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Jim Marshall Passes Away

Marshall Stack, that’s all you need to know

Brett Moss is gear and technology editor.

In today’s overly hyped media environment, many words lose their gravity. “Hero” is tossed at any firefighter, whether or not they’ve run into a burning building to rescue someone and every teacher punching a clock is called a “hero” these days.

“Icon” is another word that is a shadow of its former meaning.

But Jim Marshall really was an icon. Or perhaps it’s better to say that the humble man himself wasn’t the icon, his eponymous creation was: the Marshall guitar amplifier. Even more so, the “Marshall Stack.”

Without Jim Marshall, rock ’n roll as we know it would be different. There are only a handful of names for which that is honestly true.

That scrolled “Marshall” on a dark background on a stage is almost as familiar as the iconic scroll of “Coca-Cola.”

Yes, there are many brands of perfectly fine amps; but a Marshall amp is considered standard equipment for any successful band or tour. Pretender or pro, Marshall amplifiers achieved the status of a Neumann mic in the studio or a Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster on stage. Or a Les Paul guitar, anywhere.

According to news accounts, Jim Marshall passed away Thursday at 88.