Today is a sad day indeed. Legendary guitar amp builder Jim Marshall has passed away today, April 5th. At the age of 88 he turned his life up to 11 eight times over and changed the world and was among the few and the proud who supplied gear that defined the rock sound and set the bar for any who wished to follow for decades to come.
Growing up as a young boy Marshall had suffered from tubercular bones, a decidedly unwelcoming and painful bone disease that had him hidden away in a hospital for much of his younger years. And considering we’re talking about 1920s medical advancements the healing process wasn’t seamless.
However, the mere debilitating bone disease wasn’t enough to slow someone overloaded with as much bad ass as Jim Marshall was – because despite his health problems and their impeding on his education he still studied and became a vocalist, a drummer, and an electrical engineer which was just the right trade to be in alongside his musical endeavors.
His career as a musician had him playing drums while doing vocals which was the necessity that served as the mother of invention leading him to build an amplifier that he could use so people could hear him over the drum kit he was walled off behind.
The Advent Of Marshall Amplifiers
If Marshall had demonstrated anything it was knowing what his customers want and how to get it for them. Between his performances and the mass of students he had accrued as a drum teacher he had opened up a music shop that frequently brought in guitarists like Ritchie Blackmore and Pete Townshend and whenever they would talk of the type of amp they were looking for he would be taking notes. He would then work away to develop what could quite possibly be the perfect amp, and come 1962 he had amps to sell and a new business to helm that would grow to the Marshall Amplifiers we know and love today.
After the company had opened it wasn’t long until his name was as big as the guitarists using his amps. As if Hendrix alone using his amps wasn’t enough to rocket him to success the list had expanded rapidly and we’d likely be here all day just naming guitarists that had jumped aboard at the time let alone since then.
Jim Marshall’s Legacy
As of this writing the specific cause hasn’t been released. Currently Marshall’s web site is taking a moment of silence and honoring the late Father of Loud as a memorial and a link to a Facebook memorial page is also available for everyone to offer their condolences here. http://www.facebook.com/JimMarshallOBE
We’ve all been big fans of Marshall amps ourselves and it’s truly disheartening to see the man behind such a huge, global impact pass away. From the whole lot of us at Guitar-Muse we extend our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Jim Marshall. Rest easily.