Gear reviews

Hal Leonard Publishes The History of Marshall: The first fifty years

Dear readers, I got a copy from Hal Leonard books about the History of Marshall amps. According to the press-text, it’s an upgraded version of 25 Years of Marshall-book. I have been 6 at that time and so I missed the first revision 🙂

From the press-text:
“From its humble origins in the back of a small music store in London, Marshall Amplification grew to become the gear company that has defined the sound of rock for generations of guitarists. The History of Marshall: The First Fifty Years tells the story of Jim Marshall’s remarkable life and documents the many innovations of Marshall amplifiers, from the famous “stack” to the most current offerings.”


  • Hundreds of color photographs throughout, including rare amplifiers and previously unpublished historical documents
  • Reprints of vintage catalogs and marketing materials from Marshall and its related brands, including Park and CMI
  • Extensive appraisal and history of the Celestion speaker
  • History of the Marshall factory locations and the pictorial “factory tour”





















I read the whole book on several locations.. interestingly enough, I failed to read it on toilet.. because… I had to constantly CHECK EBAY if I can buy this or that revision of my new found favourite Marshall-amp. This book takes you back in time, wants to buy you Marshalls, wants you let you know the details of all the amps ever produced and then show you some tips and tricks about why your personal Marshall-stack sounds the way it does.

I was never a big Marshall fan but I heard why AC/DC was playing Marshall and why it didn’t work for me. The loose bottom end was always a big no-go for me. I like MESAs, H&K Coreblades, Bogners.. but non the less.. I digged deep into the curcuits and ended with a lot of usefull information. Actually every amp ever made, seems to be influenced by the early Marshall-designs. I bought a London-City copy now and hope to dive into the modifications shown in this book about how a capacitor influences the overall performance of the amp.

The most intersting part of the history of Jim Marshall is his will to create a new business. He seemed to always see the opportunities and work hard on them. He was at the right time with the right products. He got the help from the right people (he employed them and was wise enough to see if he should pay someone double, just that this particular guy starts working for him) and in the end succeded with a great product.

The overview of all amps and revision AND THE DIFFERENT SOUND NUANCES of the individual revisions is fascinating. Seems like the authors did their homework.

What I didn’t like about the book is, that it hypes Marshall and the Marshall sound. The author is a big Marshall fan and he wants you to understand the Marshall sound in all it’s glory. Everything sounds great. Remember the shitty Valvestates? He doesn’t seem to remember them (at least not on how bad they sounded). That is the only complaint I have.


If you ever wanted to know EVERYTHING about the history of Marshall, the old amps, the new amps, the cabinets, the revisions, the modifications… buy it. Nice pictures of all known amps, prototypes are in there. I love this book and It’s still near me (so I can check models on ebay).

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