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Marshall Vintage/Modern 2266C Combo Review

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Marshall Vintage/Modern 2266C Combo Review

I’ve been after a new amp since I was forced to sell my ’76 Fender Twin around three years ago. I’ve made do with using alternatives and I kind of figured there was no way I would be able to afford a new piece of kit in the near future. Until I managed to scrape enough money together after some much needed ebay sales. Why a combo? Ease of transport for one. Also, my Mrs went ape when I brought home a 4×12” once and there was no way of convincing her it looked amazing in the lounge.

After researching a bit online, I narrowed the Marshall Vintage/Modern 2266C down to a shortlist. Fortunately for me, Guitar Mania is my local guitar store and as an authorised Marshall dealer they had one in stock for me to try.

Features:

Effects loop, master volume and digital reverb all come as standard as does the typical EQ/Presence controls, but the best bit about this amp in my opinion is the ability to dial in and mix the bass/low mid gain with the upper mid/treble gain. Marshall name these as “body” and “detail”, and in my mind, it’s similar to jumping the channels on an old plexi-style amp, mixing the bright channel with the normal channel volume.

This amp also features two dynamic ranges: LDR – Low Dynamic Range and HDR – High Dynamic Range. LDR is fairly clean until you ramp up the master volume and/or Body and Detail settings. The HDR is pure Marshall overdrive and lots of it. Although a footswitch is supplied, it is essential to realise very early on that this is a single channel amp, where ideally you choose one channel and stick with it. The footswitch is a bit misleading as it appears you can “swap channels” but you need to understand that you are not actually channel switching, (you experience a huge jump in volume when changing to HDR). There’s also a mid-range boost button available, but this is only switchable from the amps control panel, not a footswitch.

The speakers are the Celestion G12C Greenbacks that have been designed for other vintage style Marshall amps in recent years.

Ease of use:

Well this is a sticky issue with what seems a lot of people who try to use this amp. Firstly, there are many tones available on tap. Do I use HDR or LDR? How far do I dial the “detail”? What about the mid-range boost? Etc

I would say the amp is not that easy to use at first as it can take a fair amount of time to dial in “your sound”.  The problem I experienced, is that I used to rely heavily on effects pedals, especially overdrive pedals to get the sound I liked. Although this amp takes pedals VERY well I would say it excels in using overdrive pedals when using the LDR.

But for me, the absolute gem about this amp is when using HDR. I quickly realised that tap dancing on effects pedals was no longer required for this amp. In fact, in the Marshall guide, it is recommended that you set a suitable lead, rhythm and clean sound all from controlling your guitar volume. A bit scary for a volume control noob as myself and took me a few hours to get it, but it has to be said it has been a revelation to my playing.

Sound quality:

With my Gibson SG Standard in hand I switched the amp onto HDR and set the Body, Detail and EQ to a sound for a suitable lead solo. Amazing – this is classic Marshall! It sounds so good!

Rolling off the guitar volume produces some really cool rhythm sounds, although I found I had to tweak the amplifier EQ by rolling off the bass, as it seems with the combo at least, the Greenbacks can’t handle too much low end. However, to be fair, the amp was still producing a good bass response even rolling off the bass a fraction. And finally, rolling the guitar volume back to 1 or 2 produced some very nice clean/edge of breakup tones and a lot has to be said to how hard you use your guitar pick.

I’m still getting to grips with using the volume control and in some respects, using a twin humbucker guitar is perfect for flicking to a dimed lead sound.

If you are playing at home, you may find the amp a bit bright and that may put you off. But believe me, in a band situation that brighter sound actually really shines and doesn’t sound bright at all. It really complements the rest of the band and cuts through the mix nicely. And the Greenbacks have a very nice sweet top end.

Reliability:

So far so good. I’ve heard stories of the power light on the control panel breaking but mine is all OK. It seems a quality piece of kit.

Overall rating:

All I can say is that this amplifier is very good. It is versatile, with a huge range of overdrive and tonal shaping available. For me, getting rid of all my pedals and letting the amp produce the overdrive (all controlled from my guitar) is a total revelation.

Sure you can use overdrive & boost pedals, especially in LDR, it will sound great, but I absolutely love controlling the dynamics all from my fingers. If you have the patience to learn to play in this manner I personally think there’s no looking back.

A great product and one to keep for a long time. I’d so love the 50W head and matching 4×12” but my Mrs will divorce me straight away if I roll up with that 😉

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About the author:

Sam is passionate about talking all things guitar related and started GuitarJar.co.uk to help encourage all guitarists in their guitar playing journey.

4 Comments

  • Good article. Came to this from the Marshall forum. you need the 100W head not the 50w!

    • OK, cool. I’ve heard lots of good things about the 50W and 100W head. I guess 50W would suit me down to the ground as I dont need that extra headroom.Would love to give both a run out though…

  • Just wanted to make a quick update to this review. If you’re a Strat player, looking for a new amp, I thoroughly recommend the Vintage Modern. I’ve really got into using my ’79 Strat with this amp lately, in HDR mode, but with the input gain really low and the master volume really high. It sounds awesome – great Strat tones with a touch of bite. Highly recommended!

  • This a great amp, it also sounds great at bedroom level which I feel makes it more versatile. It’s pretty easy to deal in that Beano type tone.

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