Marshall Origin Series | The Quest For The Perfect Tone
I’m aware that with this next sentence I’m going to risk sounding my age but here it goes. Back in the good old days when amps were amps I used a 1974 Marshall JMP100 head (a non-master volume head with four inputs you could bridge together via a patch lead to get more bottom end gain) into a 1968 Marshall basket weave 100 4x12” cabinet, to me, this was THE classic Marshall rig, think Paul Kossoff, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix. It was the embodiment of the widely coined phrase, ‘proper tone’ and boy did it love having pedals in the front of it. The problem with it being that even with two valves removed it was still a monster. It was becoming archaic and increasingly obvious that I had to move on.
So began the search for a quieter replacement which took me through a myriad of combos and heads, a list of amps that would go on for days but they just were not THAT Marshall. So I gave up and made do with a close enough alternative but I’ve never quite gotten over that perfect tone from my past and thought I’d never find that level again.
Now fast forward a couple of months and Marshall contact me, informing me that they were releasing a range of amps that were described as “Classic Marshalls” and to be honest I thought OK a DSL with less gain maybe? After viewing a few videos online with the guys using Strats I thought ok that does sound pretty cool, but I then I got my hands on one of them pre-release, plugged in my trusty Les Paul and unbelievably to my upmost surprise, I got “That Sound”!
I waited with great anticipation for the Marshall Origin series to finally land in-store and as soon as they did I stopped what I was doing (to the dismay of my colleagues), unboxed a 50 watt combo and directed headed off to the quiet room.
I grabbed the closest Les Paul to mine I could find and turned the gain up, WOW! I pulled the gain boost and I knew that this was going to be something special. I remember saying out loud to myself even though I was on my own, “Let’s see what else you can do” and so I discovered the “Tilt” feature. Do you recall earlier when I mentioned that on my old JMP head that it had four inputs that you could link via a patch lead?
Well on this 1x12” beast there is a thing called a Tilt control, turn it far left and it’s like I have plugged into the darker input of my old JMP100H, turn it right and you are in the bright input! Excitingly, this features on all the Origin models. Bass, middle and treble are the norm with a presence on the output and this is the first Marshall I’ve not had to turn the treble right down to get a usable tone on in a long time.
There is an included footswitch that turns on the effects loop and also turns on the, Hurrah a usable boost that’s foot-switchable.
This particular model (50C Combo) has a three stage output 1 watt, 10 watt and 50 watt powered by the classic Marshall 12AX7 and EL34 combination of valves, it’s so handy to have the use of one watt for playing at home and recording. All this tone is driven by a 12” Midnight 60 Celestion speaker.
Sound wise, this has to be the closest I’ve come to the sound I’ve been chasing for years. Add in to the mix it has a master volume and a switchable output stage its near damn perfect.
If you like that classic, non fizzy overdrive that I’m sure you craved on the albums that you had when you started playing guitar in the first place (oh yeah I’m old, I listened to Free, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and Bad Company etc) then look no further it’s here!
Yes I bought one! In fact, I took it straight to my that very night, obviously I took my other amp just in case it didn’t happen outside the store but my old amp didn’t even get turned on, the Origin 50c has now become my amp of choice I love it. It’s like I’ve come home.