Pioneer in Rock Music Dies at 88

On April 5th, 2012 Jim Marshall, the founder of Marshall Amplification, passed away at his home in Milton Keynes, England at age 88.

Jim Marshall founded his music company in 1962 with the savings he had from years of music lessons. He initially sold mainly drum related equipment until he decided to make a cheaper version of American made guitar amplifiers. The amplifier was called the JTM-45 and caught the attention of guitarists that were seeking a harsher and more brash sound out of their amplifiers.

Marshall became famous in the late sixties after he collaborated with The Who’s guitarist, Pete Townshend, and invented the first 100 watt guitar amplifier, which led to Marshall’s nickname as “The Father of Loud.” Even more success came after his amplifiers were endorsed by other big name artists of the sixties and seventies such as Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.

Since then, Marshall Amplifiers have become the most instantly recognizable name in guitar amplification and have been endorsed by many high profile acts in Rock music from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Metallica and beyond. It is not too extreme to make the claim nearly every Rock guitarist has used a Marshall at one point or another.

His death marks the final passing of the four forefathers of rock music equipment, the other three being Leo Fender (founder of Fender guitar company), Les Paul (Inventor of multi-track recording and the Gibson Les Paul guitar), and Seth Lover (inventor of the humbucking pickup.)

His death makes the year 2012 a very bittersweet year for his company,  just having celebrated its 50th anniversary this month.  And, while the Father of Loud may have passed away, his legacy will live on in everyone who decides to plug into his namesake amplifier and turn the volume up to eleven.