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Marshall Amplification began in 1962 in London England. It was here that I had a music shop and taught the drums. As you all know, music shops are not just a place where musicians try and buy gear but are also places where musicians go to chat and spend the time of day. In this respect the Marshall shop was no different from any other music shop. As drummers came to my shop, so came their guitarists. Their guitarists spoke to me about what guitars they wanted and the qualities they were looking for in a guitar amplifier. Qualities I hasten to add that they couldn't find elsewhere at that time. It was from such conversations that I embarked upon the amp manufacturing business and it is a journey that I am still on today and enjoy as much as ever.
Over the years I have seen many changes in the music world, a fact clearly reflected by the diversity of the vast range of products that we currently offer. Regardless of your playing style and needs there is a Marshall set-up that is perfect for you. Furthermore, the unique marriage of technology with hand building skills that we have here at Marshall Amplification ensures the highest possible product quality in every area. Constant re-investment in new and improved production techniques has taken our art to an even higher level of excellence.
In addition to changes in the world of making music, there have also been many changes in the world in general. One of the most interesting developments I have witnessed in recent years is the information super highway, the Internet. I would therefore like to personally welcome you to the official Marshall Web-Site which I am sure you will find both useful and informative.
I would like to stress that the Marshall site is an organic site, in that it will constantly evolve and change. I hope therefore that you will continue to visit this site in the future.
The history of Marshall amplifiers has become a source of great fascination and interest over three decades. In 30 years of manufacturing we have made a vast number of different models using many materials and techniques.
Documentation from those early years is virtually non-existent. The pressure to build amplifiers was so great that detailed record keeping was impossible. This pressure also created anomalies in the products themselves as component and minor cosmetic changes could be phased in at any time where supplies ran out but production had to continue.
The following information is a rough guide to the major changes in the most popular Marshall models since 1962.
1962 - The original production of those first JTM45 models featured the following:- Serial numbers starting at 1004; Smooth black covering: White grill cloth: Silver polished aluminium panels: No rear panel: Rectangular metal logo with red block lettering: Leather handle: Single speaker output: 5881 or 6L6 valves. Cabinets - Straight fronted, using the same logo and fret cloth: Celestion G12 15 speakers.
1963 - Production essentially the same as the above but with the following changes:- Twin speaker outputs: Black knobs with serrated edges: Changed to white engraved panels late in 63: First angled cabinets, similar finish and speakers to the straights but taller than today's 4x12.
1964 - Serial numbers begin with 2: Valves now changed to KT66's: Logo changed to gold plastic with black lettering mid year: The first combos made late 64: Speakers now changed to G12 20's.
1965 - Panel changed to gold plexi glass: Serial numbers no longer reliable: Handles changed to plastic with larger end cap: The first 100 Watt amps appeared in larger cabinets with two 50 Watt transformers, JTM45 panels, KT 66 valves and without GZ34 rectifier. The first serious combo production of models 1961 4x10 and 1962 2x12 took place. The same features as the JTM45 but with the addition of tremolo. Fret cloth changed to green flecked weave late 65. The 'stack' was born from Pete Townshend's original request for an 8x12 cabinet. Late 1965 saw the change to green fret cloth.
1966 - TheJTM45 changed to JTM50 on panels: Block logos now changed to white script with gold coloured plating: Valves changed to EL34's and Gz34 rectifier phased out: Transformer uprated. 100 Watt production was now standardised with a single 100 Watt transformer and EL34 output valves. The 1961 and 1962 were upgraded in line with the heads and cabinets slimmed down. All cabinets now had corner locked joints. As a method of quality control all cabinets were signed inside.
1967 - Chassis were all upgraded from aluminium to steel construction. The first 200 Watt Majors appeared, with just treble, bass and volume controls, “active” tone circuitry and KT 88 valves. 10 and 18 Watt combos introduced in 1x12, 2x10, 2x12 tremolo or non tremolo versions. Fret cloth on cabinets changed to basket weave in late '67.
1968 - The Major was modified to match the normal panel layout and active electronics dropped. Gold logos changed to white.
1969 - New gold metal panels were introduced across all ranges. Serial numbers now followed a dating system with the letter A appearing after the number. By 1970 cabinets had all changed to check fret cloth. From this point onwards, Marshall amplifier history is much more easily accessible from the serial number and the inspection tag attached to every amp chassis.
Notable dates after 1970 are as follows:
1970 - The period of coloured Marshalls. Orange, purple, blue etc.
1974 - The first transistor 100 Watt amp (model 2098) was introduced.
1975 - Design of the first Master Volume amp was completed. 1976 - All units changed to thicker wood finish and large white script logos. Black fret cloth gradually introduced.
1981 - JCM 800 range launched.
1982 - The first split channel amps arrived.
1987 - 25/50 silver Jubilee units produced. 1989 - Series 9000 rack systems released.
1990 - The year of JCM900.
1991 - Valvestate swept the world.
1992 - The 30th Anniversary.
With each passing year more Marshall amplifiers achieve “classic” status. The Anniversary Series Limited Edition amplifier is such a fine piece of engineering and technology, that it will achieve this status instantly.
One thing is certain, whichever Marshall you own it has a unique pedigree and at some time will command its own place among the Marshall classics.