JCM800 Questions!!
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Thread: JCM800 Questions!!

  1. #1


    Join Date: Jul 2019

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    JCM800 Questions!!

    I've been thinking of getting one of these for a long time now and I'm convinced it's the amp for me. The only problem is, literally NOWHERE anywhere near me has any where I can try any which is driving me crazy.

    I know there's a load of different versions of the amp but it's probably a 50w/100w head I'll be going for. I play in a metal band and I plan on using it with a tube screamer for the typical thrash tone.

    1 - Does the master volume act as it does on other amps?, cause I see very very mixed opinions on this, as on my Laney Ironheart, the amp sounds sort of the same but a bit weaker if I turn the volume down but not enough to notice to the casual listener.

    2 - if it is just like a typical master volume , would I be able to turn the amp down if a soundguy asked me to without it affecting my tone too much, as I still want the metal tones when mic'd up.

    Any advice/opinions welcome, just really need to know this stuff cause it's kinda important with them being such a big pricey amp

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  3. #2


    Join Date: Oct 2016
    Location: Corpus Christi
    ME: LTD H7, S540LTD
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    Never used a JCM800, but did have a JCM900 for years, through a pair of Carvin 412Bs. Things I learned with it:

    1) Master volume made a big difference in tone. It really came alive when you hit the 6.5+ range and straight up roared like a T-Rex in the 7-8 range. At 9, it literally shook my eyeballs to stand close enough to turn it down.
    2) The sound was far more consistent than any other amp I've ever owned, including my 6505.

    There used to be a sound guy in the DC area (not sure if he's still there or not) who would always come try to turn me down to 4 or less, complaining about excessive stage volume. He was clueless about metal (IIRC he as a pop rock guy) and it drove me nuts. The best sound guy I ever worked with, Chris Koslowski, would keep me in the 6-8 range, knowing the tone was best there and how to balance it with the house system.

    Not sure if that helps at all, but that was my experience.


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  4. #3


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Arizona
    ME: Ibanez
    Rig: Mesa JP-2C

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron1 View Post
    There used to be a sound guy in the DC area (not sure if he's still there or not) who would always come try to turn me down to 4 or less, complaining about excessive stage volume. He was clueless about metal (IIRC he as a pop rock guy) and it drove me nuts. The best sound guy I ever worked with, Chris Koslowski, would keep me in the 6-8 range, knowing the tone was best there and how to balance it with the house system.
    I had a similar experience with a sound guy here in Phoenix a few years ago with this exact same problem. I was playing a Triple Rectifier live, and I had the master volume at about 10 o'clock, which is really the minimum you need with this amp to get it to sound right, and he kept trying to get me to turn it down. I had to show him the difference in tone before he understood and accomodated. I never felt the need to crank the amp on stage, but these big tube heads have a minimum threshold you have to hit before they really begin to crush.

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  6. #4


    Join Date: Apr 2017
    Location: Kansas City
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    My experience with my 800 is that the level of tone you need to get it to stage volume is just fine for metal tones, and IMO turning it down a bit gets it even tighter. The power amp control works a lot like a master volume, but the 800 is a power amp friendly amp, it's not like modern amps which rely heavily on the preamp. It doesn't seem to impact the preamp gain at all, just the power amp warmth and punch. Though mine is heavily modded so maybe a stock one is different?
    C'mon son.

    Hellevate

  7. #5


    Join Date: Jun 2011
    Location: North Carolina
    ME: EBMM JP 13
    MA: Yamaha Classical Guitar
    Rig: Mark V w/ 2x12 V-30 Cab

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    Man, don't use a Tubescreamer.

    It would be soooo much better with a BB Pre-Amp pedal. It's a world of difference and will crush significantly better.

    Keep in mind all JCM800's sound different too. Some better than others. Don't know why.

    Also. Do not buy one brand new unless it's that 20 Watt one. Those are awesome.

    But there is no point in paying $2400 for a brand new one.

    I don't know if he'd be willing to ship. But I have a buddy selling a 1983 50 Watt 2203 for $1300.
    Everything has been cleaned with new capacitors and etc.



    This is my Dad's Modded 1984 JCM800 50 Watt 2204. It sounds amazing.



    This is the new 20 Watt ones and I turn on the BB Pre-Amp at 0:50 to give it a more "Metal" tone.
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