Thread: Marshall Amps
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Old 25th May 2020, 12:19 pm   #3
stevehertz's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 5,400
Default Re: Marshall Amps

I have been playing guitar for over 50 years and during that time have owned and/or played a great many valve amps including high cost, esoteric models by Mesa Boogie, Hughes & Kettner, Fender and so on. In fact I'm led to believe that I was the first non-celebrity owner of a Boogie amp back in '78. Given all that, my favourite amp is a Marshall. I love the Marshall sound and I just wanted to make that clear. I've also read a GREAT deal about Marshall amps and I have been invited to Marshal by their chief designer (who became a personal friend) to try out amps on the famous Marshall stage. Saying that, I feel that a lot of what is written about 'the Marshall sound' is often sparse with the truth.

Basically, Ken Bran and Jim Marshall got hold of a Fender Bassman model 5F6-A amp and - as much as they could given UK parts availability - copied it. That much is well documented too. On that issue of components and component availability, and reading what Jim and Ken both said about them, it's fairly certain that nothing in the first Marshalls was chosen for any other reason than availability and what could be assembled totally by hand in a tiny workroom in the back of a music shop. They are not factory-built amps. So, the amps did sound different from the Fender ones they copied for that reason. The really big difference is the OT, and its ratios - designed for driving a 16-ohm load not 2-ohm. I suspect this was by accident (what was available) rather than design, because the values of the negative feedback resistors are the same, which suggests to me that Marshall (ie Ken Bran, the engineer) were not aware this would make a difference, since otherwise you would think that having nearly three times the negative feedback would be considered a problem... but the result is a great-sounding amp which is somewhat different from the Bassman, of course. And the valves, speakers and cabinet contribute to that too.

To say that the 'Marshall sound' was created by Dudley Craven at home, in his garden shed to me is more than a little misleading. Like I say, I love the Marshall sound, however it was created.

Note: some of the above wording I have lifted from other peoples' quotes on the internet but with which I align 100%.
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