Since the Eighties and beyond, Marshall has developed many good guitar amps and quite a few great ones.
However, only a handful of their models produced over the last 35 years are considered true classics that inspire the same fevered bloodlust in guitarists as Marshall’s venerated amps from the Sixties and Seventies.
Of those more recent amps, the Silver Jubilee model produced between 1987 and 1989 ranks at or near the top of most Marshall enthusiasts’ most wanted list. Part of the allure is because players like Joe Bonamassa, John Frusciante, Alex Lifeson, Steve Morse, Rich Robinson, and Slash have raved about them. The limited edition Slash signature amp, which Marshall offered in the mid Nineties and was essentially a renamed Jubilee, also added to this model’s legendary status.
The new Marshall JCM 25/50 2555X Silver Jubilee is a faithful reissue of the 1987 version of the 100-Watt head that Marshall released back then to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary and Jim Marshall’s 50th year in the music business.
Decked out in the same silver vinyl covering and chrome-plated control panel previously only found on the 1987 Silver Jubilee amps, the new Marshall JCM 25/50 2555X also features the same unique 100-watt circuit driven by four EL34 and three ECC83 tubes that gave the Silver Jubilee head its distinctive blend of classic plexi and high-gain JCM800-style tones. There’s also the same two-channel design, input gain control with pull rhythm clip mode, and pentode/triode switch for selecting 100- or 50-watt output. The treble, mid, bass, and presence EQ section is shared by both channels, and Lead Master and Output Master (with push/pull channel switch) knob complete the front-panel controls.
Marshall made a few minor changes and updates to comply with modern regulations, improve performance, and compensate for discontinued parts. These changes are mostly evident on the rear panel, which now features separate 16- (x1), 8- (x2), and 4-ohm (x2) speaker output jacks instead of a pair of speaker outputs and rotary impedance switch. The old voltage selector switch is also absent, and voltage is now fixed. The 1/4-inch footswitch jack, series effect loop send and return jacks, and frequency-compensated line level DI output are still present and accounted for. Improved switching circuitry and DC heaters reduce noise to a minimum, and high temperature, high voltage resistant black fiberglass wires provide enhanced protection from damage. External bias points have also been added on the chassis.
Marshall also reissued the 2551 AV (slanted) and 2551 BV (straight) 4x12 speaker cabinets covered in the same silver vinyl and loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 12-inch speakers.
As the proud owner of an original Marshall Silver Jubilee amp, I can attest that the 2555X reissue definitively nails the identical sound, performance, and overall vibe of the 1987 version. I’ve always loved the Silver Jubilee’s wide range of tones thanks to its expanded EQ range and its ability to dial in everything from raucous, authentic Plexi crunch to sweet high-gain mayhem that makes Eighties JCM800 heads sound weak and underpowered. The trio of gain and master controls still makes two-channel clean/distorted operation as awkward and elusive as it’s always been, but this amp’s strengths really lie in its luscious overdrive and distortion anyway.
The new Silver Jubilee cabinets with Celestion Vintage 30s pair beautifully with the 2555X head, keeping the treble bright but not harsh, the midrange thick, and the bass big, warm, and full without being too tight or loose. Given a choice between the angled or straight version, I’d choose the angled for its wider throw and slightly more articulated treble frequencies. Even better, get the full stack with both and prepare for world domination.
LIST PRICES $2,580 (2555X head); $1,800 (2551AV or BV cabinet)
MANUFACTURER Marshall Amplification, marshallamps.com
•An accurate reproduction of Marshall’s 1987 2555 Silver Jubilee, complete with the same 100-watt circuit, silver vinyl covering, and chrome-plated control panel.
•The pentode/triode switch provides a selection of 100-watt or 50-watt output, and the rhythm clip function adds additional gain for aggressive distortion tones.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The legendary Marshall Silver Jubilee 100-watt head is back and the same as it ever was, making some of Marshall’s most coveted tones ever available to the masses once again.