Paul Diamond Blow's Rock Musician Resources

THE MARSHALL STACK: the Ultimate Sound of Rock!
The Marshall stack is the most powerful guitar amp in the world. It can blow a man's head clean off. Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya punk???

by Paul Diamond Blow

The mighty Marshall stack
One of my most prized possessions is my Marshall stack. Here's what I've got: A '75 100 watt Marshall JMP head, plus vintage bottom and top Marshall 4x12 cabinets with Celestian speakers. This is the sound of Rock. If you play power chord driven rock style guitar, this is what you need if you are serious about your sound.

The words which describe the sound of a vintage Marshall 100 watt tube head are: sweet, warm, and LOUD! The Ultimate sound of Rock, in a nutshell. But, if you get a Marshall head, you've really got to have Marshall cabs along with it -- anything else would be a waste of a great head. I've played my Marshall head through other 4x12 cabinets before with less than desirable results. I've played it through a Fender 4x12 cabinet (sounded thin and tinny), and through a Peavy 4x12 (low volume, and thin sounding), but playing it through genuine Marshall cabinets results in the most awesome Rock sound known to man.

Seriously, playing through a Marshall half-stack is more than enough for most occasions, volume wise. I rarely use my full stack, just because it's a hassle lugging two cabinets around, but also because using the full stack would drown out the whole band. Of course, nothing looks cooler than a full Marshall stack set up on stage, but a half stack will do just nicely, unless of course you're playing a stadium or arena.

I bought my Marshall stack used out of the newspaper classifieds way back in 1990 (I paid $800 for the head and the bottom cabinet, and later paid $300 for a used slant cabinet). This has been one of the best musical investments I have ever made, and if I'm lyin' I'm dyin here! I've had the power tubes go out once in all that time, and I've never had any problems with the cabinets. My Marshall amp head has taken some serious abuse over the years, being dropped by drunk roadies and being knocked off the cabinet by drunk moshers, with no damage. It takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'! The thing is reliable as heck! While the other guitarists I've played with who use inferior gear are always having problems with their amps (usually right before a gig), my Marshall has never let me down. Not only that, but my Marshall always drowns out the cheapo amps, yessir it does!

The best way to achieve the classic Rock sound with a Marshall tube amp is to set the bass, treble and presence knobs on 5 or so, with the preamp set on 10. Then set the master volume knob on 2 or so. I personally use a distortion pedal for maximum power. The resulting sound is sheer simmering, sizzling power chord mayhem that is full, warm, and sparkling, with leads where every note sparkles with warmth, clarity, and power. It is simply delicious. I've received countless compliments on my guitar sound, and I owe half of it to my Marshall. The other half, I like to think, is having some bit of talent. I guarantee you this much: Once you have played through a Marshall, no other amp will do -- I know, that's what happened to me.

If you want the classic power chord, overdriven Rock sound, a Marshall is what you need. You will not be disappointed. The Marshall stack is a gift from the gods of rock'n'roll! Long live the Marshall stack! Long live Rock!!! Alleillujah, brothers!

Paul Diamond Blow meets Jim Marshall, 1992.

The Mighty Marshall Mg10cd practice amp
WOAH!!!! That's the first word that comes to mind with this little Marshall practice amp -- WOAH! The Marshall MG 10 CD practice amp is a small sized, inexpensive practice amp with a BIG rocking sound!

I am the proud owner of a full 100 watt Marshall stack which I use for gigs and band practice, and for at home low-volume practice I already had a Marshall G15R CD practice amp which I'd been happy with. However, a few years ago I bought a cheapo guitar as a birthday present for a young friend, and knew he needed a small practice amp to go with it. The MG 10 CD amp seemed just right: it cost only $69.00 at Guitar Center, is nice and small, and when we brought the amp to my place and jammed -- him on the MG 10 and me on my larger G15R-- I noticed that the MG 10 was just as loud as my larger amp, and sounded TWICE as good! So good I had to run out and buy one for myself...

The MG 10 CD is a ten watt practice amp with a 6.5" speaker and has two channels: the clean channel and the overdriven channel. There are only four knobs on this baby: a volume knob for the clean channel, a pregain knob and volume knob for the overdrive channel, and one "contour" knob for the tone, which is basically the EQ. No reverb or digital effects on the MG 10, but it does come with a headphone jack for private non-obtrusive jamming and a line out/CD input jack which can be used two ways: you can plug in a CD player or drum machine or what have you and play along, or you can run a chord from it into a mixing board to record the amp without micing it. I like to plug my drum machine into it and rock along with the beat, it's a very nice feature to have, but I've never used the line out to record as I prefer to mic the amp.

The MG 10's clean channel sounds decent enough, but it's the Rock sound I'm after and this little guy really delivers. The overdriven sound of this little amp is just unbelievable, you don't need any distortion pedals at all, it sears and rips and has great lows and tone which you wouldn't expect out of such a small amplifier. I find myself playing lots of metal riffs on this thing and it almost sounds just like my 100 watt Marshall at a low volume. I love the sound of it so much it makes practicing at home more fun than ever. It does sound best played at low volumes and when turned way up it starts sounding a bit grating and muddy, but what the heck -- this is a PRACTICE amp, not an amp you'd bring to a gig, although I have used this amp for some home recording when I'm too lazy to set up my Marshall half-stack, and the recorded sounds are actually quite good.

Truly, this amp sounds awesome and is perfect for home rock/metal guitar practice. I've owned mine now for over eight years and it's still rocking like Dokken and I've had no problems with it at all. It's the smallest practice amp I've ever owned, but it's also the best sounding practice amp I've ever played through. I give it three thumbs up.