The Marshall Mark II - 100 Watt Models
Many users favor the 100 watt models over their 50 watt brethren, since they always have a little something extra in reserve for those loud jams or stages that soak up as much sound as you can produce. I've played some larger venues where I just couldn't hear myself with a 50-watt top, so I now exclusively use 100-watters. If you find that a 100-watt top is too loud for a certain situation, use a Marshall Powerbrake to bring the volume down to a suitable level, while not sacrificing that outstanding tube tone.
Probably the most sought-after Marshalls are the 100-watt models that have control panels made of Plexiglas. These are known as plexi Marshalls. Michael Doyle, in his acclaimed treatise "The History of Marshall", mentions that plexi models were made from 1965 through July of 1969. Models after this date use control panels made of brushed aluminum.
One cosmetic difference between 50 and 100 watt models that continues to this day is that the 100 watt cabinets feature a pair of plastic cooling vents in the top of the case. This is an easy way to tell whether that Marshall you're lusting after has two (50-watt) or four (100-watt) power tubes without your ever having to look at the amp from the back. (Another way to tell the difference between 45 and 50-watt models and the 100 watters is by the size of the head box. 100 watt tops have always been housed in the larger sized cabinets.)
Marshall 100 watt heads are covered in Tolex vinyl and measured (in mm) 730 x 275 x 210. Earlier amps used the small Marshall logo. During the later production runs, the bolder, large logo was used and the toggle switches were replaced with rocker switches. It was at this time that the separate pilot lamp was removed, since the power rocker switch incorporated a built-in lamp.
The JCM800 series began in the early 1980's.
The photo above was supplied by Ken Drottar. The amp is a 100 watt 1959 Super Lead plexi model, sitting atop a 1960A 4x12 bottom cabinet. The guitar is a '64 Fender Strat.
Models in the MK II 100 Watt Series
- 2959 head (reverb and boost, no master volume) circa 1978-1980
- 2203 head (1 channel, master volume) 1975-1981
- 2159 2x12 combo ("4 pronger", twin channel - combo version of 1959 head) 1977-1981
- 2103 2x12 combo (single channel, master volume - combo version of 2203) 1975-81
- 2068 head (4 inputs, 2 channels, reverb "Artist" model) 1971-1978
- 1992 head (4 inputs, twin channel. "Super Bass".
- 1968 head (8 inputs, 4 channels. "Super PA") 1966-1975
- 1959SLP head (4 inputs, 2 channels. Reissue of 60's plexi.) 1993-present
- 1959X head (4 inputs, 2 channels. First of the plexi reissues.) 1991-1993
- 1959S head (4 inputs, 2 channels. First Marshall reissue.) 1988
- 1959 head (4 inputs, 2 channels. "Super Lead". Tremolo model T1959 discontinued early 1970's.) 1966-1981