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Marshall Stack

Jim Marshall is considered by many to be the father of the modern "stack." A singer and drummer, he also owned a small musical instrument shop in Hanwell, in the London Borough of Ealing. When it was founded in 1960, the focus was on drums and drum lessons. Several of his shop's customers went on to prominent careers in music, and some, such as Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan, and Ritchie Blackmore began to ask for the store to carry guitars and amplifiers, including some that were imported from America. These were very popular in England at the time, but also quite expensive. Seeing an opportunity, Jim Marshall began building amplifiers, starting with the 30W JTM-45.
The first Marshall stack was made at the request of Pete Townshend of The Who. First, he requested that Marshall build a 100W amplifier. Marshall was happy to oblige, and the Marshall Super Lead Model 1959 100W amp head was the result. Designed by Marshall's Dudley Craven and Ken Bran, it originally used four EL34 output tubes, or "valves" as they're known in the UK. The front panel was made from gold silkscreened plexiglass, thus leading to the nickname "Plexi" for these 60s era Marshall heads. The plexiglass panel was replaced with a gold colored aluminum one in 1969.
Townshend then asked Marshall to build a massive cabinet with eight 12" speakers to go along with the new Marshall Super Lead Model 1959 100W "Plexi" head. However, as you can imagine, the sheer size and weight of a speaker cabinet of that size made it impractical to move around, and an alternative was sought -- which led to the idea of using two smaller cabinets with four twelve inch speakers in each one, and then stacking one on top of the other to achieve the same overall size and speaker count as the single cabinet, but without the bulk, weight and associated hassles of the single oversized cabinet. Two different styles of 4X12" cabinets were introduced; a straight and an angled model that has the two top speakers angled so they project some of the sound slightly upwards. This is particularly beneficial when using a head with just one cabinet in what is known as a "half stack" configuration, since it makes it easier for the player to hear their own parts. In the traditional full stack arrangement, both cabinets are used together, with the straight cabinet on the bottom, the angled cabinet placed on top of it, and the head sitting on top of the angled cabinet.
Besides Townshend, some of the other early adopters of Marshall stacks include Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce of Cream, and Jimi Hendrix, but they were only the first of many; countless guitarists have relied on Marshall stacks, and the image of one is nearly universally recognized as a rock icon. Today, "stacks" are available from a variety of companies, but Marshall was first, and they continue to market several models in this classic configuration.

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  1. Top Rated
    Marshall MG Series MG15CFXMS 15W Guitar Mini Stack Marshall MG Series MG15CFXMS 15W Guitar Mini Stack
    $399.99
    MSRP:
    $540.00 (save 26%)
    1 Used:
    $351.99
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  2. Marshall DSL100H and MX412A 4x12 100W All-Tube Half Stack Marshall DSL100H and MX412A 4x12 100W All-Tube Half Stack
    $1,249.99
    MSRP:
    $1,875.00 (save 33%)
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  3. Best Seller
    Marshall JVM410H and 1960AV Half Stack Marshall JVM410H and 1960AV Half Stack
    Marshall JVM410H and 1960AV Half Stack

    Includes Marshall flagship JVM410H tube head and 1960AV or BV vintage cabinet. The 4-channel, 100W all-tube...

    $3,199.99
    MSRP:
    $5,060.00 (save 37%)
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  4. Marshall Custom Tattoo Tutti Serra Stack JVM410H 100W Tube Guitar Head and 1960A 4x12 Guitar Cab Marshall Custom Tattoo Tutti Serra Stack JVM410H 100W Tube Guitar Head and 1960A 4x12 Guitar Cab
    $3,699.99
    MSRP:
    $5,270.00 (save 30%)
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  1. Marshall Custom Tattoo Emily Wood Stack JVM410H 100W Tube Guitar Head and 1960A 4x12 Guitar Cab Marshall Custom Tattoo Emily Wood Stack JVM410H 100W Tube Guitar Head and 1960A 4x12 Guitar Cab
    $3,699.99
    MSRP:
    $5,270.00 (save 30%)
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  2. Top Rated
    Marshall JVM410H and 1960A Half Stack Marshall JVM410H and 1960A Half Stack
    Starting at $2,949.99
    MSRP:
    $5,580.00 (save 41%)
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  3. Marshall DSL100H / MX212 100W 2x12 All Tube Guitar Stack w/ Celestion Seventy 80's Marshall DSL100H / MX212 100W 2x12 All Tube Guitar Stack w/ Celestion Seventy 80's
    $1,099.99
    MSRP:
    $1,720.00 (save 36%)
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  4. Marshall DSL100H and MX412A&B 100W All-Tube Full Stack Marshall DSL100H and MX412A&B 100W All-Tube Full Stack
    $1,699.99
    MSRP:
    $2,500.00 (save 32%)
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  1. Marshall JTM45 and 1960TV Tube Guitar Half Stack Marshall JTM45 and 1960TV Tube Guitar Half Stack
    Marshall JTM45 and 1960TV Tube Guitar Half Stack

    A lovingly created reproduction of Jim Marshall's first amplifier, now accessible to all who seek its glassy,...

    $2,749.99
    MSRP:
    $4,270.00 (save 36%)
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  2. Top Rated
    Marshall MS-4 Micro Stack Marshall MS-4 Micro Stack
    Marshall MS-4 Micro Stack

    Full-stack for your desktop with 2 speaker cabs and head delivers surprising tone for it's miniature size.

    $59.99
    MSRP:
    $80.00 (save 25%)
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  3. Marshall Micro Stack 1W Guitar Combo Amp Marshall Micro Stack 1W Guitar Combo Amp
    $44.99
    MSRP:
    $60.00 (save 25%)
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  4. Marshall DSL15H / MX212 15W 2x12 All Tube Guitar Stack w/ Celestion Seventy 80's Marshall DSL15H / MX212 15W 2x12 All Tube Guitar Stack w/ Celestion Seventy 80's
    $749.99
    MSRP:
    $1,160.00 (save 35%)
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  1. Marshall JCM800 2203X Vintage and 1960AV Half Stack Marshall JCM800 2203X Vintage and 1960AV Half Stack
    Marshall JCM800 2203X Vintage and 1960AV Half Stack

    Classic tube tone through a classic cab from the days of huge guitar!

    $3,199.99
    MSRP:
    $5,060.00 (save 37%)
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  2. Marshall 1959HW, 1960AHW, and 1960BHW Tube Guitar Full Stack Marshall 1959HW, 1960AHW, and 1960BHW Tube Guitar Full Stack
    $5,299.99
    MSRP:
    $8,360.00 (save 37%)
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  3. Marshall JCM800 2203X, 1960A, and 1960B Tube Guitar Full Stack Marshall JCM800 2203X, 1960A, and 1960B Tube Guitar Full Stack
    $3,749.99
    MSRP:
    $5,940.00 (save 37%)
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  4. Best Seller
    Marshall JVM410H and 1936 2x12 Tube Guitar Half Stack Marshall JVM410H and 1936 2x12 Tube Guitar Half Stack
    $2,899.99
    MSRP:
    $4,420.00 (save 34%)
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  1. Marshall JCM800 2203X Vintage and 1960A Half Stack Marshall JCM800 2203X Vintage and 1960A Half Stack
    Marshall JCM800 2203X Vintage and 1960A Half Stack

    Classic tube tone from the days of huge guitar!

    $2,949.99
    MSRP:
    $4,670.00 (save 37%)
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  2. Top Rated
    Marshall JVM410H, 1960AV, and 1960BV Tube Guitar Full Stack Marshall JVM410H, 1960AV, and 1960BV Tube Guitar Full Stack
    $4,299.99
    MSRP:
    $6,720.00 (save 36%)
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  3. Marshall 2061X and 2061CX 2x12 Tube Guitar Half Stack Marshall 2061X and 2061CX 2x12 Tube Guitar Half Stack
    Marshall 2061X and 2061CX 2x12 Tube Guitar Half Stack

    The 2061X 20W head is a handwired reissue of the model 2061, a "Lead and Bass" head originally produced from...

    $2,479.99
    MSRP:
    $3,700.00 (save 33%)
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  4. Marshall JTM45 and 1960AX Half Stack Marshall JTM45 and 1960AX Half Stack
    Marshall JTM45 and 1960AX Half Stack

    The amp that started it all!

    $2,749.99
    MSRP:
    $4,270.00 (save 36%)
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