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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines


Marshall has returned to its roots with the fantastic new Origin series, and getting a slice of classic British amp tone has never been more affordable nor more enticing. But what is ‘Marshall tone’, anyway? In truth, over the last 50-odd years, a wealth of exhilarating and diverse guitar sounds have been created using the Bletchley giant’s iconic black boxes. Dave Hunter explores 10 of the most exciting Marshall tones ever, and how those iconic players managed to capture them…

The first major amplifier brand to have come of age when rock ’n’ roll turned to rock proper, Marshall has been synonymous with ‘classic rock tone’ since the mid 1960s. Yet because Marshalls have likely been behind more major rock recordings and landmark live performances than amps from any other single maker, any sample of the full range of these legendary creations reveals a surprisingly broad sonic palette.

In order to get to the bottom of what ‘Marshall tone’ really is, we’ve picked out 10 classic tones that will give you an appreciation of the variety of sounds contained within this moniker. Many of these sounds are well-established sonic archetypes, while a few others might come at you from an alternative tonisphere to prove that Marshall is far from a one-trick amp maker. Clearly there are so many worthy examples available that selecting 10 barely scratches the surface, but after sampling this selection of classic Marshall flavours we hope that you’ll have a better appreciation of what really makes Marshall an icon of loud.


Clapton on stage with Cream at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival in July 1966. His ‘Beano’ Burst had been stolen and he’d moved on from a combo to full stacks in his new power trio
© Getty Images

Sure, a mere glance at this header might lead many readers to declare, ‘Yeah, that old chestnut.’ But Eric Clapton coined the first hugely successful, and monstrously influential, recorded example of a Marshall amplifier being used the way the gods of tone intended when he cranked up a Model 1962 Lead & Bass 2x12 combo, advised the engineer to put the microphone on the other side of the studio “because I’m going to play loud,” and plugged in a sunburst Les Paul to track his legendary blues-rock explorations for John Mayall & The Blues Breakers’ 1966 album,

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About Guitar Magazine

The September 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now! This month we find out if Marshall’s wallet-friendly new Origin series delivers what everyone has been waiting for from the legendary British amp brand. We also tip our hats to the 10 greatest Marshall tones in rock history and find out how they were made – Messrs Clapton and Hendrix feature heavily but there are one or two surprises, too... Originators and trailblazers are something of a theme in this month’s mag – inside you’ll also find interviews with Doors star Robby Krieger, a celebration of the genius of Seth Lover and a close-up and personal look at the solidbody electric that started it all: a 1950 Fender Broadcaster. Elsewhere in gear we round-up the best products from the recent Summer NAMM show in Nashville and review a pile of great new products from Rick Turner, Stone Deaf, Lowden, Eastman and more. As if all that wasn’t enough there are three fantastic competitions, giving you he chance to win a Fender Player Stratocaster, House Of Tone pickups and a luxury Pinegrove strap. Get your copy of the September 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine today...