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MARSHALL AMPLIFIERS

In September 1962, the very first Marshall amplifier, affectionately named 'number one', was created after a series of prototypes. 'Number one' was the forerunner of the legendary JTM45.

Placed in the window of Jim's shop, twenty three orders were taken on the very first day. The rest, as they say, is history.

'Number One' today resides under glass in the Marshall museum.

In 1965 The Who were performing in increasingly larger venues and their Vox amplifiers and speakers were simply not loud enough. Pete Townshend and John Entwhistle of The Who wanted more volume – to be loud enough to make sure they had their audience’s undivided attention. 

Pete discussed the problem of not being able to get the volume he was looking for with his friend and ally Jim Marshall, and Jim set to work with his small team of engineers on solving the problem. Jim and his team’s solution was to created the first 100 Watt Marshall amplifier, the Super 100 head, and the colossal Marshall 8 x 12” speaker cabinet. 

The 8 x 12”, while devastatingly effective, proved too cumbersome to transport around easily. So Jim and Pete came up with a practical solution - stack two 4 x 12" cabs together. And so the Marshall stack was born.

Over the past half century the Marshall stack has played a significant role in defining the sound of rock music, with the image of a wall of Marshall stacks onstage being one of the most enduring in rock history. 

 

While the nickname 'Plexi' describes all plexiglass paneled Marshall amplifiers built between late 1965 and July 1969 it is mostly associated with one particular amplifier that changed rock music forever: the 1959 Super Lead.

Evolving from the Super 100 head favoured by The Who, the 1959 became the amplifier of choice for Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and many more to follow. Also, the popularity of the 'Plexi' was aided by the fact that PA systems were still in their infancy - and groups needed louder amps to fill bigger venues.