Jim Marshall, the Father of Loud, Dies at 88

Jim Marshall, founder of Marshall amplifiers, has died at 88. Marshall worked with the world's great guitar players over the past 50 years and helped shape the sound of rock music.

Jim Marshall, founder of Marshall amplifiers, posing with Slash, one of the company's strongest supporters.
Robert Archer · April 5, 2012

Jim Marshall, the founder of Marshall Amplification and one of the pillars of the music industry, has died. He was 88.

Marshall started Marshall Amplification in 1960 and it quickly caught on with rock music’s elite, including Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. Marshall’s fame grew over the years through the launch of several now legendary series of products such as the JTM, JMP and JCM. Marshall recently started releasing a series of limited edition products that mark each of Marshall’s most popular products.

Nicknamed the “Father of Loud” for innovations such as the “Marshall stack,” Jim Marshall’s products can be heard on just about every top selling rock album ever released. Some of those albums include AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” Guns n Roses “Appetite for Destruction” and Bon Jovi “Slippery when Wet.”

Marshall along with the rest of the guitar amplification community, helped save tubes and tube amps from slipping into obsolescence. In today’s world of consumer electronics, tube amplifiers and vinyl are riding a wave of resurgence with companies like McIntosh Laboratories, Cary Audio and Audio Research producing tube-based amp products that offer more reliability and better performance than the products from the golden era of consumer audio.

Consumer audio owes Jim Marshall a debt of gratitude for his contributions to the sound of rock-n-roll and for keeping tube amplification relevant. 

The company posted the following statement on its website:

It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved founder and leader for the past 50 years, Jim Marshall. While mourning the Guv’nor though, we also salute a legendary man who led a full and truly remarkable life.

Jim’s ascent into the history books as ‘the Father of Loud’ and the man responsible for ‘the Sound of Rock’ is a true rags-to-riches tale. Cruelly robbed of his youth by tubercular bones, Jim rose to become one of the four forefathers responsible for creating the tools that allowed rock guitar as we know and love it today to be born. The ground breaking quartet also includes the late, great trio of Leo Fender, Les Paul and Seth Lover – together with Jim, they truly are the cornerstones of all things rock.

In addition to the creation of the amps chosen by countless guitar heroes and game changing bands, Jim was also an incredibly humble and generous man who, over the past several decades, has quietly donated many millions of pounds to worthy causes.

While the entire Marshall Amplification family mourns Jim’s passing and will miss him tremendously, we all feel richer for having known him and are happy in the knowledge that he is now in a much better place which has just got a whole lot louder!

Rest in Peace & thank you Jim.

Your memory; the music and joy your amps have brought to countless millions for the past five decades; and that world-famous, omnipresent script logo that proudly bears your name will always live on.

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  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at

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  Article Topics

News · Audio Research · Cary Audio · Jimmy Page · Marshall · Mcintosh · All Topics
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