The Marshall JCM 800 Series
Introduced during the 1980's, the Marshall JCM 800 series added sought-after features to the product line, such as an effects loop and master volume. The look of the head was redesigned, with grille cloth replacing the front Tolex vinyl. A larger logo was also introduced.
This cover of a 1980's Marshall full-line catalog shows a good-looking 100-watt half stack: A model 2210 100 watt channel switching lead head powering a model 1960A angled cabinet featuring four G1275 Celestion speakers. The amp features individual gain and EQ controls for each channel, Accutronics footswitchable reverb, effects loop, and a line out with separate gain control.
Cosmetically speaking, the JCM800 models sport larger logos on the heads and speaker cabinets than the earlier JTM models. Another difference is the addition of grille cloth material on the upper two-thirds of the head box, replacing the all-vinyl look of earlier Marshalls. It is a handsome design, and one that was carried over to the JCM900 and JCM2000 lines.
The "JCM 800" designation JCM came from Jim Marshall's initials and 800 came from his car registration plate. The JCM 800 series was launched in early 1981 after Marshall's contract with distributor Rose-Morris ended.
Head models in the JCM800 product line include the 1959, 1986, 1987, 1992, 2203 (100 watt Super Lead), 2204 (50 watt Super Lead), 2205, and 2210 (see below, for summary of features).
JCM800 Combo Amps
Marshall combo amps in the JCM800 line were open-backed models, and featured Celestion speakers.
If you're observant you've noticed one thing about the combo amp models. The chassis is installed into the cabinet with the tubes pointing down. Thus, the controls are laid out exactly opposite those of the amplifier heads. You can see that the switches and knobs are mirror images of the head shown at the top of the page.
Combo models in the 800 line include the following:
- 4010 (50 watts, 1x12, combo version of 2204 head)
- 4103 (100 watts, 2x12, combo version of head)
- 4104 (50 watts, 2x12, combo version of 2204 head)
- 4210 (channel switching, 50 watts, 1x12, combo version of 2205 head)
- 4211 (split channel, 100 watts, 2x12, combo version of 2210 head)
- 4212 (split channel, 50 watts, 2x12, combo version of 2205 head)
JCM800 2203X Vintage Series Tube Amp
The 2203 was the first Marshall guitar amp to feature a Master Volume control, allowing guitarists to crank the preamp for maximum overdrive while keeping the power amp to reasonable listening levels.
The sound is very throaty, thanks to the three 12AX7A (ECC83) preamp tubes. Three band EQ with presence control to dial in your favorite sound. The only addition to this reissue is an effects loop, allowing you to insert your favorite time-based effect (reverb, delay, chorus, flange, etc.) between the preamp and power amp sections.
In 1975, Marshall unveiled the original model 2203 head, which produced 100 watts RMS from four EL34 output tubes (valves). In 1981, Marshall introduced the JCM800 series version of the 2203, and redesigned the cosmetics, adding the large logo and grille cloth over the front baffle. The electronics, however, remained unchanged. The 2203X 'reissue' model was introduced by Marshall in 2002.