The Truth About Marshall Stacks (there, I said it)

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by Kevy Nova, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. sgtbeefheart

    sgtbeefheart Well-Known Member

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    I found someone on Youtube playing harmonica through a 1980
    Fender 30 just like mine.

    Well, not just like mine, his has black cloth mine is silver.

    I think his is the Rivera design.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0Ojc5oGEgM]Fender 30 harmonica and guitar amplifier on sell - YouTube[/ame]
     
  2. tonedragon

    tonedragon New Member

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    Myself and a little MesaBoogie were once flanked. By two marshall halve stacks on stage.we ran a line out into the PA and school was open. Subjects taught. WHY MESA COMBOS ARE CALLED GIANT KILLERS.
     
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  3. ventura

    ventura Active Member

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    I've gigged with my Champs. A lot. For years. Also used a Princeton Reverb, a Pro, A Super Reverb... The Champs were always mic'd up.

    Of late I'm back to playing 20 and 30 watt Marshall half stacks and full stacks.

    To me it's just more fun playing Marshall. Plus when you roll out a stack, the audience and especially other guitar players, will understand your intent. Before you even play a note.:dude:
     
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  4. Tony M

    Tony M Well-Known Member

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    True, but when you show up with a Small combo, a pedalboard and an
    SM-57 to stick in front of it they have no idea what's gonna hit them.
     
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  5. oldrockfan

    oldrockfan Well-Known Member

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    I'm a small tube amp fan but I loved every minute of playing thru my marshall half stack. Just something about feeling that vibration in your guts when you hammer out some hard driving rhythm stuff. I loved it. Course I have tentinitis and some hearing loss so small tube amps are my best option these days. Besides, I don't gig anymore so it is just jamming with buddies or playing for my own mental health and small tube amps work great for that. It is either my mesa subway rocket reverb or the orange thunder 30 and I am good to go.
     
  6. steve.ski

    steve.ski New Member

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  7. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    BUT bbBUT,Big Bob at Big Bobs Marshall Warehouse says a boutique is where ladies go to buy underwear, not where a man goes to buy a guitar. Poetic Bob. Gotta love the old guy huh. Still can shred too as he's selling high voltage Marshall amplifiers to the American & International Electric Guitar Player. lol. Nice. Man he's had years to get that act down & it goes on longer than one of my long winded posts.


    Here's my take on the amp thang. I get the 'small amp can the job' principle. Even back in my younger days I had evolved from the large Fender 2x12 cabs which were often stacked(which weren't Marshall stacks but had similar affect) and had gone to a X Music man RD which did it all for me at whatever volume. That said, there is nothing that duplicates the feeling & response from the push of an old 60-70s 50 to 100 watt Marshall into 4 x 12s or a full stack. Though I would say having a full stack up in your ear & having to stand too close makes it hard to play with a band unless you can get away from it to hear others, never mind saving your hearing and like others have mentioned the whole reason that brought about the full stack is no longer an issue and that was weak sound reinforcement. Hell, even 2x12s can hit ya righteous with that thump-thump-thump to the body that goes beyond sound & into feel that brings out inspiration.


    Guaranteed I don't try to bring a half stack to a dance gig at the Holiday Inn but I have gone back to running JMP era 50 watt Marshalls through a Weber attenuator into a 2x12 DR Z cab for that type stuff. I can follow & compete with the push of the band as the room fills up & as the band always seems to get louder just by turning up the attenuator. It works great at keeping the amp in a consistent load zone all night long by keeping the power tubes (prefer EL 84) operating where you like them & not changing the response & feel of the amp itself as the volume goes up & down. If I have any decent size venue with a stage I bring a half stack & often its stereo with 2x12s going to a Fender Bandmaster w reverb & the other 2x12 to an early 70s Marshall. God that is just so awesome sounding & feels so right on a stage. I do take care not to play at 11 and drown everybody out & still use the attenuator. I really cant see any benefit to using a full stack on todays stage unless it is just for looks. You're going to hurt your ears with that top stack pointed at them & who wants to pay with earplugs & miss all those true frequencies? Expensive in ear monitors are a level of comfort & professionalism few get to enjoy.


    For outside gigs or raucous rock events I still love to drag out a half stack because they just feel so damn good on stage and always brings out the best for a stage sound & feel. A miked up boutique 18 watt amp (for example) will always sound and feel different than a stack/half stack being pushed by a 50-100 watt Marshall but a nice job miking up an amp in the monitor mix is a heavenly thing all its own, just different. The attenuator allows us to control stage volume & presence without having to be dependent on whoever is running the mixer.

    Its all good. The motto to live by seems to be along the lines of 'Don't bring a gun to a knife fight'. So long as we're able to play & enjoy ourselves making music, each opportunity to engage through live performance is a precious gift to be enjoyed.
     
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  8. Rozman62

    Rozman62 Member

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    Marshall guy here but thinking on getting a small Fender combo to couple with my strats.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Yah, there is nothing like a Fender reverb even if it only has one knob for adjustment.

    Here's an interesting amp related side note..
    I had an outside gig last week and set up an old silver face Fender Bandmaster & a 76 Marshall Master volume in a stereo halfstack. I adjusted each amp seperately with the other off to sound how I liked it then, A B'd them back n forth and couldnt believe how close I had them to sounding like each other. Sure I could still here the difference & the Fender was defintely sounding more like the Marshall than the Marshall was imitating a traditional Fender fer sure but none the less it made me take notice how close to each other they can sound. Granted this was using the Master Volume on the old Fender Bandmaster & getting it grinding a little. If I was to push that Fender any harder it seems to get that flubby bottom end where pushing the Marshall harder just gets things thumpier & stays tight on the bottom. Just amazed at how much common ground can be found in those two old amps at a good useable volume as long as the gain is kept somewhere in the middle ground & out of the extremes. The difference heard at the extreme ends of the gain structure seperates the two and although I could see playing the Marshall nearly all dimed out if circumstances called, the Fender dimed out is not as likeable because of the way it breaks up.

    Granted this is a little off thread but I thought those reading might find it interesting being some of this has been about Fender and Marshall amps performing & doing the job required.
     
  10. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    I'm gonna REALLY set myself up for some backlash, but I'm probably one of the few guitar players I know that DOESN'T like the look of a bunch of amps on stage. I just feel like a wall of amps or even a big stack looks clumsy. I tend to prefer some sort of stage decoration as a backdrop (then again, many probably feel like a wall of Marshalls IS the best stage decoration!!!). A discreetly placed amp or stereo amp setup is fine, but a gratuitous stack or several stacks just doesn't trip my trigger.

    I once saw a small event where the electric guitar player had a 100 watt Marshall head and a 4x12 cabinet sitting just slightly stage left and halfway toward the front of the stage. It just looked out of place and was visually distracting. I contrast that with another gig I saw on the Strip in Las Vegas where the electric player had a Mesa Boogie Lonestar positioned way to the side of the stage. It wasn't in the way and was visually discreet .

    I also generally don't like a lot of stage clutter. I'm kind of OCD, that way. It annoys me that the band I'm in often has cables all over the place and we never have enough gaffer's tape.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  11. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Geddy Lee of Rush has been using rack amps offstage, and will fill the space behind him with odd stuff.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    dbb, that's cool. I like how there is a decorative theme going on there.
     
  13. Tony M

    Tony M Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Smitty on the stage clutter thing.
    I absolutely will not play with cables under my feet.
     
  14. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    I like them neat and out of the way - cable ties, gaffer's tape, and sometimes I have a small rug to use to provide an uncluttered area to do my pedal tap-dance.
     
  15. Cooltouch

    Cooltouch Active Member

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    I'm not known as being a particularly tidy guy -- with one exception. I too become a bit anal when its time to sort the cables and connectors for my effects. And even then I prefer to set them slightly off to the side. I tend to pace when I play and I want a clear path for my meanderings.

    I like the idea of rack-mounted amplification. I guess if I were ever to play a large enough venue where it might be a possibility, then that would be the way to go. But most of the stuff I do is casuals and small room stuff. I have a Marshall VS-102R that is plenty loud for most any medium to large sized room, and a 40w Crate for smaller stuff. But interestingly enough, for venues when I can plug into a larger sound system, I prefer using my Marshall ValveState 8020. 20 watts with a 10-inch Celestion, plus it has a line-out, which makes it very convenient for plugging into larger systems. This is a surprisingly good amplifier, btw. I've even recorded with it, running the line-out into my digital-audio workstation's 24/96 soundcard. The results were surprisingly good. I've never been a fan of solid state amps, but this little guys is the exception that proves the rule. IMNSHO.
     
  16. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Ditto on the cable mess. Even hate to handle them come time to break down. Nothing soothes my inner OCD pangs like a Clorox wipe on my gtr cables. I disinfectant wipe = 3 hand washings. Ahh.

    Anybody catch the latest Rush retrospective. Very interesting bit that starts in their childhood & delves into Leif & Geddys decision to forgo schooling & just work towards being rock stars. Damn. The shear balls and determination of it all.

    Wouldnt it be a cool thing not to have a stage cluttered with old school tech like amps & cables but decorated? Oh the theatrical possibilities. Unfortunately us middle of the road performers who not only lug our own sound in & out but haven't the luxury of miking everything up through a PA are still making the best of an amp the does the job on its own without sound reinforcement. Can the tube amp / guitar interacting really be replaced? Mr Via seems to like the new Fractal (spelling?) thing but his signal chain was so long & involved & coming out a monitor that I dont think he's been into the whole working a tube amp for tone & harmonic interaction for quite some time.

    Do I need to change despite my backs pleading? Cant I be the dinosaur that reminds everyone of the old days and how much fun it was & still is?? Despite me wanting a row of re-purposed washing machines as my backline, I still love having that amp right there at my fingertips & the sonic interaction it gives me.

    Well I got to go because I actually have an outside gig that I'll be using My 50 watt Marshall & a half stack for my amplification. Yeah! The good old days still live. At least up here in the Catskill Mountains. I do believe Its getting miked up today. Double yeah!!
     
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  17. Bijou Drains

    Bijou Drains Member

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    EVERY amp has its pros and cons.
     

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  18. AngusMadeMeDoIt

    AngusMadeMeDoIt Well-Known Member

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    This thread just blew my mind....
     
  19. LeadFinger

    LeadFinger Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure it's been said already but:

    Clean headroom.

    And yes, they're fking cool!
     
  20. Moose

    Moose Well-Known Member

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    I commented early in this thread to say that the Marshall sound wasn't my favourite. Since then I've jammed with a friend who has an 18 Watt Marshall. It sounds outstanding, so I guess I like some Marshalls.

    Personally, my trend is downward having played Twins, Bassmans and now almost exclusively my Deluxe Reverb. More than enough for my requirements. Still got a Bassman and Rockerverb but don't use them much.

    Like most things Rock n Roll, we are locked into the history, in this case Hendrix, Cream, etc. with stack of Marshalls behind them. If PAs had been up to it we may all have been playing mic'ed 25 watt amps but that's not the way it happened.

    Stacks have a place in big live venues where a guitarist needs to feel the rage of the amp pushing them into the audience. I hope those who need a 100 watt stack get to play them dime'd and hope I'm a long way from the stage.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014

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