One of Marshall Electronics’ earliest innovations was the world’s first amplifier stack, now known as “the Marshall Stack.” In 2005, the company will celebrate the 40th anniversary of this icon.
In 1960, company founder Jim Marshall opened his first music shop in West London. Initially stocking just drums, Marshall eventually expanded into selling guitars and amplifiers, and then started building speaker cabinets. By listening to guitarists who frequented his shop, he realized that they required a sound that wasn’t on the market at the time, so he and his team of electronics experts started searching for that elusive sound. In September of 1962, the first Marshall amp was built; the first angled-front 4×12-inch cabinet followed soon afterward.
Pete Townshend of The Who requested a louder amplifier in 1965, so Marshall had his team begin work on a 100-watt head: “We were so proud of those first 100-watt amps,” Marshall says. “Then Pete came in again and said he wanted me to build an 8×12 cabinet to go with his new heads—a single cabinet with eight speakers! I told him it would be ridiculously heavy to transport and Pete said, ‘That’s what I have roadies for.’” When delivered, the Marshall 8x12s were paired with the 100W heads to create a massive backline. Marshall continues, “Pete came back a few weeks later and said, ‘You were right, Jim.’ So I ended up doing what I originally wanted, which was the straight-fronted cabinet with the angled one sitting on top, and that’s how the stack was born.”
Forty years after the introduction of the original stack, Marshall Amplification continues to dominate stages around the world as the amplifier of choice for guitarists such as Zakk Wylde, Slash, Kerry King, Dave Navarro, Sean Martin, John 5 and Allison Robertson, to name a few. Marshall Stacks have been featured in countless music videos, television commercials and movies such as Spinal Tap, Woodstock Live, Rock Star, School of Rock, Almost Famous and others.
(References excerpted from Marshall company brochures and the books The History of Marshall by Mike Doyle and Jim Marshall: The Father of Loud by Rich Maloof.)
For more information, please go to www.marshallamps.com.