In the history of guitar amps, one of several names stand out as the pinnacle of pure guitar tone. Today, I’m going to talk about Marshall; in particular, the 50 watt ‘Plexi’ head.
Jim Marshall was a drummer by trade, playing casuals, weddings, holiday parties, etc.
He opened a drum shop in 1960, in Hanwell, West London to cater to his many students. At this time, he started to import guitars and amps. The amp to import was Fender; the problem was, they were hard to get and expensive to import. His shop was starting to be a hangout for not only all things drums, but all things guitar. Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and one Jimi Hendrix all used to frequent his shop. Their main complaint about the amps they were playing was that they didn’t have enough volume to compete on larger stages.
So with the help of Ken Bran and Dudley Craven, Marshall Amps were born. They were produced close to the store, but not in it, as there simply was not enough room. The first one made took off like a rocket. Orders quickly came in, and Marshall was officially ‘in business’. The first ones were the JTM45 heads, then the Bluesbreaker 2×12 combo, then the Superlead Plexi’s(they were called plexi because of the plexiglass panel on the front of the amp). They went on to make musical history.
As time passed, Marshall became a bigger company, moving all of it’s manufacturing to Bletchley, England. They also started to produce a wider variety of amp heads and combos, eventually moving into solid-state territory, while still making tube amps.
In the early 1990’s, they decided to re-visit their original iconic amp heads and combos; the JTM45, the Bluesbreaker 2×12, the 1959 and the 1987x.
Of all the Marshalls I’ve played, the 1987x is my favorite. It is an amp that is truly a classic in every sense of the word. It has 4 inputs, 2 different channels(bright and normal) and no master volume. Basically, turn it up and it gets louder. And does it get loud!! Through a 2×12 cabinet, this is an amp that no one who plays it will ever be or feel ‘under-amped’. It takes pedals marvelously well, and the main difference between the original and the re-issue is that the latter has a transparent FX loop.
Marshall has taken great care to insure that they get the re-issues as close as possible to the originals. To that end, they produce the aforementioned Re-issue series, and beyond that, the Hand-wired series.
The Re-issue has one PCB, and the rest of it is hand-wired. The Hand-wired series is completely hand-wired on a turret board, so there is no PCB.
Whichever one a potential client gets, they can be assured of a long-standing history of one of the finest all-tube amps ever made.
N Stuff Music has been an authorized Marshall dealer for many years, and we are proud to represent this iconic British company.
For more info, just log onto www.nstuffmusic.com or call 412.828.1003