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Marshall amps

7/3/2011 topical:Knob knowledge resource:www.knob.cc editor:Knob

Marshall amps If not for the Marshall Speakers, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the late 1960s, would not have done that well, if the Cream and Hendrix had not been so great, heavy metals might not have been born. If there were no heavy metal music in this world, there would not be a “Guitar World&...

If not for the Marshall Speakers, Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience in the late 1960s, would not have done that well, if the Cream and Hendrix had not been so great, heavy metals might not have been born. If there were no heavy metal music in this world, there would not be a “Guitar World” magazine. So those of you readers may now be learning to play the clarinet, or in efforts to train to become a sports star. Similarly, if there were no Marshall speakers, Marshall Knobs would no longer exist.

So every one of us owe this very enthusiastic London gentleman a big favor, his name is Jim Marshall. Marshall Speakers are the greatest monument of the development of rock music, at the same time which affected the most influential great guitarist in rock history, they are: Pete Townsend, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Mick Ralphs, Angus Young, Billy Gibbons, Eddie Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, Slash, Dave Navarro and Tom Morello, here lists only part of the people.  This year (2002), Marshall Amplification Company has been established for 40 years. It is a good time for us to do a comprehensive review of the history of Marshall.

As a now 79-year-old, Jim Marshall, still, as always, goes to the company headquarters in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom to participate in all relevant operation every day. "I still get up at 6:00 in the morning, I have always been the first to be in the company, I do not like to waste time."

 Jim Marshall entered the entertainment industry at 13 years old; he worked as a tap dancer, a chorus member, a drummer, a bandleader and beat drums guidance. In 1960, he opened his first store specializing in selling drums by Uxbridge Street in Hanwell. Due to the encouragement and request from those young rock musicians who often visited the store, Marshall started the business of the other instruments, including electric guitars, amplifiers and speakers. One of these musicians was a guitarist, his name was Pete Townsend. In the next few years, he and his band The Who got so popular in Britain. But in 1960, Marshall only knew that the young man was one of his old friends, Cliff Townsend's son who played the saxophone.

Marshall recalled the young Pete and his friends were always complaining. "Pete always said, 'the musical instrument shop in the west of London, which people always look down on us, because we were playing rock and roll. Why are you not selling guitars and speakers in your store?' I said, "I only play drums, I can not understand the guitar and speakers, but I can try.  'I tried’, since this "test" for a month, I have been successful so far. "
A lot of big bands of musicians in that era all had great prejudice to rock and roll. But Marshall didn’t care since the very beginning. "Mick Waller (later cooperated with Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart ) was the earliest students who started to learn the drums from me, he asked me to teach him how to play rock drums." "And I told him, 'but actually it is easy, because the rhythm is all four points, like Latin music notes, but the stress is in different places. However, trust me, this popular thing will be forgotten by people in a few months." How confused I was at that time ?"

Marshall entered the field of music instruments in a very appropriate time. The Beatles’ first album 1963 years opened the chapter of the British rock band to conquer America and the world of pop music. The whole world was watching the U.K. But most musical instruments British musicians used were made in the United States. Marshall’s store sold the best two instruments which were Gretsch Country Gentleman (George Harrison’s favourite piano) and Fender Tremoulx speaker almost completely made in the U.S.

However, the situation would change immediately. In 1962, Jim Marshall hired a repairman-Ken Bran; he used to be a member in the Peppy & the New York Twisters of the Walking London Band. The two men often exchanged ideas with the musicians who frequently came to the store, including Pete Townsend, Big Jim Sullivan, a studio staff and members from these popular bands, Brian Poole and the Tremoloes. "They came to see me in my shop, said the speakers they bought in other places were not suitable for them to play the music." So Marshall decided to try to produce their own tailor-made rock speakers. From a purely economic perspective, this idea was very practical, because the speaks made in the UK could be sold at cheaper prices in the U.K than those imported from the U.S.

Jim Marshall had repaired the circuitry of the fighters in World War 2, but he never had any experience about audio equipments. "Ken Bran and I talked about that, and then he said 'My knowledge of technology isn't enough to make a speaker from nothing. But I know there is a very bright child of 18 from EMI, named Dudley Craven.' I said, 'bring him to see me, I will talk with him." And then I asked the young man, "would you like to join our team and make the first rock music speaker?" he said,' I would like to, but right now I am working for EMI. "I asked him," how much do you make? "He answered," Four pounds a week. 'I said,' How about if I pay you 15 pounds a week, like Ken? 'he agreed cheerfully. Maybe it sounds funny, but 15 pounds was a lot of money at that time."

Bran and Craven had completed the embryo of the first Marshall speaker by September 1962. That was an imitation of Fender Bassman 5F6A 35-watt speakers. Although the differences of the bias of some of the circuits and damper and other parts because of choice of electrical components and the lack of restrictions at that time. Marshall still needed to produce a Cab for it. Marshall had made horn speakers before in the band; he began to do it in the car garage at home. He was going to add two separate 12 inches horns based on Bran and Craven’s design.
"But the loudspeaker quickly put the horn to burst, then the speaker could only take 25 watts, so I said, 'I will try with four speakers.' But I needed it to do as small as possible. Because at that time, all the transportation were little trucks. I covered a bard board in the back of the horn box, for I knew that would sound better."

 "So just an ordinary consideration evolved into 4 X12 speaker boxes we are now familiar with, destined to be the classic design of the rock sound boxes." But when I put the amplifier on the speaker box, it didn’t look good, it was just too ordinary. So I made the front the speaker box with the appearance of slant angle."

Enclosed speaker back covers proved a tighter sound quality compared with the open ones made before. Moreover, the circuit Bran and Craven made also produced a unique sound. The combination produced very different tone from Fender Bassman’s, which was the first frame of reference speakers Marshall team designed. A new sound was born. Marshall's first sound box was originally called MARK II but the final name was JTM45 which was on behalf of Jim and Terry Marshall. Terry was Jim's son, who played SAX in a band in London, also was an assistant at the shop. Needless to say, his band's equipment was always the best.

There were many other London bands thanking Marshall. Until the end of 1962, JTM45 had started production and the sales volume was very good. Marshall was always constantly improving and updating his products. By 1964, Marshall began to use KT66 vacuum tubes, increased the wattage of the speakers from 35 to 45.

1965 was very important to Marshall. When it came to business, Jim and a British company Rose-Morris signed a 15 year agent sales contract. The contract provided the original capital for his business, but at a price. On the contrary, Marshall believed that the contract he signed with Rose-Morris contract was "the biggest mistake in his life. Rose-Morris didn’t know how to do business at all. For example, they increased my price by 55%, equivalent to squeeze our own products out directly on the world market, this situation lasted for a long time."
Rose-Morris contract also interrupted the sales network Marshall had established, including Jim’s old friend Johnny Jones, who sold Marshall’s speakers in the north of England. To compensate for his friend, Jim developed Park brand, which was basically Marshall’s speakers, but the trademark was Park (also Jones’s wife Margaret's maiden name). Such Jones could continue to sell Jim’s products and not against Rose-Morris contract. In later years, Marshall often used the Park brand to try some experimental products and those which Rose-Morris was not interested in. Marshall registrated different brands according to different needs of the business. There were Big M (on the German market), Kitchen-Marshall (provided to the northern England Kitchen instruments chain) and Narb (Ken Bran’s family name letters spelt upside down). Because these brands were rare and strange, the speakers on the collection market could always sell at high prices.

In November 1965, a quite popular but not that hot guitarist Eric Clapton offered a very important order for the establishment of the Marshall speakers. "Eric often came to his shop to practice. He said he hoped to have a COMBO type speaker box for him. He said it would be much easier for him to put it in his car truck. His request was easy to carry out: just a JTM45 charger plus two 12-inch speakers. The power of the speakers at that time had been improved. They were able to support 35 watts, so two 35 watts speakers could support JTM45."
Technically, the model number of the speaker box Marshall did for Clapton was 1962, the second generation. (Rose-Morris used a set of very misleading products series classification system with a simple set of figures, so the person and the year were misunderstood easily.) According to the common way to say it, this speaker box was Marshall Bluesbreaker combo, Clapton used it with the British blues pioneer John Mayall’s band. At the same time, Clapton used Marshall speaker boxes and his Gibson Les Paul made at the end of 50s, for Mayall’s single at the end of 1965 "I 'm Your Witchdoctor" (Telephone Blues). It is said that was in the recording studio for the first time in British history, the electric guitar was recorded in the volume of the live show. At the time, this required mikes to be quite far from speakers, and not like the past, being very close to the speakers to record. The other point of what made Mayall’s single so important was its producer was Jimmy Page, after that, he also used the method of seperating Marshall Speakers and mikes.

"I had a Les Paul before Eric," Page said. "But I had no Marshall at the time. When Eric put the two together, he’s sound was very fantastic. He really understood Bruce. Using Les Paul guitar and Marshall Speakers with the maximum volume was Eric’s idea."

In "Witchdog" single had been sent to tape after, producer Mike Vernon and engineer Gus Dudgeon soon recorded Clapton’s "Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton" guitar album in the legend of Mayall using the same method , the album came in early 1966, was generally called the Beanno "album (on the cover of the album, Clapton is reading a comic book called" Beanno "), the album was a very influential guitar album, and was also the first album to use the Marshall speakers. Mayall's 12-bar blues and Clapton filled with a combination of passion and puncture force guitar.

In a live performance, there was no band like The Who to extended The Marshall box brand image. The band then hoped to be the wildest, noisiest and make the most of the rock band. Guitarist Pete Townsend and bassist John Entwistle began to put the separate speaker boxes together on the stage, which looked like a nuclear warhead that was going to explode.

" I bought a lot of production in the first batch of Marshall speakers." Entwistle recalled, "I bought one, and then Pete would buy one. And I bought another one, and then Pete also followed to buy one more. And then I asked him, 'is the sound loud enough? Drat! I'll buy two!'"
Until then, the JTM45 had evolved to the 1987 model, Marshall also replaced the vacuum tube from KT66 to EL34, increased the wattage to 50 w! "KT66 is very successful vacuum tubes, but unfortunately too tough to get any. That’s why we use EL34 to replace it, and EL34 later also proved to be the better vacuum tube. In fact, many people who bought our speaker boxes with KT66  came to ask us to replace it with EL34, because the tone is better."

But Pete Townsend 's desire still wasn't met. In 1965, he offered Marshall the idea of making speakers of 100 watts. "I went to find Jim Marshall, put my 50 w speakers on the floor, and said,  'I want twice the volume of it,'" Townsend said, "like the very famous arms manufacturers Krupps. Jim Marshall's eyes turned bright, said," As long as there is a need, I surely provide what weapons he needs! 'And then what we knew was the 60s classic vertical Marshall speakers and super amplifiers."

Jim Marshall seemed extremely approachable when recalling this important period of rock history. "So powerful, we needed to consider the problem of overheating. However, after planning it carefully, we overcame this problem.” Townsend’s idea was to make new Marshall 100 watts speaker heads/amplifiers, also called model 1959 -and a huge 8 X12 speaker box. Jim Marshall failed persuading him after trying so hard that how infeasible the idea was. “First, when Pete asked me to make 8 square speaker boxes of 12 inch each. I told him, “it’s going to look incrediblely stupid; for the speakers will be too small on it. You should listen to me and let me do it. What you need is a front speaker of 4 X12 plus another beveled speaker of 4X12. But Pete didn’t agree with that, and said,” No, what I want is a big speaker box.” So in the end we still made a super big box of 8X12. I had a helper then who was a very strong young man. And I was also very strong at that time. When two of us carried that stupid thing from our shop to Pete’s truck, it almost killed us. I went to talk to Pete, “Your technicians will swear you to death for this.” But he said, “They got the money and have to do it.” However, less than two weeks later, he took it back and said,” He was right. I tried to carry it with my technicians, but it was impossible.” After that, he even wanted me to cut it into two 4 X12s. But I couldn’t do that. Because at that time, a speaker box wasn’t assembled with two separate parts, but glued by a whole big board with a strong adhesive. If you cut it into two parts, the speakers would fall off. Then I told him, “Give it to me, I will do it my way and you will be satisfied.” Then we gave him two speaker boxes of 4X12. So here came vertical speaker boxes, just because of Pete.


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