THERE'S A GUITAR LEANING ON A MARSHALL STACK/USED TO SOUND LIKE THE SUN ON THE HORIZON*: Jim Marshall, of Marshall amplification, died this morning. There are, of course, other amplifier companies, and guitarists have worn other brands (Vox, Mesa-Boogie, Galleon Krueger) like merit badges of differentness, but there has never been any question what they're distancing themselves from -- the Marshall stack. Back in the days before concerts became theatrical events, in the days of arena rock and heavy metal, all concert sets looked basically the same. There was a light rig and a logo banner above the stage, a drum riser in the middle, and a wall of Marshall cabinets defining the difference between "stage" and "backstage." The more popular or more heavy-metal the band, the wider the wall. If somebody asked me to say what a Marshall stack sounds like, I couldn't do it. It sounds like somebody playing electric guitar. It's like trying to define a standard American English accent. A Vox sounds like a hipster slacker, and a Galleon-Krueger is a fake British accent, and a Mesa Boogie sounds like a stoner from rural Georgia. A Marshall stack is what the news and the commericals sound like.
And, incidentally, the white-on-black cursive "Marshall" may be the second-most iconic non-band trademark in rock and roll (behind CBGB) -- more so than the Gibson "G," the Fender logo, or the Zildjian insignia.
*Until I looked it up just now, I thought that it was "there's a guitar bleeding," and I still will prefer to hear it that way.