Marshall Valvestate VS100R – For the price… Very nice!!

Okay, let’s check out something slightly different today, from the venerated Marshall, the Marshall Valvestate VS100R.

Marshall Valvestate VS100R

Marshall Valvestate VS100R

Now Marshall is loved for its tube amps, and sadly the MG range have tarnished any credibility they might have had in the solid state amp arena.

I say sadly because there are wonderful solid state amps and I will venture the Marshall Valvestate VS100R as one of them.

This particular model of Valvestate was made in England during the late 90s and is quite solidly built. Finished off in the usual Marshall gold face place, with black grill cloth and that lovely Marshall logo (come on, how many guitarists buy an amp for a brand image?? Come on, out of the closet you Fender, Marshall or Mesa fans!!).

The cab is made of a synthetic construction timber but as some amp makers have agreed, the particle board (with no voids) actually can sound really good. So no need to stress that it is not marine birch ply, which is not the end of the world.

Standard rubber and plastic handle, plastic corner protectors, all in black so some cost cutting in this area. However, if you are really keen you can get some metal protectors but a lot of gigging musos have rated this amp gigworthy so save your dough.

Marshall Valvestate VS 15. 15 Watt Watt Combo

End Date: Thursday Nov-14-2019 13:49:13 PST
Buy It Now for only: $55.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Upon switching on, there is none of the pop and hiss that seem to be present on a lot of amps, and even at high gain, high volume levels with no cutoff, the output is surprisingly low.

Okidoki… so we’ve examined the overall construction and type of amp. Now part of the Valvestate ‘magic’ is that it has a 12AX7 tube in its preamp section that I really feel helps to warm up the tone and start to bridge the gap between solid state and full tube.

I must also secretly admit that I A/B’ed the tone against my little 5 watt Big White Monkey’s hand wired amp, and the cleans from the Marshall were fantastic. Seriously I thought that they were warm, dynamic and a lot of fun for an amp I picked up for under $200! I probably would say that I loved these the best as I am a guitarist that uses cleans a lot.

The clean channel has no gain knob, but with a mid boost tone shift and three band eq, it can go from super clean to clipping style blues tones. The reverb was decent, but Marshall amps are not known for its reverb as Fender is. Still though, a good extra feature but I think something like a TC Electronic Hall of Fame would be much better.

As I will go into more details later in the review, it has an Effects loop for your reverb, delay and chorus (or modulation) which I really do like in an amp.

The speaker is a Marshall ‘Black and Gold‘ which I assume is a variant of a Celestion voiced general speaker. It actually has a decent sized magnet, and I think it is has good bass and mids response, and has a smooth treble so not too brittle or icepicky!!

Marshall CODE 100W 2x12 Guitar Combo Amp Black

End Date: Thursday Nov-7-2019 20:24:20 PST
Buy It Now for only: $299.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

With three channels, this amp can cover everything from country and blues to death metal so quite a versatile amp. With three channels, clean, OD1, and OD2, it can switch between sounds quite quickly.

OD1 has a three band EQ and a gain knob, and has plenty of gain to do metal. OD2 has the same eq controls as OD1, but it has a different gain knob and the addition of a contour knob in its signal chain, which makes it extremely flexible.

I personally use the clean channel for a bright, trebly clean, OD1 for a mid-gain rhythm sound for punk and rock tones, and OD2 for a high gain metal tone.

OD1 and 2 can be made to sound the same as well, so using OD2 as a gain or volume boost is also an option, but the real gold in this amp is definitely OD2’s contour switch.

Another nice feature is the power dimension switch, which provides a gain and bass boost while reducing the volume of the amp, prefect for playing your half stack late at night. The effects loop also has a switchable level, along with reverb for both clean and overdrive.

I personally would say that I loved the OD crunch settings and for AC/DC work or chord rock then this is a gem. I didn’t like it so much for single note lead work so much as I thought that single notes were not thick enough and a tiny bit buzzy. However, for general rock, and in a band setting this amp is very good. Tone is subjective, and for me I like a thick sustained full single lead note tone (ok, Gilmour live lead tone…) so that is where I am coming from.

So in summary a great amp and they are very cheap second hand (I got mine for $150) and for that price they are definitely worth it. No, it won’t be exactly like a tube amp, but it is very close in the cleans department. The low OD is brilliant for multiple string work and power chords, but I found the higher gain stuff a tiny bit buzzy. However, it has lots of features and looks the business!!!

Gibson Custom Les Paul Goldtop Murphy Marshall 50th Bluesbreaker Amp Limited 50

End Date: Thursday Nov-7-2019 6:16:32 PST
Buy It Now for only: $24,995.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Marshall JTM-45 1966 rare green small box white panel KITCHEN 50 watt plexi amp

End Date: Thursday Nov-7-2019 12:24:22 PST
Buy It Now for only: $17,999.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Marshall 1966 Transistor 2x10 18w Baby Bluesbreaker Pinstripe Combo

End Date: Wednesday Nov-6-2019 5:32:11 PST
Buy It Now for only: $9,675.38
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Marshall Handwired Jimi Hendrix Super 100JH 100w Stack with ALL Candy #46 of 600

End Date: Friday Oct-25-2019 14:41:08 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $8,995.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list


$8,999.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Oct-24-2019 15:42:31 PDT
Bid now | Add to watch list

This entry was posted in Amps and tagged , by strataminor. Bookmark the permalink.

About strataminor

Born in Brisbane I am a bedroom guitar player, although having played in front of churches (tough crowd!!) for quite a few years so some understanding of band dynamics, timing, gear (private use compared to public use) and melodic structure, instrumental breaks (okay leather pants solos....) and of course amps! Besides from my love of guitar and the G.A.S that goes with it (hey email me I am always offloading gear!! lol) I love languages, and can converse in basic Japanese, and study biblical Greek. I live in Logan with my young family (so not heaps of time at the moment) and will be contributing gear reviews based on a lot of gear I have or still currently have.

2 thoughts on “Marshall Valvestate VS100R – For the price… Very nice!!

  1. hi I am a amp tech and slowly watched marshall go down hill from the vs 100 the 4 with plenty of room in such a way heavy duty output transistors were set up was great the vs with I still have since 1998 has been a great friend to me the speaker gold great the only thing lacking was the reverb cage slowly got worse in the years to follow the input was strong and the control knob strong and tight but the reverb unit just wore out so I put a peavey 3 spring a bit longer but it was better than the oem unit it came with other than that its one of the best room or gigging amp I ever have the the mg series just made nothing but thick heavy flake board the out put finals ic chips junk the fans to cool the down china junk that broke in 2 to 3 months started to slowly go to a dead stop junk the jacks the mix bag of parts made in china awful its a 12 to 15 year old kids amp that’s its a marshall theses poor kids when start getting problems just put it away in a closet and buy a cheap low cost amp

  2. Marshall has been going down hill since the vs 100 watt valve state I am a tech and stupid things failed this alsome amp its a shame marshall has been subbing out there amps since 2000 the lower end ones you have to pay 2500.00 and up to get a uk head bran new

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *