Gear reviews and "guitar player interviews". The Guitar Zombie is the fastest spreading blog about guitars, amps, effects and other stuff.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Marshall SL5 Slash Combo, a surprisingly well built Marshall

A while ago a Marshall SL5 Slash combo landed at the Zombie Crib. It is a practice amp that i said to deliver the sound that has become the hallmark of Slash. At the same time SL5 is not to be seen as just a signature amp, it is one of the better Marshalls in a very long time. 

The SL5 is the younger brother of the Slash signature AFD100 head. In 2010 Marshall came out with AFD100, a 100 watt head. The amp got fantastic reviews virtually everywhere, mainly because it ´s stunning basic sound and a really tight bottom. A rock-amplifier with two dirty channels. One that will remind you of the Frank Levi modded JCM800 (# 34-mode) and one based on the modded amp that Slash used on Appetite for Destruction called #36 (AFD mode), also modded by Frank Levi.

And that is what AFD100 is about, to replicate the two hilarious sounds of #36 and Slash´s sound from Use Your Illusion (# 34). Inside the shell of AFD100 you will find 5 piece ECC83 tubes in the pre-amp and 4 x 6550 output amp and a power scale that allows you to reduce power from 100 watts down to 1 watt. If it nails the Slash sound? Well, not in every sense but still very close. The lack of gain, at least to my ears, made me modify it.

This new one, a combo, changeable from 5 watts down to 1 watt, by a switch on the backside of the amp. It will do great for rehearsals with your band actually as well  for bedroom volume.

Inside you´ll find 3 ECC84 in the pre-amp and 1 EL35 output tube.

It has a 12" Celestion V30 speaker, and thats a good decision because of it´s warm sound, especially when it comes to clean tones. This amp is doing really well for cleans, better than you may think, at least compared to the AFD100 which is not a clean amp at all.

When it comes to dirty sounds SL5 is awesome, warm and "bity" and a very good choice. Not because it nails the Slash tone, because it does not. This is a real deal Marshall sounding thing. The 5 watts may sound weak but the truth is that it serves you very loud. If you drive the amp it will break up stunningly och answer your playing as an expert amp. It takes the path down from busy crunch to high gain vintage and firmly rips the Blackstar HT-5 apart avery day in the week. With that said, the HT-5 is a remarkable amp in its own way. One of my favorite small amps.

If you have a guitar with low output you can choose the input jack nr 1, that will give you +6db. If your output on your guitar is normal och very high you can choose input jack nr 2.

The EQ is a well functioning "treble, "mid" and "bass", which gives you a wide range of dialing. The EQ works very well in combinantion with the "presence".

AFD100 does not have reverb, but the SL5 has one. Dialed at 10 a´clock its suits in perfect with clean tones and dirty ones too, depending of your taste. The reverb is not a cheap one kicked in, its a very good and balanced one.

The lack of effects-loop is a bit of a problem for me, and that´s the reason for not landing on top result.

But this is a good amp, one of the best in many years from Marshall.

4,9 Zombies (5)

1 comment:

  1. Hello ... I'm a big fan of Slash...I got home several amplifiers connected with slashs career ... I have JMP 1979 modifed by BRBS under levi franc suggestions ... # 34 and # 36 with tubes 6550 = C = ...I have AFD100 too ... even if I have to observations by ... but this is not a discussion about AFD100 ... I did not play on this combo ... but itself struck me that they use the tubes EL34 in this combo if both familiar sound mode on tubes 6550 ... among them is a big difference in the character ... have you tried it ever change ... ??? ...bye M*