Submitted March 25, 2010
"Don't Buy a Taco at a Steakhouse!"
Maintenance will be needed after at least two years if you're an "active" musician. If you know what you're getting you'll likely never let this go. I thought I was getting a little more so I'm a bit disillusioned but I'm NEVER going to sell this. It has a vast array of applications and the value continues to rise like a good baseball card, however, I am investing in a versatile tube amp for that much coveted warm tone.
I give it a nine because it does what it says but I'm not as impressed as I used to be with its supposed versatility. It does two things well: stay clean at high volumes and contains the most sought after chorus effect by guitarists. Wanting both clean and dirty I've tried an array of pedals, but nothing beats a tube amp's natural distortion. In the live setting many untrained ears wouldn't be able to tell but it's difficult to get a warm tone you'll want to hear over and over again on a recording, unless you're after that clean and chorus.
Besides the two main draws (clean and chorus) it also features an effects loop, reverb, distortion, tremolo, and capacity for high volumes (You should never need an extension cabinet for this, I've played many different venues never turning past 3).
The loop is handy for volume and delay pedals, the reverb is the most sub par digital reverb I've heard (and actually didn't work when it was brand new till I fixed 2 years later), same for the tremolo, and you've likely heard of the uselessness of the built in distortion. The only thing I wish it also had was a recording "out", either 1/4 inch or XLR.
But like I said before, it does what it's intended for well. You don't go to a steak house and order a taco do you?
ps. It does one other thing well. Channel 1 is great for an acoustic guitar in the "low" input. I always prefer to have control over my acoustic guitar tone instead of either hauling an acoustic amp around or trusting the sound guy for a direct in (and they never get the tone right - always too "plingy")
Ease of Use
There is nothing complex about this set up, even with all of the available features which include: 3 band EQ for each channel, FX loop, Tremolo, Reverb, Chorus, and Distortion. It's all laid out very simply.
I have to give it a 7 based on my experiences. My amp was a floor model in near mint condition that I bought online and had shipped maybe 100 miles. I'm fairly sure that the Fed Ex guy (like every other delivery guy) mishandled the jc120 because my reverb did not work when I first plugged it in.
Over the last two years I've treated it very well considering where it's been, handling it myself 99% of the time, but slowly I started having crackling sound issues and my chorus also died (nullifying any value). I finally bit the bullet and had to pony up $200 to repair the electronics board and wiring, which I was informed was a common problem with these. Ouch.
9 for the 2 great features I keep discussing. When I purchased mine for $500 in 2008 the market value for one of these was about $800, and either one of those purchasing prices are a good value (10 and 9). However, in 2010 they are listed at $1000. HOLY CRAP! That is an 8 value at best, considering you can only do two things with this, and most guitarists in the modern age depend on an amp that can deliver a sweet distorted tone.
Never tried to contact the company itself, but I'll knock it down one notch just because I'm in that mood after paying $200.
The Wow Factor
If you know what it does, and you can find it at a good price, then this machine is uber sexy. I've always loved the way it looked, enjoying it's alternative look to all of the Marshal wannabees. Just don't expect a good distorted tone, period.
Alternative Rock, Punk, Rock n' Roll
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