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Author Topic: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800  (Read 3882 times)

GuitarIv

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NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« on: October 26, 2017, 03:07:21 PM »
Hey everyone,

so it's been a while since I posted anything and I'm glad to say I'm back with amazing news. I have finally fullfilled myself a dream and got my hands on a original, unmodded Marshall JCM 800 2203 Model from 1982.

Some of you may remember my thread where I was asking about the difference between my DSLs crunch channel and the 2203. I was dead set on getting a Reissue series because of the FX Loop and now that I own the real deal I must say I'm glad I went for it. This thing needs no pedals.

Before I get into the details, a little backstory: I was browsing the German Ebay Kleinanzeigen Site and typed in 2203... I haven't done it in quite a while since I was (and still am) satisfied with my gear, but it was one of those nights where you sip a glass of wine and browse the internet for shenanigans, so I figured hey I haven't looked those up in a while.

There it was. An ad complete with guthshots and a full description of the amp by what seemed to be a tech, 6 Filter Caps, original Yugoslawian EI Tubes, Vertical Input, Serial Number, completely serviced. 1250 bucks. Dammed.

I already had spent a considerate amount of cash that month, so I closed the website and said forget about it. It stuck in my mind however, lingering in the back of my brain. Next day I'm out with my girlfriend, the both of us already a bit tipsy and I blurt out "Would you lend me a 1200 bucks so I can get the amp I've been dreaming about since I was 18?". I got a yes as an answer. Needless to say my girlfriend is awesome.  :grin:

I messaged the dude the same night, had a talk with him over the phone, he seemed genuine and nice and we chatted about the amp and the story behind it. He is an retired amp tech who serviced the Marshall and put it online for sale. It belonged to his friend from Spain, Tonky de la Peña who apparently played and toured with BB King and other great artists, he's a big name in Spain, unfortunately not really known outside of the country as it is with a lot of great artists. Link for you guys to check him out, awesome player:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjVGoFjSWHA


So we arranged everything via phone and two days later (nice job GLS) the amp arrived from Hamburg in Vienna. I got the thing home, tore the packaging apart like an animal, seated it on top of my JCM 2000, plugged it in and started playing.

First thing I noticed, it is true what they say about the amp. This thing is LOUD. I already had the impression that my DSL was barking at me if I wasn't careful with the Master Volume control, but 0.8 on the dial and I was hit by pure volume. Like someone was trying to punch a hole in my chest. It is really hard to explain, I finally understand what everybody means when they say you gotta play one to know it. That low end... not flabby oversaturated mud, but tight and punchy. You hit the strings and it hits you right back. In an instant. In less than a millisecond. Gain? Not a lot of it. Dime the preamp and you get AC/DC levels of crunch... but it doesn't matter with this amp. I don't know what exactly is going on there... is it the Transformers and the Choke with the 6 Filter Caps, is it the simplicity of the circuit and controls or fairydust and unicorns pooping rainbows inside of it? The amp rewards you with fullness, attack, punch, harmonics. Use the volume and tone knobs on the guitar and gently caress the strings... clean. Hit it with full force and let the pick dig in, it screams. Boost it with a tube screamer and have the walls shaking whilst you riff away your Guns n Roses and Metallica material... unbelievable.

Now of course this is not a bedroom amp. It still sounds great on day practice volume levels, especially if you give it a nudge with a booster, but I wanted to release the beast. And yesterday oh boy I did. My dads mechanic has a workshop (huge hall where he repairs cars) in an industrial area half an hour drive from Vienna. Last time we where there I admired the acoustics as his little portable Bose loudspeaker was playing in the corner of the hall, so I had the idea of cranking the Marshall there. I called instantly and he said sure, drop by.

We drove out, armed with my Strat, my Les Paul, my 62 Framus Hollywood, pedalboard for booster and wah, the head and my cab with G12-65s and V30s. I set everything up, plugged in my Strat and hit my first powerchord... boom. The air hitting you in the face as the speakers push out sheer volume. Amazing. I didn't even use my pedalboard, the poweramp tubes saturating eliminated any need for a boost pedal... I could do everything I wanted by adjusting controls on my guitar and they way I picked... One moment I was doing a little clean jazzy chord run... next moment I turn up the volume and riff away... the little crowd that had gathered there was awestruck. I could only smile everytime I saw their faces as I went from squeaky clean tones to full distorted powerchords in an instant...

The Framus yielded a nice, fat, jazzy sound, something you'd hear from a ES-335, instant BB King. The Strat was quacking away, Hendrix, Steve Ray Vaughn, Knopfler... my favourite (no surprise there) was still the Les Paul. This combination is just pure heaven, if you wanna go the safe route, Marshall + Gibson equals orgasm. It was addicting. I could feel the endorphines rushing through my body as the natural reverb of the hall would strike me the fraction of a second later with a Slapback like response everytime I hit a chord and muted it... I can't find words for it. Every guitarist should do this at least once in a lifetime!

The loudest setting I had was Preamp on 8 and Master Volume on 6... and I tell you, if you do this every night for years... well it's no wonder so many musicians from the good old times are almost deaf today. But I do understand now why they didn't bother with ear plugs. This is rock n roll  :grin:


So before I get to my final verdict, how does it compare to the crunch channel on my DSL? The sound is there. The DSL does a convincing JCM 800ish sound with the Crunch Mode engaged, however it feels and still sounds different. Flabbier, muddier, the punch is missing. If you put the two in a mix or play them live, you probably wouldn't notice a difference. The DSL is a good amp, I love mine and won't sell it, purely out of versatility and the more sensitive MV that let's you get a saturated tone on whisper levels. If someone put a gun to my head and told me to keep one of them I would... probably snag that mofos gun and shoot him shouting "DON'T TOUCH MY BABIES!". No but seriously, JCM 800 for me. All the way, all day.


So I do wanna say sorry for this wall of text, but I'm in love. I won't sell this amp ever. Even if I only get to crank it once a year, it's staying with me. I want my children to play it one day if they take up guitar. Sorry for only taking one picture, I was busy playing the damn thing!  :laugh:

Cheers and peace out!
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 10:35:10 PM by GuitarIv »

gwEm

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 03:25:03 PM »
congrats on the new toy!
Quote from: AndyR
you wouldn't use the meat knife on crusty bread but, equally, the serrated knife and straight edge knife aren't going to go through raw meat as quickly

blue

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 04:11:09 PM »
Fabulous amps, definitely one of the best ever made.  Enjoy ;)
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GuitarIv

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 10:35:31 PM »
Thanks guys!  :grin:

Telerocker

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2017, 12:23:09 AM »
Yeah, you got a good old classic in da house.. Congrats man!
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Dave Sloven

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2017, 02:10:56 AM »
Bloody hell Vim, look! It's a Marshall!  :grin:
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ericsabbath

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2017, 02:38:14 PM »
Nice!
I had an 84 2203 with horizontal inputs
It was one of the best amps I ever played even at bedroom volume
It sounded absolutely amazing the darker voiced chinese hiwatt speakers in my hiwatt 2x12, specially when I briefly had a c-bomb in my 73 les paul custom
I also loved it with a Riff Raff boosted with a tc compressor/parametric mid boost in the front
It was the most honest rock sound I ever had, even compared to my Lee Jackson modded 73 50w JMP or the 2002 bogner shiva I had at the time
I heavily regret selling that 2203
Hold yours tight and never let it go
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Plenum n Heather

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2017, 02:40:44 PM »
Congrats, great amp! Whilst I don't miss selling my 2203 (older amps require too much maintenance), it's a great sounding amp when functioning properly. It's great that you got yours from a tech that was able to get it into proper fighting form prior to your getting ahold of it! I prefer the sound of the JMP myself and (thankfully) have an amp that scratches that itch. :)

Toe-Knee

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2017, 07:55:48 PM »
Lovely amp. Look into the Jettenuator its fairly cheap £89 and will do a good job of helping you to tame the amp without too much tone loss!

I keep wanting to build  2204/2204 but I know that I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to mod the hell out of it which would be pointless as I already have my YETI which is pretty much where I would take a 800
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GuitarIv

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2017, 04:39:22 PM »
Thanks guys! I'll never sell the amp. I do miss some gain here and there, but everytime I switch from my DSL to the 2203 the tone just makes up for it. Where the 800 seems to be lacking some gain here and there (can't play it very loud, that's why) it just compensates with pure tone.  :laugh:

Attached some more pictures, cheers!

GuitarIv

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2017, 04:42:04 PM »
More pics

gwEm

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2017, 04:45:42 PM »
as we all know, 99% of pedals sound good with the JCM800 to get more gain.

My personal favourite is the original Boss OD-1 :cool:
Quote from: AndyR
you wouldn't use the meat knife on crusty bread but, equally, the serrated knife and straight edge knife aren't going to go through raw meat as quickly

GuitarIv

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2017, 12:19:07 PM »
Gwem, I'm currently using a Digitech Bad Monkey - the additional controls for bass and treble do a good job for fine tuning :)
I also aquired a Fulltone Plimsoul a few months ago: that thing is darker, boosts the lowmids more and you have soo much signal on tap by using the level knob that you can drive the amp into fuzz territory, very cool pedal. I still need to get me some of those Boss pedals: people praise em for use with the 800 and they are cheap and available  :smiley:

gwEm

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2017, 12:30:39 PM »
It's hard to really go wrong with any of the classic drive pedals into a JCM800. Since the amp is so clear though, you can clearly hear the character of any pedal that you use through it. As a result experimentation is always rewarded and you end up buying a bunch of drive pedals ;)

I bet the Bad Monkey sounds very good.
Quote from: AndyR
you wouldn't use the meat knife on crusty bread but, equally, the serrated knife and straight edge knife aren't going to go through raw meat as quickly

Dave Sloven

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Re: NAD - A dream come true. 1982 2203 JCM 800
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2017, 08:08:55 AM »
I have the MXR Distortion+ script reissue.  I don't really use it but I've always suspected it would sound great into a JCM800.

Depending on the guitar you can get real Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen tones from it

BLACK HAWKS
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COBRA-T
WAR PIGS
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COLD SWEATS
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TRUE GRIT

https://slovendoom.bandcamp.com/releases