Marshall Amplification

The British company Marshall Amplification is one of the leading manufacturers of guitar amplifiers. However, the company also manufactures loudspeakers, bass amp, guitar effects devices and other guitar- and bass -specific products.


The founder of the company was Jim Marshall, who had opened in 1960 his first drum shop in Hanwell, London, and also built speakers for musical instruments in his garage. Since he also gave lessons, brought many of their drummer guitarists and bassists with, and so Jim soon extended its range to include bass and guitar amps. Following discussions with its customers, who were in search of another, not as "clean " sound ( Townshend, Brian Poole and Jim Sullivan ), built his employee Ken Bran from 1962, the first Marshall tube amplifier. As a basis they chose the electric circuit of ( 5F6A ) Fender Bassman, which brought sound characteristics that came to their ideas the next.

This resulted in the same year, the Marshall Plexi ( JTM45 ). In 1964, the legendary " Bluesbreaker " combo amplifier followed (type 1962), which helped the typical Marshall sound to break through for the first time. This amplifier it, which was used by Eric Clapton on the later legendary in the blues scene John Mayall album " Bluesbreakers " 1966 was. When looking for more volume and performance on the suggestion of some musician was also the first 100 - watt head with the name " JTM 45/100 ". Later, another 100 -watt versions followed the amplifier JTM 100 MK V and JMP in 1959 and established it as still accepted standard for stage-ready amplifier power.

In collaboration with Pete Townshend, guitarist of the band The Who, the famous "Marshall Stack" was developed. First 8 × were for Townshend made ​​12 " boxes. However, they were much too unwieldy for the roadies. Jim Marshall then proposed to accommodate the speakers in two enclosures, which can be stacked. Such a Marshall or full-stack is made ​​since built two 4 × 12 " speaker cabinets and a amplifier head. A single 4 × 12 " box with amplifier head is called analogy as" half-stack ".

In 1976, a Marshall, the "MK II Master-Series ", which probably most popular model - the " 2203 " amp head - also in 1980 published " JCM -800" series was built on almost unchanged.

The history of Marshall is by many guitarists such as Stevie Salas, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Angus Young ( AC / DC), Jeff Beck, Gary Moore, Pete Townshend, Lemmy Kilmister ( Motörhead ) Slash (ex - Guns N 'Roses, Velvet Revolver ), Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kerry King ( Slayer ), Zakk Wylde ( Black Label Society ), Bryan Adams, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers ( Iron Maiden all 3 ), John Frusciante (ex -Red Hot Chili Peppers ) and many others accompanied.

The classic appliances from the 1960s had a green / resp. blue-black colored cover with gold-colored trim and golden corporate logo. The boxes, such as the " 1960TV " were covered with a gray fabric. Since the mid- 1970s Marshall all models are finished in black and white design with brass control panels and fitted with a white company logo on to some special designs.

In 1998, the " JCM -2000 " series on the market, consisting of various tube amps that offer besides the typical " Marshall brown sound " also fendertypische clean sounds and modern nu-metal sounds. The latest member of the Marshall family is the new " JVM " (Jim and Victoria Marshall), which offers many modern features like MIDI and 4 channels.

For 25.Firmenjubiläum In 1987, the Silverjubilee series, with the tops 25/50 and 25/53 and Combo 25/54.

Marshall sound

The task of a guitar amp, it is first, just to enhance the natural sound of the instrument. The sound of the guitar is perceived at a linearly acting gain than "pure" ( "clean "). Since there are a wide variety of designs and alternatives to electric guitars and pickups, these electrically different characteristics. Many amplifiers and this had separate entrances with different sensitivities (Hi for guitars with low output voltage and Lo for guitars with higher output ).

Is the output of the guitar is now higher than was provided in the electric dimensioning of the amplifier, or using the "wrong" input, the amplifier will begin to " over steer". This resulting non - linear distortions that alter the natural sound with the degree of distortion in increasing strength. For details, see Non-linear distortion. Some musicians who also belonged to the audience from Jim Marshall's shop, felt this more "aggressive " sound as beneficial to their music.

Although this effect can be achieved with a suitable input power to each amplifier in principle, it was Marshall who first systematically grappled in the early 1960s with the targeted production of this effect and the " design " of distortion in its products. Here, particular emphasis was placed on research on the formation and characteristics of distortion at different points in the signal chain. The override of the precursor is called Distortion, overriding the output stage is named as overdrive. Both together gives the overall phonetic impression of distortion.

Surprisingly, these properties of the Marshall products were not initially copied by other manufacturers of guitar amplifiers. The listening habits of the general public had probably not yet accustomed to this point on, this distortion and the aggressive sound of Pete Townshend or Jimi Hendrix. Precisely for this reason but were musicians who in the late 1960s marshall products began, " over harder" even with their audience. Especially European musicians and bands that were inspired by this type of music (eg Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest ), helped with since the late 1960s to make the " Marshall sound " popular.

Since it is desirable for the typical Marshall sound to achieve a distortion both in the precursor and in the final stage, it was common until the mid- 1970s, playing the amplifier at maximum volume. Following a suggestion from Eddie Van Halen, but a second volume controls ( master volume ) was added to the end of the preliminary stage that limits the audio signal in its strength before it reaches the final stage. Thus, the precursor could now be brought as before by turning up the volume knob to the desired distortion, but the effective amplifier power (volume) of the power amplifier with the new master volume can be regulated separately. Here, of course, was abandoned to the characteristic power amp distortion, which is still achieved at full output of the amplifier. From this idea, the Marshall "MK II Masters Series " amplifier series was begun in 1976. This modification was so successful that it is now found in all -tube guitar amplifiers from a certain class.


Marshall is now the world's leading manufacturer of guitar amplifiers. The products are developed and manufactured in the English Bletchley by a team of technicians and musicians. Marshall also maintains also manufacturing facilities in China and South Korea, primarily for entry-level models of the "MG " series. Marshall draws its under specific manufactured and selected electron tubes with " Marshall " logo of the New Sensor Corporation. Jim Marshall's daughter Victoria Marshall is the Managing Director of the company, his son Terry active saxophonist. For interested visitors who register in advance will be guided tours of the production, the in-house sample and concert hall, as well as carried out by a small museum with exhibits from the history of the company. Especially for professionals, but also all other holders of Marshall products There is a separate Customer Support Center, which receives equipment for repair, fault diagnoses, ( "while you wait " ) and also provides replacements.

About Jim Marshall, his company and his life several books have been written, including The History of Marshall by Michael Doyle and The Father of Loud ( German title: " pioneer of rock sounds " ) now by Rich Maloof. Dr. Jim Marshall, OBE, born in 1923, died on April 5, 2012.


  • The trade name used from 1981 " JCM 800 " for the amplifier type 2203 came from the number plate of Jim Marshall's car.
  • Nigel Tufnel, the guitarist of the fictitious British rock band Spinal Tap, was in the film This is Spinal Tap modify his Marshalls so that its knob to "11 " had a scale of "0 " instead of the usual maximum of "10" - with on the grounds that 11 was "one louder " ("one louder ").
  • Marshall brought in the JCM 900 Hi -gain series its own "Gain" knob to the " 0 " to "20 " had even a scale of. In addition, Marshall hired the performer of Nigel Tufnel, to advertise for this amplifier. Nine ... that's louder innit!