That’s right, me hearties, for the buy-it now price of $430,000 US (300K pounds) you can be the proud owner of an amp you may never want to fire up for fear that your six-figure investment is tied to a 40-year-old flimsy part. What am I talking about? This, the second Marshall amp ever made, put on eBay by Ken Bran, one of the original Marshall builders.
Here’s what Ken has to say about what no ifs, ands or buts is a bona fide rare piece of rock history:
> “This was designed engineered and made by myself (Ken Bran) in 1962, in the Hanwell shop in London. There are no serial numbers on this, making it pre-production. (Even the very first amp kept at Marshalls has a serial so could even predate it.) It has has some service modifications added along the years which can been seen in the pictures and documented by Marshalls. [Marshalls was the name of Jim Marshall's original music store, hence Ken's use of that term vs. "Marshall."]
> “It has been verified and priced by Marshalls and myself for your own assurance. I will sign any paperwork or the amp for buyers if desired.
> “This has been stored away for over 20 years, until recent where i have arrived at the decision to sell it on to a true enthusiast.”
For amp collectors and experts, he added this:
> “A quick note as i have been asked this a few times: The offset chassis [generally accepted as a feature of the earliest Marshalls] was a later chassis. This came about as when you picked up a regular amp they were unbalanced and awkward to carry. So I experimented with an offset chassis as this distributed the weight better and made it easier to carry.
> “This very amp was used by Ritchie Blackmore as a ‘test bed’ to help me come up with the ‘Marshall’ sound.”
I would love to know more about that last statement because it’s generally accepted that Pete Townshend and even John Entwhistle demanded what became the Marshall sound, though Ritchie Blackmore (friends with Pete) was an early tester and user of Marshalls, and infamously wanted 200w, which became the Marshall Major. (More on the Majors next week.)
To the guy in the auction who asked if Ken has the original receipt: Doh!
> The price does not include shipping, of course. You have to go pick it up.
> I hope this doesn’t go the way of many early British and American pieces…put on a shelf somewhere in the Far East or Middle East. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hard Rock Cafe – where are you?