UPDATE, November 10, 2023: After sharing news of a collaboration with Magnatone, Slash clarified the matter, explaining that he’s not parting ways with Marshall. His full statement reads:
“To clear up any misconceptions that might arise, although Magnatone and I have been working together to create a new Amp, I still maintain my long relationship with Marshall and look forward to continued collaboration with their incredible team.”
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A Les Paul straight into a Marshall stack is the ultimate combo to many. However, one of the biggest names to go down this path has announced that he’s parting ways with Marshall amps. Guns N’ Roses legend Slash will now be going with Magnatone amps instead.
After about three decades with Marshall, Slash is now getting his very own signature model with Magnatone, reports Guitar World. This comes along with a statement that casually reveals that he’s doing something in the studio as well, but that’s probably best left for some other occasion. So far, he admits that he was impressed by the brand’s M-80 amplifier and that he’s started working with them on a signature 100-watt model. The guitarist explained:
“I used a Magnatone 50-watt M-80 in the studio earlier this year and was blown away by how it sounded. Since then, I’ve been working with Magnatone on a 100-watt version of the M-80 and I absolutely love what they have come up with. It’s killer.”
While Magnatone is not as huge as Marshall in terms of widespread popularity, the company was held in high regard among guitar players and was considered to be one of the “boutique” manufacturers. Of course, the original company was started back in the late 1930s and ended its life sometime in the 1970s.
The revival came in 2013 when former Ampeg worker Ted Kornblum took it over, bringing in a line of six models. Apart from ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, other artists who used the amp include Lonnie Mack and Neil Young. Slash now makes history and joins them as well.
Ted himself also shared a statement welcoming the Guns N’ Roses legend:
“We are thrilled to welcome Slash to Magnatone and with his signature tone and style, our Master Collection of models will be taken to the next level.”
The company’s manager, Rod Washburn, is also thrilled, admitting that they “could not be more excited that Slash embraced our quality engineering and commitment to tone excellence as the platform for designing his next generation of Signature amplifiers.”
So far, there’s still no confirmation on when we can expect this amplifier to drop. We’re left with nothing but to speculate. In many ways, this won’t be much of a departure from his tone, since Magnatone is also the traditional British-sounding amp. M-80 has EL34 tubes in the power amp section, which is the same as what he had in 2555X Silver Jubilee and his signature Marshall model JCM 2555SL, as well as the AFD100 amp.
What must be rough for Marshall at the moment is the fact that Slash was the brand’s first-ever signature artist. This announcement comes not long after Marshall’s new CEO Jeremy De Maillard, shared a few optimistic statements in an interview with The Times (via Guitar World).
The company was acquired by Swedish audio giant Zound earlier this year, and despite this takeover, Maillard reveals that Marshall kept UK-based workers and they’re planning to bring in more people. Speaking of the brand’s future, he said:
“A lot of times, these acquisitions [involve] cost-cutting. Here, it’s completely complementary, there’s almost no overlap and, where there is, it’s something we need to grow.”
He also added:
“Manufacturing is the heartbeat of the company. When you walk through [Bletchley, the UK town where their factory is located], you see people who have been here for 35 years. The craftsmanship is so nice and so powerful. We need to do more here, to enhance the legacy.”
Speaking more of the matter, Maillard reflected on the company’s $360 million market share in the industry. Although impressive, he’s very optimistic about his plans to take it a few steps further and achieve three-percent market share of an otherwise $100 billion industry. He explains:
“We are in a $100 billion industry,” says De Maillard. “We have less than one percent and we are Marshall. We can fairly quickly become a $3 billion company and that will only be three percent.”
“We are one of the very few global iconic brands that is widely known and attached to a certain aspect of culture. It sounds ambitious, but with the brand that we have, I have no concern about us becoming a multibillion-dollar company.”
Jeremy has been with Marshall since 2020. Before that, he wasn’t really in the guitar business, although his resumé is still impressive — Global Vice President for Adidas and Vice President for VF Corporation. Sure, the apparel industry may not be the same as the guitar gear industry, but he’s there to lead Marshall, not play guitars. Whether this approach will help them achieve the $3 billion market share that they’re aiming for remains to be seen.