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Is the Roland Jazz Chorus the Best Reggae Guitar Amp?  

First let me give you the answer to that question. Yes, the Roland Jazz Chorus is the best amp for reggae. Every reggae musician and I mean every reggae musician that I know of is familiar with or have used the Roland Jazz Chorus. In this article, I will tell you why the Roland Jazz Chorus is the best reggae amp. Read on.Roland Jazz Chorus

The Roland Jazz Chorus although a guitar amp, has been used at one time or another for bass, keyboard and even vocals. You can get away with using the amp for anything because it gives a very flat response thus, unlikely to colour your tone. This means that your playing and tone has to be very good, since what goes in is what comes out.

Some of the reggae musicians who have used the Roland Jazz Chorus at one time or other includes Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Al Anderson, Junior Marvin, Ernest Ranglin, Earl Chinna Smith, Cat Core, Bradley Nowell, Robert Angus and many, many others. In fact some of them still use it to this day.

So why is the Roland Jazz chorus so popular among reggae musicians when some guitarists believe it to be a sterile amp? There are two main reasons. One, it is a very reliable amp and does not need servicing regularly. For this reason, sound engineers like them; hence they make up the backline at most reggae concerts, thus becoming industry standard.

Secondly, Jamaica is the birth place and spiritual home of reggae music and as such many still see Jamaica as the standard bearer. And guess what? Jamaicans love their JC 120. The Roland Jazz Chorus provides them with a professional sound at a reasonably affordable price. Furthermore, they can take a bettering and does not require changing tubes or valves. This matters a lot to Jamaicans.

Also, reggae musicians and Jamaican reggae guitarists in particular like their multi-effect units and the JC 120 provides a fantastic platform for these multi-effect units to shine. What it really comes down to in the end though is money and a Roland JC 120 with say a Boss Me 70 (now 80), GT 100, Line 6 Pod, Digitech RP or one of the Zoom G series are very good value for money.

I should also point out that the chorus and the reverb on the Roland JC 120 have a very professional sound that reggae musicians like. The distortion sound on the amp though is not that good and at best should be avoided, hence the use of the multi-effect units.  Some people say the Peavey Stereo Chorus is better.  But, we are getting ahead of ourselves, more on this in the future.

Roland JC 120 Amp Settings

The amp can be used two ways. One way reggae musicians use the amp is to put everything at twelve o’clock and use the amp simulation on their multi-effects unit to drive the amp. The second way they use it is to use their multi-effects unit just for effects and modulation and use the JC built in equalizer to shape their sound.

Try the following amp settings if you own a Roland Jazz Chorus.

Volume: 5 (this could be too loud so adjust to taste)

Treble: 6

Middle: 5

Bass: 3 (I generally have my bass on zero most of the time but adjust yours to taste):

Reverb: 3

A touch of chorus won't do any harm, it gives more body to the sound in my opinion.

I forgot to mention that this amp is loud as hell so you may want to check out its young siblings if it’s too much for you. They include the JC 90, JC 77 and the JC 55 I believe. I did try the Roland Cube 60 a few years ago and it was very good for reggae and it has the JC clean setting built in. Jazz guitarist Cameron Pierre told me they are good for jazz and if it is good for jazz it is good for reggae. I don’t believe they are made by Roland anymore; they have been replaced by the Cube 80.

Well that’s it folks, do leave a comment below. Blessings Rohan!  Click for more on the Roland JC 120 and others

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