Archive for Pete Townshend


Posted in History: Marshall Amplifiers with tags , , , , on April 10, 2008 by ivancheung

Above: The front and bottom of the sixth prototype (aka #1) of the first Marshall amplifier (the JTM-45)

Pete Townshend (The Who) among other guitarists told Jim Marshall that the problem with the other amplifiers on the market, was that they were too clean. The type of music these new British bands were playing required a the sound to be heavier, grittier, louder, and more aggressive.
Jim Marshall knew straight away that they were going to build the world’s first Rock amplifier.

Jim Marshall would recruit Dudley Craven to oversee the project as the chief designing engineer; (into a workforce consisting of Jim Marshall who would make the chassis, Ken Bran who would select and install the components, and Ken & Fred Gallagher who would help out with all other aspects). 
Marshall realised they didn’t need to reinvent the wheel as there was already an amplifier that was sonically close to Townshend’s requirements – The Fender Bassman.
Fender were a company who felt that a good guitar amplifier was one that sounded clean and did not distort. The Bassman did not embody this characteristic as it was a amplifier for bass guitars, but found popularity amongst guitarists, hence the reason why it was the exception to Fender’s line.
Marshall realised that all they had to do was modify the Bassman and make it’s distorted characteristic more prominent.
Although Marshall was not the engineer on the amplifier, he was the boss and he knew what was needed. He knew that Townshend did not simply want a amplifier that sounded distorted and gritty; What was needed was an amplifier whose distortion and grit was filled with harmonics and sounded musical. This is important as today, many consider great distortion to be valve driven. Marshall was and are valve kings in the amplifier market.

Marshall would build six prototypes until they found the right one. Reportedly it was Townshend who tested the sixth and remarked “That’s it! That’s going to be the Marshall sound from now on!”.
On September 1962, The JTM-45 was born. Today the sixth prototype (nicknamed #1) is on display at the Marshall HQ.

Above: The production JTM-45. It sits on top of a speaker cabinet which houses four 12″ speakers –  a standard for Marshall.

For those interested in Jim Marshall and the company he created, I highly recommend you buy:
Maloof, R. (2004) “Jim Marshall: The Father Of Loud”, San Francisco: Backbeat Books.


Marshall Who?

Posted in NPD: Guitar Amplifiers with tags , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2008 by ivancheung

Below are lists of words, names, and quotes which were obtained through Marshall’s website, catalogues, and consumer perceptions. I feel that they can tell us who Marshall are…

Top 10 Keywords

  • Loud 
    This applies to the literal meaning of the word and the attitude it has created. Jim Marshall is the father of loud!
  • Rock n Roll  
    Although Rock n Roll refers to the a musical genre from the 50s, here it simply means the lifestyle of Rock; Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll. Marshall can be seen on stage with some of the heaviest and wildest bands.
  • Power
    This term goes together with Loud 
  • 60s and 70s
    The height of guitar music, a style Marshall made possible.
  • 80s
    The new breed of Rock. Heavier yet reminiscent of the styles of the previous decades.
  • Valve
    The valve kings.
  • British
    Marshall were at ground zero during the beat boom and British Invasion. Although their products are sold worldwide, their HQ and main factory remains in the UK. The Marshall sound will forever be British.
  • Classic
    The Marshall look is familiar to most. The script logo, the black stack amps. Marshall created a look in the beginning which has rarely changed.
  • Legendary
    Marshall will go down in history as the amplifier behind other legendary guitarists such as Hendrix.
  • Handcrafted
    Marshall is very proud that the majority of their models are handcrafted by a team of experts. 

Top 10 Players Who Played Marshall
(this is a list of 10 of the most important players I think are relevant to the image/identity of Marshall. The list may change depending on others opinions)

  • Pete Townshend (The Who)
  • Jimi Hendrix (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
  • Eric Clapton (The Yardbirds, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream)
  • Jimmy Page ( The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin)
  • Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) 
  • Angus Young (AC/DC)
  • Joe Perry (Aerosmith)
  • Kerry King (Slayer)
  • Slash (Guns n Roses, Velvet Revolver)
  • Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society

Famous Quotes

  • Kerry King
    “If I stand in front of my rig, if my nuts ain’t shaking then I ain’t satisfied… and the only stuff that can do that is my Marshalls.” 
  • Zakk Wylde
    “What does a Marshall sound like – strength, warmth, commitment, beauty and destruction… all wrapped up in a giant f**king wrecking ball.” 
  • Billy F. Gibbons
    “The fine Marshall line remains heavy as lead… solid as steel. The best.” 
  • Lemmy
    “Old Marshall’s never die – just blow your f**king head off!” 
  • Slash
    “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I won’t consider trying anything else – something that consistent you just don’t f**k with.”