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Marshall Major

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by gwx014, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. gwx014


    Dec 22, 2005
    I've seen a couple Marshall Majors from the 70's on the internet lately and was wondering if any one has one and can tell me a little bit of what they are like.

  2. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    They're heavy...what else do you want to know?
  3. 8mmOD


    Mar 20, 2005
    I endorse & use Tech 21 pedals, Eminence loaded cabs, EMG pickups, Jim Dunlop picks & Ernie Ball Strings, BC Rich Basses.
    i think they are the 200 watt version of the old super bass heads and i hear techs are a scared to work on them for fear of death from the high voltage! muwahhahahaha :eyebrow: :eek:
  4. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    You forgot to mention they're expensive too. :D

    But I like any thread about Marshall for bass. If you want to hear what they sound like, I believe John Wetton was using them on the King Crimson "USA" album recorded live in '75. F888ing killer crunch and distortion. Or pick up a used amp modeler on the cheap and try the simulated Major model.

    Have fun!
  5. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    That is correct... They had to be run with KT88s (four of them) and didn't seem to like 6550s too much (or would eat same alive).

    Unfortunately, I sold mine back in about 1981...and still regret it from time to time. I paid a whopping $250 (or maybe just $200) in the late '70s and sold it for about $300 a few years later...drat!!!

    Coupled with my EV SRO loaded 2x15, it was a monster...although I really wanted a pair of Marshall 4x15s to put under it.

    I never thought the models of the Major (Line6 or Korg) sounded as good as the real thing...but there was more than 20 years between listening opportunities.
  6. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    Signing on for the read. I really, really dig old amps.
  7. Matt H

    Matt H

    Jul 30, 2005
    Ithaca, NY
    actually- they don't resemblt he super-bass circuit all that much... they're pretty much their own beast of the marshall lineup. neat amps!!!
  8. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I'm pretty sure Wetton used Hiwatts for the most part.
  9. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    go to plexi palace and Dawks site. They are a marshall pre with a hifi type power section capable of extreme volume cleanly. Mostly mids though. P-bass 57 reissue through a SWR Goliath III I almost went deaf.
  10. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I hope that you're not confusing the Major with the "Pig"... The Pig had active tone controls, a narrow control panel etc... The Major was a deep box "Super" style head with control layout, passive EQ and circuit design similar to the 50 and 100 watt EL-34 heads, etc. I believe that the power amp did use an Ultralinear output transformer though...

    FWIW, Ritchie Blackmore used them for guitar in Deep Purple!!!
  11. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    I thought the "pig" was just the nickname for the Major. :confused:
  12. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Marshal also made a 4x15 cab to accompany it :oops:.


    Pic (confusingly pictured with a Les Paul but this is your cab)


    Btw, along with the Silver Jubilee head and some others, John Frusciante puts his guitar through one of these.
  13. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    The Pig was the nickname of the Marshall 200, the first 200 watt head and it was built only in 1967. According to Michael Doyle's book "The history of Marshall", the 200 watt heads were redesigned in 1968 to look more like the rest of the Marshall amp range..."two channels, four inputs, passive tone controls". And "It wasn't until the second series of amps were introduced that the name Marshall Major was used."

    The photo of the Marshall 200 (The Pig) shows two input jacks, three knobs (Volume and active Bass and Treble) and one switch.

    The Marshall Major was made from 1968 until 1974. Until I read through Doyle's book, I never realized that there were actually two Majors...the Model 1967 intended for "lead" and the Model 1978 intended for "bass". I've since looked at the schematics and could only find a difference in one or two components in the preamp.

    Yes AJ*, they made both straight and angled 4x15s. The stacked 4x15s alone were as tall as a full 4x12 stack (head and two cabinets). I can't imagine hoisting that 80+ pound head up over 6 feet in the air to sit on top of the angled cabinet...and how wobbly that monster would be!
  14. Matt H

    Matt H

    Jul 30, 2005
    Ithaca, NY

    vs the superbass

    sorry- other than having two paralled input stages feeding into a common third stage- the amps are VERY different...

    on the major- the tonestack (no different in and of itself) is also plate driven- not CF buffered.

    on the major- nfb loop is fed into cathode of second pre stage- not PI fed into the tail a la standard "presence" circuits.

    PI circuitry entirely difference (operating points, frequency response, gain).

    then there's the output stage, which has other differences than just "it runs UL"

    long story short, you've got
    1) different preamp voicing (though similar basic gain structure, but only on an entirely superficial level)

    2a) different tone controls (sure, same values- but when you change the source impedance by a factor of roughly 10, you do SERIOUS things to how those "same" tone controls react... not to mention the huge difference in insert loss between the two)

    2b) injection of NFB is entirely different. When combined with 2a- you GREATLY reduce the distortion AND changed frequency response of the entire preamp.

    3) different PI. the major is running low voltage gain high current gain- total opposite of the super bass.

    4) different power amp- UL is the beginning, don't forget influence of tube type and necessary drive requirements.

    5) different power supply- yes, those big scary capacitors do things that affect bandwidth and power output.

    not to mention necessary changes in transformers and how those effect tone, volume, headroom, clarity...

    I'm sorry, they're completely different amps. anyone who says otherwise is quoting wrong information because they don't know how to read schematics, doesn't know the difference because they know nothing about electronics, or is just flat out lying- why? good question.

    you've got one amp that's going to be "dirty even for 100w" vs an amp that's "going to be clean- even for 200w".

    different beasts entirely.

    (edited for some silly typos, i'm sure there are more... edited again for a few more typos and brief addition to clarify)
  15. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I used a Major for a couple years back in the 70's for the lower end of a biamp rig. I loved it...until the output transformer went & there were no replacements in sight.

    I still have my old 100W Marshall for high end, though.:)

    Mine had KT88s in it. It pushed a pair of 15"s without breaking a sweat.
  16. The 4x15 cabs were for the BASS Major, a 400 watt amp that used EIGHT KT88's and is VERY rare. There were two models, both loaded with Guass speakers, a slant front and a straight front. I have one of the slant front cabs.
  17. gravaged


    Dec 9, 2005
    :eek: 4x15s? I didn't know such existed. I will have them.
  18. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD
    Dude, you have no idea how much I freakin' envy you. :spit::bawl:
  19. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    A 400 watt tube Marshall??? Wow, that's a new one. I'd heard of the HiWatt, but never a Marshall. Wonder why Doyle didn't mention it?

    The inside photos that I've seen of Marshall 4x15s had Celestions...4 15 in. Gauss would have made for one HEAVY cabinet!!

    On that note...anyone have pictures of the 4x15 custome built Altec loaded cabinets that Tim Bogert used with BBA and Cactus?
  20. The 0x

    The 0x

    Aug 24, 2003
    Timonium, MD

    I had a dream about this amp once.... it was such a loud dream that when I woke up, my ears were ringing more than usual.