A Russian Mig Flies In
After the Sound City and all of the Fenders, I suddenly got a hankering to get another Marshall. I thought I had broken the habit after all those years of working with them, first playing with Red using a lovely Artist combo, and then of course the Motorhead years where I got Eddie the loudest Marshall stack ever to compete with Lemmy, and then of course at Master Rock. There I had THE JTM45 head which we called the "Marshall Auto-Sound", cos it sounded like a Marshall oughta sound like - got used on just about every record that ever came out of the place and when I parted with it, it went into good hands - sold it to Ralph Denyer the guy that wrote that great guitar book.
But the problem I have with Marshalls is that I can spot an output transformer crackling on the way out all too easily and having changed many, it sort of put me off them.
Then there was this Marshall 4x12 going - collection only in South London, bit battered but had nice Celestions in it, and it was a steal, so the hunt was on for the head.
As usual, I got distracted, and came across this little beauty - a Sovtek Mig 50- and it was just down the road in Muswell Hill. It's from the early 90's and is the Moscow take on the Fender Bassman circuit rather than Jim's Ealing take on the same basic circuit. I had heard rumour of these things, and there have been various attempts to re-create/reissue them - the story is, that it has this big but punchy dynamic at the low end, mainly due to the output transformer having the right damping factor. It was a sound that those people with pointy 8 string guitars lust after. So I duly turned up and met this Russian kid (who had a room full of 8 string pointy guitars funnily enough) and he had bought it over with him when he moved here, but the clutch had gone on his car and he needed the money so it had to go. It wasn't perfect, it had this interesting effect where it would suddenly go flat out regardless of where the controls were set - sounded amazing but perhaps a little too random an effect even for me, so took it off to Kevin down the road to look at, having first left it in the boot of the car for a week to quarantine with all this virus stuff around, before handing it over and it was sorted.
Now what would I possibly want with an amplifier that was great with 8 string pointy guitars since that is not quite my thing? Simple - a while back I picked up this Danelectro DC59 six string - it was left handed but right hand strung, It had my name on it, but I found it rather too jangly (hence my hum-bucker mod on the double Neck in the previous post). So after a bit of experimentation it ended up in a low C open tuning with big fat strings on it, and all of a sudden this amazing sound came out of it. Now when I plugged it into the Sovtek with that Marshall 4x12, it was like Kashmir here we come.