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The newest amp is a 2004 Splawn Quick Rod that I got off eBay. I picked up a Splawn 4x12 to match it. The amp sounds great and can get that EVH "Brown "sound pretty good. The cab has Eminence Governors and Man O Wars in an X pattern. If you are into hot rodded marshal tones, check out Splawn.

Here's an updated picture of the amp wall...

 

I was recording using my J-Station and really only fired up a real amp a couple times in  about a year. One day I played the Marshall and it hit me like a ton of bricks, I couldn't believe I went that long. I realized what I was missing and what amp modelers lack -- warmth and responsiveness, in my opinion these attributes cannot be modeled.

Bogner Amplification. This is my Ecstasy 101B, finest amp known to man.

I  picked up this VHT Pittbull Fifty CL with EQ and Reverb. This is a 50 watt head with EL-34's but has the option to use 6L6's but I'll leave it as EL-34. The newer models don't have this option anymore so I'm assuming the amp design is really for EL-34's. This is basically a hot rodded Marshall design. No distortion/overdrive pedal is needed, this has more than enough gain. This amp sounds fantastic, it is one pf the better sounding amps that I have ever played. It has 2 channels but not the normal clean/mean configuration, both channels are dirty although one does clean up nicely but nothing like the Boogie or a nice old Fender clean. This amp has a great tone all of its own. It has a 6-band EQ. Everything is footswitchable, channels, EQ, lead  boost (cool) and reverb.  Both channels have gain stacking and are voiced alike although one cleans up better than the other. Hey, you don't buy a VHT to play clean. 

I bought  a Bogner slant 4x12 with that has Celestion Vintage 30's.  The Bogner cab is great sounding cab. I heard a lot of hype over these cabs and thought it was all bs or boutique amp snobbery, I was wrong. This cab has a nice, warm, open feel to it . It sounds great with all 3 amps, the 2203, VHT and Boogie. I leave the VHT parked on top of it for the moment but keep thinking to myself that a Bogner Ecstasy 101b head would look nice with it.  When I was  looking at 4x12's I decided on a Mesa Recto cab but while looking I stumbled on the Bogner for the same price, it was a no brainer to go with the Bogner.

I added a VHT Fat Bottom 4x12 cab with P50E's that I picled up locally here in Dallas for a real good price. This a great sounding cab. VHT and Bogner know what they are doing when it comes to amps and cabs. Below is an updated picture of my amp wall in my music room/studio.

 

 

                                                                       

 

                                                                

 

 

 Before I got the VHT I  went on a quest for a good combo amp to get back to recording using a mic and a tube amp. I scored a Mesa/Boogie DC-5 off of eBay. It is a 50 watt dual channel 1x12 widebody combo with 6 12AX7's and 2 6L6 power tubes.  Each channel has its own pre-amp tubes, controls and reverb. The 5-Band EQ is really nice too. I love this amp. It really sounds nice and has a darker tone than My Marshall and has the distinctive Boogie tone.  Here it is,

        

I also got a Mesa/Boogie 1x12 3/4 back tune ported extension cab to use with the DC-5. It really opened up the amp and having the 2 12 Celestion 90 watt Black Shadows makes it sound pretty big. I actually didn't know if I'd like them but they compliment the Mesa tone rather nicely and I see no reason to change to V30's. This rig has some balls and sounds great run in stereo with the Marshall or VHT set-ups . I really like Mesa Products and can't believe I went all this time without having a Boogie.

I was devoted Marshall user for years and my amp of choice for many these years was my trusty Marshall JCM 800 2203 100 watt head with vertical inputs,  6550 tubes and a Marshall 1960 4x12 cab with Celestion G12T75 speakers. I bought this amp in 1984. It is dated 7/20/83.  I have Groove Tubes in both the pre-amp and power stages. This amp is a monster and is loud as hell. That was fine when I was melting the roofs off of clubs but its way too loud for home use. I went on another quest to find a way to tame this beast of an amp so I could use it home and achieve decent bedroom level tones. Really if I used this and set it  at 2-3 the cops would be at my house before I could really get anything recorded, yes it is that loud.  I had thought about THD Hotplates but they don't have a universal unit that works with different Ohm levels.  In came in the THD Yellow Jackets  which convert the output tubes ( 6L6, 6V6,  EL-34, 6550) to EL-84's. I figured if I got these I could use them in any amp where the Hotplate I couldn't.  I bought 2 of them and a matched pair of JJ EL-84's from tubestore.com  I removed all 4 6650's from the 2203 and only installed the THD YJSD's (power reducin type) in the middle 2 sockets and left the outer 2 empty. I fired up the amp, crossed my fingers and took it out of stand-by, wow! nice tone, manageable volume levels. This knocked my amp down from 100 watts of wall shaking 6550 power to about 20 watts of chimey EL-84 power. The amp still retained its JCM 800 tone but with a bit more mid range and chime, which are characteristics of EL-84's. The beast was tamed, mission accomplished.

Everyone knows that the 2203 isn't a brutally high gain amp, it needs to be overdriven with Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal and maybe even a Graphic EQ like the Boss GE-7  that will give you more tonal variations and colors to the amp, I use both of those stomp boxes. I was surfing eBay one day and came upon device made by Soldano called the Hot Mod. Since I'm a fan of Soldanos SLO and Hot Rod amps I was intrigued by the claim to double or more the gain of a single channel amp (like the 2203). This little doo-dad is meant to replace the middle 12AX7 pre-amp tube. I bid on it and won. I plugged it in to the 2203, powered it up, went straight guitar into the amp without any pedals at all. Man that really made it a gain monster and as too much gain for me. I set the pre-amp to about 6-7 and it really sounds nice. I kept looking m y pedalboard thinking I had an SD-1 on with the drive dimed but I didn't. It sounds really nice. Lately I've been playing all amps without any effects whatsoever.

The JCM 800 2203 is such a popular Marshall era and amp that Marshall has re-issued it. I haven't played a re-issue so I can't compare them.  I have played many gigs, jams and practices with this amp. I am sentimentally attached to it, which is why I'll keep it. Plus if my sons start playing how cool would it be for them to use it?  I had many Marshall heads but this one just has the warm and distinct Marshal tone. I bought this one in 1984 and really didn't know anything about amps then other it was a 1/2 stack and a Marshall, I got lucky on my first purchase. Its one of those amps where you have to have it fairly loud to get the great tone, definitely not a bedroom level amp without  a hotplate or YJ's.  Below is a picture of my amp and 1960A Cab.

 

I also have a little Charvel Practice amp and a Johnson J-Station modeler amp that I recorded some mp3's

 

Just say NO to amp modelers or solid state

                    

 

 

 

 

Mesa Boogie Home Page

   

 

 

 

Tubes, Where the Tone is at

An amp modeler won't have tubes like this

 

                                                        13 Productions, Rockwall, TX. USA