date_range 1991

John Frusciante’s Marshall Bass Head (BSSM)

Based on photographic evidence, and statements made by John, this amp was used extensively on the Blood Sugar Sex Magic album. However, as he never stated specifically which amp he used on the record, we’re left to guess by ourselves.

For most of the basics, I used two Marshalls: a guitar head for edge and a bass head for punch and low end. I split the signal with a DOD stereo chorus pedal. For some overdubs, I used a Fender H.O.T. practice amp, but for a lot of parts, even solos, I just went straight into the board.

From another interview, John states that he uses

I used this little 12W practice amp and that set up got used for most overdubs ’cause it sounded so much better than all the other stuff. For the other meat I got a bunch of Strats, all ’70s models through a Marshall 60w bass head. [Guitar (UK), November 1991]

Based on the footage from the 1991 documentary ‘Funky Monks’, which followed the band’s making of the BSSM album, John used at least five different Marshall amps.

A screenshot from the 1990 documentary ‘Funky Monks’ shows John with four different Marshall amps, plus one sitting on the floor directly behind him.

The only amp that we’re one hundred percent positive on the exact model is the one sitting on the speaker cabinet on the right – that’s a JCM800, an amp that John used extensively both during the Mother’s Milk and BSSM tours. The one sitting above it is either a vintage Marshall Super Lead or a Super Bass (same as the amp directly behind the John on the floor).

The amp on the top left is likely a de-branded Marshall JMP 2204, and the one below it could be a late 70s Marshall JMP Super Bass. The weird thing about this last amp is that it appears to be turned on, based on the light coming from the on/off switch, and it appears to have the Marshall badge sitting quiet low – very close to the control board, and there’s no visible white line going across the front.

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