Sound, like other forms of art, can be quite subjective when discussing different forms of music. Some musicians naturally gravitate to one type of sound while others find it bland, boring or just plain ugly. When it comes to finding a sound you truly enjoy there’s no arguing with that. The ear likes what it likes, don’t you think?
That’s why in this article we won’t be discussing which amplifier is better or has a nicer sound, we are going to give you an overview of the most legendary guitar amplifiers that changed music history and helped create a new sound. We are going to see which amplifiers are responsible for making R’n’R music what it is!
Fender Twin Reverb
Fender Twin Reverb is one of the most legendary amps in guitar history! Guitar players like David Gilmour, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards all used Fender Twin Reverb 65 at one point in their career. It’s no wonder it’s been universally hailed as one of the greatest amplifiers since it’s initial release in 1952.
Fender Twin Reverb is considered to be a classic model perfect for players who seak a clean tone and is especially known for its built-in reverb, hence the name. There have been several reissues of this legendary amplifier, ‘65 Fender Reverb in 1991 being one of the most popular and sought out amplifiers. If you like your guitar to sound loud and clear then this baby is just for you.
Marshall 1959 Super Lead Plexi
Marshall 1959 was released in 1965, and there can be a lot said about the crazy era of the ’60s, but we are focused on the amplifiers which created the sound we all know and love. There’s no denying that this era was the era of the greatest amps and one of those is Marshall 1959 Super Lead Plexi. According to Wikipedia Marshall Plexi was were equipped with 4x KT66 tubes, but models made after 1967 had four EL34 tubes instead; it had three ECC83 tubes in the pre-amplification stage.
Plexi has takes the crown as one of the most legendary amplifiers not only created by Marshall but in general. We have to than Pete Townshend from The Who for demanding an amplifier that is going to be louder! Also, thanks to Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Cream and The Who the sound of Marshall 1959 practically became the sound of pure rock!
Vox AC30 was introduced in 1958 and it is best known for its jangly high-end sound that defined the sound of British rock n roll. Music history was made by a great band that always wanted to improve their sound and to bring something new on the table. That’s why thanks to The Shadows who requested amplifiers with more power Vox invented amplifiers that will remain known as the British sound.
According to Wikipedia “The original first-generation AC30 used a GZ34 tube rectifier, three ECC83s (12AX7) for the Normal channel and the tremolo/vibrato oscillator/modulator circuits, one ECC81 (12AT7) phase inverter, and EL34 tubes in the power amplifier circuit”. Soon after the release, The Beatles started playing but they weren’t the only ones who used it. The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and Yardbirds — thanks to these great bands and AC 30 the sound of “British Invasion” was established.
Jumping a few decades from the ’50s and ’60s and straight into the ’80s. Although the peak of rock music was around the ’60s, people still kept rocking and experimenting with sound, with each decade bringing something new and unique to lovers of music. Guitar distortion was beginning to evolve in the mid-’50s, but it wasn’t until the 80’s that this sound created a new generation of music.
Marshall JCM800 called that because of Jim Marshall’s initials and his license plate, this amplifier was equipped with a master volume which allowed more distortion in lower volumes. According to Wikipedia Marshall JCM800 amplifier was equipped with EL34 valves (tubes) for amps sold in the UK and 6550 tubes for amps exported to the United States. Thanks to Marshall hard rock and heavy metal bands were able to produce that well-known distortion sound that marked a generation.
Although Bassman was initially made for bass players, guitar players and even harmonica players disagreed with Fender. But first a little word about the bass guitar. Precision Bass created by Fender, was one of the first solid-body electric bass guitars and since it was an electric bass guitar it needed to be plugged into something, right? That’s how bassman was introduced in 1952.
The Bassman was considered to be solid, powerful and most importantly loud! It’s no wonder why all those old people in the ’50s and ’60s complained about their kids listening to some loud music! Tom Wheeler in the book the Soul of Tone wrote that “It seems to combine the perfect array of preamp components, output tubes, power, negative feedback loop, passive tone controls, cab, baffle, and speakers”.
All of these legendary amplifiers helped create a new and unique sound that shaped the music of whole generations. We are all still amazed by the natural and fantastic sound amp tubes can make! Do you use any of these amplifiers? What amplifiers would you add to our list?