Hands-On Review:British-born, British-bred … British steel

Click here for all products by Marshall.


In September 1962, Jim Marshall and his team placed the first ever Marshall guitar amp in the window of his tiny music shop on the outskirts of London, England. This history-changing head was the direct result of Jim listening to players' needs and reacting accordingly. 23 orders were taken that very first day and a legend was born. Ever since this humble beginning, certain key characteristics have been permanently intertwined within the double helix of the company's DNA. These fundamental yet pivotal genetic traits include:


1. Continuing Jim's practice of listening carefully to guitarists' wants and needs, paying close attention to those tiny yet all-important tonal nuances and then designing products accordingly.


2. Ensuring that all Marshall amps can and will withstand the rigors of gigging and touring. There's simply no point having a product that sounds amazing but isn't roadworthy.


3. Last but definitely not least, continuing the tradition that Jim and his team started 49 years ago—building amps and cabinets in England!!


Of course, like the majority of modern amplifier manufacturers, the Marshall line includes affordable amps that are made in their overseas factories. All of which, we hasten to add, are designed, engineered, and meticulously tested in Jim's U.K. factory. That said, Marshall's top-shelf products are made in England with pride, and always will be. These include the company's world-renowned "industry standard" 4x12 1960 cabinets, their current flagship line—the JVM series, and the best-selling and very competitively priced Class5 combo.


In today's computer-operated, highly automated manufacturing world, many people might understandably think that to make an amp all you do is throw some valves, components, wood, and a sheet of metal into a massive machine, press a button, and out pops a "Plexi." Not so at Marshall. The amount of "human touch" that goes into every amp and cabinet made in their English factory is staggering.


Sure, Marshall uses machines to do certain things for speed and precision, but human involvement is always significant. From cabinet construction, sanding, and covering; component and speaker insertion and wiring; plus, of course, affixing the legendary Marshall script logo highly skilled human hands are involved. Don't merely take our word for it though, look at the accompanying photographs. As the saying goes: a picture paints a thousand words.


The pride, passion, and attention to detail poured into each and every product that leaves Marshall's U.K. factory is immediately obvious. It's no wonder that so many rock icons won't consider any other brand—from Def Leppard to the Deftones, Malmsteen to Mustaine, Slash to Slayer, and ZZ Top to Zakk Wylde—Marshall is their first and only choice.