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Amp Inventor Jim Marshall Dead

'Father of Loud' was 88

April 5, 2012 10:50 AM ET
Jim Marshall
Jim Marshall of Marshall Amps signs autographs on Day Four of the International Music Show at ExCel in London.
Christie Goodwin/Redferns

Jim Marshall, inventor of one of rock & roll's most important innovations – the Marshall amplifier – has died at age 88

Marshall was a drummer and drum teacher who opened his own music shop in London in 1960. When local musicians, including the Who's Pete Townshend, made him aware there was no British alternative to expensive American-made amplifiers, he designed his own. At Townshend's suggestion, Marshall created an amp with a cabinet – the "Marshall stack." Half a century later, the Marshall stack is a defining feature of rock concerts everywhere.

A tribute to the "Father of Loud," as he was known, has been posted to his company's website. Calling the sickly youth's rise "a true rags-to-riches tale," the tribute honors the founder as "one of the four forefathers" – along with Leo Fender, Les Paul and Seth Lover, inventor of the hum-cancelling "humbucker" – "responsible for creating the tools that allowed rock guitar as we know and love it today to be born." 

Though the Marshall amp family "mourns Jim's passing and will miss him tremendously," the tribute concludes, "we all feel richer for having known him and are happy in the knowledge that he is in a much better place which has just got a whole lot louder!"

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