Marshall, Super Lead Model 1959, Head 100W, 1974 - Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick)


Super Lead Model 1959, Head 100W
Serial Number: 
SL/A 1143F
The Story Behind

The Marshall Super Lead Model 1959 is a guitar amplifier head made by Marshall. One of the famous Marshall Plexis, it was introduced in 1965 and with its associated 4x12" cabinets gave rise to the "Marshall stack".

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 Plexiglas panel with one of gold aluminum. There were other modifications: In 1966, the KT66 tubes of the JTM-models 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 Tung-Sol 6550 tubes, which are "stiffer and not as harmonically rich" as the EL34 tubes.

This amp was used by Rick Nielsen between 1978-1982 as one of Rick's main amps. This was one of the amps he used at Budokan. It has been moded (as all of Rick's amps are).

The amp shows signs of road use. There is Velcro on the front of this. Rick would have checkerboard covers that would go over the amps during some shows. The "SR" on the top stands for "Stage Right". Cheap Trick would number all of their gear to ease the set-up. This was piece #10 (as seen on the side of the amp). 

From what Rick remembers, the amp has been recappedand and has extra tone stack. Beyond that he couldnt remember what else has been done to it. It now has a Master Volume, it had a fan at one point installed, that is now not operational.

The amp has completely been revised by expert engineer Tim Ristau of Steve Carr Amplifiers. It has been restaured to its old sound qualities and now sounds better then ever before.

Tim about the amp:

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