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RIP, Electric Amplifier Inventor Jim Marshall, 'Father of Loud'

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the stackering-accomplishment dept.

Music 166

asavin writes "The founder of Marshall Amplification, Jim Marshall OBE, has died at the age of 88. A tribute to the man known as the Father of Loud was posted on his official website, praising the man whose name became iconic for electric guitarists." Reader LizardKing points to the Guardian's coverage of Marshall's passing, and adds : "A former drummer, Jim Marshall initially became involved with guitar amplification as an importer of Fender equipment, until he eventually decided to branch out and make his own amps. The trademark Marshall sound evolved alongside the requirements of such luminaries as Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton. The Marshall stack has since become a ubiquitous symbol of live rock music in particular — so much so that some bands perform in front of veritable walls of Marshall branded speakers. In addition to his lead guitar amplifiers, Jim will also be remembered for his great bass amps (as used by Lemmy Kilmister in particular) and the much sought after Guv'nor distortion pedal."

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Eat shit and die (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39585949)

You're next, fuckers!

You're dead! In your face!

Always used Marshall, always will... (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39585991)

Never met a Marshall amp I didn't like. Met many I couldn't afford, but none that I didn't like.

Re:Always used Marshall, always will... (2)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586267)

I love my Ampeg SVT, but would quite eagerly swap it for a valve based Marshall bass head. They even do an 8x10" speaker now, so you can get the best of both Ampeg and Marshall worlds. Sigh. Anyway, so long Jim, and thanks for all the tinnitus.

Re:Always used Marshall, always will... (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588917)

I'm a Trace Elliot man myself (pre-Peavey of course) but I always respected the Marshall Major. I got to play through one a few times and while it was damned near impossible to get a true clean sound out of those tubes (one of the reasons i love my solid state trace, satanically loud while staying truly clean) the Major had this "growl" to it, really hard to describe if you haven't played one. Paired with a Fender P-Bass they were monsters, back breakers and a bitch to move (tubes are naturally fussy) but man it did have a sweet sound.

RIP oh inventor of THE badass guitar tone, hell I doubt there was a band in the 70s or 80s that didn't use your amps to get their lead tones.

Re:Always used Marshall, always will... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586473)

Funny, I never met a marshall amp I particularly cared for. The cabs are standard backline everywhere though.

Re:Always used Marshall, always will... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586497)

I bought one a while ago and was extremely disappointed in it. To begin with it was the wrong colour. Secondly it had loads of diodes missing from it and the resulting sound was far from what I would expect from a Marshall Amp. The last straw was when I was adjusting the EQ during a live show and my beard got wrapped around the pulleys for controlling the amount of bass the Marshall Amp was outputting. The amount of bass was simply too low, and I was angered as much by the thin, tinny sound as I was by the pain of the bass wheels grinding against my chin. Now, give me a Marshall Amp I can install Ubuntu on and I'll have a second look, but until then, I'm going to stick to my home build, custom rig.

Dude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39588469)

...quit posting like such a ree-tard.

RIP??? (4, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586029)

I'm not sure "Rest In Peace" is appropriate here ;-)

Re:RIP??? (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586183)

Yeah, I'd go for something like "REST IN HIGH VOLUME!" followed by several hours of ears ringing like crazy.

Re:RIP??? (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586713)

I think this calls for a 21-Power Chord Salute!!

All amps being turned up to "11" of course....

Re:RIP??? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586201)

ROCK in Peace....

Farewell from EL34 and the Humtones: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586581)

Rest at 11, Jim.

And please give my best regards to Jimi, Leo, Les and the all the other greats!

I'll remember you fondly every time I notice my chronic ear-ringing!

Ride the lightning, big guy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586031)

RIP.

But this goes to 11! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586033)

Remember buying my first Marshall, something special about that logo that just makes you want to pick yer kit and play!

Special burial? (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586059)

Some marshal stacks are big enough one COULD be buried in one..... just sayin'

Re:Special burial? (2)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586395)

That's a thought. Must amend my will:

.. to be cremated in the chassis of a Marshall 8x10" cab ...

To go along with the music requests that include Killed By Death by Motorhead, And no, I'm not joking about the music, as that's what my will really does insist on being played.

We all know what.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39587957)

...his gravestone should be shaped like.

Goodnight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586081)

Goodnight, sweet prince.

Make his own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586161)

...he eventually decided to branch out and make his own amps.

What does that mean?

He went and got a degree in electronics? Or he was already an engineer like this guy [wikipedia.org] .

I hate these media "rags to riches" stories. They make it sound like the guy went to Radio Shack (when it was for hobbyists), locked himself in his garage, and popped out a millionaire.

They make it sound so fucking simple - as if anyone could it. They can't. I've tried. I bought into the myth that anyone can get rich - 3 times and I'm failed. Didn't work hard enough? Oh, Please. My wife thought I ran off during those times. I almost lost her.

Do you really know what's marketable. What's cool to you may not be to the other guy.

Work your ass off and there will be copycats and they will have deep pockets to bury you in court when you try to sue for patent infringement.

Oh, patents. $16,000 min. That's for a lawyer to give you something lock solid to keep Wang Chung industries from duplicating you thing and selling it for half the cost - if that.

"Open" invention? Yeah, show me the little guy who made it work - not some big VC backed corp. [redhat.com]

Re:Make his own? (5, Informative)

moronikos (595352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586263)

What does it mean?

Well, he owned a music store and was selling Fender amps from America. He took them apart and inspected them and figured he could make them cheaper and sell them for a better profit in England than he could by importing them from America. He used British variations of tubes that gave his amps a different sound than Fender amps. He happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right product.

Re:Make his own? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586457)

So, was he an innovator or a Steve Jobs?

Re:Make his own? (4, Insightful)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587739)

A Steve Jobs, but humble.

Re:Make his own? (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586491)

What does it mean?

Well, he owned a music store and was selling Fender amps from America. He took them apart and inspected them and figured he could make them cheaper and sell them for a better profit in England than he could by importing them from America. He used British variations of tubes that gave his amps a different sound than Fender amps. He happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right product.

And that's in a time before someone who had never made an amplifier in their life would turn up with a patent for "amplification giving a pleasing sound" and taking both fender and Marshall to court.

Re:Make his own? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586791)

What it means is that the Marshall 1959 schematic looks identical to the schematic for a Fender '59 bassman...just sayin'

Re:Make his own? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588675)

Interesting. A lot of guitarists liked to play their guitars through the Fender Bassman (Surf bands in particular).

He stole their design in other words. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39587371)

He took them apart and inspected them and figured he could make them cheaper and sell them for a better profit in England than he could by importing them from America.

So, he was a goddamn thief. A copycat. No better than Wang Chung Enterprises who steals American designs and sells them for much much less.

Now, I have to kill my socialized superiority.

Re:Make his own? (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587519)

I think it had to be a little more than just the tubes. I'm well aware tubes definitely affect the sound having experimented with them myself, but the difference between a Marshall Plexi (or even a combo) and say, a Fender Deluxe Reverb is more significant -or at least, quickly become so.
The irony is how much we now pay in America for his British amps! Ouch.

Re:Make his own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39589587)

Yes, EL34's sound different from 6L6's. But it is more than that. The way that the output transformer saturates is a big influence. The driver stage matters. The preamp stage matters. Even the power supply matters; how much the supply voltage sags under heavy load will change the sound.

There are two aspects of the output transformer that come into play, turns ratio and saturation. A pair of 6L6's will deliver the most power working into a lower impedance than a pair of EL34's. The tubes are close enough that either will work in a circuit designed for the other, but the optimal conditions aren't quite the same. So turns ratio of the transformers might differ. The supply voltage might differ. One might need more voltage swing from the driver stage, the other present a lower impedance to the driver.

Transformers distort. More current through a winding results in a stronger magnetic field in the core only up to a certain point. The core saturates, for any given alloy there is a maximum value for the magnetic field strength it can carry. This is also true for analog tape recording. In both cases, it's a fairly soft clipping.

Re:Make his own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586277)

Climb down off the ledge, Francis, everything's gonna be ok...

Re:Make his own? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586455)

I hate these media "rags to riches" stories. They make it sound like the guy went to Radio Shack (when it was for hobbyists), locked himself in his garage, and popped out a millionaire.

Well, that was a long time ago, and analog amplification isn't exactly rocket science.

Re:Make his own? (3, Interesting)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587187)

Actually, making an analog guitar amplifier sound "right" is probably more difficult than building a rocket. I have a (digital and somewhat modern) VAMP3 and it's not possible to make it sound anything like a real Marshall stack with tubes.

Re:Make his own? (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587419)

Making a good analog amp isn't especially difficult. What is difficult is doing it a cost that allows it to be retailed profitably. There are tons of absolutely killer boutique amp builders out there making great stuff that'll blow away pretty much anything mass-market (including marshall), but your're paying $4k+ for that sort of thing.

Re:Make his own? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39587625)

I have a (digital and somewhat modern) VAMP3 and it's not possible to make it sound anything like a real Marshall stack with tubes

Yes it is. You need to talk to Carver to figure out how. It's actually pretty simple if you know what you're doing.

Re:Make his own? (1)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589609)

Are you talking about Bob Carver?
What seems easy for him is inconceivable to an average engineer.
Why does it seem like he keeps getting screwed by his business partners?

Re:Make his own? (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589739)

No, I was just talking in general terms about any number of boutique/hand wired amps, ranging from relatively high-volume companies like Soldano to super-exclusive stuff like Dumble, where it's one guy making maybe one amp a month.

Re:Make his own? (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587825)

Mod waaaaay up!

Re:Make his own? (3, Insightful)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586479)

Chill out bro. Keep tryin' to b a millionaire. Now you didn't say what you did or what your angle on the market was .. but it's been always well known that hard work alone isn't enough -- you need good ideas, a marketing strategy that works, and smart practices. If wealth was based solely on how much hard work you do, people working at a fast food place or on a farm would be earning double what a CEO makes.

Anyway, ..according to wikipedia .. this guy owned a record store .. he understood music .. and people had told him there was a need for a decent amp .. so he formed a company .. hired some engineers .. and produced one.

Btw, most of the time.. by the time the Chinese copy your invention .. you'd have presumably made a chunk of money already (or how else would they know your invention even exists .. let alone that its worth manufacturing).

As for "little guys who made it work" .. there are plenty of millionaires that made smartphone apps -- individuals who had good ideas, implemented them the correct way, and worked hard -- with almost no money or capital investment. Also your cloning theory is false. How come twitter clones didnt make it? Twitter is a fairly simple website that wouldn't have been difficult for any of the big boys to duplicate .. same thing with youtube. Anyway .. just cause you failed 3 times doesn't mean you should give up.. many people failed a lot more times than that before they made it.

Re:Make his own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39587223)

You seem to have had hard work and dedication covered... Have you considered the possibility that your ideas were crap?

Re:Make his own? (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587501)

...And then some adenoidal typists from Birmingham with flabby white legs and diarrhoea trying to pick up hairy bandy-legged wop waiters called Manuel and once a week there's an excursion to the local Roman Remains to buy cherryade and melted ice cream and bleeding Watney's Red Barrel and one evening you visit the so called typical restaurant with local colour and atmosphere and you sit next to a party from Rhyl who keep singing "Torremolinos, torremolinos" and complaining about the food - "It's so greasy isn't it?" - and you get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with an Instamatic camera and Dr. Scholl sandals and last Tuesday's Daily Express and he drones on and on about how Mr. Smith should be running this country and how many languages Enoch Pow ell can speak and then he throws up over the Cuba Libres.

No worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586189)

Hopefully he's only planning to be dead for a year or two for tax purposes

Wow! (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586211)

Should've used Gamemaker. For shame...

Worst thing that ever happened to music. (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586245)

In my opinion, loudness was the worst thing that ever happened to music.
Pretty much destroyed all good music, and retroactively made many recordings of old music worse. Now that is not all this man's fault and music had to be digital eventually (and with digital comes a volume control). But he seems like the first step in a staircase of inept musical decisions.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586299)

They weren't talking about the loudness war in the raw data of the file, but rather in the final output. Anyway, just saying..

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586383)

Yes but they are absolutely related. Different techniques that both similarly diminished the art-form of music by making it louder.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (2)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586697)

Yes but they are absolutely related. Different techniques that both similarly diminished the art-form of music by making it louder.

You haven't got the faintest idea what you're talking about. The criticism of the loudness war is concerned with clipping and a lack of dynamic variation thanks to over use of compression, not increased volume per se.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587361)

I understand that, but it is all done to make things louder. I personally do not like excessive noise, but my biggest problem with excessive noise in music is that half of modern music is willing to go to any extreme to be louder. The loudness war is only part of it, it is how they write music, play songs, and sing. When the most important aspect of a singers voice is how loud they can scream, when they sound like you put a bag or gravel in a food possessor, that is a bag thing. There is no comparison to the modern day rock and role singer (some smuck of the street who is willing to scream until he vomits blood) and a professionally trained opera singer who can actually control his voice.

the entire movement, starting with the father of loud, is about replacing quality with loudness.

Which is not to say that his invention was not needed to create many theoretically good musical things, but that they were misused.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (2)

thomst (1640045) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589099)

wisnoskij complained:

There is no comparison to the modern day rock and role singer (some smuck of the street who is willing to scream until he vomits blood) and a professionally trained opera singer who can actually control his voice.

Which is to say that you love opera, and rock music is not opera.

Well, duh.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589281)

Well I have never listened to a single opera. I respect the dedication to improving a skill and professionals who strive to perfect a skill. And I understand that to be a good singer you need to have control of your voice.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589231)

When the most important aspect of a singers voice is how loud they can scream, when they sound like you put a bag or gravel in a food possessor, that is a bag thing.

It is indeed. It's not my bag, it's not your bag, but it's clearly somebody's. Maybe it's my father's; he's just bought one from the shop -- it's brand new, you know.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589689)

Classically trained singers are bloody loud too. That's part of the training. Stop now, will you?

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586323)

In my opinion, loudness was the worst thing that ever happened to music.
Pretty much destroyed all good music, and retroactively made many recordings of old music worse. Now that is not all this man's fault and music had to be digital eventually (and with digital comes a volume control). But he seems like the first step in a staircase of inept musical decisions.

This is completely irrelevant to this discussion. We're not talking about the loudness war here, we're talking about rock music you twit.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586341)

So... electric guitars bad? What, you think if it's not written for harpsichord it's not music?

Amazing that one would even attempt to attribute the travesties of the Loudness Wars to one of the pioneers of modern music... I assume you exhibit a similar disdain for the late Les Paul?

You damn kids and your damn pianofortes... (4, Funny)

uqbar (102695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586547)

...and don't get me started on equal temperament!

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586563)

Loud as in volume, not the "loudness" of compression.

Wait...you think volume control came with digital technology?

How the hell did this get modded up?

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586883)

In my opinion, loudness was the worst thing that ever happened to music.
Pretty much destroyed all good music, and retroactively made many recordings of old music worse. Now that is not all this man's fault and music had to be digital eventually (and with digital comes a volume control). But he seems like the first step in a staircase of inept musical decisions.

Wrong loudness.

The "loudness war" is really a "compression" war. And not data compression, but dynamic range compression (the difference between loudest and softest).

A good amplifier should have a huge dynamic range - it can make your ears strain to hear that soft tap, and a split second later blow them out when someone plays a riff. (The usual limiter is the noise floor).

The loudness war is basically taking soft sounds making them louder to compete with the loudest sounds, so it's all one level. (Some older albums may have you twidding the volume knob because of this).

Digital compression techniques like MP3 and AAC will reduce the dynamic range out of necessity (it takes a LOT of bits to have a wide dynamic range and still record soft and loud sounds accurately).

And none of it has anything to do with an amplifier. Heck, distortion effects often need wider dynamic range, especially in solid-state amps. A tube amp will distort when overdriven, which generates many harmonics that are often nicer on the ear. A transistor, when overdriven, clips and that generates nasty harmonics that ound terrible and grate the ear. Digital signal processing can emulate tube distortion and sond like many classic amps, but they have to avoid clipping which requires that the input amp and ADC stay below clipping even when applying heavy overdrive.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587317)

I know as much as you about the loudness war.
But ignoring the specifics and talking about generalities, the loudness war is all about make things louder. I personally do not like excessive noise, but my biggest problem with excessive noise in music is that half of modern music is willing to go to any extreme to be louder. The loudness war is only part of it, it is how they write music, play songs, and sing. When the most important aspect of a singers voice is how loud they can scream, when they sound like you put a bag of gravel in a food possessor, that is a bad thing.

the entire movement, starting with the father of loud, is about replacing quality with loudness.

Which is not to say that his invention was not needed to create many theoretically good musical things, but that they were misused.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39589285)

"the loudness war is all about make things louder"

You keep saying this, but it is wrong.

Jim Marshall was about providing the equipment needed to fill an auditorium with sufficient volume that everyone could hear (and in many cases feel) it. This is what we are talking about.

The "loudness war" is about making your music not seem quiet in comparison to someone else's WHEN PLAYED AT THE SAME VOLUME.

Jim Marshall = able to turn the volume up = more dynamic range

Loudness War = make it all sound the same = less dynamic range

Do you see why they are THE FUCKING OPPOSITE.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (3, Insightful)

petsounds (593538) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588543)

His amps weren't just about being louder. The tone of Marshall amps is stellar.

But in his defense, Pete Townsend of The Who is the one who demanded louder amps for their concerts. Most amplification systems at concert halls back then were seriously lacking for rock n roll, so you had to have a loud amp. Pete begged Jim to make a louder amp, and he came up with the 100-watt Marshall. Then of course every band wanted one, and I guess you could say there was a concert loudness war for a while (parodied by Spinal Tap's moniker "England's Loudest Band"), but as others have said that had nothing to do with the loudness war of the recorded music (which was indeed detrimental to the music itself).

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588859)

Dad? Is that you? I didn't know you had a computer! Gees, I'm 60 and have been listening to rock and roll since the '60s. If it ain't loud, it ain't rock. If it's too loud, you're too old.

Have you ever been to a Mozart concert? Have you ever heard Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture, with cannons? have you never in your life been to a parade? Loud music has been around for centuries. GOOD loud music. A live acoustic guitar playing with a live drumset is subaudible. Most non-amplified musical instruments, especially horns and drums, are DAMNED loud.

Hell, try listening to Zepplin's "Immigrant Song" at low volume, it's like drinking watered down beer. You've been listening to WAY too much canned music and WAY too little live music.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (4, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589371)

Classical music has to be loud, at least sometimes. What makes it difference is that is equality loud and quiet. The classical song writers understood the significance and beauty of a whisper as much as that of the bang of the cannon. Modern music is the exact opposite, it is 1 volume (loud).

And considering that you where alive, let alone going to concerts in the 60s you are orders of magnitude older then I am. Good taste is ageless.

Re:Worst thing that ever happened to music. (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589653)

Shows how much you know. Not much.

I'm turning my amp up to 11... (1)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586265)

...and playing "Too Rolling Stoned" all the way through.

Rock on, Jim...rock on.

Re:I'm turning my amp up to 11... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586287)

That's nothing - if you want to do something really fun, try plugging the output of one amp into the input of another. (*note - keep a fire extinguisher handy)

Re:I'm turning my amp up to 11... (1)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586885)

I've experienced someone running the power amp output of one Marshall amp into the power amp input of another, then into a 4x12". The sound was a phenomenally throaty roar, but I doubt it would do much for the longevity of the second amp.

The "father of loud" (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586301)

By the end of the 1960s, rock amps had achieved enough power to reach the threshold of pain. From then on, much of the "wall of amps" thing was fake. [gizmodo.com] You just didn't need that much speaker area to hit the threshold of pain.

A friend of mine was a roadie for metal groups years ago, and she discovered this when setting up for Metallica. Most of the "amps" were empty boxes. At least they were enclosed boxes. In the picture above, the low-budget metal band just used fake fronts.

Re:The "father of loud" (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587161)

Yeah... I saw a play the other day, and the house these people lived in was missing an entire wall.

Re:The "father of loud" (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589755)

Scandalous!

Re:The "father of loud" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39587443)

By the end of the 1960s, rock amps had achieved enough power to reach the threshold of pain.

An acoustic guitar can exceed 120dB if you put your ear in front of the sound hole. Heavy metal bands are retards but more speakers will move more air with less distortion. The caveat is that speakers sound better (at least for rock) around their maximum excursion. Most bands use 4x12s and either 4x10s or 8x10s (for bass), more than enough and it doesn't matter so much if you blow a speaker.

Re:The "father of loud" (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588233)

There's also a reason why the Dead's "Wall of Sound" didn't last long. Two semi-trailer loads of audio equipment leap frogging across the nation, and a mixing board and wiring so cantankerous that a short in a single portion would render the entire system inoperative? Yeah.

Re:The "father of loud" (1)

jafo (11982) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588909)

A friend of mine was a roadie for metal groups years ago, and she discovered this when setting up for Metallica.

Speed of Sound tour? Let me guess, they were a bunch of assholes?

...luminaries as Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586337)

Huh? No mention of Hendrix? Seriously Sad.

Re:...luminaries as Pete Townshend and Eric Clapto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39587055)

Did you want a list of all the eleven gazillion people who ever used a Marshall amp? Would that make you feel less sad?

Re:...luminaries as Pete Townshend and Eric Clapto (2)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587397)

"Did you want a list of all the eleven gazillion people who ever used a Marshall amp? "

Only those who used one which goes to eleven.

Re:...luminaries as Pete Townshend and Eric Clapto (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588253)

British Amps, British Rockers.

Can anybody tell me (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586411)

Can anybody tell me what the "Marshall Sound" was, and how this would compare to a guitar played through something like a Yamaha?

Re:Can anybody tell me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586643)

Google "Cream Sunshine of your love"

Re:Can anybody tell me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586781)

yamaha have uh smah penis. Not rike uh big mahshah penis.

Re:Can anybody tell me (0)

stewbee (1019450) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587243)

The best way that I can explain this is how the whole system is made. One big distinction is tube vs solid state amps. When operating any amp in compression, it will generate harmonics. (think of the difference between a sine wave vs a square wave when looking at the frequency spectrum). If you add multiple sine waves (ie a chord on a guitar). Each frequency for each note of the chord will mix together when going through the amp, which are called intermodulation products. These intermod products give a certain profile to the sound that come out of the amplifier that give each amp its own unique sound. The differences come from the design of the amp. Many people claim that tubes give a 'warmer' sound from the better intermods that they create. This is probably true, but I don't have any evidence one way or the other. It would make sense that the transition from linear to nonlinear (ie approaching saturation) in a tube amp would be different vs a solid state amp which will affect the harmonic creation.

Another way that the sound is different would be what kind of speaker cabinet the amplifier is connected to. The acoustic performance will also shape the sound.

Re:Can anybody tell me (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589489)

Actually, the "Marshall" sound comes from an era before solid state amps. British amplifiers used different tubes from American ones.

Re:Can anybody tell me (2)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587365)

It would sound a hell of a lot better than a Yamaha if the sound you were after was a heavy rock'n'roll sound. I've had Marshalls, and I've had a Yamaha, it was godawful nasal sounding. Not bad for clean, great for jazz, but it didn't distort well at all.
If you like the sound of early Van Halen, that was a 100watt Plexi model (albeit run through a variac and -possibly (though it's contested) modded some).

RIP Jim Marshall, rock would not have been the same without you. I give you a moment of ... screaming feedback! Okay, so we would still have Fender, possibly Mesa, and Vox, (unless Vox was a Marshall clone? Admittedly I don't know the history of Vox), and maybe some others, but it wouldn't be the same. Marshall seems to have been the primary catalyst behind the harmonically distorted guitar.

Re:Can anybody tell me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39587675)

Part of this has to do with the type of tubes used in a marshall. Typically, a "marshall" sound is a tube amp overdriven to with heavy compression of signal from the power amp section. This is different than overdrive from a fender or vox that has tubes that don't compress as much in the power amp section. This sound has been emulated by thousands of different amps, pedals, software plugins over the years. To me, a real tube marshall gives the best feel and dynamics in the tone.

Re:Can anybody tell me (1)

irussel (78667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587729)

Listen to anything by AC/DC. Angus Young plugs his SG directly into a Marshall amp, no effects.

Re:Can anybody tell me (3, Informative)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587805)

An amplifier's "signature sound" is a combination of many things; circuit design, component selection, even cabinet design, material, and construction has a role. As has been posted above, a big part of "the Marshall sound" came for the unique characteristics of the tubes, or "valves" as they're commonly referred to over there. As any "hollow state" aficionado can tell you, different types of tubes all operate on same basic principle, the way they perform varies greatly from one design to the next, and to a certain extent, from one manufacturers implementation to another on any given design.
Yeah, fine, but what is that (Marshall) sound? That's tough to pin down. It's like trying to describe the difference between "red" and "blue". They're both colors but they are decidedly different. FWIW, the Fender amps of that era were prone to a certain kind of distortion when driven at all hard. This the very characteristic that is prized to this day by blues guitarists who use it as just another part of their style. The problem Marshall solved was that there were limits on how loud you could make an amp with those characteristics before that distortion lost it's unique charm. To be sure, the Marshall gear had it's own type of "crunch" but it could be delivered at much higher levels before turning ugly.

Re:Can anybody tell me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39588083)

Another difference is signal path. An "American" signal path places the EQ before the distorting element, so EQ is not as much a "tone" control as it is a "color" control. A "British" signal path places the EQ after the distorting element, and it acts like an EQ on the resulting sound.

Re:Can anybody tell me (1)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588197)

No, not really. You need to play guitar and hear and feel the way your music comes out of a Marshall vs. a VOX or a Yamaha.

Much like the great Gretch sound, you can't really explain it to someone in words they'll understand.

I can tell you that a Marshall is richer and has that classic tube sound where the peaks and valleys don't seem chopped off which makes your brighter tones a lot brighter and your bass notes a lot darker and fuller, but what does that even mean?

You just have to listen.

Real Live Amp Sound (1)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588321)

I feel almost ashamed to say that as a 30 year old man, music teacher, and classically trained musician, it wasn't until just last weekend that I heard REAL live guitar amps, performed in a hall by expert musicians, without any other sound reinforcement.

I had been to many, many rock concerts, but they all fed the sound through the PA system, and though it sounded good, it was nothing like I heard in the hall last weekend. Just two small floor guitar amps, one on each side of the hall. The stereo effect was amazing. The bass player had his own amp. Otherwise the drums were un-mic'd, and only the vocal mics were fed through the PA system.

Speaking about just the tone quality, I'd rate every other rock concert as being about 60%-80% of last weekend's tone. It absolutely blew my mind.

The only thing I can compare it to is standing in front of a really good drum corps.

Even recordings I thought sounded awesome can't touch the live sound I heard last weekend. I'm afraid I'm addicted, and I don't even know where I'm going to find more performances like that. Even in the smaller clubs here, most bands feed through a PA system.

It is something I think every person should experience. No PA; just the amps, live in a good hall, expertly performed. If anyone cares, it was the wonderful Christina Courtin [christinacourtin.com] and her band.

Re:Can anybody tell me (2)

icensnow (932196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39589023)

A minor addition to the previous responses: most of the not-electric-guitarist (normal?) kind of people I talk to don't realize that most of us are getting our overdrive or distortion by overdriving the pre-amp, and the differences among the main amplifier types are much more obvious when they are lightly distorted from slight overdrive than when they are clean or in full metal mode. Many of the better distortion pedals are designed to emulate a particular type of amplifier's distortion, e.g., Rothwell Hellbender to sound like a Marshall Plexi or Lovepedal Les Lius to sound like an old Fender.

Should be restrictions (0)

j1976 (618621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586739)

Loudspeakers are all and well, but no-one under the age of 30 should be allowed to own one. Especially not my neighbors.

Re:Should be restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39587421)

i couldn't agree more and i'm not even 30

I guess.. (1)

Walterk (124748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586803)

He finally went up to 11..

FP SaPONGE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586915)

is the group that Kpopulation as well Would take about 2 And what supplies

crank it to 11 (1)

jschmitz (607083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39586955)

RIL - love my Orange though -

"Electric Amplifier Inventor" my fucking ass! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39586997)

First, "electric amplifier" is bordering on meaningless -- any electrical amplifier system I'm aware of involves electromechanics (e.g. relays), electromagnetics (e.g. saturable reactors), or electronics (e.g. triacs).

Second, the electronic amplifier (which he actually used) was invented by von Lieben before this fellow was even born.

Perhaps he invented the guitar amplifier, or some even more specific category, but the title as written is just sensationalist flamebait.

Re:"Electric Amplifier Inventor" my fucking ass! (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587643)

Pedantic, much?

Bad title. (4, Informative)

JohnnyBigodes (609498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587089)

Fix the title please. Jim Marshall based his designs on Fender amps (basically "hotrodding" them). He didn't invent them. Having said that, I have no wish to diminish the impact of the Marshall amps, much the contrary. Music wouldn't be the same today without him/them.

Rock On! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39587611)

I'll be cranking up my Marshall JCM 900 Halfstack in memory of you tonight, Jim.

PRS Amps (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 2 years ago | (#39587843)

The guitar player in my band just got this:
http://www.prsguitars.com/se50/ [prsguitars.com]
A 50 watt PRS amp that is amazing. He had played Marshalls and Mesas for years, but this PRS is incredible.

Pardon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39588005)

PARDON?

Well, we still have Hartley Peavey (2)

e9th (652576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39588741)

I play the pedal steel guitar, one of the few electrics that doesn't sound better through a Marshall. Steel guitarists mostly rely on Peaveys like the Nashville, Session, and Vegas models. Peavey is a privately owned company, and Hartley, its founder, is now in his 70s. Maybe because he's a Mississippi boy, his company has produced amps for us since the '60s, even though we're very much a niche market.

When he's gone, I will mourn Hartley Peavey as much as I do Les Paul, Leo Fender, and Jim Marshall.

R.I.P. Jim Marshall (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39589361)

I was 15 years old and I was saving up all of my money for a Mesa Boogie guitar amplifier. Any guitar player from back in the day knows the Mesa Boogie catalogs were a work of art and the stuff dreams were made of. The beautiful full color pictures and descriptive copy made you salivate. I poured over those pages, dreaming of the day when one of those beauties would be mine, and I was almost there... I had $700 saved.

And then I walked into Wayne Music. There sitting along the hallway wall was a 100-watt JMP Marshall top and matching 4x12 cabinet with 25-watt black back Celestion speakers. I lost my mind. "MOM!! MOM!! This is what I want. This is it!!! I gotta have it!!.' My Mom tried to talk me in from the ledge 'But Den, you've been saving for the Mesa-Boogie amp, you almost have enough money.' 'Yeah, I know Mom but this is a Marshall!'. They wanted $750 so my Mom gave me the difference and we left the store with it, me wedging it into the back seat of my Mom's maroon Ford Fairmount.

I remember the next day I had my friend over to show him the amp, my Mom and her friend Fran were in the kitchen, about 15 feet away from where this EL-34 powered behemoth sat in our TEENY TINY living room. I asked, "Hey Mom, I can I just show this to Anthony for a second? I promise I won't play it long.". She of course said it was fine. That's the kind of Mom she was. So..... I grabbed my 1965 Gibson SG Jr and plugged in. Turning the amp on, even with the guitar volume down you could hear how incredibly loud it was just idling. I turned my guitar's volume knob up and ELECTRICITY filled the shoebox sized room. I took my pick and with my left hand muting all of the strings I simply 'chunked' on the strings. It was like a freight train came barreling through. It seemed as if every one of the NUMEROUS knick knacks on the piano, television and shelves (my Mom had a thing for tchotchkes) bounced in the air. My Mom's friend Fran who was an elderly woman (or just always seemed that way) looked as if she was ELECTROCUTED!! She was lifted out of her seat, twitching. I swear I saw her beauty shop coiffure have lift off.

Thus began my love affair with Marshall amps. Thanks Jim Marshall, you were a force to be reckoned with and made all of my childhood dreams come true.

R.I.P.

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