THE HISTORY OF: 1959SLP ‘PLEXI’

THE TALE OF THE MOST ICONIC TONE IN ROCK HISTORY  

Posted 18 May 2017

"The 1959 SLP head is everything you need from an amp...What more could you ask for in a rock band? It's the most rocking head I've ever had." Simon Neil, Biffy Clyro

There's a lot that can be said about the 60's but there’s no denying that it was a decade that delivered some great amps. In over 50 years of Marshall, only a select handful of amps can come close to the legendary status of the ‘Plexi’ amplifiers. Their popularity and heritage have stood the test of time, which is why they are still replicated and produced today.

The journey to the ‘Plexi’ began when Pete Townshend was once more asking for a louder amplifier. The Marshall team delivered a prototype with four KT66 valves and two 50 watt transformers. It was immediately clear that the sonic range of this amp was different to anything that had come before it. By the time the first production models were developed in 1965, the 50 watt transformers were replaced with 100 watt output transformers. In 1967, the KT66 valves were replaced with EL34’s, now synonymous with traditional Marshall growl and bite.

The look and aesthetic of the ‘Plexi’ amplifiers are arguably one of the most defining features. The name originates from its shiny, Plexiglas panel, commonly used on Marshall amps between 1965-1969. Although many amps are referred to as ‘Plexi’s’ The 100 Watt Super Lead (model number 1959) is most commonly associated with the name.

The popularity for the 100 watt amp exploded through the late 60’s due to the power, tone and sheer volume of the ‘Plexi’. With PA systems still in early production, the massive volume of this amp made it the first choice for guitarists playing large venues. The 68 specification amps were a hit with Jimi Hendrix, Cream and The Who, creating huge amounts of exposure and marking the ‘Plexi sound’ as the sound of rock.

Since its glory years, the ‘Plexi’ has been reintroduced as part of the Vintage Reissue series and also in the Handwired Series. We proudly built a replica so exact that its sonically impossible to tell the difference. To ensure modern versatility we also added a Series FX Loop with a True Bypass switch feature. The Vintage Reissue has done incredibly well and is favoured by Kevin Skaff from A Day To Remember, Dan and Justin Hawkins from The Darkness and many others.