Main differences between Marshall 1959 and 2203

Racerxrated

Well-known member
Destroyed in every way possible for the tone YOU are going for. I have a feeling you're not a fan of high gain amplification or high gain tones in any way... cause if that is what you liked a 2203 with a boost does the job better IMO. Those amps from the early 70's cant really approach metal territory.
So, I will partially agree with some of what you said. The boosted 2203 is going to sound/feel more saturated than my 72. My 2205 boosted gets far more saturated as do the Marks I’ve had. But, similar to a Wizard MC that I had, the double boosted 72 doesn’t seem that saturated but upon recording a little clip, on playback it sounds gained up enough for any 80s metal that I’ve ever heard.
But yes I go for more of a hard rock/80s metal tone than anything else.
 

Racerxrated

Well-known member
+1

A boosted 2203 is absolutely loud AF. A boosted healthy 2203 is even louder.
It is. And, new ARS caps and healthy GE 6550s in that amp sounded killer, and punched like the Wizard I had.
But, for whatever reason my 72 chewed that 2203 up and spit it out, then laughed at it. Lol
I’m tellin ya, maybe my 72 is an anomaly(pun intended 😂) but if I played the 72 first, then the 2203 the 2203 sounded like the weaker red headed stepchild.
I’ve said this before; but most if not all of the big 80s players used stock NMV amps with a boost for a reason. Maybe mine is just super special but it chased away a particularly good 1983 2203. I keep the 2205 around because the 72 does what it does at 130db(maybe more 😂). Can’t do that every day.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
NMV (at least Marshalls) may cut better to a point. But the power sections still cave in the same generally. They hit harder, but the volume isn’t going to be much different.

First thing Imdid to my 69 plexi was put the 2203 preamp in it. Ran it that way for years. Then I decided to put it back to stock 1959. Once cranked up, the gain and volume was the same. I was surprised.
That’s been my experience as well. They hit much harder and are tighter and clearer, but in terms of only volume I don’t notice much difference unless I boost both. The NVM’s tend to be more receptive to boosts
 

braintheory

Well-known member
I am lot more impressed overall with my 1972 SuperLead, but the one important thing it doesn’t seem to have vs the late ‘70’s JMP2203/4’s is as much growl when you play long held powerchords. Even double boosted or whatever, the chords on NMV’s IME are just smoother sounding vs late ‘70’s JMP’s. Growl is one of the main things that appeals to me about electric guitar, so that is a super important difference imo. The 800’s IME don’t growl like the JMP’s
 
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Racerxrated

Well-known member
One thing I have to say is, I’m a 2203 fan. I bought the 72 to have an original non master Marshall to own, not necessarily to play all that often because of the volume taper; there is none 😂
I was super happy with that 2203; it took away any Wizard gas I had. After a month I finally sat down and experimented with boosting the 72. When I found the right combination I was blown away. After a few weeks I decided to sell the 2203. Great amp but the 72 was better to my ears in every way.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
One thing I have to say is, I’m a 2203 fan. I bought the 72 to have an original non master Marshall to own, not necessarily to play all that often because of the volume taper; there is none 😂
I was super happy with that 2203; it took away any Wizard gas I had. After a month I finally sat down and experimented with boosting the 72. When I found the right combination I was blown away. After a few weeks I decided to sell the 2203. Great amp but the 72 was better to my ears in every way.
I’ve been close to selling my Wizard a few times, but I still can’t get any of my other amps to quite match what I like about it’s chugs. I’ve sold my ‘79 JMP2203, so kinda same boat as you, but a good modded JMP (like I have) you may find worthwhile. Obviously way better for lower volumes, but also more growl/roar on powerchords and chewiness that my 72 can’t do
 

anomaly

Well-known member
So, I will partially agree with some of what you said. The boosted 2203 is going to sound/feel more saturated than my 72. My 2205 boosted gets far more saturated as do the Marks I’ve had. But, similar to a Wizard MC that I had, the double boosted 72 doesn’t seem that saturated but upon recording a little clip, on playback it sounds gained up enough for any 80s metal that I’ve ever heard.
But yes I go for more of a hard rock/80s metal tone than anything else.
....A hard rock 80's tone, as it seems a lot of rig talkers go for. Not real metal tones though. A 2203 is a much better amp for metal than any 60's or early 70's amplifier is, boosted or not. So a 1959 doesn't destroy a 2203, does it?? Just for your tone that's in your head.
 

Bxlxaxkxe

Well-known member
For my tastes, I really don't like 1987/1959 for anything beyond "Rock". Light boost like a Timmy or treble boost sounds great. Hitting them with a traditional style mid boost to get into high gain territory doesn't result in a tone that's "together" enough for me. Too wild, out of control, frequencies bouncing all over the place. Extremely raw to the point where it can be unpleasant to be in the room. Very mean and wild. The MV 2203 amps on the hand, are much more put together from bottom to top. They just sound right. To me. No pedals straight in, the 2203 is a flatter sound, less dynamic and less alive than the plexi. Maybe a touch of compression on the 2203 sound is the right way to describe it where the 1959 is WIDE open. But the 2203 is still more raw and alive then 99% of other amps especially anything modern day production. What's cool to me about the 2203s is that you can take them anywhere you wanna go - blues, classic rock, hard rock, metal. It's THE platform.
 

cardinal

Well-known member
Our ears are more sensitive to certain frequencies than others; so it's possible that one amp can seem louder than another even if they are outputting the same watts, if one of the amps is pushing more midrange frequencies, for example.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
....A hard rock 80's tone, as it seems a lot of rig talkers go for. Not real metal tones though. A 2203 is a much better amp for metal than any 60's or early 70's amplifier is, boosted or not. So a 1959 doesn't destroy a 2203, does it?? Just for your tone that's in your head.
I wouldn’t really choose either amp for metal (unless modded), but I will say my 1972 SuperLead is a very tight amp (even unboosted). One of my tightest actually. Much tighter than any 2203/4’s I’ve tried, so for some styles of metal I think it can work, but just doesn’t have that dense, heavy quality to the bottom end that I feel is needed for metal. It’s all just about choosing the right tool for the job and for ‘80’s hard rock tone and most other things rock those old SuperLead are imo very tough amps to rival. There are a bunch of tricks to make the amp more useable (besides boosting it), but not at volumes below very loud lol
 
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Racerxrated

Well-known member
....A hard rock 80's tone, as it seems a lot of rig talkers go for. Not real metal tones though. A 2203 is a much better amp for metal than any 60's or early 70's amplifier is, boosted or not. So a 1959 doesn't destroy a 2203, does it?? Just for your tone that's in your head.
Sure. I’m not a metal head other than 80s type metal. But, for punch? 72 destroys that 2203. Tightness? 72 is better, not destroys. Clarity? 72 destroys it. Dynamic harmonics? 72 is way better. It just sounds better all the way around, for what I like.
Like Blake said it IS a wild beast that is hard to control; gotta really learn to use your vol control as that is key. 2203s are great iconic amps man. I just feel that an early 70s Superlead with a boost or two is on a whole other level, to my ears anyway.
Many pro players from the 80s seemed to agree as well…most of the shows I went to, stacks of NMV Marshalls. Not 2203s.
Must be a reason? They could have easily used 2203/4. But they didn’t.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
Sure. I’m not a metal head other than 80s type metal. But, for punch? 72 destroys that 2203. Tightness? 72 is better, not destroys. Clarity? 72 destroys it. Dynamic harmonics? 72 is way better. It just sounds better all the way around, for what I like.
Like Blake said it IS a wild beast that is hard to control; gotta really learn to use your vol control as that is key. 2203s are great iconic amps man. I just feel that an early 70s Superlead with a boost or two is on a whole other level, to my ears anyway.
Many pro players from the 80s seemed to agree as well…most of the shows I went to, stacks of NMV Marshalls. Not 2203s.
Must be a reason? They could have easily used 2203/4. But they didn’t.
I guess maybe vs an 800 it can be better but not destroy for tightness, but vs my jmp2203 it destroyed the jmp for tightness by a lot. It was just the growl/fur and denser bottom end of the JMP that I liked about it vs my 72. I find also my really hot pickups like the old BL’s, MM’s and DF’s can help push the 72 and make it heavier. It tends to be more receptive to pickups as well as boosts. The only problem is the DF’s are very noisy/squealie since they’re unpotted, but man do they sound good through the 72. Their low mids complement it well
 

cardinal

Well-known member
FWIW I had a '69 plexi panel 1959 and a '71 1959, and I vastly preferred every master volume JMP I've ever had. IME the master volume models had more gain and were tighter and more immediate. But I prefer the masters set lower (2 or so).

To the the 1959 into overdrive, the master is 8 or over, and if you set a JMP master volume that high, it's a mess and yeah I would prefer the 1959 in that scenario. But first, Id just turn down the master volume.

But we all like different things.
 

Racerxrated

Well-known member
FWIW I had a '69 plexi panel 1959 and a '71 1959, and I vastly preferred every master volume JMP I've ever had. IME the master volume models had more gain and were tighter and more immediate. But I prefer the masters set lower (2 or so).

To the the 1959 into overdrive, the master is 8 or over, and if you set a JMP master volume that high, it's a mess and yeah I would prefer the 1959 in that scenario. But first, Id just turn down the master volume.

But we all like different things.
If you throw a boost pedal or two in front, it becomes a whole different animal. No boost? I’d choose the 2203. Unboosted it just doesn’t have anywhere near the gain of an unboosted 2203.
Double boosted? It shits all over any stock or modded Marshall I’ve owned. To me anyway.
 

Kapo_Polenton

Well-known member
If I crank the MV to 10 (or 11), will the 2203 behave like a 1959?

I disagree with quite a few of my bethren here. I think they WILL get close but you have to know how to set them. NMV is a bit more wild but a 2203 / 2204 can get there too but you have to know how to set it. Crank the mids to 10, presence and bass to taste ( go to 10 here if it feels right... ) and treble anywhere 5-10. ( this will be dependent on the amp and the totality of it's parts and their value drift)

Change the NFR from 100k down to 47k. Now get that MV up to 7 or 8 and back that preamp down to 4 or less. Welcome to tone city.

Now tell me that isn't almost as satisfying as a plexi. I compare my NMV and my 2204 clone and 82' 800 and they can both get there set the way I just said. The secret is backing off that gain and realizing that the tone controls do way less when the MV goes over 7. They become a bit like gain controls for a frequency. It is a dirty little secret that many people caught on to when plexis started going for stupid money but 2203/2204's could still be had for 800$. Cranking the preamp ( which is what most do) sounds like absolute garbage. Flub city. I can't stand people doing that and expecting it to cut. There are unicorns out there of course but most of the time it is a wooly mess.

MV down you need the preamp gain up and then boost it. That is a diff sounding amp than a plexi at that level. Which is where pedals come in. The OD side is pickier when you set a MV the way i just described and you often just need the level from the OD.
 

Racerxrated

Well-known member
Can anyone point me towards a good high gain, hard rock / metal 1959 clip? Not Van Halen ? I want to see how they're dialing it in cause maybe I'm just not doing it right.
Listen to the first few Ratt albums, Lynch on Back for the Attack, to name a few. All boosted Plexi/metal panels. Iron Maiden Live After Death, Number of the Beast, Accept on Balls to the Wall….many more I’m sure
 

Bxlxaxkxe

Well-known member
Listen to the first few Ratt albums, Lynch on Back for the Attack, to name a few. All boosted Plexi/metal panels. Iron Maiden Live After Death, Number of the Beast, Accept on Balls to the Wall….many more I’m sure
I know most of those and they’re cool. But I’m saying user/regular people clips. Want to figure out what I’m doing wrong
 
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