Tips and How-To's Marshall amplifiers made hard rock possible. While Fender and Vox amps have their place in moving electrified guitar forward, the creations of Jim Marshall fostered an entirely new sound and allowed guitarists to fill stadiums with it. Marshall amps had such precedent-setting wattage and tone that their history can hardly be separated from the history of rock itself. We recently wrote an article detailing that rich history which you can read here , but for those simply looking to figure out how old their Marshall amp is, we offer this shortcut.
The guide below will help you quickly and clearly date Marshall amps and cabinets, without us waxing poetic about their influence. Click here to skip directly to information on Marshall serial numbers. Before we begin, a few caveats: Marshall model numbers look like years. If your amp says Model on the inside, that does not mean it was made in This is probably the biggest area of confusion when dating Marshall amps. True serial numbers weren't really used by Marshall until July , so specimens made prior to that can only be accurately dated to a fuzzy span of several years.
All Marshall amps originally came with Celestion speakers, so in cases where the speakers are original, speaker date codes can be used to date earlier amps. Marshall cabinets didn't officially include serial numbers until October As a result, dating cabs can be more art than science. The best approach is to cross-reference the serial number with known features for the model during different eras and the personal account of previous owners.
Getting the correct year is one thing, but getting the story behind an amp is the fun part. The guide for that is much simpler: Marshall Amps By Series If you have absolutely no idea whether your Marshall is old or new, a good place to start is the model name or series.
This will give you an approximate idea of the era during which your amp was manufactured. It's also one more piece of evidence to pair with the serial number to corroborate the actual year. The first Marshall amps were made in England starting in Production has continued there uninterrupted through today, though some lower-priced models are now made in China, India or Korea, depending on the series. Marshall Serial Numbers To find the serial number on your Marshall amp, start by looking at the back panel of your amp.
For models made between - , the serial number will be on the front panel. Keep in mind that no reliable serial number information exists for pre Marshall amps, so if your amp doesn't have a number matching one of the formats below, it is likely pre and identifiable by features rather than serial number.
Click on the links here to jump directly to the serial number style that matches your instrument: