I have experimented and A/B’d different
wire. I can tell the difference between stranded and solid-core wire. I can also tell the difference between cloth-covered and stranded
PVC wire. To take it a step further, there is
a difference if the stranded wire is twisted
inside the PVC, or if it’s all laid out parallel to each other. I see many builders today
using bonded or top-coated stranded wire,
and I don’t like this wire for vintage Marshall
amps. It doesn’t sound right.
What specifically doesn’t sound right
Notice I said it doesn’t sound “right,” but
I didn’t say “bad.” We are talking about
vintage Marshall tube amplifiers and recreat-
ing that original tone. The top-coated or
bonded wire does not transfer the signal the
same as a stranded wire does. By stranded, I
mean the wire’s strands are easily separated
and not tinned into one conductor. There’s
more detail in the high-end with stranded
wire. It’s harder to work with, but I much
prefer the tone for these amps. After all, isn’t
that the whole point of the build—the tone?
How do you find your parts?
The best way to find the original parts is to
spend an enormous amount of time con-
tacting every ham radio guy from England
there is. It’s similar to how guys find parts
for old classic cars. You really have to spend
a lot of time digging. I love this part of
rebuilding some of the old amps, though!
There are guys I regularly stay in contact
with from England, and I love that they
know I am putting parts they saved for the
past 40 or 45 years to good use. I read an
interview with Jeff Beck not too long ago
and he talked about looking for car parts
in America to complete his hot rods. Same
Are there enough parts to go around to
make a big run of vintage replicas?
I have a large amount of vintage parts for
multiple vintage amp builds, but I treat it on
a case-by-case basis. If I were building a high
quantity of my own designs, I would source
new parts that gave me the tone I wanted.
What do you do if you can’t locate an
If I can’t find an original part, I often make
my own replacement part. In the JTM45/100
replica, I made my own internal fuse holder. I
design and make my own circuit boards for my