Marshall Amp 6101 LM 30th Anniversary Combo
Tone from the heart.
Hey. Welcome to the home of the AmpMan. A man in pursuit of tone.
I have been searching for 30 years, since my first electric guitar, a lookalike Fender strat, was bought for me when I was 12. I plugged it into a friend's half stack and that was the beginning of a lifelong hunt for the noise my heart says my head should listen to.
For me, it has to be valves...tubes...call them what you like. Those little electified glass fingers that give life and soul to the instruments we love. Solidstate -so far- doesn't do it for me and many other musicians I know out there.
After years of hunting down the amp of my dreams I think I may have found it. A second hand bargain at $750. (£500)
So I want to share my delerious discovery with you - and maybe later help others sift through the many weird and sometimes wonderful amps I have come across on the way.
The Marshall 6101 Anniversary LM amp will make your heart cry and, possibly, your ears bleed. Right now, I have a 17 year old combo from 1992 and it has to be one of the best sounds EVER. I’m loving giving my 2006 Gibson SG Standard some rip. The humbuckers are raging.
If the Devil likes to crank it up, I would bet this is what he uses. Mine was cherished by the guitarist of a well known British punk band who swore by it.
Both the 100 watt head (model 6100) and 1x12 combo (model 6101) include: three separate channels, four different output levels, valve power, and midi switching.
Many lovers of valve amps agree the British snarl of the 30th Anniversary make it the best amp Marshall have made. In production between 1992 and 1998 many were driven by 7 ECC83 (12AX7) and 4 5881-tubes. Mine has been converted to run on EL34's (the classic valves that give the Marshall sound, but which were in short supply back in the mid-80's leading Marshall to do some re-engineering of the circuits on this and other amps to accept 5881/6L6‘s).
It was the flagship of the Marshall range and cost around £1250 when first brought out, increasing to around £1400 by the time it was eventually discontinued.
For anyone who doesn't know the amp is three channel - clean, crunch and lead, the latter with extraordinary gain. Each channel has a separate 3-band-EQ.
In an effort to make it “the best amp ever” Marshall added a bright switch to the Clean channel and gives you a range from warm and crispy to high and twangy clean sounds, that will appeal to Fender fans. The Crunch channel runs in three modes - A, which gives all the old vintage Marshall sounds of a JTM45, B sounds like a 1959SLP with the power of an early JCM800 and C which goes beyond the JCM900SLX range of gain and tone. The Lead channel has gain to spare, but still it features a gain boost, which allows you boogie- or even soldano-like gain levels. A contour switch can be used for metal stuff.
It is small, but heavy enough at 80lbs to give anyone a free workout transporting it. And it packs a punch, operating in Pentode mode to get the full 100 watts from the power stage, Triode to get smoother sounds albeit at a maximum of 50 watts. For those who are fearful of the neighbours, high and low power switch options provide the means to get down to 25 watt. The good news is that the sound stays fat with thick distortion.Channel switching and effects - there is midi in which will switch channels to correspond to your multi-fx - and a number of effects loop options.
My UK model retains the specially designed Celestion speaker - USA models had an Electro-Voice equivalent. The speaker emulation circuit accessed on the back via a standard 3 pin XLR makes recording and live work straightforward - no more mics to trip over since the sound is as good as a well-placed SM57. Sound engineers will love it too, which may be hard to believe.
It is as loud as hell and has enough power for huge stages. It is Led Zeppelin. It is Jack White of the White Stripes. It is mine.
It is not surprising that these amps are becoming collectable. So my advice to anyone out there is snap it up if you can. You wont be disappointed.
And I am keeping this one.
Sound Quality: 10.
AmpMan Recommends: Get one if you can.