Back in 1960, drummer Jim Marshall (1923-2012) opened up his first musical instrument shop in Hanwell, London. It soon became a hub for young electric guitar players who were requesting louder, more powerful tube amps to perform with.
Inspired by Fender’s 5F6-A Bassman circuit of the late ‘50s, the “Father of Loud” set out to create an amp that would fulfil the needs of London’s burgeoning electric blues/rock and roll scene. Subsequently, with the help of electronics engineers Ken Bran, Dudley Craven and Ken Underwood, the first Marshall amp was born in 1962.
Branded the JTM 45 (in reference to Jim and his son Terry Marshall’s initials, and the amp’s claimed 45-watt power rating) Marshall’s debut design appeared with a white fabric front and red-on-silver metal logo badge. Within months, the JTM 45 changed to a black and white ‘sandwich’ front design, and by 1964 Marshall had settled on their classic all-black livery.
Honoring what would have been Jim Marshall’s 100th birthday this week, Marshall Amplification has announced their all-new Studio JTM. “The amp that started it all returns, now in a more compact, lightweight package,” reads a press release as the firm salutes its JTM 45 heritage.
Rather than simply putting out a reissue, Marshall has developed a new design that recreates the sound and feel of the original JTM 45 amp famously used by Gary Moore, Ritchie Blackmore and Angus Young.
“I was demonstrated the [Studio] JTM and it just took me back to my original JTM 45. It was my sound,” said Terry Marshall. “This is my new love.”
Sporting a retro look that harks back to Marshall’s early years, the new 20W Studio JTM amp appears in head and combo formats alongside matching 1x12 and 2x12 cabs loaded with G12M-65 Creamback Celestion speakers.
Touted as “ideal for both home use or smaller stages,” players can alternate between 20- and 5-watt settings using power reduction technology. Furthermore, this flexible amp has the modern features of an FX loop and DI jack built in.
While the design has been brought up to date to suit the needs of the modern guitarist, the Studio JTM range retains some of the components that helped define the Marshall sound, including ECC83 (12AX7) preamp and phase splitter tubes, 5881 output tubes, and 12-inch Celestion speakers.
Hand-built at Marshall’s U.K. factory in Milton Keynes, the Studio JTM ST20H 20W head and ST20C 20W combo are priced $1,749.99 and $1,949.99 respectively. The ST112 1x12 and ST212 2x12 cabs are priced $1,099.99 and $1,399.99 respectively.
Visit Marshall for more information.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.
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