Another music gear post. Adding a few of those in here and there.
So for the past 5-6 years, my main amp has been a Marshall Haze 40. These amps were designed in the UK with an old 70s JMP look but built by some shady contractor in India. They’re notorious for spontaneously dying and for having a really muddy tone on the OD channel. However, they’re also notorious for being very close to JCM 800s after a couple of mods and a speaker swap.
Since the JCM 800 is my definition of electric guitar tone, that’s what I wanted. Like a lot of people I was pretty disappointed in the Haze out of the box. And then it crapped out on me—twice! After two warranty repairs done by one of the best amp techs in the Midwest (and at no charge to me thanks to Marshall), I had a new Haze that’s been reliable ever since and was more or less rebuilt by hand here in the USA. So that’s kinda cool. Only thing was that the tech could only fix the amp to spec. As a warranty repair, he couldn’t really do any mods, etc.
I thought about paying him to implement all the JCM 800 mods I see floating around the net. I can mess with electrical circuits some, but rewiring a whole tube amp seems a little out of my scope.
Then I got a bright idea that worked perfectly. The clean channel is anything but muddy. In fact, the Haze 40 is also known for having a very bright, responsive clean channel. That makes it a perfect platform for a pedal! I picked up an MI Audio Crunch Box clone for about $35, I think, and stuck that in front of the clean channel. Boom! My Haze now has that classic Marshall tone in spades thanks to this JCM 800 clone pre-amp in a pedal and a real JCM 800-styled tube power amp section. So, if you’re not up for a whole mod due to budget or whatever, maybe just put the amp on clean and throw an MI Audio Crunch Box in front of it. Works like a charm 🙂