Sad to learn of the passing of Jim Marshall this week, after him not being very well for some time now. He was 88 years old.
I know that we are sometimes less than kind on here about some of his company's products, and certainly with some justification in many cases, but the fact remains that over the years, his amplification products have had a significant impact on the music business, and overall, have been up there with the best. Condolences to his family.
Didn't he start out as a dancer?, perhaps he picked up his electronics knowledge on a 2LO version of s.e.r . The archive clip I saw on the news yesterday of the factory was of somone banging the white plastic sig logo, onto the front of an amp, with a large steel hammer - nuff said.
** As a long time repairer of guitar amplifiers, I can safely state that at no time did the Marshall company ever show any sign of any expertise at either design or manufacture of valve guitar amplifiers. This is still true today.
The original model was cobbled together by a two service techs under the direction of a drummer ( Jim himself ) - a rough copy of a Fender Bassman - it was pretty horrible.
Later models incorporated several changes, including the use of EL34s, that made the design worse and very prone to self destruction.
Marshall's success in the marketplace was DESPITE the actual product, not because of it. Endorsement from Jimi Hendrix and others was the main reason for any sales success.
AFAIK, Jim Marshall never took any credit for the designs nor accepted any blame for their many shortcomings either.
Whilst your observations are true of some of their products, and I would agree that this has been the case from the outset, I think it is maybe a little harsh to condemn all of their many designs over the years. I too have been repairing their products since the seventies, and met Jim on several occasions in the early days through a mutual friend (their UK factory is close to where I live). I always found him quite a decent-seeming guy with what appeared to be a genuine passion for producing a quality product that was different from the Fenders and Voxs of the day.
Again, I think it is a little unfair to the company to say that they have succceeded *despite* their designs. For sure, their case would have been helped by testament from the likes of Hendrix, but their equipment has been used and endorsed over the years by many famous top class and long-lived musicians, and to say that they are effectively wrong to provide such endorsements, and to continue to buy Marshall equipment, is to call these people stupid, which I'm sure they are not.
Marshall Amplification has been in business for some 50 years, and I don't care how much they have 'created' a name for themselves, if the equipment was as poor as you believe, they would not have survived in such a competitive and limited specialist market. Many other manufacturers of similar amplification equipment, including some good British names from the same era, have not survived, so Marshall must have been doing something fundamentally right.
I know that we'll probably never agree on this Phil, but I have no axe to grind here, nor any particular allegiance to the Marshall company, other than that their products keep earning me a living - but then so do Fender and Trashdown and Soldano and many others.
I just thought it appropriate to comment here amongst fellow engineers, on the passing of someone who has been instrumental in keeping valve technology alive in this equipment, and whose company has sought over the years to stay at the leading edge of technology as it has become available - with or without the level of success of others.
No matter what, it *is* the end of a bit of history, but I hope that the rest of his family who work in the business now, have the heart and business accumen, to keep it trading successfully for another 50 years ...
** Its is true of all of them.
** The designs are all poor and Jim did not do them.
** It is an inescapable conclusion based on obvious facts.
** You are rewording my post - leave it ALONE !!!
Hendrix used Marshalls on stage, AFAIK that is all he did.
** You f****it opinion - contrary to all the facts.
** So you have NEVER worked out why Marshalls blow EL34 valves and OTs all the time ?
When the most other brands do not.
** That is where you are 100% wrong.
Jim Marshall never had anything to do with the electronics design of amps sold under his name. Manufacture has been carried out by others since 1980s with Jim only acting as a figure head for marketing purposes.
Jim has been to Sydney once or twice and in the early 80s was a guest speaker at a music gear convention. Before Jim spoke, the MD advised the audience that there were to be NO questions about the famous unreliability of Marshalls cos Jim was not personally involved in their manufacture.