The Music Experience | Innovation Icon – Jim Marshall
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Innovation Icon

Jim Marshall


“Jim Marshall was the ultimate rock star. He made us all look and sound better.” – Kerry King, Slayer


Simply put, without Jim Marshall – the man responsible for the legendary guitar amps that bear his name – heavy-metal and hard-rock music might never have been born. Why? Because Marshall amps supplied metal’s pioneers with the aggressive, overdriven guitar sounds they needed to create their brilliant brutality. How did Jim do it? He simply listened and then reacted accordingly…


In the early ‘60s rock musicians in England were treated with contempt. They were looked down upon by music stores – all except one: Jim Marshall & Son. Jim welcomed rock players with open arms and listened very carefully to what the up-and-coming guitarists were looking for sonically. He quickly realized that the aggressive sounding amplifier they longed for just didn’t exist. So he created one in late 1962. The rest is quite literally rock history…


By continuing to listen to the likes of Pete Townshend of the Who and the late, great Jimi Hendrix, Marshall’s got bigger and louder. In fact, as a direct result of guitarist’s insatiable “lust for loud,” Jim invented the now legendary Marshall stack. “Listen to what guitarists want and then aim to exceed their expectations,” remains Marshalls’ MO to this very day.


The list of ground-breaking Marshall abusing guitarists is not only endless, it continues to grow: from Slash to Slayer; Motorhead to Megadeth; Hendrix to Hanneman; Maiden to Malmsteen; John 5 to Five Finger Death Punch; AC/DC to Zeppelin and Zakk Wylde…Marshall amps are omnipresent.


Here’s what Slash wrote when Jim died in 2012:


“Jim’s passing marks the end of a very loud and colourful era. From Pete Townshend to Kerry King, Marshall Amplifiers have been behind every great Rock ‘n’ Roll guitarist since the beginning. Marshall Amplification is one of the most enduring, iconic brands of contemporary rock history. This industry will never see the likes of Jim again. But his legacy will live on forever.” – Slash