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Marshall 1959HW
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Marshall 1959HW

Marshall 1959HW


Marshall 1959HW

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Marshall 1959HW Overview:

Historical, Tone and Tech Talk The 1959HW is a Class-A/B, all-valve, 100 Watt, two-channel head. When building this handwired re-issue of an amazing sounding, original Plexi head made in 1969, our goal was both obvious and simple: to make it as close to the original as possible in terms of components, circuitry, constructional methods, materials, specifications, aesthetics, signal path, performance, tonal characteristics and feel. We went to incredible lengths to achieve maximum authenticity and are delighted to report that our suppliers were equally as exacting in their tasks - none-more-so than our long-time partner, Dagnall Transformers.

As is now rock folklore, the 1959 came to be when The Who's guitarist, Pete Townshend, approached Marshall in the mid '60s and asked Jim to build him a 'weapon' that would allow him to play so loud that he wouldn't be able to hear what the members of the audience were saying, should they have the sheer audacity to talk whilst he was performing! Jim and his team obliged and within weeks of Pete's request one of rock's most instantly recognisable icons was born - the 100 Watt Marshall stack.

As Jim Marshall has already stated, the 1959 head first saw the light of day in late 1965 and was affectionately dubbed the Plexi because of the material used for its front panel. Although we continued to build 1959s, the now legendary Plexi-era came to an end in July 1969 when we started using gold anodised aluminium panels instead of Plexiglas. While all original Plexi 1959s are held in the highest esteem, several subtly different but tonally significant circuit variations existed - the most celebrated and revered versions being those made between 1967 and 1969.

The circuit we have revisited for the 1959HW boasts several of said 'tonally significant' variants when compared to the slightly later circuit we use for our critically acclaimed, standard-production Plexi re-issue - the 1959SLP. The most sonically relevant technical departures in question lie in the negative feedback circuit. Where relevant, specific details concerning these 'deviations', and others, are inserted into the text labelled as 'Tonal Notes'.

As you can see from its front panel layout, the 1959HW is an extremely straightforward amplifier. Its two channels - Channel I and Channel II - each have two inputs (High and Low sensitivity) and separate Volume controls, while sharing the amplifier's four tone controls: Presence, Bass, Middle and Treble. Like all Marshall, all-valve amplifiers, the 1959 sounds at its very best when turned up full - and because of its conservative power rating and astonishing projection, is a formidable live amplifier in even the largest of venues. A truth its impressive history has proven time-and-time again, from the mid '60s to current day.

In keeping with its other non-master-volume, all-valve, Marshall brethren such as the JTM45 head and the 1962 'Bluesbreaker' combo, the 1959HW's aggressive yet sweetly distorted, harmonically rich, thick, musical tones result from its power valves being overdriven. As a result, when 'cranked' the 1959HW's instantly recognisable, guttural, 'punch you in the chest' roar is incredibly touch-sensitive, cleaning up or, if desired, sitting right on the edge of distortion when the guitar's volume is turned down. Not surprisingly, it responds well to picking dynamics too, indefatigably 'in-your-face' when you play like you really mean it and, once again, cleaning up as you pull back on your picking attack.

Marshall 1959HW Front Panel Features:


This is the On/Off switch for mains power to the amplifier. Note: Please ensure the amplifier is switched off and unplugged from the mains electricity supply whenever it is moved.


The Standby Switch is used in conjunction with the Power Switch (item 1) to 'warm up' the amplifier before use and to prolong the life of the output valves. When powering up the amplifier always engage the Power Switch first, leaving the Standby switch on 'Standby'. This allows the application of the voltage required to heat the valves to their correct operating temperature - hence the switches name. After approximately two minutes the valves will have reached the correct operating temperature and the Standby Switch can be engaged. In order to prolong valve life, the Standby Switch alone should also be used to turn the amplifier on and off during breaks in a performance. Also, when switching off, always disengage the Standby Switch prior to the main Power Switch.


This 6.3 Volts incandescent filament indicator will light up when your amplifier is receiving the correct mains power and is switched on. It will not be lit when the amplifier is switched off and/or is not receiving mains power.


This control operates in the 1959HW's power section and adds high frequencies to your sound by altering the power amplifier's negative feedback. Turning this control clockwise adds more edge and 'sparkle' to your sound, making it crisper and more cutting.


This adjusts the bottom end, turning it clockwise increases the amount of low frequencies in the sound.


This adjusts the level of those all-important midrange frequencies. Turning it clockwise increases the mids and fattens your sound, giving it more punch. Turning it anticlockwise reduces the mids, producing a more 'scooped' tone.


This adjusts the top-end. Turning it clockwise increases the amount of high frequencies (treble) present in the sound, making your guitar tone brighter. Note: The following four controls - PRESENCE (item 4), BASS (item 5), MIDDLE (item 6) & TREBLE (item 7) - are all shared, meaning that they all work on both Channel I and Channel II. They are highly interactive and altering one control can change the way the other two behave. For this reason, experimentation is recommended.


This controls the overall output level of Channel I, turning it clockwise increases the volume. This channel is voiced for a higher treble response than Channel II. Tonal Note 5: The value of the capacitor across Volume I is 0.005iF. This rather large value makes this channel aggressive and bright at relatively low settings. Many players bridge (see page 6 for details) Channels I and II (which has a darker, less aggressive tone) in order to have more control over their overall tone. Many earlier versions of the 1959 (from 1965 to 1967) used a 100pf capacitor across Volume I which gives a less aggressive sound at all volume levels less than 8.


This controls the overall output level of Channel II, turning it clockwise increases the volume level. This channel is voiced for a 'normal', flatter response and is labelled as the 'Normal' Channel in later versions of the 1959.


This is the 'high sensitivity' guitar input for Channel I - the brighter of the two channels - and is the most commonly used input. Always use a high quality screened guitar lead.

Marshall 1959HW Rear Panel Features:


WARNING! Never use the amplifier without a load attached! There are two parallel loudspeaker output jacks provided for connection to speaker extension cabinet(s). Please always ensure that the amplifier's output impedance selector is set correctly (see item 2) and ALWAYS ensure you use good quality speaker (unshielded) cables. NEVER use guitar (shielded) cables. Always use a non-screened Marshall approved speaker lead when connecting an extension cabinet to these units.


Matches the amplifier's output to the load (speaker) impedance. Your 1959HW should be completely powered down before the Output Impedance Selector is turned. As is the case with any Marshall all-valve amplifier it is imperative that: a) the amplifier is connected to a load whilst in operation and b) the impedance selected on the amplifier matches the total impedance of the extension speaker cabinet(s) being used. 1x16 Ohm cabinet - Selector on 16 Ohm Use either speaker output 2x16 Ohm cabinets - Selector on 8 Ohm Use both outputs 1x8 Ohm cabinet - Selector on 8 Ohm Use either output 2x8 Ohm cabinets - Selector on 4 Ohm Use both outputs 1x4 Ohm cabinet - Selector on 4 Ohm Use either output WARNING! Do NOT use any other combination of cabinets and/or impedances. Doing so may result in damage to the amplifier! An extension speaker cabinet with an impedance of less than 4 Ohms, or two extension cabinets of 4 Ohms or less should NOT be used with this amplifier. Failure to comply with any of the points raised in this section will result in damage to the amplifier.


Matches the amplifier's mains transformer to the incoming mains voltage. Your 1959HW should always be completely powered down before the mains selector is turned. WARNING! ALWAYS ensure that this rotary selector is set to the correct mains voltage applicable for the country where the 1959HW is being used. If you do not know, consult your authorized Marshall dealer. Adjusting the selector from 230V to 120/100V or vice-versa will require the mains fuse (item 5) to be changed to the correct value as detailed on the rear panel.


Your amp is provided with a detachable mains (power) lead, which is connected here. The specific mains input voltage rating that your amplifier has been built for is indicated on the back panel. Before connecting for the first time, please ensure that your amplifier is compatible with your electricity supply. If you have any doubt, please get advice from a qualified technician. Your Marshall dealer will help you in this respect.


The correct value of mains fuse is specified on the rear panel of the amplifier. NEVER attempt to bypass the fuse or fit one of the incorrect value.

6. H.T. FUSE

The correct value of this H.T. fuse is specified on the rear panel of the amplifier. NEVER attempt to bypass the fuse or fit one of the incorrect value.

Marshall 1959HW Specifications:

  • Output (RMS): 100 Watt
  • Pre-Amp Valves: 3 x ECC83
  • Power Amp Valves: 4 x EL34
  • Tube Rectifier: No
  • Footswitch (supplied): No
  • Dimensions (mm): 740 x 275 x 210 (approx. 29 x 11 x 8.3 inches)
  • Weight (kg): 22 (approx. 48.4 lbs.)

Buy Today & We'll Throw In The Following Free Gifts!

Free Deluxe 20FT Instrument Cable, Free Korg GA30 Tuner!

This is a limited time offer so please act quickly!

Get Your Marshall 1959HW Today!



"If you know the simple"

J Henderosn from Boca R., Fla US


Customer Rating:
The amp is costly but worth it to me. Sure you can find a "boutique style" amp that has bigger resistors and caps on the board and theyre are some great amps out there. Marshall has something special with this amp. They faithfully recreated the 69' circuit. By using the right "formula" with this amp i.e the right speaker type, the right tone trick i.e bridging the channels and the right 12ax7 or fuzz pedal youll be on your way to some very special sounds. It delivers plain and simple. A great amp IF you know how to run it.DOnt flip when you plug your strat into the high treble channel only and realize there is no bottom end . Guess what, You havent yet discovered the "Keys to the Castle". Spend some time with the amp, Use my Tone Tricks and advice on speaker/ pickup/ pedal type and youll glad you did!


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