Jim Marshall, creator of the Marshall amp, dies aged 88
Known as ‘the Father of Loud’, Jim Marshall changed rock’n’roll with his brand of affordable guitar amplifiers
The man who gave rock one of its key visual and sonic props has died. Jim Marshall, known as “The Father of Loud” for inventing the Marshall amplifier, was 88 years old.
Marshall was a drummer and drum teacher who used his earnings to set up a music shop in west London in 1960. Among his customers were the likes of Ritchie Blackmore and Pete Townshend, and it was through talking to them that Marshall realised there was a gap in the market for a guitar amplifier cheaper than the American-made models popular at the time. When, at Townshend’s request, a Marshall 1959 amplifier head was teamed with a cabinet, the “Marshall stack” was born, becoming the defining feature in rock bands’ backlines for generations to come.
Virtually every major guitarist has used Marshall amps at one time or another, and giant arrays of Marshall cabs – often suggested to be empty boxes, with no actual amplification purposes – have become key stage props for generations of metal bands, especially.
Among the musicians paying their respects to the late innovator was former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, who tweeted: “The news of Jim Marshall passing is deeply saddening. R & R will never be the same w/out him. But, his amps will live on FOREVER!”
American blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa also showed his appreciation on Twitter: “A very sad day for the Marshall family. My thoughts and prayers go out to Paul and his family. Rest in Peace Jim Marshall OBE.”
Marshall Amps posted a tribute to its founder on its website. It read:
“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved founder and leader for the past 50 years, Jim Marshall. While mourning the Guv’nor though, we also salute a legendary man who led a full and truly remarkable life.
“Jim’s ascent into the history books as ‘the Father of Loud’ and the man responsible for ‘the Sound of Rock’ is a true rags-to-riches tale. Cruelly robbed of his youth by tubercular bones, Jim rose to become one of the four forefathers responsible for creating the tools that allowed rock guitar as we know and love it today to be born. The groundbreaking quartet also includes the late, great trio of Leo Fender, Les Paul and Seth Lover – together with Jim, they truly are the cornerstones of all things rock.
“In addition to the creation of the amps chosen by countless guitar heroes and game-changing bands, Jim was also an incredibly humble and generous man who, over the past several decades, has quietly donated many millions of pounds to worthy causes.
“While the entire Marshall Amplification family mourns Jim’s passing and will miss him tremendously, we all feel richer for having known him and are happy in the knowledge that he is now in a much better place which has just got a whole lot louder!
“Rest in Peace & thank you Jim.
“Your memory; the music and joy your amps have brought to countless millions for the past five decades; and that world-famous, omnipresent script logo that proudly bears your name will always live on.”