Marshall 2203 JCM800 Reissue
Marshall 2203 JCM800 Reissue

2203 JCM800 Reissue, Tube Guitar Amp Head from Marshall in the Vintage series.

King Loudness 10/25/2011

Marshall 2203 JCM800 Reissue : King Loudness's user review

« The original hard rock head... »

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The Marshall 2203x is a reissue of the amp that was THE big cheese head in the eighties for rock or metal. Whether you had a stock one or a modded one, anybody who had one had great tone. It took the Master Volume JMP and kicked things up a notch with a fresh cosmetic look and a trend towards higher gain sounds. It still featured the single channel layout with the gain/volume setup and the single four band EQ. The 2203x is a reissue of that iconic 100 watt, EL34 powered tube head. It features an effects loop for added versatility to suit today's modern player which is very cool.


Getting a good sound out of this amp is pretty simple for sure. Like the JMP before it, this amp really needs to be turned up loud to get the tones happening, but otherwise it is very easy to dial in and sounds just like a Marshall should. The simple single channel layout offers users a very intuitive interface that is receptive to tonal changes, especially at higher volumes. I particularly like these amps when they're modified for more gain and saturation. Doing this gives the amp a bit more punch and attack. Boosting the amp with an overdrive pedal yields good results too.


I've tried this amp with many different guitars. I find that it responds better to hotter pickups like humbuckers and P90s. This gives the amp a bit more bite and allows the crunch to be more apparent. Single loaded guitars are decent too, but can tend to sound thin and underpowered depending on the context. The amp responds well to volume roll off too, which is great for adding a sense of versatility to this single channel amp. The tones are great, but definitely not high gain by today's standards. It would need to be modified to get some of the great high gain British voiced tones we all know and love. It basically is an accurate representation of what the hard rock amp of the eighties was, so if you need a more modern high gain tone, get a modded one or look to another amp.


All in all I think this amp is a great and fairly faithful reproduction of the famed 2203. The effects loop is a nice added touch and it sounds pretty close to the originals. It's priced way too high at about $2300 new... An original 2203 can be had for far less... especially if it isn't mint. However the 2203x can be found for reasonable prices on the used market which could make it attractive to someone wanting a good reissue of the eighties hard rock amp.