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Review: Marshall 1959 HW – Overrated?

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marshall 1959 hw review

Picture this: a smoky stage back in the late ’60s, the air electric with anticipation. The crowd murmurs, and then, a figure steps up, guitar in hand, plugging into an amp that’s about to change the world of music forever.

That amp? The Marshall 1959 HW.

Fast forward to today, and here I am, a seasoned guitarist with years of strumming, plucking, and jamming under my belt, standing before this very legend.

This isn’t just any review; it’s a journey through time with an amp that has not just witnessed but shaped rock history.

Marshall 1959 HW – Key Takeaways

  • Marshall 1959 HW: A legendary amp with the Jimi Hendrix signature.
  • Power & Tubes: Boasts 100 W power, 3x ECC 83 and 4x EL34 tubes.
  • Handcrafted Quality: Each unit is meticulously handmade.
  • Versatile Connectivity: Features 2 input channels and input patching capabilities.
  • Impedance Flexibility: Offers 2 speaker outputs with 4, 8, 16 ohm impedance.
  • On the Heavier Side: Weighs 21 kg, a consideration for gigging musicians.

What Is So Special About It?

The Marshall 1959 HW, often revered in guitarist circles as an icon, isn’t just another amp – it’s a piece of history. Out of my experience as a guitarist, the first thing that strikes you about this amp is its Jimi Hendrix Signature – a nod to the legendary artist whose tones shaped generations.

With a power output of 100 W, this amp isn’t just loud; it’s capable of delivering that rich, unmistakable Marshall roar which can fill any venue.

At its heart, the 1959 HW operates on 3 ECC 83 tubes and 4 EL34 tubes, providing a warm, dynamic tone that responds beautifully to your playing style.

Being completely handmade, each unit carries a unique character, ensuring that no two amps are exactly alike. This craftsmanship speaks volumes of its quality and durability, a crucial factor for touring musicians.

Marshall 1959 HW specs

The versatility of this amp is further accentuated by its two input channels and input patching possibility. This feature allows for a range of tonal possibilities, making it suitable for various music genres.

Additionally, the 2 speaker outputs with 4, 8, 16 ohm impedance ensure that it’s compatible with a wide range of speaker cabinets.

Lastly, the voltage selector is a practical addition for international touring artists. However, at 21 kg, it’s on the heavier side, which might be a consideration for those who gig frequently.

Have a listen.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Legendary Tone: The 1959 HW delivers that classic, rich Marshall sound that’s been a staple in rock and roll history.
  • Versatile Use: With its multiple channels and patching options, it caters to a wide array of sonic needs.
  • Build Quality: The handcrafted nature of this amp means attention to detail and a level of quality that’s hard to beat.
  • Impedance Flexibility: Compatible with various speaker cabinets, making it a versatile choice for different setups.

Cons:

  • Weight: At 21 kg, it’s not the easiest amp to lug around for gigs.
  • Price Point: Being a high-end, handcrafted model, it may not be accessible to all budgets.

Would I Buy It?

would I get this marshall amp

As an experienced guitarist, the question of whether the Marshall 1959 HW is worth the investment is a nuanced one. On one hand, the sheer quality and legendary status of this amp are undeniable.

The tone it produces is not just loud but filled with a warmth and depth that can only be described as the “Marshall sound.”

The versatility in terms of impedance and input channels adds to its appeal, making it a suitable choice for various musical scenarios.

However, considering practical aspects like its weight and cost, it’s crucial to weigh these against your specific needs as a musician.

For studio work or as a permanent fixture in a gigging venue, its weight might not be a significant issue. But for a musician frequently on the move, this could be a considerable drawback.

The price point, while reflective of its quality and brand legacy, might also be a limiting factor for some.

For those who are looking for more gear recommendations by this brand, check out my article about 10 Best Marshall Amps.

History Of Marshall 1959: The Amp That Defined Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Marshall 1959, a titan in the world of guitar amplifiers, has a history as rich and vibrant as the sounds it produces. Known for its powerful, crunchy, and revolutionary tone, this amp has not only witnessed but also shaped the landscape of rock music.

jimi hendrix playing on marshall 1959

The Birth of a Legend

In the early 1960s, rock music was rapidly evolving, and guitarists were seeking more powerful amplifiers to stand out in the rising tide of bands and new sounds.

Marshall Amplification, founded by Jim Marshall, responded to this demand. In 1965, the Marshall 1959 model, part of the Marshall Plexi line, was born.

This 100-watt amplifier was a game-changer, offering a level of volume and clarity that was unheard of at the time.

Revolutionizing Rock Sound

The Marshall 1959 quickly became the go-to amp for rock guitarists. Its ability to produce a loud, clear, and overdriven sound without losing tone quality made it a favorite among the rock icons of the era.

The amplifier’s unique sound came from its combination of ECC83 preamp tubes and EL34 power tubes, which created a rich, harmonic distortion that defined the sound of rock.

Want to learn more about the history of that amp? Here’s the official video.

The Jimi Hendrix Connection

One of the most iconic users of the Marshall 1959 was Jimi Hendrix, a virtuoso who revolutionized guitar playing. Hendrix’s use of the Marshall 1959 at venues like Woodstock cemented its status as a legendary amp.

His innovative techniques, like cranking the amp to its limits to produce feedback and overdriven tones, showcased the amp’s potential and versatility.

The association with Hendrix gave the Marshall 1959 a mythical status, making it a highly sought-after amp for guitarists wanting to emulate his sound.

Legacy and Influence

The Marshall 1959 has left an indelible mark on the music industry. Its signature sound can be heard on countless classic rock recordings, influencing generations of musicians.

Even today, this model remains a staple for guitarists looking for that classic rock sound. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its quality, versatility, and the pivotal role it has played in the history of rock music.

Final Thoughts

60s musician history of marshall 1959 amp

Wrapping up, this Marshall isn’t just an amp; it’s like a time machine with a volume knob. This beast roars with the spirit of the ’60s, yet fits perfectly into the modern guitarist’s arsenal.

It’s not just about the volume or the legendary status; it’s about the soulful connection you feel when you strike that first chord and the amp growls back with a tone that’s been the backbone of rock ‘n’ roll.

Sure, it might be heavy, and your wallet might feel a bit lighter, but playing through that amp is like shaking hands with history. Every note you play is infused with the legacy of the legends who came before you.

So, is it overrated?

Absolutely not.

It’s a classic, a piece of musical heritage that continues to stand the test of time. Rock on!

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