tubes the JCM 900 uses. The Marshall JCM 900 comes with three 12AX7 preamp tubes and four 6L6 or 5881 power tubes.
Now that we know what we’re looking for, let's dive into our guide for finding the best tubes for Marshall JCM 900.
Finding the right preamp tubes can be tough. Check out some of the best options below.
Mullard tubes are considered to be some of the best on the market. Originally, Mullard tubes weren’t only used for audio but also military gear. For this reason, they’ve since come to be known as some of the most durable.
Today, you can purchase Mullard reissue tubes that are manufactured in Britain. These tubes are particularly good for a vintage clean sound, and a huge part of their popularity is because of this.
The Mullard 12Ax7/CV4004 offers vibrant sounds for chords and high gain for solos, and it also gives an unexpected tight bass. It is well known for its pure tone and balance of frequencies. Mullards work well with high-wattage Marshall Amps like the JCM 900. However, one downside of Mullards is that they’re increasingly difficult to find and hence more expensive compared to other tubes.
The Genalex Gold Lion 12Ax7 tubes are one of the best modern tubes on the market. They have a very brilliant, full-sounding mid-range sound and well-balanced high and low sounds, which gives them an overall smooth and tight performance.
The CV4004 is designed with the same standards as the long plate ECC83 but with shorter plates to reduce noise. The control on the highs and mids is excellent and eliminates any grating high sounds and booming basses. They’re a bit pricey but are worth every single penny. They have high gains and low noise and are best for rock and high gain shredding.
The Tung Sol 12Ax7 tubes are a favorite when looking for high gain tubes, and they give a very warm sound rich in harmonics. This kind of tube is good if you play blues and jazz. They have low micro phonics and low noise, which makes the work great in any position in your amp.
These tubes are described to have a dynamic 3D sound, meaning round open and clean. They’re best for high-gain rock and line stage amps rather than photo stages where low noises are required.
If you’re on a budget, then the best tube to go for would be the Svetlana. It has everything you want in a preamp tube, from negligible noise to no microphonic issues and a very clear refined sound that’s not too bright. It has less gain compared to the Tung Sol and is good for rhythm and lead playing.
If you're in search of new power tubes, look no further. Let's go over some of the best options on the market.
The Tung sol 5881 gives the same sound quality as a NOS tube at half the price. It delivers classic deep lows and crystal-clear highs as well as a full mid-range. It also handles biasing very well.
The Tung Sol 6L6GC-STR is one of the best all-around power amps. This is a reissue that’s similar to the 1960s version. They have a rugged shape, which makes them sturdy and highly durable. It’s really good for a smooth overdrive, and it has a higher output setting than the 5881. It comes in soft, medium, and hard to give different levels of headroom. It’s best for blues, jazz, and country guitarists thanks to its clean breakup and long sustain.
The Svetlana is ideal for overdrive and gives clarity in the sound with plenty of sustain. It has a well-balanced sound that’s not too bright on the highs and not too heavy on the lows. It’s a medium-rated tube and provides moderate distortion of the sound at the full range of frequencies.
The highly sought-after SED winged C tubes are considered the holy grail of power tubes. These tubes deliver unequaled quality and depth in sound with clear harmonics. They give a pronounced tone for both the high and the low and pack a punch. The extra rugged build and extra bracing help reduce monophony and mechanical stress.
Unfortunately, they’re currently out of production, which makes their demand very high.
The Tube amp doctor, commonly known as TAD, is a great and affordable tube at 30 watts that offers very clear highs. It’s a remake of the GE 6L6GC small bottle. It’s a durable power tube that’s guaranteed to last long. It has more tamed highs than the rest but a strong reliable mid that gives a great sense of fullness. The bass is good, but it lacks the extra power compared to the Tung sol.
The JJ 6L6GC tubes are some good power tubes that offer a nice warm tone. They have rugged thick glass for durability. They have high gains and quality sound at all levels with pronounced lows and bright highs. The tubes are available in low, medium, and high for flexibility in headroom. The overdrive is tight with a bit of a bite. Also, the lows on this are well established, and overall it has a fairly good balance of frequencies.
Navigating the world of tubes is a difficult job, as there are many different brands and types of tubes. First off, it’s important to know the kind of tone you’re going for, as this will help you significantly in narrowing down your options. Consider the frequency responses for the lows, mids, and high, as well as the microphonic and noise levels.
You can also consider other brands. You’ll find that different brands are known for different characteristic tones depending on how they make the tubes. Ultimately, each type will have its strength and weaknesses and will be suited for particular genres more than others.
An easy way is to purchase a tube tester, which can be used to test specific characteristics of a tube and help you know its state.
If you don't have one, no need to worry. There are multiple tricks you could use to test your tube state. To test the tubes on your preamp, simply tap each tube lightly with a stick or pencil while the amp is on. If you hear loud crackles or rings, then it’s time for a change.
As for the power tubes, you can check for discoloration on the screens and shake them to check for any rattling. Luckily the JCM 900 series comes with a built-in fail-safe switch that indicates power tube failure.
As you continue in your guitar journey, you’ll come across different types of guitarists who will all tell you what they think are the best sounding tubes for a particular amp. Ultimately, with time, you’ll also develop a taste for what works best for you.
Even then, we hope that when it comes to the JCM 900, you at least have a starting point on which tubes to get.
When purchasing a Marshall amp, the number of channels is an essential factor to consider. Technological advancements have increased the number of channels amps have to anywhere from one to four. Even then, most guitar amps are often either single or dual channels.
The choice is often a preference dependent on what you want your amp to achieve. Like most choices, each option has its pros and cons. For instance, single-channel amps are often very good at accepting pedals, while multi-channel amps give guitarists freedom from using too many pedals. Dual-channel amps also tend to offer more control over specific tonal characteristics.
If you just prefer to flick a switch and get the desired tone without having to focus on stepping on multiple pedals, a dual-channel amp may just be what you need.
Marshall has a long list of single and double-channel amps, all of which have unique characteristics. For this list, we decided to focus on the best 2 channel amp options from Marshall. Buckle in...
What better way to kick off our list than with an entire range of two-channel Marshall Amps? The Dual Super Lead series is one of Marshal's most successful series. The first amp in the series, the JCM2000 DSL, was released in 1997. Each of the amps in this range has two channels (classic gain and ultra-gain). While the line started with 100W and 50W amps, it was modified over the years into smaller more portable packages as a result of customer demand.
If you’re looking for a mix of modern and vintage sound in a two-channel amp, Marshall's DSL series should without a doubt be your first stop. As the line is packed with various amps, we took the liberty of picking out what we think are the best options from this specific range.
For slightly over $1000, the DSL40C is one of the best 2-channel amps you could get from Marshall. This 40-watt baby comes equipped with two channels, Ultra gain and classic gain, each with its controls for ultimate tonal control. It’s loaded with a 12" Celestion V-Type speaker and has a power reduction feature of up to 20 watts. This, coupled with two master volume controls, gives players control over just how loud they get without worrying about losing tone.
In the event, you’re looking for an amp that packs an extra punch to what the DSL 40 has to offer but at a pocket-friendly price, the DSL100 amp head is the way to go.
We just couldn't go over this list without mentioning the DSL1C. For a 2 channel practice amp, you might want something with a few watts and a carry-friendly weight. The DSL1C was designed specifically to meet these requirements.
It weighs just 7.9 kg / 17 lbs, so you could move this amp around quite easily for practice or small rehearsals. While 1 watt is already just enough power for a small amp, you could reduce wattage even lower on this amp without worrying about tone quality loss. As a bonus, the amp also comes with digital reverb and a series effects loop so you could add a little bit of spice to your playing. You might be hard-pressed to find a better 2-channel Marshall small amp.
Over the years, Marshall has released a couple of 2 channel amps that have gone down in history as classics. Due to their success, some have been reissued over the years with modernized versions accessible to guitarists of all kinds. Others have even survived the winds of time to maintain their original makes. We continue our list with some of the best 2-channel style Marshall classic amps.
The Bluesbreaker is arguably one of the most influential amps Marshall has ever produced. With 30 watts and characteristic Celestion G12M-25 speakers, this amp packs just enough punch to ensure the power from those bluesy guitar slides will find its way into the heart of every audience member. As a bonus, the amp also has a foot-switchable tremolo effect. For a vintage two-channel style Marshall Amp, and for that unrivaled Bluesbreaker tone, this is just the right amp.
A few years into the rock amp world and you’ll probably come across tales of the epic Silver Jubilee. Marshall released a studio version of the amp for home and recording sessions. This is the amp iconic guitarist Slash has been using for a good portion of his career.
It comes equipped with comprehensive 3- band EQ and presence controls. In addition, it has a series effects loop in case you want to pair it up with a pedal. Like most Marshall Amps, it also has the latest PowerStem technology in the event you want to lower wattage. For guitarists looking for a balance of killer dirt tones, the Silver Jubilee is a good place to start.
This amp was created as an evolution of its predecessor the JCM800, which was a single-channel amp. Amongst the many Marshall amps, this is one of the few Marshall amps that have the honor of being called fan favorites. Each of its channels comes with a dedicated volume and reverb control.
With 100 watts of raw power output, this is ideally a large venue performing amp. However, you can reduce the wattage to 50 watts for smaller events.
This amp replicates the unique Plexi tones from Marshall's 70s release. For a modern twist, it comes with an added effects loop just so players can have more tonal options. Also, as is characteristic of tube amps, you won't have to work so hard to get this amp loud. Marshall did a good job here with supreme cleans and a more than adequate dirty overdrive. This amp more than lives up to its iconic reputation.
It all depends on each player's specific requirements. Generally, if you’re a player that prefers pedals over the sound of an amp, then single channel is the way to go. If you don't like using pedals, then a multi-channel amp may just be the best choice.
When the tone from an amp doesn't have any distortion or overdrive added to it, it’s often defined as clean. The reverse of this is what is defined as dirty.
To make the tone dirty, some amps have a gain or overdrive control that you can use to achieve a dirt tone. Equally, in the event these controls don't exist on your amp, you could use pedals.
To make this choice, you can run through the things that make up a good practice amp. These include wattage, portability, effects, and versatility. We recommend you try out the DSL1C or the MG10 for bedroom practice sessions.
Chances are you will need a footswitch to change between channels for multi-channel amps.
We recommend the DSL 40C for those of you looking for a modern performance amp. In the event you’re looking for a classic Marshall sound amp, there’s probably an amp for you between the Bluesbreaker, Silver Jubilee, and Plexi. For a small package home practice amp, the DSL1C is a good choice.
Since the beginning of time, there have been so many things humans considered absolute truths that were later debunked. In the guitar amp world, things that seemed unachievable in the past have continued to be made possible by technological advancements and innovations.
Even then, with all these changes taking place, one thing that won't be changing anytime soon is the fact that Marshall is forever etched in history as one of the best amp brands ever.
Since its inception, Marshall has been consistent in dishing out some of the most influential tube amps on the planet. The 1959 Super lead Plexi, the 1962 Bluesbraker, the JCM 800, the Silver Jubilee—the list of iconic Marshall tube amps is simply amazing.
Perhaps the brand's success with supreme tones can be attributed to the use of EL34 tubes on most of the amps. The EL34's unique characteristics in balancing out frequencies—whether it’s warm mids, smooth highs, or supreme lows—make it the perfect component for any amp.
Nevertheless, while epic, EL34 tubes may need to be replaced now and then. Considering there are many brands out there that make EL34 tubes, it may take you years of tube rolling just to find out what works best on Marshall tube amps.
Lucky for you, we’re here to save you from years of experimentation. Notice how we used “you” two times in that previous sentence. That's because “you” are important... hehe!
Here are our top picks for the best EL34 tubes for Marshall.
For vintage Marshall Amps, there are very few brands out there that can beat Mullard EL34 tubes. While there are amps with much more intense mid ranges, the Mullard tubes produce rounder and fuller tones. This characteristic trait translates to rich and warm distortion. If you know a thing or two about the vintage Marshall amps, you’ll know that the ability to produce smooth, rich, and warm distortion at different levels is what makes them great. Seeing that the Mullard EL34 tubes are designed for this, they can be the perfect partner for most Marshall Amps.
On the downside, original Mullard EL34 tubes are generally way more expensive than tubes from other brands. Also, finding dealers that sell authentic versions of these can be difficult.
However, new Mullard EL34 tubes have been released since the company was acquired by a parent organization (New Sensor Corporation), and they’re easier to find and cheaper.
If you are looking for a cheap, reliable option, the JJ EL34 is a good one. Recently, JJ released a newer upgraded version of the tubes. The tubes come in a more compact design compared to their predecessor with stapled plates instead of soldered, which are adequately supported both at the top and bottom.
Also, the sound on the JJ's is much more balanced in terms of mid, low, and high frequencies. This means that the tubes are a good option for those looking for something versatile that will work for multiple genres. More specifically, we recommend the tubes as an affordable option for Rock and Metal musicians. Whatever reason you’re buying the EL34 II, the tubes will probably get the job done.
Like the JJ EL34, the Russian-made Svetlana EL34 seems to be a good fit for heavy genres such as Classic Rock and Metal. You can easily achieve crisp and crunchy tones with these tubes in place. More specifically, they fit well in most Marshall amp heads. Compared to Tungstols, Svets have more airy mid frequencies. While the mids, lows, and highs may not pack as much punch compared to other tubes, the frequencies on these are more articulate and pronounced. There isn't much mechanical noise on these, with the plates crimped rather than welded.
Don’t be surprised to find most people ranking this as the best current production EL34 tubes out there for their value. The Electro-Harmonix offers rich smooth tones and without a doubt has some of the brightest tones you could get out there. If you’re struggling to find a good fit for a vintage Marshall amp or simply something reliable, the Electro-Harmonix EL34 may be a good place to try.
Throughout, the Tung-Sol tubes have a good balance with smooth and precise bass, distinct and well-defined mids, and punchy highs. On the new production reissue Tung-Sol tubes, you might notice more impedance as a result of the plates being improved. This unique design on the Tung-Sol gives it spectacular clipping qualities with a tinge of 6L6 sound before breaking. When pushed into distortion, the sound develops into a crunchy EL34 tone with light compression and excellent sustain. These will work just fine on most Marshalls. More specifically, they pair up pretty nicely with the Marshall Origin 20.
When you first purchase your tube amp, it may have awe-inspiring tones and just overall quality sounds. But after time, as is characteristic of all-tube amps, the quality of sound may start to diminish. When this happens, it may be a sign that you need to change the tubes on your amp. While you may get help from a guitar amp technician or friend the first time, eventually, you may have to learn to do the process yourself. This may seem daunting at first, but trust us: with the right knowledge of what to look for and basic electronic safety, you can learn the process.
Here are a few things you should consider.
The preamp and power amp sections in most amps use different types of tubes. Before purchasing tubes, you must do intensive research to find out the exact type of tubes your amps need. Generally, the preamp sections use tubes such as 12AX7, 12ATZ, and 12AU7. These are mainly dual triodes responsible for much of the conversion of weak signals from your guitar into stronger signals.
The power amp section has more variety in terms of the tubes used. Usually, these are responsible for amplifying the signals from the preamp into signals that can drive the speaker. The power amp section mainly uses tetrodes or pentodes such as the EL34, EL84, 6V6, 6L6, and KT66.
Today, few manufacturers still make tubes; therefore, many of the brands you see on the market are reissues of already-existing tubes that may have undergone a little modification. Most of the companies that used to make the tubes have also closed or been acquired by larger companies. While some are similar in sound, most brands have unique tonal qualities in their tubes as a result of the components used to make them. Depending on the countries the tubes are made, the tubes may sometimes have different sounds. Examples of brands include Mullard, Svetlana, JJ Electronics, Tung-Sol, and New Sensor, among many others.
For beginners in the tube amp world, it’s important to make sure you learn the signs. Otherwise, you might find yourself spending money unnecessarily on new tubes. Here’s a list of things to look out for as signs that it might be time to get new tubes:
Generally, the lifespan of tubes may vary depending on the quality of the tubes and how often you use them.
Don’t try to change the tubes on your amp if you don’t know what you’re doing. The process of changing tubes can be very dangerous, and you should always consult with an amp technician before trying anything in the event you have never done it before.
Some basic electric knowledge of how the amp works and some basic safety measures can also come in handy. Be careful!
As there are various types of tubes with different functions, sound characteristics, and components, the tube amp world is packed with a lot of terminology and names. Most tubes also have a string of letters and numbers following them. These are all important in letting the user in on exactly what type of tube they’re purchasing. When learning the processes, you may also come across terms such as biasing, tube rolling, soldiered/welded plates, and so on. Consider getting familiar with these terms.
All in all, the subject of what tubes sound best is pretty subjective and dependent on an individual guitarist’s needs. You might need a lot of exposure to the different types available before you can start distinguishing the small tonal differences between some tubes. Even then, when you’re exposed enough to the characteristic sound of your Marshall, the process of looking for a replacement won't be that difficult, as you’ll have a reference point to work with. All in all, we hope we have at least given you a starting point in terms of the best EL34 tubes out there.
It’s written, "In the beginning there was Jim, and Jim was with his son. Together Jim and his son created the JTM45 amp head.'' You can find this verse in chapter one of the sacred book of Marshall Amps.
A quick glance at Marshall's amp history and it becomes clear that a good portion of the amps that make Marshall the iconic brand it is today are head amps. When Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Slash, Angus Young, Jimmy Paige, and many more looked to Marshall for a stage partner, a lot of them went for the classic Marshall Amp heads.
Generally, head amps are cheaper than combos. Even then, in the past, you might have found yourself having to break the bank for a classic Marshall Head. Today, however, Marshall has a variety of cheap head amps that are just as iconic as their more expensive counterparts.
We went through each of Marshall's range of amps to give you a comprehensive list of your options when it comes to the best Marshall amp head under $1000. Dive in and let's explore the list together.
Released in April 2018, Marshall's Origin Series is comprised of some of the most affordable amps in the world. The range of amps comes with a balance of combos and heads, all of which are single-channel amps. While the amps are made to emulate the classic characteristic Marshall sounds, they’re fitted with the latest modern amp technologies. For instance, they all have Marshall's most recent PowerStem power scaling technologies. Below, we review the Origin 50H and Origin 20H, both of which are under $1000.
Image credits: Marshall
Sporting Marshall's classic black and gold aesthetic, this amp is a good place to start your Marshall Tube amp journey. With 20 watts of power output, this amp packs enough punch to act as a stage partner for performing musicians or simply serve as a rehearsal amp. You could also lower wattage using the power reduction feature to use it as a practice amp. A key feature is the tilt control that allows you to switch between normal and bright sounds while playing.
While it comes with no inbuilt effects, the amps effects loop feature accepts pretty well, adding to the various tonal options one can achieve with the amp. It uses two EL34 power amp tubes and three ECC83 preamp tubes, making it the ideal amp for guitarists in search of vintage tube amp Rock sounds.
Image credits: Marshall
For an added punch to what the Origin 20H has to offer, you could go for the Origin 50H. This amp comes with a footswitch, giving you the ability to control various features such as the effects and the boost. However, in the event you don't have a footswitch, you can use the push-pull feature on the gain knob to adjust the boost.
Like its sibling, the Origin 20h, this amp also has a power reduction feature, making it ideal for various performance environments. Ideally, this is a performance and rehearsal amp. Lastly, while Marshalls are legendary for their amazing overdriven sounds, this amp has pretty respectable cleans.
The Dual Super Lead series is a range of amps that emulates some of Marshall's most iconic tube amps. The range of amps has been modified and improved over the years so that they could be accessible to all types of guitarists. Although the range is predominantly made up of awe-inspiring combos, there are a few head amps you could get under $1000.
Image Credits: Marshall
For a small package amp that delivers just enough for bedroom practice sessions and small rehearsals, the DSL 1H is just the perfect choice at under $1000. This is a two-channel style classic tube amp aimed at players who want killer tones but at low volumes. Although it’s a 1-watt amp, it comes with a power reduction feature that allows you to go even lower in terms of power output. The DSL 1 comes with inbuilt reverb and a series effects loop, allowing for multiple tone options. At just 5.6 kg in weight, this is the most portable amp on the list.
Image credits: Marshall
One reason Marshall Amps are popular is their unique distortion characteristics. The DSL 20H is equipped with an ultra-gain channel that allows for epic distortion, even without the use of pedals. Similar to the DSL 1, it comes with a power reduction feature from 20watts to 10 watts. This means you could use it anywhere from a small venue performance to a bedroom practice session. The amp is footwitchable, and the series effects loop means it can accept pedals to add to your tonal options. A key tone shift feature adds to the saturation options for extra tonal options.
We took the liberty of looking for amps that are slightly above the $1000 mark. While these amps may cost you a few bucks above $1000, they come loaded with extra features that may prove the difference. We tried to keep the extras list under $2000.
Image Credits: Marshall
For a new DSL 100H, you might have to pay a maximum extra of between 50-200 dollars. Considering the extra punch this amp packs over the rest of the amps on this list, this is a worthy purchase. This 100-watt amp is ideal for guitarists looking for an amp they could use for large events. The amp has two split channels and is midi compatible, making it effective even in-studio recording sessions.
Image Credits: Marshall
If you asked around for what the most iconic Marshall amp ever was, there’s a huge likelihood that a good portion of guitarists will tell you the JCM800 is one of the best. The SC20 is a scaled-down version of this classic. It comes fitted with power amp tubes and three ECC83 preamps. The unique JCM800 tone can be attributed to the fact that one of the tubes used on the preamp is a phase spitter. For the ultimate sounds, Marshall recommends that guitarists pair it with its special Marshall studio cabinets designed specifically as partners to the studio series amps. Depending on where you purchase the amp from, this amp may cost you between $500-$700 extra.
Image Credits: Marshall
Marshall's 1959 Super Lead Plexi has gone down in history as one of the most influential amps on the planet. Its unique Plexi sound was for a long time not achievable without having to break the bank for the classic amp. However, with the release of a smaller packaged SV20 head, the amp is now accessible to every type of guitarist.
Considering how heavy the 1959 SLP was when it was first released, the SV20H is pretty portable with a total weight of just 9.25 kg. While it’s a single channel, it has a comprehensive EQ control to ensure you can switch from warm to saturated sounds. A power reduction option means you could use this amp even while at home and for small venue gigs.
Image Credits: Marshall
Legendary guitarists Slash, Joe Bonamassa, and Alex Lifeson are just some of the many guitarists who predominantly chose the Silver Jubilee amps for performances. The Mini Silver Jubilee is a smaller package imitation of its classic 100-watt predecessor. The 2-channel amp is equipped with a 3-band EQ. In addition, the Mini Silver jubilee comes packaged in a classic Silver Vinyl aesthetic. For those epic rock tones that continue to inspire generations of musicians, this amp is worth the extra coins. You could also combine this with a Les Paul like Slash does for awe-inspiring tones.
Combo Amp or Head and Cabinet?
Typically, an amp has the amp section and the speaker/cabinet. Whenever the amp and cabinet are combined, the result is a combo amp. When the two are separated, we get a head and cabinet amp. Head and cabinet amps are sometimes called stacks.
Like any choice, each option here has its pros and cons. Generally, head amps are cheaper than combo amps. However, if you’re looking to purchase a cabinet later on, the price between a combo and an amp head is pretty similar. Heads offer more options in terms of the type of speaker you use. In addition, stacks are easier to transport because of the separate compartment packaging.
Combo amps are straightforward in terms of plugging them in and using them directly. With head and cabinet combinations, you need to ensure compatibility first. You could also argue that combos are more movable, as they come in single easy-to-transport packages.
What Should I Look for When Purchasing an Amp?
The choice depends on what you are looking for in an amp. For home practice sessions combos tend to be the better option whereas for large performances head amps are more efficient.
There are a lot of things to consider before purchasing an amp. Generally, you should consider the following:
How Do I Know How Loud An Amp Will Be?
Ultimately, the best way to determine how loud an amp will be is to try it out in person. In the event this is not possible, you can use a combination of wattage and speaker size to get an estimation of how loud your amp will be. However, it is important to note that wattage alone is an inefficient way of getting this information. Another way is to check out online reviews where the amp is played to get a feel of what you’re working with.
What Is Marshall's Studio Series?
The Studio Series consists of amps that emulate some of Marshall's most revered amps into smaller packages that can be used for practice sessions and studio recordings. The amps are categorized into three groups: Studio Classics, Studio Vintage, and Studio Jubilee.
Choosing the Best Marshall Amp Head Under $1000
Whether you’re a beginner or a more skilled player, there are multiple options you could consider under the 1000-dollar range. For added features or for a specific classic Marshall sound, you might have to top up the amount with a few extra dollars. We recommend the Origin 50H as the best option you could get for under $1000.
Millions of years from today, guitarists will probably be telling their kids tales of the legendary Marshall amps, made famous by a breed of guitar warriors who dared to challenge the norms of what guitar music was. They inspired generations of guitarists to take up the ancient 'Rock arts', consequently leading to the creation of multiple new genres... and, the epic loud Marshall tones that when heard could transport one's soul into music heaven.
Truth is, there aren't many brands out there that can rival Marshall, whether it be tube, solid-state, modeling, or hybrid amps. Marshall is forever engraved into history as one of the best. However, it’s their tube amps that are most popular. For this reason, if you’re getting yourself a Marshall amp, a tube amp is always a good place to start.
When choosing between combo and head, a good portion of guitarists prefer the former for their convenience. The ability to just plug your guitar in and get going without having to worry about speaker/cabinet quality is an undeniable advantage for any guitarist. On top of that, the ease of carrying a single packaged combo amp, rather than a separate head and cab, is always a plus in terms of portability.
Although the iconic Marshall Wall stacks are usually head and cab, the brand has a respectable collection of combo amps. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the best Marshall combo tube amp options.
The list is balanced with amps to suit a wide variety of environments and different types of players. And we also included buying reviews of the amps to help you in making the choice.
Marshall Bluesbreaker (Image credits: Marshall)
Although it was first produced in 1962, this amp really took off in 1966 thanks to John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Well over half a century later, it's still one of the most beloved amps in the world.
This amp has a GZ34 valve rectifier and comes with a couple of Celestion Greenback speakers. As a result, it provides that unforgettable deep blues tone that will sound amazing regardless of where you're performing.
The amp's dimensions are 29.1"x24", and it weighs 67 lbs. However, if you're yearning for the sounds of the 60s, you won't find a better option than this one.
Marshall DSL 40 (Image credits: Marshall)
For many musicians, this is a go-to amp. This amp offers several controls and a comprehensive equalization channel, allowing it to emulate classic blues tones, and all of its channels have dedicated reverb control. Best of all, you can use the DSL40CR in several types of environments without sacrificing tone.
Marshall Origin20C (Image credits: Marshall)
Designed for those who love expression through innovation, Marshalls Origin 20C is another great choice. Although it’s a 20-watt amp, it comes equipped with the latest power scaling technology, allowing you to choose between high, medium, and low. This feature makes the Origin amp flexible to different environments, whether for small venue live gigging or practice sessions. With a 2-way footswitch, you can control the gain boost and turn the FX loop on and off.
Marshall JVM 410C (Image credits: Marshall)
Those looking for an all-around amp can start here. The JVM410C is a 100-watt amp that provides 12 different sounds, thanks to four channels with three modes.
It also offers two master volumes and high-end reverb. You can immediately go from a lower master volume to a higher one, allowing your solos to pop.
The controls are easy to master, and the amp synchs easily with the rest of your setup. Overall, pros would benefit the most from this combo tube amp.
Marshall DSL1 (Image credits: Marshall)
This is the smallest combo tube amp in the Marshall Amp collection. It’s equipped with power reduction technology, allowing you to reduce the amps wattage output from 1 watt to 0.1 watts. It also features 2 channels and is foot-switchable, adding to the various tone possibilities that can be achieved. In addition to all this, it comes with a variety of inbuilt effects like reverb, chorus, phaser, flangers, and delay.
Marshall SV20C (Image credits: Marshall)
Although this is a low-watt amp, the sounds it produces are impressive, emulating the legendary Plexi sound. You can even use the SV20C for smaller performances.
Its still fairly portable, weighing 35 lbs. and measuring in at 19.7"x18.1". Plus, it's absolutely gorgeous. It sports the gold and black look that Marshall is revered for.
Marshall 2525C (Image credits: Marshall)
Typically a gigging amp, it comes equipped with a power scaling option of up to 50 watts, meaning you could use it for different-sized venues. In addition to its two channels, it is also footswitchable and comes packaged in a silver-vinyl aesthetic. Its boosted equalization and various dialing options give you a wide range of tonal possibilities. This amp has been used by some of the greatest guitarists over the years.
As we come to the end, it’s important to note that the best combo amp is the one that will help you achieve your goals easiest. For an all-around practice and performance amp, we would recommend the DSL40C as a starting amp. If you’re in search of a large venue performance amp, then the JVM410 is a good place to start. If in search of a small, compact, portable practice amp, then the DSL1C is the best option.
Over the years, Marshall has released a lot of amps that will forever remain in history as some of the most iconic ever. Musicians such as Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Page, Slash, and Angus Young are just a few among the many greats that have used these amps.
Although Marshall's first-ever amp was a head and cabinet tube amp (JTM45), they’ve progressed with technological developments and customer preferences to produce various types of amps. Today, you can find solid-state, digital, and hybrid amps added to the Marshall collection.
Marshall also has a large collection of combo amps for all types of guitarists out there. Depending on your specific requirements, whether you’re looking for a performance amp or a practice amp, you can find a Marshall combo amp for you.
However, while there are many Marshall Combo amps, there are those that will forever remain the best the company has ever produced. Below, we're reviewing the Marshall collection to find the most iconic combo amps ever.
Marshall Bluesbreaker (Image credits: Marshall)
Made famous by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in the mid-60s, this continues to be one of Marshall's best amps.
It has a GZ34 valve rectifier, which gives it a deep blue tone. It also has two re-issued Celestion Greenback speakers, providing the sound that people love.
Are you looking for a combo amp that you can use at an event? Thanks to the quality of the speakers, you won't have any issues with the volume. Plus, you'll enjoy the two-channel input, three-band EQ, and foot-switchable tremolo.
If you want vintage sounds without all the fancy effects that come with most amps on the market today, the classic Bluesbreaker could be the right choice for you.
Marshall JCM800 (Image credits: Marshall)
Used by multiple artists around the world, this continues to be one of Marshall's greatest amps. The JCM 800 is a vintage reissue packed with 100 watts of power output. As you’d expect with Marshall's reissues, this amp packs a mean punch and can be used for those iconic head-banging outdoor metal performances.
It comes updated with the latest FX loop technology, so you can add all the FX in between the pre-amp section and the power amp, giving your FX that extra clarity. This works pretty well when the amp is cranked up. The highly versatile equalization settings mean that the amp can play multiple genres and is even more suited for heavy rock and metal.
While it’s pretty expensive, the JCM 800 has impeccable iconic tube amp tones. You’d be hard-pressed to find the sort of tone, volume, and reliability with an amp that falls into a lower price range
Marshall 2525C (Image credits: Marshall)
This is a combo version of Marshall’s iconic Silver Jubilee head and cabinet amps. It comes equipped with a power scaling option of up to 50 watts, meaning you could use it for different-sized venues. In addition to its two channels, it is also footswitchable and comes packaged in a silver-vinyl aesthetic. Its boosted equalization and various dialing options give you a wide range of tonal possibilities. This amp has been used by some of the greatest guitarists over the years.
Marshall DSL 40 (Image credits: Marshall)
If you want to emulate popular blues tones, you can adjust the Marshall DSL 40C to do so. It has several controls and and a comprehensive equalization channel.
Do you plan to use your amp in several different types of environments? Thanks to the DSL 40's phenomenal power output and power scaling option, as well as its master volume controls, you won't have to make any compromises when it comes to tone if you opt for this amp. Plus, you'll enjoy the MIDI compatibility it provides.
Marshall JVM 410C (Image credits: Marshall)
If you're an aspiring professional musician, you should consider this all-around amp from Marshall. The JVM410 is a 100-watt powerhouse that offers excellent versatility.
This amp has four channels that each have three gain modes. You can immediately go from a crystal clear sound to complete distortion, as well as every imaginable notch in between. Also, the controls on this amp are simple and easy to get the hang of.
Marshall SV20C (Image credits: Marshall)
Sporting the classic black and gold Marshall aesthetic, the Marshall SV20 is a valve technology amp that emulates the iconic Plexi sound. Described by some as a “big sounding low watt amp,” this amp packs enough punch for a small venue event. At 9Kgs, the amp is pretty portable, making it an ideal amp to have around the house without compromising on tone.
Marshall CODE 50 (Image credits: Marshall)
If you want a great example of how much modeling technology has progressed, look no further than the CODE 50 from Marshall. This combo amp is capable of emulating many legendary sounds.
The CODE 50 gives you 100 presets to play with. It also gives you the option to connect to it via Bluetooth on your mobile device.
This amp packs 50 watts in output power and comes with a 12'' speaker configuration, so you can use it for both concerts and practice. For those who are in search of a powerful, versatile modern digital modeling amp, the CODE50 is worth considering.
Marshall MG 15fx (Image Credits: Marshall)
If you like what the MG10 provides but want a little more, you can opt for the MG 15FX. This amp still weighs just 17 lbs., and its dimensions are 15.2"x15".
Due to its size and emulated headphone output, it's a great amp to use at practice. However, you can use it for smaller performances as well. And if its name hasn't given it away yet, this amp also has several digital FX you can make use of.
Marshall Origin20C (Image credits: Marshall)
Designed for those that love expression through innovation, Marshalls Origin 20C is another great choice. Although it’s a 20-watt amp, it comes equipped with the latest power scaling technology, allowing you to choose between high, medium, and low. This feature makes the Origin amp flexible to different environments, whether for small venue live gigging or practice sessions. With a 2-way footswitch, you can control the gain boost and turn the FX loop on and off.
When purchasing a combo amp, your checklist for the ideal amp is mostly going to consist of the general things one would look for when purchasing any other amp.
Here is a list of things you should consider.
As the head and cabinet are combined, combos are usually heavier than heads. So then, before purchasing one, it is important to consider the overall weight of the amp so you can know how portable it’s going to be. Checking on the size can help you tell whether or not it will be able to fit in spaces and an estimation of how loud the amp might be.
Depending on the components used to make an amp, each amp will have its unique tonal qualities. This might make some combo amps more suitable for some genres than others. In addition, some amps may have more inbuilt effects than others. For instance, while some amps come with reverb, others don't. Consider the tonal options each combo amp offers.
This is a must-know when purchasing a combo amp. The wattage may be used to determine the headroom of each amp, and this may be used to estimate just how loud an amp is going to be. Speaker sensitivity and size will give you an impression of just how well and loud your amp will be able to interpret the signals from your guitar pickup.
This will help you determine the environments that your amp will be most ideal for, whether for bedroom practice or as a performance amp.
There are lots of Marshall Combo amps out there that would be a good addition to any guitarist's collection. If you’re looking for a good Marshall amp to get you started on your combo amp journey, we recommend you try out the amps before making a purchase.
If there’s one thing all guitarists have in common, it's the hours of practice invested in honing their skills. It’s the lonely nights spent trying to master those epic licks while everyone else was asleep, the times they locked themselves in their bedrooms trying to train their fingers into creating difficult chord shapes, and the moments they spent prepping for a performance the next day.
Even so, while practice definitely rocks, it can also suck sometimes—more so if you’re using the wrong amp. Nothing quite kills one's practice spirit like an overly loud amp or an amp that’s just not portable enough.
The ideal practice amp will not only inspire you to practice anytime but it will also be portable enough to allow you to practice anywhere—all this while being able to maintain quality sound.
At its onset, Marshall manufactured amps that were more suited for performances than for practice sessions. The iconic Marshall sound was loud and crunchy with epic distortion. This is the reason Marshall amps were popular with some of rock's greatest musicians.
Over the years, Marshall has continued to create a range of amps, each version developing with technology, the demands of guitarists, and the always-changing music styles.
Today, Marshall has a wide variety of amps, with some suited specifically to meet the needs of the practicing guitarist. Below, we’ll review the Marshall line of amps to help you find the ones that best suit you in practicing.
While scouring through the various categories of amps to find one that suits your specific needs can be difficult, it can also be very fun and educative. The knowledge of the different features found in each category of amps can be instrumental in ensuring you make an informed purchase.
So then, just before we dive into the list of amps, let's get some knowledge on exactly what to look for in a practice amp.
How loud an amp is going to be is perhaps the most important information to have when purchasing a practice amp. Most of the practice will be done in isolation and sometimes even late in the night when everyone else might be asleep. For this reason, an amp that can be adjusted to low volumes whilst maintaining a good tone is ideal.
While wattage isn’t a direct indicator of how loud an amp is going to be, it can be used to calculate headroom. Headroom is simply how loud you can turn up an amp before it starts to distort. This can help you in estimating how loud an amp is going to be.
Additional information such as speaker sensitivity and cabinet size can also be used in combination to come to a more accurate estimation. Ideally, the best way to know how loud an amp is going to be is to try it out physically.
True guitar warriors know that every time is practice time. Having to carry a heavy amp around every time you want to sneak in a practice session can be a major discourager. This also refers to the size; good practice amps are usually designed to be small in size to make them easy to fit in small spaces.
Be sure to compare the different sizes and weights to find an amp that is just the right size and weight for you.
So far, a lot of what we have looked at is meant to ensure you have an easy time while you practice. Let's look at a few things you can look for to ensure you also sound good while practicing.
Tone simply refers to the quality of sound, and depending on how your amp is made, it will have its distinct tones. This is pretty subjective, so yeah, the best way would be to try out the amp before purchasing. Alternatively, you could watch reviews of the amp or read customer reviews to get a feel of what the amp will sound like.
Inbuilt effects and additional features such as the availability of a headphone jack can also be the separation factor of what makes one amp stand out from the rest as the better choice.
Generally, an amp that’s meant for practice should not be that expensive. However, depending on the quality and features each amp offers, there could be a huge range in price between each type of amp. More expensive doesn't always mean better, though. A good analysis of what each amp offers compared to others within the same range can help you decide on whether it’s worth its price tag.
Although not versatile enough to execute a wide range of musical styles, some amps can execute a single tone well, making them suitable for a single style of music. Others are more balanced out, executing a wide ray of musical styles and tones.
For beginner guitarists yet to discover themselves, a flexible amp would be the best option, as it would give them the ability to experiment with a wide range of tones to discover what style suits them best. More advanced players may prefer amps that can execute their preferred tone sounds well.
Now that you have a bit of knowledge on how to spot an amp that would be good for practice, let's get to reviewing some of the best ones manufactured by Marshall amps. Here are the best Marshall practice amps.
For those yet to discover themselves, or simply for those who seek amps that are versatile in both tone and effects, the CODE series amps are the best option.
Although they were late into modeling amp technology, the CODE series is the best glance at what amps will be like in the future: the unique, iconic Marshall sounds in easy-to-carry small packages.
Nothing says versatility quite like 100 adjustable presets, the ability to choose between different power amps/preamps, and 24 inbuilt professional effects. This is just the perfect amp for the performing guitarist. Although it has 25-watt output, it can go just low enough to allow you to practice.
Its features include the following:
Click here for a tutorial on how to use the CODE series amps.
From the MG Carbon Fiber series to the now MG gold series, this is a range of amps designed to bring the iconic Marshall sound to every type of player out there. Whether for practice or performance, there is an MG Gold amp for the job.
At just 4.8 kg, the MG10 is the smallest in the MG gold series. This compact-sized amp is a good choice for guitarists looking for a shrunken-down amp able to produce the well-known Marshall sounds.
Its features include the following:
With extra features, the MG15FX is sort of an upgrade on the MG10. It comes with an added punch and lower-end to the amp's sound. Although it's slightly larger than the MG10, it’s still easy to carry and would be a good practice tool. It also comes packed with a variety of effects to spice up your practice sessions.
Its features include the following:
The DSL is a range of tube amps designed to deliver the well-known Marshall tone in a range of environments, whether for practice, studio recording, or even live gigs. The amps have come with a range of features, including power reduction, studio-quality reverb, and foot-switchable channels, among many others.
At just 1 watt, this is one of the smallest tube amps you can get. An emulated output and scaling feature allows one to go even lower in volume. If you’re after that unique tube Marshall tone with smooth distortion and that crunch, all at a manageable small practice package, this is the amp for you.
Its features include the following:
Equipped with a 10” Celestion Ten-30 speaker, this 5w amp packs a punch. The high technology speaker also allows it to go very low whilst maintaining quality tones. It also comes equipped with 2 channels (classic and ultra-gain), giving one the possibility of switching between a wide variety of tonal possibilities while practicing.
Its features include the following:
As the name suggests, the Marshall Micro amps are the smallest in the Marshall range of amps. This range of amps redefines what portability is. You could sneak in a practice session anywhere or at any time with a Marshall Micro amp.
At just 1 lb. in total weight, this is the ideal practice traveling amp. Also, you don't have to worry about the world ending and all the electricity going off, as the MS-2 can be powered with a 9v battery. In addition to its small size, the amp comes in a wide variety of colors, making it a good aesthetic piece to have around the house.
Its features include the following:
The MS-4 is a full-stack version of the MS-2 that comes with a 2 x 2" speaker setup allowing users to decide how loud or soft the amp gets. You could use the amp for practice or even a little camp jam session because it comes with a belt clip and the ability to utilize a battery. The MS-4, like the MS-2, is distinguished by its excellent mobility capabilities.
Its features include the following:
We hope you now have enough information to make an informed purchase. Even then, Marshall offers a wide range of amps that, depending on your specific needs, could also qualify as good practice amps. Be sure to check them out also.
In the past, Les Paul's revolutionary pickup configurations and iconic aesthetic are what made them loved by many. On the other hand, unique tones and loudness were a huge part of the Marshall amp's popularity.
Today, if you lined up the planet's greatest guitarists and asked them to describe what guitar heaven looks like, a good portion of them would tell you it's made up of walls of Marshall stacks and free Les Pauls for everyone.
Over the years, Marshalls and Les Paul have occasionally defined what the epitome of amp and guitar epicness looks like. Perhaps, their successes can be attributed to the fact that both are products of constant fine-tuning to meet the preferences of all types of guitarists.
Reggae, jazz, rock, RnB, metal—you name it, there’s a Marshall amp for whatever genre you choose. Equally, Les Paul guitars have graced the stage with artists from many genres.
So, yeah, it should come as no surprise that a combination of the two often gives birth to glorious performances. However, there are so many types of Marshall amps. Which are the best Marshall amps for a Les Paul?
Below, we attempt to answer this question. Dive in and let's find out together.
When it comes to amps, the term “best” is often quite subjective. It all depends on what sounds good to you, what music you intend to use the amp for, and which amp can help you accomplish your goals easiest.
So then, when choosing an amp for a Les Paul, the process is quite similar to when you’re choosing an amp for any other type of guitar. When looking for an amp, consider wattage, size, the genre of music, type of amp, price, effects, and portability.
Even then, some amps are more equipped to compliment the characteristics of a Les Paul. Using the knowledge of the characteristics of a Les Paul, you can narrow the options down further. For instance, Les Paul guitars are typically versatile, so an amp that’s able to bring out a variety of tonal options well would be ideal.
Now that we know what to look for, let's get to the list. We will identify a series of amps in the Marshall collection and then go for the best pick within each range.
With a respectable collection of amps that would go well with a Les Paul guitar, Marshall's Dual Super Lead series amps are without a doubt a good option to consider.
The amps have a long history as a favorite amongst Marshall fans, with the first release dating back to 1997. These days, the DSL amps are designed with a good portion of features and the iconic Marshall tube amp tones. Between the amps in the DSL collection, there’s probably an amp for any type of environment you wish to play. With a DSL, you could use your Les Paul anywhere, be it the studio, bedroom, or live gigs.
Marshall DSL 40 (Image credits: Marshall)
More specifically, the DSL 40 would be a great pairing option with a Les Paul. Marshalls DSL40 CR is a 12'' speaker configuration tube combo amp. At 40 watts, you have plenty of headroom to work with, allowing you to showcase those crisp, clean Les Paul tones. Like most Marshalls, it also comes with smooth clipped distortion that can serve as a bonus when paired with a Les Paul.
Finishing off, it has 2 channels (ultra gain and classic gain) each with a dedicated reverb. With this, you could adjust your settings to compliment your Les Paul’s tones.
If you’re looking to emulate those classic, vintage, iconic tones that made guitar music what it is today, then a Marshall vintage reissue would work well with a Les Paul. Depending on what genre of music you intend to use your Les Paul for, there are various vintage reissue amps you could use with a Les Paul.
Marshall Silver Jubilee (Image credits: Marshall)
If anyone knows what kind of amp would work best with a Les Paul, it’s Guns and Roses lead guitarist, Slash. Over the years, he has used a Les Paul for most of his performances, even having a signature Les Paul. While he’s used a wide range of amps, he’s been known to pair his Les Paul with a Silver Jubilee a couple of times—and for good reason.
A key part of what makes Les Pauls iconic is their balance when it comes to switching between clean and dirty tones. The Silver Jubilee does a pretty good job at complimenting this characteristic with its 2 split channels.
Typically a gigging amp, it comes equipped with a power scaling option of up to 50 watts, meaning you could use it for different-sized venues. Its boosted equalization and various dialing options serve to add the various tonal options you could use paired with a Les Paul.
In addition, its iconic silver vinyl aesthetic serves as a good match for a Gibson Les Paul look, ensuring you not only sound amazing playing but also look cool.
Marshall’s Studio series is a compilation of all of Marshall's iconic sounding amps into portable packages that can be accessed by all types of guitarists.
Marshall SV20C (Image credits: Marshall)
Sporting the classic black and gold Marshall aesthetic, the Marshall SV20 is a valve technology amp that emulates the iconic Plexi sound. Coupled with the capabilities of a Les Paul, this combination is nothing but tonal bliss.
Described by some as a “big sounding low watt amp,” this amp packs enough punch for a small venue event. At 9 kg, the amp is pretty portable, making it an ideal amp to have around the house without compromising on tone.
The Origin series is a collection that tries to emulate the classic contemporary guitar sounds. The amps have innovative Powerstem technology that allows for amazing power scaling options. The amps are great for a range of environments and are extremely good when used with pedals.
Marshall Origin 20C (Image credits: Marshall)
Made for guitarists that express themselves through innovation, Marshall’s Origin 20C is another great pairing for a Les Paul guitar. It comes equipped with the latest power scaling technology, allowing you to choose between high, medium, and low. This then makes the Origin20C flexible to different environments, from small venue live gigging to bedroom practice sessions. It also has a 2-way footswitch with which you can increase the gain to add a warm and organic crunch.
This is a good budget-friendly choice that, when paired with your Les Paul, will inspire your creativity—simple and effective!
When it comes to amps, the term “best” is often quite subjective. It all depends on what sounds good to you, what music you intend to use the amp for, and which amp can help you accomplish your goals easiest. For this reason, always try out an amp before purchasing it. All in all, we’d recommend the DSL40 as a good option to start your Les Paul journey.
Les Paul guitars are generally pretty versatile and have been used by artists from various genres. More popularly, they’re used for blues, jazz, rock, pop, and metal.
Les Paul guitars have graced the performance stage with many artists including Slash, Pete Townsend, Billy Gibbons, Duane Allman, and Randy Rhoads, amongst many others.
Typically, Les Paul guitars get their sound from their iconic tonewood mahogany bodies and necks. Other factors such as the settings you dial-in can also impact what your Les Paul sounds like.
It’s a fact that the string tension on Les Paul guitars is usually lower compared to strats of similar gauge. Because of this, one could argue that indeed Les Paul is easier to play.
Jimi Hendrix once said, "Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel". As a bluesman, you’ll find that there are fewer true words than this.
Even then, while accessing the deepest part of one's soul can be hard, there are few things to inspire one's creativity than the right tools for the job. The best Marshall amp for blues is the one that will best portray your expressive playing and dynamics, both of which are among the main elements of blues music.
Ideally, the perfect blues tone should have overdrive but not be too distorted. This then means that tube amps were traditionally the preferred type of amp for their smooth distortion characteristics. Today, though, with other types of amps being able to emulate tube amps pretty accurately, it often boils down to a matter of preference.
When it comes to making quality amps, few brands out there can rival Marshall. Since its onset, Marshall has evolved to suit various music styles.
While the mark of a good amp is often measured by how versatile it is, some amps have strengths in particular features that make them more suitable for blues. Sorting through Marshall's collection of amps to find the best ones for blues can be difficult.
We went through Marshall's range of amps to find the best choices for blues. We included different types of amps, a good balance of price ranges, and amps for different environments (whether practice or live gigging).
Although it was made earlier, the Bluesbreaker gained recognition in 1986 after it was used by John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers playing with Eric Clapton. It was Marshall's first-ever combo amp and has stood the test of time to remain as one of Marshall's best amps ever. While originals are somewhat considered collector's items amongst musicians, their popularity has seen them remanufactured as part of Marshall's vintage reissues collection.
Similar to the JTM45, this amp makes use of a GZ34 valve rectifier, giving it the iconic deep blues tone. It also comes equipped with two re-issued Celestion Greenback speakers, giving it a unique sound. The speakers, along with the 30 watts power output, ensure that this amp can get as loud as you would need it to at an event. In addition, the Bluesbreaker also sports a foot-switchable tremolo effect, two-channel input, and three-band EQ.
The Bluesbreaker is the ideal amp for players simply looking to emulate vintage blues sounds without modern-day effects getting in the way. Equally, it can also serve as a good addition to any bluesman's amp collection as one of the most influential amps in Marshall's collection.
Designed for those who love expression through innovation, Marshalls Origin 20C is another great choice to get you going on those iconic blues tunes. Although it’s a 20-watt amp, it comes equipped with the latest power scaling technology, allowing you to choose between high, medium, and low.
This feature makes the Origin amp flexible to different environments, whether for small venue live gigging or practice sessions. With a 2-way footswitch, you can control the gain boost and turn the FX loop on and off.
If you want a good tube amp with a vintage blues feel and sound, but with modern features, the Origin20 would be a good purchase.
Marshall's DSL40 is a tube technology amp designed to maintain the awe-inspiring, crunchy, and loud Marshall tones. With a comprehensive equalization channel and multiple controls, you can easily adjust the DSL40 to emulate any of the popular blues tones. Each of the channels features a dedicated reverb control.
With 40 watts and a power reduction option of up to 20 watts, and sporting two master volume controls, this amp can be used in multiple environments without compromising on tone. As stated earlier, a good blues tone should be overdriven and full with a balanced distortion. With the various control options on this amp, you can easily achieve this.
As a bonus, the DSL40 can also be controlled using midi equipment, making it appropriate for technical players.
With recent technological developments, modeling amps are getting pretty accurate at emulating iconic sounds, and Marshall’s Code50 is a good example of just how far modeling technology has come.
As it’s equipped with 100 preset options, you can play almost every blues song on this baby. In addition, using the Gateway app, you can connect via Bluetooth to control CODE and stream blues music from your iOS or Android device. This can come in handy during practice sessions.
It packs 50 watts in output power and a 12'' configuration speaker, so you could crank this up to pretty respectable volumes at a live performance and also turn it down low for a practice session.
The Code50 is a good choice if you love Marshall tones but also desire the convenience, versatility, and power of a modern digital modeling amp.
While they’re by no means similar in tone and features, aesthetically the Marshall 1974X has a lot of similarities to the 1962 Bluesbreaker. With just 18 watts in overall output power, this amp has gained a reputation as being one of the forefather amps that inspired the creation of low-watt amps.
The Marshall 1974 is foot-switchable and has two channels. Its tremolo circuit enables you to adjust the tremolo speed, intensity, volume, and tone, giving you the ability to express your blues playing. For classic Marshall Amp die-hard fans, the 1974X may be the ultimate blues recording amp.
While the process of searching for a good blues amp can be fun, it can also be quite difficult if you do not know what exactly you are looking for. Nowadays, amp technology has progressed to the point where single amps can have various features. This is in a bid by manufacturers to make them more versatile in terms of the genres of music they can play.
Often, the features and specs for each type of amp are indicated on the various buying websites. This then means all you need is a good understanding of the features that are suitable for blues amps to quickly eliminate amps that do not meet standards and make a worthy purchase.
Here is a list of some basic things you can look for when making the choice.
This is kind of a basic one when purchasing any type of amp. While wattage is often not an accurate way of estimating how loud an amp is going to be, it can be used to estimate headroom. Put simply, headroom is how loud an amp can get before it starts to distort or break up. The more the wattage, the more the headroom and vice versa.
This information, along with speaker sensitivity, can be used to pick an amp or a specific environment. Ideally, for a gigging blues amp, you want to pick amps that are above 30 watts and more depending on the size of the venues. For home use, whether for practice or just light rehearsals, you don't want an amp that is past 20 watts.
As wattage is not always an accurate way of knowing how loud an amp will be, consider trying out an amp in person to get a feel of exactly what you are dealing with.
There are four types of amps: tube amps, solid-state amps, modeling amps, and hybrid amps. More commonly, blues guitarists use tube amps because of their smooth clipping abilities that result in better-sounding distortion.
Even then, today, solid-state amps and modeling amps have developed to a point where the emulations of tube amps are pretty accurate. Ultimately, the choice often comes down to a matter of preference between solid-state and tube amps. Make sure to educate yourself on the various types before making a purchase.
When purchasing a blues amp, you will want to look for an amp with a lot of tone-shaping options. While some amps are good at playing one style of music well, here you’re much better off with an amp that has a good balance of features and tonal possibilities. Inbuilt effects will also be a plus when playing expressive blues music.
Equally, while modern amps are equipped with various emulation technologies, some blues tones might be brought out better with vintage simpler amps. Again, this is an area where a good balance of your preference and knowledge of the blues tones you are going for will be key.
In most cases, an amp is either a combo or a head amp. In a combo, the amplifier and cabinet are merged into one unit, whereas in a head amp, the two are separate. Before you acquire a cab, make sure it fits your needs in terms of size and weight. Certain frequencies are emphasized in each cabinet.
Larger cabs feature a more detailed high-end, wider middle, and deeper low-end response. The low end of smaller cabs is more percussive, the midrange is more concentrated, and the upper end is darker.
Also, confirm the weight to determine how portable an amp is going to be.
Well then, as we come to the end of this article, we hope that you at least have some basic knowledge to assist you in making your next blues amp purchase. Finishing off as we started, remember, when it comes to blues, it's more about expressing your feelings!
So the earth is suddenly attacked by an alien civilization that demands our top ten toughest music warriors step forward for an epic decider battle. Which genre of musicians are you sending?
We might not know much about aliens, but some heavy metal guitarists ought to get the job done. Equipped with an arsenal of epic heavily distorted guitar riffs, killer drum fills, and aggressive vocals, amongst many other unique attributes, metal music is without a doubt some of the best music the planet has to offer.
However, more than often, a musician is only as good as his equipment. Having the right equipment for the job can be the difference between an epic performance and a poor one. This is made even more evident for metal guitarists with the kind of amp they choose to use. With this in mind then, there are very few brands out there that can rival Marshall when it comes to making amps.
Even then, while Marshall makes some of the best amps, having to sort through all the amps in their collection to find a Marshall Amp for metal can be a daunting task. That’s why we went through Marshall's range of amps to find the ones that would be best for metal.
For beginner guitarists, or simply as a practice amp, the MG30FX is one of the best purchases you could make as a metal guitarist. Equipped with four programmable channels (clean, crunch, Overdrive1, and Overdrive2), this amp gives you multiple metal tone options. As its name suggests, the MG30FX also comes with multiple effects, including, reverb, chorus, phaser, flanger, delay, and octave. The controls are pretty straightforward, and as a bonus, the price is quite reasonable.
In addition, with 30 watts of output power and a 10” speaker, the MG30FX can get pretty loud should you want to use it for small live performances. This also ensures you can crank it up to achieve those popular distortion sounds found in metal music.
Its features include the following:
The Dual Super Lead series features tube technology amps designed to maintain the awe-inspiring, crunchy, and loud Marshall tones.
Marshall’s DSL40 CR is an all-valve 12'' speaker configuration combo amp. At 40 watts, you have plenty of headroom to work with, and as it's a tube amp, it has the iconic smooth clipped Marshall distortion that can serve as a bonus for metal music players. With the latest power scaling technology, you could reduce the wattage from 40w to 20w, making it suitable for multiple environments.
With two split channels, ultra gain, and classic gain, you can adjust the settings to play most metal songs on the DSL40 quite easily. As a bonus, both channels feature a dedicated reverb control.
Its features include the following:
Used by many artists around the world, this continues to be one of Marshall's greatest amps. The JCM 800 is a vintage reissue packed with 100 watts of power output. As you would expect with Marshall's reissues, this amp packs a mean punch and can be used for those iconic head-banging outdoor metal performances.
It comes updated with the latest FX loop technology so you can add all the FX in between the pre-amp section and the power amp, giving your FX that extra clarity. This works pretty well when the amp is cranked up. The highly versatile equalization settings mean that the amp can play multiple genres and is even more suited for heavy rock and metal.
While it is expensive, the JCM 800 lives up to every penny with its impeccable iconic tube amp tones. You’d be hard-pressed to find the sort of tone, volume, and reliability with an amp that falls into a lower price range
Its features include the following:
With recent technological developments, modeling amps are getting pretty accurate at emulating iconic sounds, and Marshalls Code50 is a good example of just how far modeling technology has come.
Equipped with 100 preset options, you can play almost every metal song on this baby. In addition, using the Gateway App, you can connect via Bluetooth to control CODE and stream metal music from your IOS or Android device. This can come in handy during practice sessions.
Packing 50 watts in output power and a 12'' configuration speaker, you could crank this up to pretty respectable volumes at a live performance and also turn it down low for a practice session.
The Code50 is a good choice if you dig Marshall tones but also want the convenience and power of a modern amp.
Its features include the following:
Designed as an all-around amp, the JVM410 is a multi-channel 100-watt amp. With four channels each featuring three gain modes, you can easily change from bell-like clarity to fully distorted overdrive and every possible notch between.
It has straightforward controls with a master volume control that can be used to adjust the overall loudness of any selected tone. Additionally, you can set these up as a lead volume boost control through either MIDI control or the supplied footswitch. This is a good amp for professional metal musicians.
Its features include the following:
The process of going through the features in various amps to determine which one is the best choice for metal music can be difficult. More than often, what makes one amp better than the other is hidden in the small details that are easy to miss.
This then means that knowing amp features and the characteristics of metal music can be a good way of ensuring you not only make a good purchase but also have fun in the process.
So, first off, let's go through some of the things you should look for when purchasing a metal amp.
A key characteristic of metal music is that most of it will probably be heavy, loud, and have lots of distortion. This then means that you would need to carefully scour through each amp's features to find the best option.
Ideally, wattage, along with speaker sensitivity, can be a good way of knowing exactly how much power your small Marshall amp is going to be packing. This information can then be used to estimate how loud an amp is going to be.
Notice we said estimate instead of know. Yeah, that's because the wattage is often not a good way to know exact loudness, but it's a good way to estimate.
It’s also common that amps with more wattage tend to be a lot heavier sounding. If you’re looking for a home practice amp, don’t go for anything beyond 20 watts if it's a tube amp or 50 watts if it's solid-state.
For the most accurate estimation, you should try out the amp in person before making a purchase. Alternatively, you could watch reviews of the specific amp online.
Type of Amp
Generally, there are four types of amps: tube amps, solid-state amps, modeling amps, and hybrid amps. More commonly, metal guitarists use either solid-state or tube amps. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses.
A good portion of guitarists prefers tube amps because of their smooth clipping abilities that result in better-sounding distortion. Even then, today, solid-state amps and modeling amps have developed to a point where the emulations of tube amps are pretty accurate. Ultimately, the choice often comes down to a matter of preference. Make sure to educate yourself on the various types before making a purchase.
Typically an amp can either be a combo or a head amp. A combo is where the amplifier and cabinet are combined into one package, while a head amp is where the two are separate.
Check the size and weight dimensions of a cab before you buy it. Each cabinet accentuates certain frequencies.
The key to achieving a good metal tone is a high gain, high sustain, and lots of low-end.
Tone and Effects
When purchasing a metal amp, you will want to look for an amp with a lot of tone-shaping options. While some amps are good at playing one style of music well, here you are much better off with an amp that has a good balance of features and tonal possibilities.
Inbuilt effects will also be a plus, as most metal music will require the use of effects.
How Do I Get Metal Tone on My Amp?
Set your amp to high for bass and gain, mid-low for the mids setting, and mid-high for the treble setting to get a good metal tone.
High gain, sustain, and a lot of low-end are the keys to a strong metal tone. Additionally, some guitars are designed specifically for metal. Investing in one can go a long way in ensuring your amp tone is on point.
How Can I Get Distortion on My Amp?
Most guitars have a gain knob that you could adjust to get distortion. Simply adjust the knobs until you get the tone you desire.
Which Is Better for Metal, Solid-State Amp or Tube Amp?
Today, solid-state amps have developed to the point where they can emulate tube amp sounds pretty well. Even then, some guitarists still prefer the vintage original sounds that tube amps produce. Ultimately, each type has its weaknesses and strengths. This then means that more than often, this is just a matter of preference.
Can Any Amp Be Used for Metal?
No, while there are ways in which you could modify amps to play different genres, some amps are just not equipped to achieve metal tones. If you want to get those epic metal tones, you should be ready to invest in a good amp.
Can You Play Metal Music Without Pedals?
Yes, you do not need pedals to be able to play metal music. Simply plugging into a good amp can be enough to get you going. However, having pedals can be an extra boost to achieving some tones.
Ultimately, the strongest asset you can have when it comes to choosing the right metal amp is a good understanding of the attributes that make up the music style. We hope that with this information you’re now able to make an informed purchase.
While in the past having an epic-loud, Marshall full stack may have been the ultimate symbol of guitar epicness, today it’s common to see some of the greatest guitarists around the world opt instead for a low watt, small Marshall amp.
The notion of being able to achieve most of the features offered by high-watt amps in smaller, more portable packages is the main reason a good portion of the amps purchased today consists of less than 20-watt amps.
Although wattage cannot be used as a way of determining how loud an amp is going to be, guitarists often choose low-watt amps because of their ability to maintain quality tones at low volumes. This characteristic ability makes low watt amps suited for a variety of environments.
Whether for practice, studio recording sessions, or even small live performance settings like a campfire jamming session, a low-watt amp is a definite plus in every guitarist's amp collection.
Known for evolving with customer needs and technological advancements, Marshall has a wide variety of low-watt amps in its collection. We realize it can be difficult to peruse through their entire collection in search of amps with low wattages. In addition, going through the features of each amp makes the task even more daunting.
So then, here's a helping hand with a narrowed-down, in-depth look at the best low-watt Marshall amps you could purchase today.
If you’re going to get a low watt amp, then low watt tube amps would be a good place to start off. The DSL series delivers a range of amps, each suited for a different kind of environment. They’re great for practice, studio recording, or even live gigs.
In addition, the amps come with various features, including studio-quality reverb, power scaling, and multiple channels, among many others.
Nothing says low-watt amp like a 1-watt amp with the option of scaling down power to just 0.1W. The Marshall DSL 1 comes in a small 7.9 kg package and a variety of features that would give some high-watt amps a run for their money. Its power reduction abilities make this a good purchase as a practice/home use amp.
Although it only has a 5-watt power output, the DSL 5 comes loaded with a 10” Celestion Ten-30 speaker, giving it the ability to alternate between high and low volumes whilst maintaining those distinct Marshall tones.
Also, like the DSL1, it comes equipped with a power output reduction option of about 0.5 watts. Additional effect and tone options give this the possibility of not just being a home practice amp but one you could use at a rehearsal.
However, it might not be loud enough to be heard against a drummer and other instrumentation.
Making use of solid-state amp technology, the MG Gold is a series of amps that seek to emulate the original Marshall tube amps. This is a good example of Marshall's willingness to always appease the customer, as this range of amps was made to make the Marshall sound accessible to guitarists across all levels.
Evolving from the MG Carbon Fibre series, the MG Gold series amps are a must-have amongst many die-hard Marshall Amp users. It can also serve as a good beginner amp, as it comes it can be purchased at quite an affordable price.
Although it comes in a small compact size, the MG10 comes with two channels (clean and contour), giving guitarists the ability to experiment with different tones. With straightforward controls, this is a good amp for beginning guitarists. With 10 watts of power output and fitted with 6.5" speakers, the amp enables you to it up and go down to low volumes suitable for a variety of environments.
For an added punch to what the MG10 has to offer, you can opt for the MG15. With 15 watts and an 8" speaker, the possibilities for where you could use this amp are largely increased.
It comes with four channels: clean, crunch, OD1, and OD2. Also, as indicated in its name, the MG15FX comes loaded with a variety of digital FX, including Reverb, Flangers, Chorus, Delay, Phaser, and Octave.
It can be quite difficult to scour through the various options of low-watt amps available to find the best. This is made even more difficult with the many unique features each amp has.
However, with knowledge of exactly what to look for, you can quickly eliminate amps that don't meet standards and pick out the ones that stand out. Here’s a list of things to look for when purchasing a low-watt amp.
There are four main types of amps: Tube amps, Solid-state amps, Modelling amps, and Hybrid amps. Each category has its strengths and weaknesses, suited for different environments, types of players, and styles.
Other considerations such as whether an amp is a “combo” or a “head and cabinet” amp can also help in choosing the right amp.
The last thing you want is a low-watt amp with a poor-quality tone. While amps work to amplify the sounds from a guitar, they also add color to the overall final sound.
How an amp is designed has a huge impact on your overall sound. When looking at tone, you should make the choice depending on the style of music you want to play and your general personal preferences of what sounds good to you.
So, yeah, you might have to try out the amp in person just to be sure the amp's tone works for you. Alternatively, you could just watch reviews on the amp and make the decision.
When it comes to effects, low-watt amps may not have as many as high-watt amps. Even then, this is an important area to consider in choosing between different low-watt amps. More is usually better, as it increases your options of what you could achieve with an amp.
Low watt may not always mean small, and high watt may not always mean big. Consider checking the sizes and weights in the amp's specifications. You could also check the amps out in person just so you can get an idea of their portability and the space they’ll take.
Generally, low-watt amps tend to be cheaper than high-watt amps. It’s important to note that cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. Some low-watt amps are quite expensive.
Other factors such as brand, the technology used, and features may also be contributing factors to how much an amplifier costs. A quick comparison of the components and features that make up each should help you know whether an amp really is worth its price.
Low-watt amps offer quality tones in low volumes and in easy-to-carry smaller packages.
Low-watt amps tend to have fewer overall features such as effects and tonal options. In addition, most can only achieve low volumes, making them unusable for live performances.
In most cases, a low-watt amp won't be enough. However, this also depends on a lot of factors, such as the acoustics and size of the room you’re going to be performing in, whether you’ll be performing with other instrumentalists such as a drummer, and whether the venue will have a professional sound system. All these factors have some degree of impact on whether you’ll be able to use your low-watt amp.
A low-watt amp can serve as a good addition to any guitarist's collection. Hopefully, you now possess the knowledge on not only some of the best low-watt Marshall amps out there but also on how to make an informed low-watt amp purchase.