Wait, Polyphia are using Marshall amps now?

Polyphia standing in front of Marshall amps
(Image credit: Marshall Amplification/Facebook)

Polyphia’s Tim Henson and Scott LePage are poster boys for the digital amp generation, so it was something of a surprise to spot the genre-smashing virtuosos standing in front of a wall of Marshalls recently… and even more so to find the UK brand’s heads accompanying them onstage.

In a recent Instagram post, the band shared a photo of Henson, LePage and bassist Clay Gober posing at the Marshall factory in Bletchley, UK, with an array of heads and 4x12 cabinets behind them.

What’s more, two JCM800 heads were spotted atop the band’s wall of custom Orange cabinets for their show at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London on May 31. But as is often the case with Polyphia, not everything is as it seems.

For one, the band’s current rig is built around the Neural DSP Quad Cortex with automated patch changes, judging from the lack of pedals onstage. So a switch to a real amp would require a major overhaul of their live setup at this stage in a tour.

More tellingly, however, the group have been known to use tube amp power sections to drive their onstage 4x12s. Up until now, this was an Orange Dark Terror, but it looks as if this has now switched to the JCM800. You’ll note that LePage’s head has no cable running into the input – presumably, his signal is heading into the effects loop return on the rear to bypass the preamp.

“They fell in love with the sound of the 800s,” Marshall Product Specialist & Demonstrator Steve Smith explained. “They’re probably going to use them as power amps for their Quad Cortex for the response and feel.”

One piece of the puzzle remains, however: there is a cable running into the input of Henson’s JCM at that recent live date. Now, it’s not out of the question that Henson would test the amp live for a tone or two – after all, he used the JCM800 as a basis for the Lead sound in his signature Neural DSP plugin – but it would require a major adjustment to the band’s preset patch changes. We’ve reached out to Polyphia for clarification.

Regardless of how they’re using the amps, an Instagram clip from Marshall showed the pair plugged straight into JCMs at the iconic UK amp brand’s factory, and their tone was as gloriously crisp as ever – testament to those Fishman signature pickups they put out recently in their latest Ibanez models.

Given their high profile among guitarists, Polyphia are among today’s most prolific product endorsers, with their current roster including the likes of Ibanez, Fishman, Neural DSP, Orange, Marshall, Shure and Apogee.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.