Marshall, Super Lead Model 1959, head 100W, 1971 - Buck Dharma / Jim Matus


Super Lead Model 1959
Serial Number: 
SL/A 2986C
The Story Behind


About the Builder (from Wikipedia):

The 1959 (Marshall's identifying numbers are not years of manufacture), first produced in 1965 and made until 1981 (when it was replaced by the JCM-800), is an amplifier in Marshall's "Standard" series. One of its raisons d'etre was a request by Pete Townshend, who asked Marshall to make a 100 watt amplifier; Ken Bran and Dudley Craven of Marshall's development team complied. Its output was first channeled into an 8x12" cabinet, but that single, unwieldy cabinet was quickly changed to a set of 4x12" cabinets, creating the "Marshall stack." The amplifier also came as a PA and a bass version.

The Plexiglas panel led to the name "Plexi," and, while 50-watt models of the time are also called Plexis, the 1959 100 watt model is often referred to as the "original" Plexi.

In 1969, Marshall replaced the Plexiglass panel with one of gold aluminum. There were other modifications: the KT66 tubes were replaced with EL34. After 1976, the plate voltages were lowered slightly for improved reliability. But during the 1970s, Marshall's increasing exports overseas led to a problem: often the EL34 tubes would break during transportation, to the point where amps began being shipped from the factory with more rugged 6550 tubes, which are "stiffer and not as harmonically rich" as the EL 34 tubes.

About the Amp:

This 1971 Marshall Super Lead 100 watt was owned and used by Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult.

In 1986 this amp was bought by Jim Matus, who is a musician, bandleader, and studio engineer, who specialized in world music fusion. He used it for a few years with the legendary NY band Giant Metal Insects (GMI) and then later with the progressive world fusion band Paranoise. It has a history of great music inside it. After having occasionally used the amp with a few bands it was primarily used in the studio.

More Information:

The body is in good condition - a little rough around the edges - but if you are into tone, this one sings! Someone installed a fan on the side panel (which comes in handy on hot days) and a master volume on the left front panel. It was recently tweaked up and restored by Mark Szumski ("the Marshall man") from Chicopee MA (new wiring, capacitors etc.).

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