Marshall JS Amps
Marshall & Joe Satriani
Founded by Jim Marshall in 1962 in order to give musicians a powerful and different sound, Marshall Amps are expert in audio equipment. The company produced primarily amps for guitar, especially the JTM45 and the JCM800 that made her so famous, but also audio headphone amplifiers. Joe Satriani joined since 2010 the artists and bands, like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Paul Gilbert, Slash Gary Moore, AC/DC or ZZ Top to mention just a few and started a the Marshall JS Amps signature! This high quality equipment, associated to the Ibanez JS, provides wide flexibility, and achieves an incredible richness of timbre and unique audio sensations that Joe really cares takes advantage at each concert, jam or record. An unique experience started with the Marshall JS Amps, starting with the JVM410HJS and the JVM410HJSB heads that were introduced in 2012.
EXCLUSIVE : Joe Satriani and Marshall association continues with a new amp that is still in preparation, the JS20C, as Joe told us in our 2014 summer interview.
At first glance, the Joe Satriani JVM head looks very similar to the stock JVM410H, but look and listen a little closer and you will realise just how different this amp is. The Reverb pots have been replaced by four independent studio-quality Noise Gates and a footswitchable Mid-Shift button that change the Medium frequence from 650Hz to 500Hz has been added for the players who liked the particular sound and can be assignated to the two Overdrive channels. Joe doesn’t uses this Mid-Shift button but wanted to add more versatility to the already versatile amp, everyone has different tastes.
The JVM410HJS is tonally very different from the JVM4 series.
The Clean channel is based on the 30th anniversary (6100) when in green mode, with the orange and red modes being hotter variations of that, indeed Joe wanted the guitar player to naturally flew between the different modes of each channel.
The green Crunch channel shares the preamp topology of the classic Marshall JTM45 (1959) “Plexi” models, the orange Crunch channel mode features the same design found in the Marshall JCM800 (2203) and the red Crunch channel mode is similar to the Marshall AFD100 in AFD mode.
The Overdrive channels are voice matched for smoother transition between modes and sound more dynamic and open, thanks to a re-designed power supply. The channels and modes have been re-voiced to Joe’s exact specifications after experimenting with prototypes on the Worhmole and Chickenfoot tours, and during recording sessions.
Individual channel 3-band EQ, two Master Volumes and a switch memory that can recall Noise Gates, FX loop and Master settings features in the JVM410HJS. There is also an Emulated Output that can be used for recording or, as Joe does, used to monitor on stage.
The FX loop on the JVM410HJS head is a little bit different than on the older JVM410H, it is still a serial programmable loop that has a usual return volume type knob on the back of the amp, but what’s different is that this control knob can cut or boost the returning signal, and the boost mode offers up to +6dB gain against a ‘flat’ return of the older amp.
The revolutionnary Stompware footswitching technology from Marshall gives unprecedented control, with straight and programmable switching. The six-button footswitch connects to the amp using a standard guitar lead so stage size is no restriction, and if it your lead fails it is easily replaced.
“I’m so happy to be playing through Marshall amps again, it’s the punchiest, most exciting amp I’ve ever played through.” Joe Satriani.
Model : JVM410HJS
Range : Signature
Technology : Valve
Channels : 4
Wattage : 100W
Inputs : 1
Impedance Selector : 4Ω/16Ω (mono) 8Ω (stereo)
Controls : Volume, Gain, Bass Middle Treble (x4), Gate (x4), Channel Select (x4), Mid freq, Presence, Resonnance, Noise Gate (x4), Master (x2), FX Loop, Footswitch/Programme
Pre Amp Valves : 4 x ECC83
Power Amp Valves : 1 x ECC83, 4 x EL34
Footswitch : 6 Buttons
Cables : Power/Speaker
Weight : 22kg / 48.5 lbs
Dimensions : 750 x 310 x 215 mm / 29.5 x 12.2 x 8.4 inches (W x H x D)
2 Master Volume
Independants Noise Gates, 3 Modes per Channel, Programmable Footswitch, Mid Shift.
The JVM410HJSB head is a carbon copy of the JVM410HJS head, a collector version with the deep blue finish “Flying In A Blues Dream”, 500 models only have been produced!
The Joe Satriani Signature 1960A JSB and 1960B JSB speaker cabs has been especially produced for the JVM410HJSB. It’s a standard Marshall 1960A cab created to match the Satriani signature head collector finish, featuring four 12″ Celestion G12T-75W speakers for a total of 300W, and can be pluged in 4Ω and 16Ω mono, or 8Ω stereo.
Guitar World : Does it differ significantly from the off-the-rack JVM410?
“Yes, quite a bit. The obvious things are that there is no reverb. We have replaced the reverb with four individual noise gates that can be programmed for each of the channels. This is something I thought was important for doing TV and studio work where you need to have certain setups. You need it to be quiet, but you need to have it come in roaring with gain stages up high for certain parts. There are so many great reverb pedals. Like the little Wet Reverb Pedal (Neunaber Technology). I really love that one. You don’t want to be carrying around spring reverbs in your head.
We re-biased the presence and resonance controls to be much more effective for how guitarists like to hear their sounds. I think a lot of those controls were set decades ago and sort of got grandfathered in and people weren’t thinking about them. Some amplifier companies took a really good look at them, like Peavey and Two-Rock, and so my time with Peavey educated me that you can tailor them to how guitar players want to hear them.
The next thing to me was looking at the overall sound of the amp. It is a four-channel amp with three modes per channel. The first thing was to look at that clean channel and to make that very first mode of the clean channel and make it like the original Marshall 6100. For me, that was one of the greatest clean Marshall tones that would accept a pedal distortion. You get that up to club or concert level and it sounds almost as good as having your favorite tube amp running at its perfect level. All of us know that if do a lot of gigs, you can never count on getting your amp up to that perfect, peculating level for every gig. You always have to reset your volume for the venue you are in. Sometimes the tubes can have you scratching your head because they react differently at different volumes. Distortion pedals are just fantastic for not only rehearsing quietly but also for all those moments when you are going to play in highly compressed environments like radio, television or recording against compressed loops.
I started many years ago using the Boss DS-1 and then graduated the to Satchurator and putting that right into that clean channel, and that sounds great. I’ve done many tours with that setup. Then we took the next two channels that were part of the JVM sound in channel 1 and made them a little more subtle. So when you go from green to amber to red, the gain grows and you get into those other colors. I wanted just that first one to just dip its toes into that world of gain. Then when you go from amber to red again, I wanted just a little bit more.
I’ve found in practical applications very often that’s what you are looking to do. You just want to go to one or one and a half numbers more gainy as you step through. Channel 1 gets you from super clean to just a tiny bit dirty to a little bit dirty. We’ve adjusted the volume of those to make sense during those real playing situations where you are going from rhythm to the same sound with a little more sting for some solo or melody playing. That’s a radical change there.
When we get into channel 2, it really is — in my mind — where we get into the vintage area of the amp where you are looking to emulate the JMP, the 800 and a modified 800 from the ’80s. Those three modes are really fantastic for that. I used a lot of that on Chickenfoot III and in about a third of my live show I’m using that channel. I want it to be cleaner. I still need the sustain. I want that attitude and that crunch. It’s great for rhythm playing and solo playing. I do a lot of neck-pickup solo playing when using the red mode of that second channel.
I should introduce a very important part of the modification of this amp in general to all of the gain channels. This had to do with my impressions of doing a full-on Chickenfoot tour with the stock JVM210 and the JVM410. At quiet volume, it was very appealing. It had high-end emphasis and had a lot compression that made you feel good when you were playing quietly. But up really loud, sometimes I thought [Chickenfoot drummer] Chad Smith could dominate this amp just by his dynamic playing. I thought I couldn’t just keep turning it up. When I was sitting down with Santiago Alverez, the head engineer for Marshall, I told him that everything about the layout of the JVM410 is really intelligent and intuitive to have these four channels and three modes.
The one thing I really wanted to not have was all that compression. I don’t really spend all that much time huddled in the corner of the room playing quietly. I’m actually in front of thousands of people all the time. I need this thing to stand up to Chad Smith, Jeff Campitelli and all the drummers I play with. We figured out that we needed to remove all that compression.
Every time you move another number into the world of gain, the amp is going to naturally compress. The sound wave gets smaller and rounder. I wanted it to be natural and nice and open when I wasn’t hitting the strings hard. Then when I was really digging into the strings, I was ready to accept that that beautiful round sound you get when the tubes are cringing at the aggressiveness of the player.
That was the biggest thing we did. In my mind, it was like taking the blanket off. We allowed those strong dynamic moments to not just be pointy treble ones. We focused a lot on OD1, which is to me the biggest, most forceful overdrive channel I’ve ever heard in an amp. But it has all those hallmarks of that Marshall sound. It gives you everything, and you’d better have your parts together. Marshall amps make you hear everything about what you are doing. They don’t smooth anything over, but that’s what we love about them.
We carried those changes over to OD1 and OD2. Here’s where the other big change is between the stock JVM and the signature. In the stock one, OD1 and OD2 are quite different. All three modes have a bit more mid-range. For obvious reasons, OD1 was the most popular channel from the stock amp. Then OD2 was scooped a bit in kind of a nod to the nu-metal sound. I had no use for that at all.
What I really wanted to do was to work it out so if I had the perfect sound at 95db I could go up just a couple decibels and maybe have just a little more mid-range. So what I did was ask Santiago to just make OD2 a carbon copy of OD1. That sounds sort of strange and weird. Generally when they are making amps, they want every channel to be different to throw in as much as possible. We were able to accomplish two things. By having those two channels identical, it affords the player the ability to have the same setup at so many different volumes.
fAlso I was thinking that I didn’t want to throw away that slightly scooped sound. There are people out there that like having a little less mid-range. Maybe they have another guitar player in the band, maybe their guitar has a little more mid-range, or maybe they are trying to fit in with keyboards. We decided to make the channels identical with a scoop switch that emulates the original JVM410 had on OD2. But now it is programmable. You can use that switch on both channels. This has been really helpful to me because I can have the same sound at different volume levels. I know from years of playing in clubs that is what you want. Sometimes you just need to go to 11!”
Guitar World : Do you find yourself using that scoop much or was that a feature that you put in there for other players?
“That’s a very interesting question. What I noticed in the short time I’ve been in Chickenfoot, we wound up doing a tour and a live DVD with basically that scoop sound. I was using OD2 for that entire tour. When we went out on this new tour and made the new record, I used the amp in an entirely different way. It was already modified. It was a thicker, heavier, more aggressive tone, and the clean sounds were more full and natural sounding.
But I realized that some songs can benefit from having that little scoop. On this last road-test tour, I started to utilize that feature. I’m starting to use the first production run with the blue vinyl in my home studio. It’s not a feature I’m going to ignore. It looks like I’m dipping into it now and then.”
Read the complete interview at GuitarWorld.com.