Why the Marshall JCM800 2203 was the amp head of choice for a generation of rock and metal guitar players

Marshall JCM800
(Image credit: Future)

Marshall introduced the JCM800 series in 1981, eventually producing 15 different amp models that included 50- and 100-watt lead and bass heads, various 1x12 and 2x12 combos and channel-switching models. 

However, when most guitarists mention a JCM800, they usually are referring to the model 2203 100-watt master volume head, which dominated the ’80s as the guitar amp of choice for probably 95 percent of the hard rock and metal bands who recorded and toured with Marshalls during that era.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.