ex-Marshall store employee reminisces

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ex-Marshall store employee reminisces

Postby dai h. » Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:26 am

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Re: ex-Marshall store employee reminisces

Postby yngwie308 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:48 am

I was a customer at the Marshall shop on Ealing Broadway. I was the tall American teenager dressed all in denim with long hair, who had a 1965 Strat. One of the salesman there always tries to swap his LP Custom for my Strat, but I would never do it! :lol: . My dad was stationed in London, we left from Connecticut, where I was born in 1954. We arrived in London in 1966, when I was 11 years old. I started to obtain LP records through the US Air Force base special order department and could obtain latest releases on the British market, but at a heavily discounted American price !! Needless to say I ordered a lot of records,including all the original Cream recordings, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, which the lady at the desk wouldn't release to me until my father was with me. They said that the record was obscene, and had the cover wrapped in brown paper. My dad thought they meant that the record itself was obscene.. :lol: , he said it was 8) , the 21 naked ladies being on the foldout cover!!Being a big Hendrix fan since his arrival in London, I wanted to get the same amps as he had and the complete signal chain, including curly cords!
I worked during the summers at the base in the warehouses, saving money in a tobacco tin for the day when I could afford my Marshall stack. I would take two different tube trains from Wembley Park where I lived and then the bus down Ealing Bdwy. I couldn't afford the new Marshalls, but the used amps and cabs were within my reach. I think I had read about the shop in the musical trade papers at the time. I often visited the store and would be in such total awe, as I was in Marshall heaven. Never have I felt that feeling again in any music store. There was that burnt insulation electrical smell of the amps and particularly the speaker cabs. If you went up to the 4X12 cab and sniffed through the salt and pepper grillcloth, that smell was intoxicating and I can still conjure up that smell in my head all these years later. The shop assistants were always very friendly and helpful, I always felt welcome and one of the lads there. Obviously being an American and very tall, I stood out. I remember so many rare pieces of Marshall equipment there. The modular power builders, the Marshall PA amps, not the guitar amp style, but dedicated PA amps and mixers. The awesome 4X15" speaker cabs, which I believe Rodger Glover used at one time. In fact I remember a whole back line of Deep Purple's stage gear being in the shop, having been traded in for new equipment. The salesman did tell me, seeing I was impressed my the name stenciled on the cabs, DEEP PURPLE. He said don't buy those stacks, especially the speaker cabinets, as they were completely thrashed.. :lol: . In fact much of what I know about amps and speakers, was taught to me by the sales assistants at Jim's shop. The importance of impedance matching, to use the right cabs with the right amps. For example, to use the 120 watt rated 4X12" with a 100 watt head, if you were only to use one cabinet and not to use the 1960 series or 25 watt cabinets alone with the 100 watt head. One thing I do remember from back then was the resilience of the valves, you could bang the head all over the place, have them fall off the stack (Jimi), and they would keep going. Jim Marshall made the best equipment and my love for Marshalls started back then and has never wavered. To me there were other amps, but they weren't the amp , that was a Marshall, it was the only amp to me.
When it came time to buy my stack or setup as they were called. I chose a Super Lead and a salt and pepper, 1982A 30H 4X12", and for a bottom cab, I had a 25watt 1960B tall cab, with a white Marshall logo and it was salt and pepper, with metal handles. Looking back now, that was a rare cab as, the pinstripe grillecloth which preceded it, those tall straight cabs, only had the leather side handles, ala the Jimi Hendrix reissue stack from Marshall.
The combination of 30 watt and 25 watt speakers, was a great sound. I believe that I bought my amp in late '68 or so. The salesman found me the black speaker and amp covers, with the white pinstripe and the gold Marshall logos, especially for the tall cab. Also those original caster wheels, they were very heavy duty, with their ball bearing fittings and the locking casters as well. The cabs had the metal inserts for the wheels, as well as the metal reliefs for the wheels in the bottom cabs. I was so disappointed in the HW series, for many reasons, but the cheapness of the reproductions, as if they were selling them to a new generation who had never seen or witnessed the old rugged equipment. ON my HW stack, one of the cabs, the poxy plastic bezel, didn't even have two of it's three mounting screws drilled and the screws were missing altogether. I found this out by rolling the cabs as a stack and nearly had the top cab tumble over.. :roll: :x !
The Marshall speaker cables were white I remember and a fairly heavy gauge, about 14 or so. They told me not to use guitar cables for speaker cables and vice-versa, and many other helpful hints about the amps.
To this day I have held the finest of music shops up against the standard of those days and there is no comparison.
My best story is of the day I convinced them at the shop, to connect three 100 watt Marshall stacks, with daisy chained cords, ala Hendrix, alas we had no Y-cords, but it worked well enough. The memory of being allowed to play loud there is accurate. On a busy high street, with traffic and buses going by, the cranked amps would blend in. Remember, this is in the pre-master volume days, so you opened up the amps. So all three stacks were connected and I just hit the first note, I had my Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, my Jem Italian made Cry Baby wah, both bought at Jim's shop, connected through my Strat. There was some screaming feedback remember and the sheer power and force of the sound pressure levels caused a cymbal and some other equipment hanging on the wall to come crashing down, as well as to startle everyone around. I was impressed with the force of three all out stacks.. I will never forget. Then my adventures with taking the whole stack on the tube and buss by myself. Often the conductors on the trains and buses, were players as well. I would carefully bring one cab up or down the flight of stairs and then hurriedly run back up the stairs for the other cab and the head. Sometimes I had the guitar with me as well !! Those were the days, I was lifting 4X12's all over the place, like they were small boxes. When I could afford a cab, they would usually fit inside the back and I would ride shotgun alongside them.
My memories of the shop also included the famous names you would see on any given day. Many rock and roll stars frequented the store. In fact my stack belonged to the Bee Gees touring guitarist and he had turned them in for red Marshall backline!
I am interested if you remember me, Dave, or if you were there at a different time.
Cheers
Dave(yngwie308)
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Re: ex-Marshall store employee reminisces

Postby dai h. » Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:03 am

hi, thanks very much for sharing your memories. You might want to post this over at the linked forum. It's a bit off the 18-watter topic but I doubt anyone will mind! :D
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Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:38 pm


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