Some nice pics in this one in addition to some interesting insight from mr. Stevens.. including some fried brain cells. *Add grain of salt.

Posted by todd richman

Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:24 pm

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I loved this rack when I first read the Guitar World interview when it hit newstands in the early summer of 1987.

Posted by Flinto2002

Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:10 pm

The only thing bigger than Steve’s rack in 1987 was his hair!

Posted by steve10358

Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:20 am

I’m sorry but there is just nothing sexier than 3 Marshall heads in a rack.

Posted by yngwie308

Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:27 pm

Thanks Todd, would you guys like some more SS scans, I have all the eighties and nineties mags. Even sent them all to SS himself

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Posted by SteveStevens

Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:52 am

Hey Guys,
The photos marked 6,7,8,9 are def not my gear. As for the Lexicon PCM 70…it was set for pan delays and was kicked in for solos. This rig was probably the loudest thing i have ever played through, but extremely bright. It was usable on the Billy Idol Whiplash Smile tour as we were playing arenas but anything smaller, it was a sound mans worst nightmare. It was always a real challenge to get enough preamp gain on the Marshall plexy’s. I still own 3 but very rarely record with them.

Posted by yngwie308

Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:17 am

Sorry Steve, I don’t know why those pics were included in the article about you.
I felt it looked kinda weird, sorry for putting out mis-information.
I’ll run things by you in the future first!!
I wonder whose rack that is?

Posted by todd richman

Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:53 pm

Thanks so much for adding the archival photos, articles and video. And thanks Steve for checking in on this thread. Man, those pics of the original “Flintstone’s colors” Hamer bring back memories of some great times in the mid 80’s!

Posted by Woundstring

Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:17 am

Hey Steve!
The distortion sounds really meaty on your recorded plexis (Atomic Playboys and Exposed)…what was different using them live?
I assume you didn’t use a power soak/power break like the old Marshall SE100 or Thd hot plate back then?

I wish I could step back in time to see what you did…or you would tell me everything…just one else haha!

I’d like to add, love your new sounds too….I miss the old plexi dripping thing though.

Hey, did the Billy Idol tracks go up on iTunes yet?

Posted by Anje

Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:37 pm

Lots of interesting info Dave, and thanks Steve for shimming in.
I’m really curious about that ’87 rig setup, Dave / Steve could you please explain more into details how it was built and what was the signal chain? (details on that would be killer)
“Wet Dry Wet” type or fully loaded Marshall’s re-amp’ed in stereo with effects post amp’s? What kind of mixing? Always some “dry” amp tone mixed in parallel of effects in all cabs? etc…
Thanks again 8)

PS: at the same time if you can explain / compare with that setup you were using on the ’84 live records that would more than awesome. I just love the tone you got Steve on the “Flesh for Fantasy” tune from the “’84 live”. Killer

Posted by SteveStevens

Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:47 am

Hey Guys,
Let’s see what i can answer here. So long ago and many braincells have been burned since then, ha ha. So when i started the Vince Neil tour, i was using my 100 watt plexy. The main amp was a 1968 super lead. It was really not suited for the road and quite finicky. ED Van Halen saw me struggling with it one day at sound check and suggested i play through his rig at sound check the following day, which i did….much to Alex’s dismay, ha ha. He just wanted to get on with the VH sound check and drink his garlic shakes. I express to Eddie that it seemed much more road worthy to use the Peavey stuff. I also really liked his WDW setup. 2 days later a truck shows up at the gig and i was a kid at Christmas time. 6 cabs & 3 heads. Ed also placed an order of 2 Music Man EVH gee tars. I told him that i loved the solid black one i had played of his. He pulled it off his guitar rack, handed it to me and said, “oh you mean your guitar” That’s Ed for you. I had already owned one Music Man EVH prior. It was trans pink and i had recorded much of the Vince Neil Exposed record with that. For the 1984 Billy Idol Rebel Yell stuff, i played through 2 JCM 800’s. I could never get them clean enough for Flesh, so i had a switch that would route my guitar to a Rockman set on super clean/compressed. That was sent to the sound man DI. It was then routed to my monitors. Up until i hooked up with Dave Friedman, i used a Jose Arredondo load box to send a line level signal off the Marshall to the H&H power amps. All of my systems at that time were done by the pioneer and guy that paved the way for us all…Bob Bradshaw. BTW, i think the photos of gear i stated that were not mine are of Dave Marshall’s gear, he was the 2nd guitarist in the Vince Neil band.

Posted by wanker

Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:23 am


Thanks for the detail and cool story about EVH! If you have the time, I have two questions to add to the mix:

  1. You have a sig amp now w/ Friedman, what’s the scoopage on that thing?
  2. I have an old 69 plexi – did you ever fight ghosting on lead runs on recordings? I guess some plexis have more/less, but all have some…

Posted by SteveStevens

Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:09 am

The signature amp with D.F. is based on the 100 watt Marsha i have toured with for the last 2 years. We are now adding a super clean additional channel. The appearance is still being sorted out. As we get closer, i will do a post and demo clips.
Not sure what you mean about ghosting notes. Explain what you are hearing. I have found in the past that sonic issues with note purity can be attributed to speaker and cabinet issues. When i switched to my Scumback cabs, all of that false note and standing wave crap went away. That particle board stuff can cause huge headaches.

Posted by yngwie308

Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:03 am

I’m not Steve, but I have some considerable Marshall plexi experience. I think you are referring to ghosting as the lack of filtration.
Marshall added more and more filtration (increasing size and amount of filter capacitors)as the 100watt heads evolved.
In Steve’s case, one of his earliest Marshall heads with Billy Idol was a JTM 45-100.
I remember reading that SS had the power tubes changed from KT66’s to EL34’s.
These were aluminum chassis heads to start with, so that is a whole different dynamic from the later steel chassis.
The JTM 45-100’s date from 1966 and lead into the 1967 era of the first steel chassis. The Black Flag JTM-100 amps or 10000 series were the first amps to carry the badging as Super Lead and Super Bass. The Black Flag or square badge JTM’s,are much rarer and evolved into the regular JTM-100’s.
The Black Flag’s of which I owned a killer Super Bass version, had dual taps on the power transformers and two sets of diode bridges, so each circuit had it’s own DC filtering values as opposed to the single tap., single bridge rectified circuit which are more the norm.
I used to know all the values of these components, but that was many, many years ago and as SS says, the brain cells, ect. I believe older versions have more filter caps of smaller capacitance than later heads, from say two 32 micro-farad caps to a single 64mf cap, ect.
I didn’t suffer from the ghosting on my 1967 JTM Black Flag Super Bass, but when say one of the guys from Metro Forum, Flames, recreated my amp from specs of the time.
He had huge ghosting problems from the get go and had to change the filtration used.
If you have a 1969 plexi, which is the same circuit as the later 1969 metal front amps. The transition was in that year, you have the most filtration of the plexi era, so you may have a faulty component, leaky cap causing your problem.
Plexi’s are known in the past for ghosting at times. It is part of the Marshall legend and as SS knows the old heads just get older and develop “character’ for lack of a better word.
They eventually become so old as not to be suited to the stresses of gigging.
That’s why Metro amps became so popular, they were exactly to the old plexi specs, but with all new parts, sure NOS mustard caps’s ,ect. Also carbon comp resistors are key in certain areas as well.
When the JCM 800 era hit, Marshall went up even higher with physically less filter caps, but much higher values.
The master volumes continued this theme, even dropping out the earlier use of chokes as well.
The book by Mike Doyle, “The History of Marshall” has a picture with the various chassis side by side, though not very technical, this was the first book to bring such things to illustration.
With all respect to this and other gear forums, my 7 years so far on Metro forum let me have at my fingertips a wealth of Marshall knowledge and information.
Plus most of the members built their own amps, so they have that knowledge.
SS thanks for the reply, yes your Whiplash Smile rig was one of the loudest I have heard. Trower in London as well back in 1970 had my ears ringing well into the next day!
My much maligned Marshall 1959HW, with component upgrades by George Metropoulos, still is a 1969 circuit and yes these old amps lack gain, which we all love.
But the tone comes from their basic circuitry. Once the power tubes are cranking, pedals to the front end usually do the trick.
SS mentions in a few posts the noise floor he had to deal with using the old Marshall’s. Seeing that Alesis Quadraverb in Dave Marshall’s rack reminded me of when I bought one. After seeing one of my other heroes using one, the late Gary Moore, I bought one in the early ninties. This processor was an absolute disaster sonically for me with my old amps,I just couldn’t get one with it.
To be fair GM was using his with Soldano’s, which are slightly more updated amps and so maybe not having the same issues.
Effects loops placed in these old amps are a way to go, but for pro players like SS, the advent of the wet/dry/power amp/line level out/load, ect. era, let the player have much more control over everything.
I remember reading a Guitar World interview with Bob Bradshaw in the eighties, where he stated that working with SS, he was one of the loudest players he had encountered.
So said Henry Yee, and J.D. Steve’s old amp/tech guys, earplugs were a given.
He also said I am quoting from memory, that getting Steve’s old effects to work and switch quietly was one of the biggest challenges of his rig.
Remember this was before the huge advent of effect electronics that were true bypass, ect.
That SS managed to wrestle this Marshall monster for so many years from the early eighties to the early nineties and being on the absolute forefront of Marshall cranked tone, with articulation, not just distorted mush, marks him as one of Jim Marshall’s unsung ambassadors, the title he gave to one James Marshall Hendrix.
We all saw and heard Jimi constantly fighting the beast with only his guitar volume knob and his crude tremolo system.
I nominate SS for this title as well and that he finally has a signature amp coming up, I congratulate him, he has earned it.
I had to beg people for example to listen to 1993’s “Exposed”, I loved it so much.
Same with the Atomic Playboys. Both projects, more so the AP’s showed that SS really was more than just the guitar player, which he says in a recent pedal demo video.
Woundstring, my old buddy and others, if we could for just 5 minutes get SS’s Marshall sound from the 1987-93 era we could die happy men!
I am glad that these classic SS eras are so popular, I welcome the Internet for this shared camaraderie!
When I read the Basement Tapes GW interview I posted, it really opened my eyes to how much goes on to create the “Guitar World According to Steve Stevens”!!

Posted by SteveStevens

Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:14 am

Hi David,
Dude, i had no idea how deep into the whole Marshall this you truly were. All the posts and effort are really appreciated. I have a working musicians understanding of amps, hell i can’t even bias the sucker….so i find it really interesting to read all this stuff. I stumbled into amp modding in around 1976. I was in a cover band and the sound man allowed me to use his Hiwatt’s. We found them to be too clean to replicate the tones of some of the music i was playing…the usual stuff Zeppelin, Tull, etc. We set out on a quest to get more preamp gain happening…the rest is history. I got my first Marshall in 79′. That amp still record with and was used on Rebel Yell. Henry Yee in NYC installed a really good master volume and swapped out all the tube sockets to ceramic to avoid arcing.

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Posted by Chak

Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:23 pm

The rig in those pictures ( purple marshall heads ) is RICHIE KOTZEN ‘S RIG!

Posted by yngwie308

Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:47 am

Sorry but they belonged to Dave Marshall the second guitarist in the Vince Neil Band.
Steve himself confirmed this and I got the photos from a Young Guitar auction I won.

Posted by Chak

Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:16 pm

Sorry, I have the whole young guitar magazine for these info. And it is clearly Richie’s rig. I will post steve steven rig from the same magazine soon to proof that. My scanner might ont work properly but I will take a photo and paste here.
Stay tune!

Posted by Chak

Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:09 am

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Posted by yngwie308

Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:36 am

THANKS CHAK!! I only have an insert from the magazine that I won in the auction YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT thanks for the pics.
I don’t know what I was thinking, pleading the 5th on this.
I stand corrected.


les paul axcess trem arm question
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