Eric Clapton’s 1966 Marshall JTM45/100

access_time First seen circa 1966

Eric was seen using a Marshall JTM45/100 (or Marshall Super 100 – depending on how you prefer to call it) during the Cream era. This amp was developed by Jim Marshall upon a request from Pete Townshend of The Who, who wanted a more powerful version of the 50W Marshall amp that he was using at the time (circa 1965).

I went to Jim Marshall, stomped down my 50-watt amp and said, ‘I want that twice as loud,’” Townshend says. “And, almost like Krupps, the famous military manufacturer, Jim Marshall’s eyes lit up. He said, ‘I will supply this man with the weapon he requires.’ And out of that came the Marshall stack and the big amplifiers of the Sixties.”

Guitar World, September 2002, an excerpt from ‘History of Marshall Amps’

The JTM45/100 model went through a few different incarnations between 1965 and 1966, and Eric himself most likely used the version with the KT66 output tubes (as opposed to EL34s which were used on later models), and Drake 1204-43 power transformer (as opposed to a Radiospares transformer on the previous version). Interesting to note, another guitarist that was becoming popular at that time by the name of Jimi Hendrix, purchased a pair of JTM45/100s himself upon landing his feet in the UK in late 1966. This means that both ‘Fresh Cream’ and ‘Are You Experienced’ were likely recorded on the same exact model of an amp, which explains why so many people consider this to be the best amp that Marshall has ever put out.

[I use] Two 100-watt Marshalls. I set them full on everything, full treble, full base, and full presence, same with the controls on the guitar. If you’ve got the amp and guitar full, there is so much volume that you can get it 100 miles away and it’s going to feedback – the sustaining effect – and anywhere in the vicinity, it’s going to feedback.

Eric Clapton: The Rolling Stone Interview
Embed from Getty Images

It is unknown for how long Clapton used the KT66 version, but based on the photos, he did switch to the newer version with EL34s at some point after 1967 (when the new version was introduced). Most concrete proof of this is a photo taken at Blind Faith’s Hyde Park concert in London, on June 7, 1969. The photo (displayed below) clearly shows that there’s a backplate on the Marshall reading “Super Lead 100”, and that the amp has a “Cream” stamp – meaning that it was used during that era. This is significant because although identical from the front, these are two very different amps, and the earlier version can be easily be identified by its backplate, which read “Super 100 Amplifier” as opposed to what can be seen on the photo below. [The Evolution of the 100W Circuit: From JTMs to JMP Superleads]

The point being – the switch to the newer did happen while Clapton was still playing with Cream, it’s just that we don’t know when exactly. This, of course, opens up the possibility that ‘Fresh Cream’ was recorded on the earlier version of the JTM45, while ‘Disraeli Gear’ was on the newer Super Lead.

Embed from Getty Images

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access_time 1966

Marshall Bluesbreaker Model 1962

This is the amp that Eric used to record ‘Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton’ (a.k.a. The Beano Album) in early to mid-1966. According to Jim Marshall, the amp was developed upon a request from Eric himself. Eric used to practice in my shop and he was one of the first guitarists to ask me to build a combo. He wanted one so it would be easy for him to put […]

access_time 1969

Marshall JTM45/100 Super Lead 100

Eric started using this amp sometime with the Cream, likely in mid to late 1967. The amp was an updated version of the 1966 Marshall JTM45/100 that Eric played at the beginning of the Cream, and most likely used to record ‘Fresh Cream’. To learn about the difference between the two older and the newer version please refer to The Evolution of the 100W Circuit: From JTMs to JMP Superleads. Most […]

access_time 1964

1960s Vox AC30

Eric was seen using this amp with the Yardbirds, during the band’s Ready Steady Go! performance on May 22, 1964. Due to the small number of photographs taken around the Yardbirds era, it is unknown whether Eric used this amp exclusively during this period, or he had something else on the side. Embed from Getty Images

access_time 1970

Fender Dual Showman

According to Eric, he used this amp with Delaney and Bonnie, circa early 1970. At that time, he mostly played his 1956 Fender Stratocaster “Brownie”, but occasionally went for 1959/60 Gibson Les Paul Custom. With Delaney and Bonnie, I used a Dual Showman—a big Fender amp. But I hardly ever jack it right up, you know. I’m not getting the sustain or hold-over sound I used to get. It’s still […]

access_time 2011

Fender EC Twinolux Amp

This amp was introduced in 2011 as a custom version of the Fender 57 Twin (which Clapton used up until that point), made to Eric’s specifications. Visually, the two amps look the same, apart from the badge on the top, and the fact that Twinolux has an additional badge reading “EC” on the bottom right of the speaker grill. Spec-wise, the Twinolux also takes a lot from the original 57 […]

access_time 2004

Fender Custom '57 Twin Tweed Amp

This has been Eric main stage amp since around 2004/2005. Based on photos, he usually had two of them on stage, and it seems that he used them pretty much all the time. The only other amp that he used somewhat regularly from 2005 to around 2011 seems to be a smaller Fender 57 Bandmaster. Embed from Getty Images It is important to note that from 2011 it becomes somewhat […]

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