Me, Marshall and rock'nroll history (contains The Who material)

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by stiv, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    My '67 Selmer Vanguard needed a check.
    The reverb has some scratchy noise inside, along with some metallic buzz that was not audible live but it was really annoying on recording session.
    A guy that I did some trade with adviced me to contact his amp tech, that restored the Selmer when he bought it. The tech house it's a bit far from where I live (about 2 and a half hours north from Firenze), but I was on transit while going back home from a gig and I decided to stop, as the tech told me that he would open the amp and, since I was coming from a bit far away, do it at the moment.
    So on my drive back I stopped at his place (which is a sort of big wooden cabin on the side of his home), he opened me the door and the place was full of vintage amps. Most of them were english, but also some Fender and even some very old italian stuff. It was a Vox/Marshall/Orange/Jennings/Wem (and Carlsbro and other brands I've never heard of) heaven. In the middle of the room there was this stack with 2 Marshall heads, one of them very old (I'm used to old Fenders as there's plenty of people that owns original 50s stuff in Italy, but not really many people over here owns very old Marshalls. Most of them are late 60s/early 70s.) that I never saw before.
    We started talking while he was fixing my Selmer, and while he was working asked me if I'd fancy try something. Of course I said sure (none of those amps where on sale, except the ones of the line he builds called Montani), so he gave me a 70s Greco Les Paul (non exactly my stuff) and I went throug an array of dream amps ('61 and '64 Normal Vox AC30, an Orange prototype from the early 60s, a Jennings vox-like head+4x12 cab loaded with Fanes, some of his amps that are a lot Blues Breaker sounding). At some point he pointed me on that Marshall head in the middle of his room "You see this '66 Jtm 45 with matching cab (loaded with pre-rola speakers)? That's a beast. The best sounding amp I have. Do you wanna try it?" I said I'd love to. While I was plugging in, he carried on with "You know, this has been owned by that famous guitar player, what's his name.... oh yes, Pete Townshend".
    My heart stopped. " yes ", he continued "this is one of the first batch Jim Marshall built for him in '66. He played for awhile and them got rid of them when he switched to Hiwatt 'cause he wanted something more clean sounding. He litteraly gave them away for free, and this one has been recovered from trash and bought back to his all original form".
    I turned it on, all eq dimed except for Presence at 8, and the High channel volume at 3. I struck the first 3 chords of "I Can't Explain" and then I stopped. I felt like I was drawing graffiti's on Michelangelo's David. :). Played some blues licks. Needless to say it sounded enormous. With the volume at 5, it sounded like Black Sabbath. A monster.
    By the way, my Selmer now works great (the guy offered me to exchange the stok late 50's Goodmans speaker with another '60s Goodmans more age-right for the amp, and the amp sounded a lot better, all this for free), and I touched with my hands a piece of rock'n'roll history (and, personally, a piece of my favorite band ever).
    Not bad for a sunday ride. :)

    Can't explain
    I think it's love
    Try to say it to you
    When I feel blue

    IMG_1068.JPG
     
    j.s.c, unknown fan, ramjac and 14 others like this.
  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Holy shhh...what a story!
     
    new6659, Zeek and stiv like this.
  3. markeebee

    markeebee Country Gent

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my days! That's awesome. If ever I needed another reason to visit Italy.......
     
    stiv likes this.
  4. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    I actually own an original vintage JTM 45 early script-logo Marshall head for decades.
    I already posted it elsewhere here and told it`s story. Of course it has not that Pete Townshend pedigree but nonetheless:
    Magical amps that work great with every guitar you throw at it.
    (And rare like hen`s teeth.)
    Mine works best with the inputs bridged and everything on ten except for the bass which is more or less off.
     
    j.s.c, T Bone, Waxhead and 1 other person like this.
  5. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Couldn’t agree more.
    I’ve never been a Marshall guy to be honest. Sure I owned a couple of JCM 800 and also a JTM45 reissue in late 90s, but only because they where the only quality amps available at the time where I lived. Like I said, in Italy it’s easier to find 70s Marshall Plexis but this is the first time I played a 60s one, and in my limited time yesterday I could tell they’re really different, like night and day. The sound is crispier, sure it’s classically more mid ranged than a Bassman but still holds the cleans beautifully. My JTM 45 Reissue was really lifeless at lower volumes, this one at 2 held his own with some nice clean harmonics. Then, when you turn the volume up, there’s the classic “swooosh” that you could hear in songs like The Who’s “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere”... After 5 o clock it’s pure distortion, more and better than any distortion pedal I ever owned or tried.
    That guy who owns it, he’s the tech that amps collectors call when they have to bring an amp back to his former self with all the original parts no matter the price, so I’m sure that his JTM it’s pretty original. I dunno if it makes a real difference but man, it sounded absolutely fantastic. And Pete Townshend’s Marshall sound it’s my least favorite of all his sounds.
    A real revelation.
    The good thing is that I already know I couldn’t afford an amp like that, so I’m in peace...:D
     
    loudnlousy, Lionpotato, j.s.c and 3 others like this.
  6. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia

    great score - congrats :)
     
    stiv likes this.
  7. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    There is a thread on here asking about regrets of non purchased guitars. I couldn’t really name any.
    If I had one regret it was getting this amp, a ‘66 JTM45 half stack for €1200. Must have been a little more than a decade ago. I can’t even begin to imagine what they’re worth now. :(
     
    loudnlousy and stiv like this.
  8. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    In the world of today, this amps are destined to be collectors' items. They're loud, heavy and not exactly easy to mantain in case something go wrong, and if you don't gig them it will happen.
    20 years ago I was proudly gigging with 2 Hiwatt half stack everywhere, from the smallest club to the open air gigs, nevermind the volume problems or the fact that sometimes I have to pile them up one another 'cause the stage was too small.
    Today 99% of touring bands use rental Twins or cc2 AC30s, and so do I with my Selmer and/or Champ, even if I still have one of those Hiwatt heads at home.
    We're not used to those sound anymore. As the better part of the things we did 20/30 years ago, that rock'n'roll is dead.
    So I'm ok with leaving collector's items to collectors or techs. They're the only one left that could take good care of them without breaking the bank account.:)
     
    loudnlousy, unknown fan and Ricochet like this.
  9. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Considerations are similar to vintage cars or bikes, and kind of depressing. We basically have two options left. Either sell our tube amps and go sim/modeling/whatever, or learn to do the maintenance...
     
    loudnlousy, new6659 and stiv like this.
  10. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Cars or bikes, yes.
    Guitars... well, you could take care of the old ones even if they never left the room you store them.
    About going modeling/sim, I guess is easier to stop gigging and play those old loved ones at home. At list, that’s what I’m doing :)
     
    j.s.c and Ricochet like this.
  11. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    there's still plenty of decent guitar techs around and young guys learning that trade as a job.

    With tube amps it's getting tougher particularly those with knowledge of vintage amps. Depends where you live of course - big cities much easier but the tube amp gurus are dying out.

    I know a good amp tech living 2 hrs south of Sydney Aust on coast.
    He's a one man show, in his 60s and knows his stuff. This guy
    https://rockdog.com.au/services/

    Concerned at the loss of skills in todays youth he's been trying to find a local apprentice he can train up. But ...... after searching for 2 yrs he can't find one. He's offering a fulltime job and apprenticeship and no young person wants it :(
     
    stiv likes this.
  12. j.s.c

    j.s.c Country Gent

    Aug 19, 2008
    france
    You people of Firenze knows what vintage value is...
    I know a little about Italy, few visits in Toscany but enough to underline that you're taking care of old things for centuries. Here is France, we broke old castles (we start destroying process under Louis XIII ~1600) and some of the oldest city centers for modernity, a lot of soul have been lost for more malls and parkings, that's a real shame.

    Btw, this Selmer vanguard repair trip story is very cool.
     
    stiv likes this.
  13. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Maybe because the old part of town it's the only (huge) income that Firenze have. Otherwise, we are quite good as well (as italians) to screw up the good things the past left us.
    Oh, I forgot to write that the tech guy told me that one of the five "sisters" of Townshend's first batch JTMs has been rescued in France. :)
     
    j.s.c likes this.
  14. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Mine is played regularily. I rarely gig with it because I fear it could be stolen but there are occasions I play it live. I enjoy playing it at rehearsal and everytime I am recording, though.

    It is not unbearably loud. Hey, there are only 30 watts in it when dimed.

    If you roll back your guitar`s volume when playing rhythm it is balancing perfectly with the volumes of my bandmates. And if I go for a solo I simply turn the guitar`s volume up so I can stand out a little more (and have a nice compression).
    It never let me down. Actually it is tough as nails.
    So maintainance is not as hard as one would assume.
    It had a big check-up every decade.
    Our German JTM45 guru is Udo Pipper. http://www.udopipper.de/
    He did a great job on it a few years ago.
     
  15. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    54
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    The subject "do you prefer working your guitars volume pot or using presets by channel switching?" would deserve a thread of it`s own...
     
    stiv likes this.
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