MARSHALL
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MARSHALL
Amplifiers currently produced in Milton Keynes, England, China, India, and Korea. Marshall is distributed in the U.S. by Marshall Amplification USA. U.S. The Marshall trademark was established circa 1962 in Hanwell, England.
Jim Marshall was born on July 29, 1923 in Kensington, England. Jim suffered tuberculosis of the bones, and spent most of his school years in a plaster cast up to his arms. He was only in school for three months and left at the age of 13 1/2. From here he started a variety of jobs, including working for his dad at a fish and chip shop, a scrap metal yard, a builder's merchant, a bakery, and was a salesman. Because of tuberculosis, he wasn't able to go into the forces for World War II. Instead he went to work at Cramic Engineering. He was able to explore his interest in engineering and electronics and used this engineering experience by working at Heston Aircraft in Middlesex as a tool maker in the late '40s.
Jim's interest in music started when he was 14, when he learned how to tap dance. Originally, Jim was a drummer and played in a band around 1942. In 1946, he started to take lessons to sharpen up his skills. By 1949, he felt he had learned enough and he started teaching drums to people including Mitch Mitchell of Jimi Hendrix fame. By 1960, Jim had made enough money to start his own business called Marshall's Music. Initially, Jim's shop was just for drums/drummers, but shortly thereafter Jim started to stock guitars and amps due to popularity in American instruments especially Fenders and Gibsons.
In 1960, Jim started to build bass and PA cabinets in his garage, because of the demand for a good bass amp. The first amps Jim built were 25W amps with either a 12 in., 15 in. or 18 in. speaker. Since Marshall's Music was buying other amplifiers and selling them, Ken Bran, the new service engineer, suggested that they start building their own amplifiers. Jim and Ken looked at Fenders since they were their favorites, and were going to try to make them better. The first Marshall amp was a 2-12 in. 50W lead. Speakers kept blowing on these first models, so they decided to add more speakers. This lead to the 4-12 in. cabinet, which became an industry standard.
Once these amps became available, orders began to pour in. By 1964 Marshall Amplifiers had expanded three times! The Marshall Amplifier factory in Hayes was 6,000 square feet with 16 people making 20 amplifiers a week. In order to distribute his amps beyond England, Jim signed an exclusive world-wide distribution agreement with Rose-Morris in 1965, which was to last for 15 years. Jim had been distributing to his friend Johnny Jones for some time, but this was lost after the exclusive contract with Rose-Morris. Jim then introduced Park, a new line of amplifiers, for Johnny to distribute. This led to a number of amps being built with different names (but the same Marshall chassis) during the late 1960s and early 1970s (see Park, Narb, Kitchen Marshall, CMI). In 1966, the factory was moved to Milton Keynes, England.
By the mid- to late 1960s, The British Invasion was in full swing, and bigger amps were becoming the hottest fad. Pete Townshend was an early customer for Marshall when he requested more power for a louder sound. Jim sent Ken to built a 100W amp and an 8-12 in. speaker cabinet. Jim built both of these but Townshend's roadies complained of achy backs (8 speaker cabinets are not light). Pete suggested cutting the 8-12 in. in half. Marshall took the 8-12 in. cabinet and split it into two 4-12 in. cabinets. The head-unit was then set on top to create the infamous Marshall stack, which is one of the most famous icons in rock amplification to date.
As Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Cream, Roy Orbison, and many others started to use Marshall Amplifiers, sales went through the roof. In just a few short years, Marshall had established themeselves as king of the rock guitar amplfier. By the 1970s, Marshall was experimenting with all kinds of products including bass amps, PA cabinets, and mixer designs. In 1981, Jim ended the 15 year deal with Rose-Morris and started to distribute on his own. The early 1980s presented a tough time for Marshall, as Britain was in a recession and they had been producing essentially the same model for over 15 years. In 1981, Marshall pulled around and released the JCM-800 series, which was an entirely new design but based on the original Marshall. In 1982, they released their 20th anniversary amplifiers. In 1984, Marshall was presented with the Queen's award for export, which meant they could use the Queen's Award logo on letterheads and any advertising. In 1985, Jim was invited to put his handprints in the sidewalk of Hollywood, along with him was Les Paul, Leo Fender, and Eddie Van Halen. In 1987, Marshall celebrated 25 years in amplification and 50 years in music by releasing the Silver Jubilee Series. In 1990, Marshall announced the long-awaited JCM-900 series. In 1992, Marshall celebrated 30 years of business with the 30th Anniversary Series.

From Blue Book Publications:


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