The Marshall Amplification story began on July 7, 1962 when Jim Marshall and Son, a music store selling a wide variety of musical instruments, opened in London. In September of the same year, they started carrying the Jim Marshall designed amplifier that would be referred to as Number One. If you’ve never heard of Marshall amps, you probably don’t live on Earth. While not quite loud enough to reach another planet by itself, radio waves have carried the sound of Marshall since the early 60s. Terms like “Marshall Stack” and sayings like “The amp that goes up to 11” have crept into casual vocabulary. Marshall is very nearly a synonym for loud, but they are so much more. Marshall amps have character, previously unheard of. You could simply say that Marshall amps changed the sound of guitar music. A greater understanding is to say that Marshall amps forever changed the way people play the electric guitar.
Jim Marshall was a teacher, a band leader and a shop owner who was also entrenched in London’s music scene. That gave Jim a greater perspective of what musicians wanted. Unable to keep up with the demand for larger, louder American guitar amps in his busy London shop, Marshall became well aware of the need for a domestically made amp. He set out to build his own brand that could compete or surpass the popular, louder, American (and domestic) amps.
Marshall got some help dissecting an older USA made amplifier, with help from his shop’s repairman and a small group of electronics’ specialists. The result reflected what was missing from the locally available British and American brands. The early Marshall amps owe as much to the designers, locally available components, and player input, as they do to any reverse engineered circuit. Marshall would develop a unique sound all of its own. A list of London’s top players like Pete Townshend (The Who) and Eric Clapton filled Marshalls early order ledgers. The bright top end and bold mid-range, coupled with a nasty disposition for grit, defines the Marshall sound.
As relevant today as back in the early 60s, with an artist roster to prove it, today’s Marshall is Rock and Roll personified. Though still primarily known for their tube amps, Marshall has gone on to develop lines of solid state and digital amplifiers that are being used by amateurs, hobbyists, and professional musicians. Marshall also offers a wide range of cabs designed specifically for each series of heads and combos.
Studio Series: Marshall’s Studio Series is for the lover of the classic Marshall sound, faithfully reborn in smaller 20-watt packages. Great for turning all the way up in the home or studio, guitarists can now achieve those sought after 60s, 70s, and 80s Marshall tones without sacrificing their ears or roofs. All models feature a power reduction switch, dropping from 20 watts to 5 watts. The Studio Series consists of three different lines, each based on a different classic Marshall amp. Studio Classic is based on the JCM800 2203, Studio Vintage is based on the JMP 1959SLP, and Studio Jubilee is based on the Silver Jubilee.
Origin Series: The Origin range of amps are exactly as the name implies; not a re-issue, but a return to classic era Marshall single channel simplicity, without sacrificing modern versatility. Features include power reduction technology, a footswitch-controlled FX loop, gain boost, and Tone tilt for extra top end brightness. The Origin Series covers studio to stage, featuring combos and heads that range from 5 watts to 50 watts.
DSL Series: Time tested and player loved, the Dual Super Lead is Marshall’s longest running, continually available model. The ‘Bedroom to Studio’ 1-watt DSL1, available as a combo or head, 5-watt DSL5 combo, and 20-watt DSL20, available as a combo or head, each feature Reverb, and variable output power that preserves full tonal response. All models have two channels, each with two modes: Classic Clean/Crunch and Ultra Gain 1 and 2. Heavy hitter models like DSL40 combo and 100-watt DSL100 head have an added, foot-switchable 2nd master volume to help custom tailor your live performance volume.
JVM Series: The JVM series is for the player who wants maximum sonic maneuverability in an old school Marshall all tube package. Each two-channel version of the JVM series features two independent channels with 3 modes of control over each, and additional features such as a fully mixable FX loop, Midi compatibility, Reverb, secondary master volume, and programmable foot switch. For those who want it all and some more, the JVM410H head, and JVM410C combo, offer all of the above, and more, with an unbelievable 12 modes spanning 4 independent channels.
Vintage Series: Got a taste for one particular era of classic Marshall? Of course you do! Classic Marshall walks hand in hand with classic Rock. Dial in Eric Clapton’s ‘Beano’ tone with the 1962 Bluesbreaker, early The Who/Pete Townsend tones with the JTM45, or get ‘Back in Black’ with ‘Plexi’ panel 1987x and capture the raw sounds of Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC. That top hat you forgot to return with your Tux rental would go great with the 2555X Silver Jubilee for that Slash vibe. The JCM800 2203 is the Amp that ate the 80’s, and the JCM900 4100 channel switching dual reverb continued to dominate hi-gain Rock through the 90’s. The Marshall you always wanted is back.
Handwired Reissue Series: 1974x and 1959HW ‘PLEXI’
For the purest Marshall lover, the hand wired series is pure vintage Marshall. Labor intensive point to point hand wiring, non-magnetic aluminum chassis, and tube rectified. Choose the rare, world loved clubster 1974X 18-watt combo, or 100-watt, non-master volume wrecking ball that is the 1959HW Plexi head.
AS Series: Marshall’s acoustic series is a breed apart from their vaunted electric guitar amps. Designed with a balanced, full-range voice, allowing the natural properties of your acoustic guitar, voice, violin, or any acoustic instrument, to ring true. Feedback suppressing technology, dedicated 1/4" input channel, and an XLR mic input are common to both models. Use the RCA inputs to play recorded music between sets. The 50-watt AS50D is great for solo or duo acts in medium sized venues. Features include onboard Reverb and Chorus, 1x8 speaker and tweeter. For larger venues and more flexibility, the 100-watt AD100D features 2x8 speakers, two tweeters and 2 XLR mic inputs. The AS100D also features a full suite of Digital FX, as well as a volume controllable effects loop.
CODE Series:Marshall wrote the book on innovative guitar amps, way back in 1962. That spirit is alive today in the Digital Code series. MST (Marshall Soft tube) software provides accurate tube tone, in near endless combinations. The Code series amps have standard amp knobs for quick control. Edit 8 preamp, 4 power amp, and 8 speaker cab sims, and 24 FX’s (up to 5 at once) right out of the box. Use the Gateway app and MyMarshall website to download, share, and tweak up to 100 preset tones with your computer or smartphone. The CODE Series ranges from a 25-watt combo all the way up to a 100-watt head. CODE series footswitches are available separately.
Solid State Amps
MG GOLD Series: For players who like a simple, old School amp design, without sacrificing modern flexibility, MG Gold is simple, versatile and rugged. The MG-GOLD line utilizes solid-state technology, making it a great line of amps to introduce beginner or intermediate guitarists to the Marshall sound. The range starts off with a 10-watt combo, perfect for practice, and goes all the way up to a 100-watt stack for the stage. All MG Gold series amps feature a headphone out for silent practice.
Today’s Marshall artists are as varied as today’s Marshall amps. Just a few highlights from today’s endorsers, and historic users:
John 5, Pete Steinkopf (Bouncing Souls), Rob Gueringer (Lil Wayne, Eminem), Slash, Paul Weller (The JAM), Dave Mustaine, Phil Campbell and Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead), Joe Bonamassa, J Mascis, Angus and Malcom Young, Eric Clapton, Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction), Jimi Hendrix, Mike Scott (Justin Timberlake), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Pete Townshend (The Who), Johnny A, Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Yngwie Malmsteen, Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Jaren Johnson (Cadillac Three), James Lynch (Dropkick Murphys), and a list of thousands more.
Marshall makes amps, period. Well…ok, they do make some fine pedals, and a mini fridge. Marshall is an industry leader today, as it was in in the budding days of Rock and Roll. Marshall’s range covers ultra-modern tube and digital amps, reissue favorites from every era, solid state/digital Hybrids and specially voiced acoustic guitar amps. Marshall makes an amp (or two) that is perfect for you.