Marshall tonal history resurrected for modern players…
Before we get into this, let’s take a step back in time for a moment. So, as the story goes, the legendary Marshall ‘Plexi’ came to be following Pete Townshend request for a louder amplifier. Marshall set about creating a prototype consisting of four KT66 valves and a pair of 50-Watt transformers, which resulted in a sonic range previously unheard of in any amp that came before. By the time production rolled around in 1965, the 50-Watt pairing was succeeded by a 100-Watt output transformer, and in 1967 the KT66 valves were replaced by EL34s. The proliferation of Plexi’s across backlines in the Sixties laid the foundation for what would become synonymous with coveted Marshall tone. Hendrix, Clapton, Townshend, Page, Young, Blackmore, they all favour(ed) that awesome model number 1959 ‘Plexi’ tone.
What does that have to do with anything?
Well, to get your hands on an original is a pretty rare occurrence, although there are plenty of reissues available, hand-wired to perfection. However, the need for a 100-Watt amp isn’t quite a necessary these days thanks to the evolution of amp design and PA system availability.
Before you start piping in and having a go, I too am a guitarist and if money was no object – and all that craic – of course I would grab a 100-Watt 1959 Super Lead if one crossed my path and I had the money, so I get it.
The point I want to make though is this. Marshall appreciate that although the need for a 100-Watt amp may not quite be the same, the desire for the illustrious ‘Plexi’ tone is as strong as ever.
That’s where the Marshall Studio Vintage comes into play.
Marshall Studio Vintage
Available as a 20W head or combo, the Marshall Studio Vintage looks the part and sounds every bit as good as you could hope for. Handcrafted in the UK and boasting the same cleans lines as the original, this is every bit the British icon you’d expect it to be.
Packing a pair of ECC83s alongside an additional ECC83 (phase splitter), there’s a pair of EL34 power amp valves ready and waiting to be put through their paces. The richness of tone can’t be overstated, and the output power is outrageous. At 20-Watts there’s more than enough in the tank for gigging with, and the useful power reduction option to 5-Watts allows you to crank things up in a studio setting.
You’ve got Low and High-powered modes to choose from with Normal and High Treble inputs, which allows you to go truly old school and jumper the inputs/outputs for the best of both worlds.
We can go into more detail later, for now let’s see Tom put one through its paces. Enjoy.
Marshall Studio Classic
OK, so if the ‘Plexi’ is the first choice of many, we’re pretty sure that a close second is the JCM800 Lead Series (both hands up over here). Since its introduction back in 1981, the JCM800 has been the backbone of hard rock, metal, hardcore and any other genre where high gain rules. Hetfield, Hanneman, Mustaine, Wylde, Schenker, King, just some of the names who’ve relied on the ferocious output of the JCM800 to power their epic riffs.
However, much like the Plexi, 100-Watts is great on a decent-sized stage, but you’re not getting past 1 on the dial at home (depends on how big your gaff is but in my terrace house it’d probably need underpinning if I went for it).
Again, we can get into all the details later but for now, Tom is once again on hand to put one through its paces. Not going to lie to you, one of the lads in the office is already trying to work out what gear to get rid of to afford one of these bad boys. (True story: it’s me)
Fair enough, we waited patiently, and Marshall came through. Two of their finest models delivered in dreamy packages that are quite frankly going to cause some arguments in some households. If you thought those memes about buying guitars got about, what until the ones about the Marshall Studio Series models.
Check out the full range of Marshall gear on the Dawsons Website.
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As ever, if you need any help or advice then our Customer Service Team are more than happy to help over the phone on 01925 582420. Our in-store specialists will guide you through the wonderful world of guitar amps and effects, just pop into your nearest Dawsons store.
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.