Marshall 2203 JMP Master Volume Lead [1975-1981]
Marshall 2203 JMP Master Volume Lead [1975-1981]

2203 JMP Master Volume Lead [1975-1981], Tube Guitar Amp Head from Marshall in the JMP series.

Price engine
Classified Ads
Le Taz 10/17/2013

Marshall 2203 JMP Master Volume Lead [1975-1981] : Le Taz's user review

"Totally addicted!"

  • Like
  • Tweet
  • Submit
  • Email
My model is a JMP Mk2 1980.
100W all-tube head: 3x12ax7 and 4xEL34
A high and low input, two speaker outputs on the back, selectors independence and voltage.

In my techies, the amp broke down in the early 80s and the transformer had to be changed. Apart from that, the amp had no change 'but had a soft and creamy or less garish or fuzzy sound, while having more gain naturally, on the other 2203 (vintage or reissue) I already had in my hands. Anyway, I prefer to report on it a little out of the ordinary.

A Modified (reversible) has been made to reduce the treble and boost the bass and midrange. The sound is more creamy. I lost a bit of distortion on the way, bringing me to the usual canons of this series.


Amp extremely simple, if one has not afraid to test settings and knobs moult, especially above a certain volume. It is far from current EQ, and below a certain power, it tends to lower the treble to minimum and push the bass and midrange max. The volume is going up then rebalance. Modified after the acute drop it to taste, to have a grainy or smooth sound, while pushing the mids, etc..

It has two entrances, and it will choose the school. Either high, to use the distortion of the amp or the low to make it a basis for a pedal-board and external distortion.

Obviously, we regret the lack of an effects loop or the possibility to select one of two inputs (low or high) with a footswitch. But all this would add a lot of new elements in the circuit and necessarily affect the interaction between preamp and power section.


Well then ... is the Master Volume Marshall sound legendary sound of 70s rock and 80s. But if you're reading this review, you are a priori not allergic to the brand. And as we're talking vintage amp, I'll be honest: this is a little lottery, as the first JMP JCM800. I tried two JMP combos that I found very Harshy, drafts with the gain in depth ... There was a real difference for me with the 800, a little less "70's", a little more modern with a drive that is less fuzzy and a tad less acute. Anyway, I know, but quite frankly, the 2203, I thought it was not for me.

Need I say more? This is the Marshall sound, as we know, the more modern version, late 70's and 80's. The drive does not grow very far. There is a "spot" to find, for each head, or the drive is thick enough but where the grain is very detailed and soft (mine has the feature to keep all this with the gain in depth, for an unknown reason ). Still we have a 3D sound with a drive that responds to the attack with a quarter turn. With proper hit, we go big sound 70's (Rush, AC / DC) with a very slight crunch ... A TS9 or a booster of your choice activated and then goes to your sound nasty distos 80s, a treat in lead! Everything shines, even the slightest pain, yet it has an ease, a comfort single game, own the 800 ... and explains that the great majority of hi-gain amps that are extrapolations of his tour!

In short, you know, it will use your volume knob for clean sounds ... which remain a bit grimey, like Hendrix live. Personally, I prefer it to the 1000 crystalline sounds of hi-gain amps current.

The low input is less rock'n'roll, but useful for those who use a pedalboard and their own distortion. The clean sound is very very long, however, providing color Marshall 2203 to your basic sound without distorting it. A very good base to do something else with this amp, keep the versatility.

With a Les Paul ... pfff it's too easy, it sounds even putting mittens! It's amazing what this guitar and this amp are matched to each other. JMP like guitars character. It behaves very well with a good Telecaster, where some Hi-Gain give a sour touch settings without result. With guitars least typed, it will fingers and say a few pedals temperament. Warning, it works fine, but we leave the unconscious sound references of our favorite albums. But it is also its strength, which differs from a plethora of amps Marshallian nicks do the job for you, or a double necessarily ring the Gary Moore or Slash, and a simple to Hendrix. Here, we only retrieves what is sent to him, and that's pro!


If the design is not the most practical, the final sound quality is definitely worth the few sacrifices, which weigh nothing in the balance, if you bump into a good model. 2203 blowing or not ringing, I tried it there, do not lie. Even if it is desired and thus a low risk purchase (unless modified model), I recommend you use a small test before purchase. First, familiarize yourself with this amp if you do not know (aside time to warm it, and explore the possible settings) and / or the other, make sure it sounds good as you 'wait.

I found mine by accident, while I thought that 2203 was not for me. I just asked a small modification at the equalizer to make it sound more corpulent and less acidic low volume hair, and a passage 50w (very simple to do, just the cost of a new bias). It's just comfort, knowing that basis, it sounds like hell!

- For the effects loop is another problem. Of course, drill the frame to add some jack sockets devalue the amp. But more importantly, it changes the internal connections, locating an item between the power section and preamp, while the sound of this amp is based on precisely this interaction that necessarily alters. It is a choice. There are alternatives: use the second hp output with a red box or load-box route to the effects, and then to a power amp (whatever it is) and the baffle and appropriate hp or directly to the PA . No need too expensive gear, the main sound is preserved and dynamic.

- Before starting any mod, consider the HP that will shape your sound at least in the same proportion as the amp itself. Really doing these tests primarily because you will discover in this amp totally different angles with a radical effect on the sound. This sounds obvious, but with this type of amplification, the incidence of HP is much larger than modern amps to really different spectra. It is really crucial and decisive!

I had a lot of amps: Marshall course (2210, 2205, 2550, 2554, YJM, AFD, JVM, TSL), Splawn Quickrod, The Valve, Rivera, Brunetti, Peavey, Engl, Jet City, Fender, Ceriatone ... And I pass those I tried. I was more used to modern constructions (amps two channels). With this in 2203, I had an obviously something that can not be explained eventually ... and this is probably my opinion the least "useful" posted here as subjective and totally enamored ... This is a very personal opinion, because I think more than this amp stands out and is not the most representative.

This amp can do only one thing and does it really well, it was of course THE legendary Marshall. But I would add that, unlike many of its rivals, it does within your own sound. Most amps shops offer an evocation Marshall, very typical and often malleable, which always gives the same sound, even when playing with gloves mappa! JMP is the Marshall legend, but that leaves room for your fingers to your sound, your personality. That's why Alex Lifeson does not sound like Rory Gallagher, or him as Slash or hundreds of other mythical users. And beware of legends ... it's still crazy, the number of guys who have changed the amp Van Halen and Slash, right?