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Upgraded my Marshall Bluesbreaker reissue...

Mars Hall

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Nov 26, 2008
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I also used Marstran iron, OT and PT (in my JTM45RI build back in September 2003) and Brian's transformers are killer. Puts right at 450 volts on my GEC KT66's just like my '65 Block Logo JTM45 with RS transformers did.

Interesting, I kept the original PT in my JTM45ri. I'm getting about 408v on the plates, pin 3 of the power tubes. I would like to get more clean headroom from this amp. Did you use Brian's Reissue JTM45 PT (789-84) or the standard JTM45 PT (1202-55)?
 

dtw576

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Feb 23, 2003
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Interesting, I kept the original PT in my JTM45ri. I'm getting about 408v on the plates, pin 3 of the power tubes. I would like to get more clean headroom from this amp. Did you use Brian's Reissue JTM45 PT (789-84) or the standard JTM45 PT (1202-55)?
Not sure. And this was so early in his run of PT's (7 1/2 years ago) that I don't even remember there being a number on them, or a choice. I'll yank the chassis tonight and have a look to see if there is any identification or numbering on the transformer.
 

bigtomrodney

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Nov 7, 2009
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I've used Marstran in my jtm45ri. Brian Wallace has done extensive research in the field and has come up with faithful recreations of the original Marshall iron.
I came across his work earlier today and was very impressed. If they sound as good as they look I might be picking up a new OT and PT.
I also used Marstran iron, OT and PT (in my JTM45RI build back in September 2003) and Brian's transformers are killer. Puts right at 450 volts on my GEC KT66's just like my '65 Block Logo JTM45 with RS transformers did.
That's great to know. I'm using the stock trannies so I'm wondering if the OT will be alright with the Shuguang KT66s. I will upgrade at some point this year but it's just a matter of figuring out when :rofl

One of the things that struck me was that the two Mercury Magnetic options via ToneClone and Radiospares were both built with fixed output taps. That's not like the originals anyway and most of my concern is about being vintage correct. The Marstran trannies have the full spec of the original in terms of configuration so aside from visual accuracy that tells me that it's at least built closer than the originals. The price is right too :peace2

I've just been playing my R7 through the Bluesbreaker again. I had the channels jumpered, Ch1 a bit lower than Ch2 and treble and presence cut way back. Bass is eased off just a tad. The sound is outstanding, it's almost like listening to an old recording instead of playing live in the room. That power valve swap was worth every penny. Now if the filter cap swap improves this...well let's just say I can't imagine how it'll be able to do that.
 

Mars Hall

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Nov 26, 2008
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Not sure. And this was so early in his run of PT's (7 1/2 years ago) that I don't even remember there being a number on them, or a choice. I'll yank the chassis tonight and have a look to see if there is any identification or numbering on the transformer.

I took a look on the Marstran website and both models offer 450v B+.:jim The "reissue" PT is designed as a drop in replacement otherwise you'll have to cut the chassis to make the other one work. Do you remember cutting your chassis? If not, you probably have the 789-84.

I'll be ordering a Marstran 789-84 PT for my JTM45ri, once I have it installed, I'll order another for my BBri.
 

Mars Hall

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Nov 26, 2008
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I came across his work earlier today and was very impressed. If they sound as good as they look I might be picking up a new OT and PT.
That's great to know. I'm using the stock trannies so I'm wondering if the OT will be alright with the Shuguang KT66s. I will upgrade at some point this year but it's just a matter of figuring out when :rofl

One of the things that struck me was that the two Mercury Magnetic options via ToneClone and Radiospares were both built with fixed output taps. That's not like the originals anyway and most of my concern is about being vintage correct. The Marstran trannies have the full spec of the original in terms of configuration so aside from visual accuracy that tells me that it's at least built closer than the originals. The price is right too.

You won't be disappointed and those Shug's marry op to my Marstran RS Deluxe OT just fine. Definitely a great bang for the buck.
 

dtw576

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Feb 23, 2003
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I took a look on the Marstran website and both models offer 450v B+.:jim The "reissue" PT is designed as a drop in replacement otherwise you'll have to cut the chassis to make the other one work. Do you remember cutting your chassis? If not, you probably have the 789-84.

I'll be ordering a Marstran 789-84 PT for my JTM45ri, once I have it installed, I'll order another for my BBri.
I do remember that the chassis did have to be cut but that was all done by Paul Ruby who took my JTM45RI, PTP'd it, Marstran'd it, and put in GEC KT66's and Mullard GZ34 and ECC83's I sent to him. He sourced the PTP board (his design and parts) and Marstrans (which were chosen by me) and he did a killer job putting the whole thing together. Too bad he quit doing this type of work soon after because he had a definite skillset there.

One thing about my '65 block logo, it was putting 450 volts on the KT66's with 125 volts at the wall. Back in '65, 110 volts was more like it so if the voltage is linear, that means the '65 would have be designed to put more like 400 volts on the KT66's. But they sounded so sweet at 450 volts, and GEC's can take that all day every day, I think the Marstrans design for 450 volts is right.
 

snyd-ly

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Feb 10, 2010
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Great set of mods - I did similar stuff to my old BB. Its one of the original RI's. I used Marstran tranies and Ray Domzalski was kind enough to build me a point to point board - very sweet! sound, but I'd like to get a little more tone/grit! I've been looking at swapping out the original flubby green back cones. I've been zeroing in on the Celestion Golds for fear the blues would blow. Do you think your blue will hold up to the output trannie wattage, did someone give you some direction/advice?
 

Brandon

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Jul 28, 2001
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Great set of mods - I did similar stuff to my old BB. Its one of the original RI's. I used Marstran tranies and Ray Domzalski was kind enough to build me a point to point board - very sweet! sound, but I'd like to get a little more tone/grit! I've been looking at swapping out the original flubby green back cones. I've been zeroing in on the Celestion Golds for fear the blues would blow. Do you think your blue will hold up to the output trannie wattage, did someone give you some direction/advice?

From what I hear the Golds sound great as well. I didn't really get any advice but I did read a few posts on some other forums where people had no problems with Blues blowing out so I figured I'd give it a shot. It might be too early to tell but I've had zero problems and they sound awesome. I don't think you can go wrong with either the golds or blues.
 

timetraveler

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Jul 29, 2019
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Hey Everyone,
This is my 2005 Marshall Bluesbreaker reissue. I absolutely love this amp. I used to own a completely stock bluesbreaker that I couldnt sell fast enough. The stock reissue was very boomy, even with the bass at 1 mind you, and would completely fart out at high volumes with almost zero articulation. I had it for about 2 weeks before I sold it.


I started reading about how some guys make a few changes that really bring out a whole new character to the bluesbreaker and gets it to sound a lot closer to the originals. So I decided to give it another go. I found a used bluesbreaker on ebay that was already converted to fit KT66's. It came with JJ power and pre amp tubes, even came with a Mullard tube but I'm not sure if it's NOS or not. I'm no expert when it comes to tubes but I read somewhere that these arent real KT66's so im eager to try out some gold lions or valve art KT66's at some point but these are fine for now. About a week after receiving the amp I took it to "The Tone Man" Don Butler who replaced all the iron with Mercury Magnetics transformers along with changing some of the signal caps to Sozo's. Also the stock 50x50 caps were switched to 16x16 and 32x32 caps.





The day that I dropped my amp of at Don's (chasis only) he mentioned how the grill cloth can also effect the tone and cut me a swatch of EC Collins bluesbreaker grill cloth. I took it home to compare against the stock and was instantly sold. As you can see in the pics it kind of makes you wonder what Marshall was thinking with using the grill cloth they do. The feel of the EC Collins grill cloth is rubbery in comparison to the stock material, which feels like cheap lawn furniture at best, in comparison. By putting your lips and blowing against the back of the stock and EC Collins grill gloth you can tell the difference. The stock stuff feels like you're blowing against a fly swatter where as the EC Collins stuff doesnt let the air flow through as easily which I feel really adds to the sweet compression I get from this amp. And as you can see in the pics the stock grill is see through and kinda feels like a potato sack. So again I made the hour and half trip back to Don's with the cab to be re-grilled as well.



Before I made the trip back I decided to go with a set of Celestion Alnico Blue speakers. I have always used greenbacks with all of my other Marshalls but decided to go with the blues to try and get closer to the Clapton bluesbreakers tone, and i'm happy I did. I couldnt resist the earlier breakup of the 15 watt Blues.



A few weeks later my amp was done and I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am with this amp. It sounds nothing like it did stock. The sound is much more clear and way more articulate. I know Marshalls arent know for their cleans but with this amp the cleans are exrtremely clear and have a rounder/softer more saturated feel.
This is my first amp with KT66's and it might be to early to say but I think I might even like them more than EL34's. Now for the good stuff. I was worried how the Alnico Blues would handle this amp being cranked up to 10. I know Vox AC30's are rated at 30 watts just like my Bluesbreaker and they don't have a problem being dimed but I also read that the Bluesbreaker puts out about 40-45 watts when at max volume. But I figured, "what the hell" and over the course of a few days kept playing the amp louder and louder. I wanted to make sure the speakers could handle it as I bought them brand new and wanted to give them some sort of a break in time.
The breakup on this amp is awesome. Between 1-3 the sound stays pretty clean. Between 4-7 is where the fun starts. Depending on how soft you pick the sound stays clean with a tiny bit of hair on it but the harder you dig in, the dirtier it gets. Really awesome for blues and kinda gives you a cool AC/DC tone. I noticed on the volume knob between 8-10 doesnt really get that much louder but gives you a very sweet natural compression and more sustain/gain. Even on 10 the amp stays clear and touch responsive. Definetly doesnt fart out or get boomy like my stock one did.
After all the changes/mods I did I'm totally satisfied and couldnt be happier with my tone. Whats also really cool is that im in it for a little less than what a new one costs. This Bluesbreaker aint goin nowhere!!!
Im Curious what transformers were in it before the Mercury's
 
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TM1

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Im Curious what transformers were in it before the Mercury's


probably Drake’s
 

timetraveler

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Jul 29, 2019
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I upgraded the transformers in mine. Too to the tone clone transformers. First I change the output transformer then I played it to see how it sounded. It was very cold and sterile BUT, next I changed the power transformer and it became crystal clear like a bell. So it is the combination of the two mercury transformer that really bring it to life.
 

corpse

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The old forums (and soem of the new ones) require the photos to be hosted- if the original poster pulls them down they go.
 

jb_abides

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Apr 6, 2005
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The old forums (and soem of the new ones) require the photos to be hosted- if the original poster pulls them down they go.

Yes, and to elaborate for OP, this forum was migrated to a new software package including database, and re-hosted, etc. and some things may not have been able to migrate properly, or picked up in the DB, or other things that cause breakage.

Always true is if the target link no longer hosted the pic (user takes down, deactivates account, whatever), then... you are pointing at nuthin'...
 

TM1

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Output tranny’s take about 20 hours of being played through to open up! Give it time!
 
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