The history of JVM

The performance powerhouse that is the JVM can do a little bit of everything. We look back at the origins of the JVM series and see why it has become the ultimate all rounder for professional musicians.

Posted: 12 May 2020

With the DSL series released at the end of the 90’s, Marshall had moved into the 21st century with a healthy range of distortion driven amps. From the smooth sounding JTM45 to the overdriven Plexi or the gritty sounding JCM800 and 900, Marshall had an amp for every scenario, but lugging all that equipment around wasn’t cheap or easy. Players wanted more versatility from their valve amps so they could adapt their sound for any scenario with the flick of a switch.

Step forward the JVM410H. First released in 2007, this 100w head was intended to roll every Marshall guitar sound you could want into one powerful package. It did all this and more, even adding some tones from both ends of the spectrum that Marshall wasn’t at the time renowned for – cleans and modern metal.

In order to do this the JVM boasts 4 channels (Clean, Crunch, OD1 and OD2), with 3 modes (Green, Orange and Red) within each channel, effectively making this a 12 channel amp. Each channel boasts its own characteristics so that the JVM can deliver a wide sonic range, and fits every scenario:

Alongside that exquisite tone, the JVM, which is an acronym for Jim and his daughter, Victoria Marshall, had a few tricks up its sleeve to make it more user friendly. One of these tricks is that despite being a valve amp the JVM410H features an easy to control digital reverb. This is routed in parallel, so the actual signal does not contain any reverb. The signal is then mixed back in via a valve so it complements the sound of the amp rather than fights against it. On top of this the JVM also features both series and parallel effects loops, making it fully customisable and incredibly useful no matter the show or recording session.

The price to pay for all these options is a rather intimidating control panel, featuring a whopping 28 knobs and 8 switches. However, once you get to grips with it, the control panel is surprisingly easy to figure out. It’s essentially 4 amps in one, each with its own EQ, gain, reverb and volume controls. On top of that there’s a presence control, resonance control and 2x master volume controls. That’s it.

Once a guitarist has got to grips with the control panel and figured out their preferred settings for each channel, they can then utilise the footswitch too. This means players can flick between channels and modes and even input their own exact presets. Unlike almost every other footswitch this one is connected to the amp using a regular guitar cable. The JVM truly was designed with the professional guitarist in mind.

"The best and most
versatile Marshall yet"

Neal Schon
Journey

The reviews were great, with magazines describing the JVM410H as a one stop shop for all your Marshall tone. The JVM410C combo soon followed, loaded with a 12” Celestion V30 and 12” Celestion Heritage speaker, and was followed by the JVM2 series in 2008. This is essentially the JVM4 but stripped back to include only 2 channels (Clean/Crunch and OD), and is available as 100w or 50w options, or as a combo with either 1 or 2 speakers.

Today the JVM is just as versatile and impressive as when first it was first released, and that is proven by the fact that it is still played by a wide range of artists. From metal icons Megadeth and While She Sleeps right through to pop icons Owl City and even ‘Freaky’ Rob Gueringer, guitarist for Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, proving the JVM is capable of any tone in any setting.