The 4 Best Plexi Amps – Plexi Style Amp Reviews 2019

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So what’s a Plexi style amp? Basically, the term “Plexi” refers to the “Plexiglass” guitar amps made by Marshall back in the ’60s and ’70s. Even though most people nowadays call it so, the “Plexiglass” material originally bore the name of “Perspex” – a form of acrylic plastic developed in England and later introduced to America.

Regardless of the term, the word “Plexi” caught on fire, and demand for these amps is really high today. Some of the reasons why musicians don’t mind paying a couple of thousand bucks for a Plexi amp is because these were made to last a lifetime or two, they provide a unique sound, and they’re among the most reliable Marshall amps out there.

Here are our reviews of the 4 best Plexi amps on the market:

Marshall DSL Series DSL100H Plexi Amp

The DSL100H is the only Plexi amp which doesn’t belong to the original Plexi series. This is a remarkable, versatile amp that boasts 100W of power, an all-valve construction, and a large 12” speaker.

There are two channels for you to use, as well as gain and ultra gain effects which are both foot switchable. If you’re looking for a cheap Plexi amp, this one should do the job just fine, although it bears little (next to none) collector value.

Essentially, this is a versatile model which comes in four different variants – the 15-watt combo, 15-watt head, 40-watt combo, and 100-watt powerhouse head. It’s quite good for the cash, but it’s among the newest Plexi amps, so it bears very little similarities with other models.

Marshall DSL100H Demo // High Gain // Best demo of 2017

Marshall JTM45 2245 30W Plexi Tube Head Amp

  • Marshall JTM45 2245 30W Plexi Tube Head
  • Price: $2,499.99
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It comes as a surprise that the first Marshall Plexi amp isn’t the most expensive one. The JTM45 2245 was designed after the original model, but it featured a power reduction – the first JTM45 featured 45 rated watts while the re-designed model features only 30.

However, this is certainly one of the most valuable Plexi amps you could find – it looks almost identical to the real deal, and it comes outfitted with top-shelf hardware.

The JTM45 looks quite plain, but it excels in aesthetics nevertheless. The valves which were originally integrated into the construction of the primary JTM45 were replaced with dual 5881 valves, significantly boosting its reliability. This amplifier is great, and you shouldn’t pay much heed to its steep price as it’s superbly valuable for the cash paid—making it one of the best Plexi amps for the money.

Marshall JTM45 2245 Plexi Amp Demo

Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker Plexi Amp

The Marshall Bluesbreaker is among the most famous Plexi amps ever made. It was allegedly used by Eric Clapton in the ’60s, and there are numerous stories about “who made the other one famous.” Some say that Bluesbreaker earned Clapton much renown while others claim it’s the other way around. Regardless, this is a piece of art which holds a tremendous value.

The Bluesbreaker features 30 rated watts, two 12” Greenback speakers, a foot switchable tremolo effect, and a Valve rectifier. This amp is certainly not just for show, as it boasts high levels of performance and reliability.

One of the best things regarding the Bluesbreaker is that it can be used for both live performance and home practice. Despite being a powerhouse, it could be played on low-volume settings without breaking your windows or shaking your floor.

Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker Combo Amplifier Review | Guitar Interactive Magazine

Marshall 1959SLP Super Lead Plexi 100W Amp

  • Marshall 1959SLP Super Lead 100W Tube Head
  • Price:
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The Marshall Super Lead is the last amp in the “Plexi” generation, as well as the most expensive one in it. It features 100 rated watts, an easy to understand 3-band equalizer, and true bypass for ultimate sound customization and clarity.

The story behind Marshall’s Super Lead is quite fascinating, so it’s only normal that it holds such a great value. Namely, Pete Townsend contributed to the design by asking him for a stronger amp (the strongest Marshall amp at the time was JTM50 with 50W). In a nutshell, this is a strong, reliable amp with an exquisite story.

Marshall Handwired 1959HW Super Lead Plexi 100 Amp Demo

What Makes the Best Plexi Amp?

There are a couple of factors you want to take into account when searching for a Plexi amp. Even though they’re made by the same brand, Plexi amps are very different when compared to one another.

Year of Production

One of the most important factors that any collector takes into account is the “year of production”. Namely, Marshall Plexi amps are pretty good in terms of performance, but there’s no doubt that you’ll find a stronger, more reliable amp in their newer catalogs.

Simply put, the older it is, the higher its worth is. For a quick overview of Marshall Plexi amps, consult the list below (note, some models are unavailable on the market as they’re very old):

1. Marshall JTM 45 – The first Marshall Plexi amp bears the title of JTM which stands for Jim & Terry Marshall (father and son). The JTM45 was made in the period between 1960 and 1963.

2. Marshall JTM45 Mark 2 – An upgrade of the original JTM45 amp (see full specs). Jim removed the unnecessary polarity switch and added another channel, improving the overall performance and usability. Made a year (or two) after the original JTM 45.

3. Marshall Bluesbreaker – The Bluesbreaker (see full specs) is one of the first Marshall Combo Plexi amp manufactured in 1966.

4. Marshall JTM 50 – This is the first Marshall Plexi amp with 50 watts of power, designed in 1966, realized some years after.

5. Marshall Super Lead 100 – The years between 1966 and 1969 were the period when the term “Plexi” was conceived, and the first Marshall amp that got to bear the title was the Super Lead 100. As the term caught on, all the previous amp versions were labelled retroactively.

Price

The original Plexi amps are nearly impossible to track, but even if you do, they cost a fortune (several thousand bucks at the very least). That’s not a thing you should worry about, though – Marshall introduced several re-designed amp models with the same set of features, only they don’t cost as much.

The price of these Plexi style amps, however, is quite high, even though they’re just “re-vamped” versions of the originals. One of the main reasons for such steep prices is the fame they earned throughout the years.

Performance

Even though they’re quite old, the best Plexi amps are excellent in regard to performance. Most models come outfitted with premium-quality British tubes and hardware, although exceptions are possible (the DSL100H, for instance).

If you’re a collector of rare amps, the performance of Marshall amps can be neglected. If, on the other hand, you are a musician, newer models are recommended as they boast higher power output and tone clarity.

Power

Marshall Plexi amps designed before the 1966 are weak in terms of wattage power. Most models featured 20 or 30W at best, so it’s safe to say that you should go with the JTM50 or Super Lead 100.

Conclusion

Though Plexi style amps are old, they will live on for years to come. Marshall never did make a bad product, and the ones in the Plexi series were designed at the time when they had quite some proving to do.

Collectors are after these Marshalls primarily, but these gear pieces are quite strong and reliable, so it’s safe to say that musicians too should consider them (if they could muster up the cash, that is). Good luck!

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