1963 "MG" Marshall JTM45 MKII Coffin logo with 4x12 cabinet
According to legend, on a Sunday in September 1962, a band was assembled at the Ealing Club to try out the new ‘loud sound’ that Pete Townshend and others had been asking Jim Marshall to build. The band featured Mitch Mitchell on drums, who was by now working for Jim, and Jim’s son Terry on saxophone.
It was the Fender 5F6-A Bassman that Ken Bran and Dudley Craven used as the basis for this new amp, and the Marshall’s circuitry is more or less identical, with the same ‘long-tailed pair’ phase inverter. Christened the JTM45 (for James and Terry Marshall) combined with the amplifier’s nominal output power of 45 Watts, the new amp immediately appeared in Jim’s shop and pulled in nearly 30 orders after its first day on display. Almost overnight, the JTM45 became the amp of choice for the Ealing-based rhythm and blues movement and Jim rode on the wave of it's success by opening a second shop in March 1963. As the manufacturing operation quickly outgrew the new premises, Marshall opened the first dedicated factory in Silverdale Road, Hayes, in June 1964.
It would be easier to spot a pink unicorn then to find an original 1963 JTM45. These are so rare and so expensive that if you do find one, it would be out of reach for all of us but a handful of collectors around the world. To get close to the sound there are several alternatives. There are the 90's reissues that sell for about 1.500, the more recent handwired reissues at 2.000, there's an Offset Limited set that fetches up to 7.000 and theres the later '65/'66 JTM45 heads that cost about 17.500 with a period correct cab. And then...there's this....
THE BACKGROUND (ALLEGEDLY.....;-)
Some call it a fake, some call it a copy or a replica, others just call it an MG rebuilt. In the 90's, a company we shall name "MG", build some amazing replica's of the worlds finest musical instruments. Among these instruments were also some legendary and coveted Marshall guitar amplifiers. These replica's looked and sounded so good, that they sold them as per original to players, well know musicians (!!) and collectors looking for rare and expensive gear. These items were then sold many, many times as original to many more collectors and players who didn't have the knowledge or resources to check originality. After all: These amps sounded amazing and upon inspection with the knowledge to date, on top of that, all parts were or seemed original 60's parts down to the nuts and bolts!! Remember, Internet as we know it didn't exist back then and only a handful of people really knew top from bottom. If they would have been honest about it from the early start, they would have been legends selling the best replica's out there with original 60's parts.... But they didn't. Which leaves us with the legacy. Amazing amps with a story, painful to some, now out in the open. This is one of those amps.
This particular Marshall JTM45 and 4x12 cabinet were built somewhere in the early 90's by the infamous "MG" and most likely sold as original to a German recording studio. There it was used, loved, played and recorded for nearly a decade, until the studio closed and all amps were sold to a private collector in Frankfurt. Some of these guitars and amps were in near mint condition as they had never been on the road and always only on the inside of that studio.
Fast forward another 10 years. That same collector had a 1968 4x12 Marshall cabinet for sale and one of my trusted customers at Bees In A Jar jumped on the opportunity and bought it. But when he came to pick it up, he was in awe of what was on display in the "guitar room" of that collector. Not only did he buy the '68 cab, his eyes dropped on a wide array of stunning vintage Marshall gear all stacked up and in amazing condition. Standing out where this 1963 Marshall JTM45 coffin logo head and cab and a 1966 Marshall Bluesbreaker (check out my other listing!!!). My customer did the deal on the '68 cab, convinced the collector he was very interested in the JTM45 and BB and promised to get back in 2 weeks after doing some research. And so he did, buying the '63 JTM45 and '66 Bluesbreaker as being original for a market conform but impressive price tag...
It was sold as an original 1963 Marshall JTM45 MKII coffin logo + 1963 coffin logo 4x12, but we all now know it isn't. It's a rebuild, made by "MG". A super cool rebuild that is, with all the bells and whistles of the originals. It has the look, the feel, the mojo and the sound. Holy Mother of Loud, I bet it even sounds as good or better then the originals! This amp delivers the true classic vintage Marshall JTM45 tone with open cleans and a rich and warm tube breakup these JTM45's are known for. It really opens up when played with a good Les Paul. It was given a proper checkup and it's ready to shine on stage, in a studio or some rich dude's mancave for another couple of decades for the one that appreciates vintage gear, but for about a 1/4 of the pricetag of an original JTM45!
Here we go. We have close up pics of everything so don't be afraid to ask, if you're seriously interested. The head and cabinet could be original 60's but they could also be reproduced by the same people that built these amps. They both are covered in the vintage style black Rexine covering with gold piping. The head and cab have original early 60's leather handles with later chrome covers. The coffin logo on the head seems original, the one on the cab is most likely a replica. The grill cloth is classic early 60's RS RadioSpares Vynair cloth which faded to a brownish color, except for under the logo where it is still white/grey. The Marshall white Traffolite JTM45 MKII faceplate has etched lettering filled with a darker gold and correct font. Period correct switches and indicator light, knobs could be 60's early style but I haven't seen these before on a JTM45. It has a folded aluminium chassis with 2 x KT66 power tubes and no back panel as it just folds backwards where the Bulgin mains plug and output plug are placed. Inside the amp we have an original 1960's perforated board; the electronics, pots, capacitors, resistors etcetera date to early and mid 60's and are a rich mix of parts. Pink-ish wiring as per early 60's. It has a period correct Radio Spares lay-down power transformer, output transformer and choke and a nice set of KT66 power tubes, a Mullard GZ34 and 3 x Mullard ECC83 preamp tubes. The speakers in the cabinet are the legendary Celestion G12 T652 Alnico speakers that are truly amazing and very rare to find. They are stamped on the gasket 31GJ which means 31 July 1964, and 21GJ so the 21st of that same month/year. The speakers' badge stickers are torn up which is pretty inconsistent with speakers that have been inside a cab all their life... Also there is paper residue on the front baffle that is not missing on the speakers so this set is not original to the cabinet, if the cabinet were an original early 60's cabinet that is. Cones seem original and have a 10 H177 cone stamp which is consistent with 1962 to 1966 cones.
So, there we are. A reproduction JTM45 with a lot of real vintage 60's parts that looks amazing and sounds like the 60's has just arrived on your doorstep. It's the sound of Eric Clapton on Mayall's Bluesbreakers, the early years of Pete Townshend and Ritchie Blackmore and Big Jim Sullivan was an early adopter as well. And all that for a price that is just about 1/4 of the price of a real 1963 stack. If you can find one, that is...
We tried to be as specific as we could be about this amp. Please feel free to ask any question or to send us a message with further information if you've seen something that is worth mentioning.