The tg guide to ... amp mod­el­ling

Loud, fast and dy­namic, the 1959 ‘plexi’ kick­started the clas­sic marshall sound

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

1 The four in­put jack sock­ets and vol­ume con­trols

The 1959’s dual non-switch­ing preamp chan­nels can be ‘jumped’ with a short lead to make both preamps ac­tive, al­low­ing play­ers to blend the two very dif­fer­ent-sound­ing chan­nels for a wide range of tones as well as giv­ing a small gain in­crease. If you look at archive footage of clas­sic rock le­gends like Jimmy Page, Jimi Hen­drix and Paul Kos­soff, you’ll of­ten see a Marshall 1959 with the jumper lead.

2 The rear panel valves

Early Mar­shalls were based on clas­sic tweed Fend­ers and used the KT66 valve, which was a Bri­tish ver­sion of the Amer­i­can 6L6. The 1959 Su­per Lead was the first Marshall to use the Euro­pean EL34 pen­tode, which was a key part of the bolder re­sponse that typ­i­fied the ‘Marshall Sound’. In the early 1970s, amps shipped to Amer­ica were fit­ted with the 6550, which was less prone to tran­sit dam­age, but sounded dif­fer­ent again, with more head­room and a stiffer feel.

3 The bass, mid and tre­ble tone con­trols

The Marshall’s tone net­work was in­spired by (or copied from, de­pend­ing on which book you read) the 1950s Fen­der tweed Bass­man, which was one of the first amps to fea­ture a mid­dle con­trol. With no gain con­trol and master vol­ume, the amp has to be turned up very loud to pro­duce any kind of dis­tor­tion. To­day, most 1959 users use a drive pedal in front of the am­pli­fier com­bined with an at­ten­u­a­tor, for more con­trol.

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