Thursday, August 19, 2010
Meet the Father of Loud
Jim Marshall (b. 1923) played a key role in developing the amplified guitar sound of several mid-60's (and later) rock guitarists. Legend has it that Eric Clapton started much of this when, hanging around Jim Marshall's music shop in London, he requested that Marshall make him an amplifier that would fit in the trunk (boot) of a car. Marshall did so and Clapton immediately used the combination of the Marshall amplifier with the Gibson Les Paul guitar on the 1966 John Mayall & Bluesbreakers album. You can hear the now familiar but then never-heard-of-before sound here on the song Hideaway:
BTW, that was John McVie (who later put the "Mac" in Fleetwood Mac) on bass guitar.
Hideaway was a blues number first recorded by Freddie King. Here is the original King version for comparison; note the sound of the guitar:
Legend also has it that Pete Townshend and John Entwistle pioneered the use of higher powered "Marshall Stacks", allegedly in order to hear themselves over Keith Moon's drumming. But it was Jimi Hendrix who really put the Marshall amplifier on the map.
There's a great story about the Marshall sound here. Who knew that the secret behind Marshall's amps was harmonic overtones?