Jimmy Page’s 1969 Marshall Super Bass Amplifier
Jimmy Page started using Marshall amps around March 1969. In those days he would use them together with an Arbiter ‘Power One Hundred’ or a Vox UL-4120. Then for a while, the Marshalls disappeared and then appeared again in early 1971, when one of them was used alongside the Hiwatt Custom 100. By late 1971/early 1972 the Hiwatt was gone and the Marshalls became Jimmy’s main amps, and he used them live until the end of Led Zeppelin.
As far as studio usage, according to Jimmy, one of the first songs he recorded on the Marshall was “Heartbreaker”, which was recorded sometime in mid-1969. Going from this, it’s possible that the Marshalls ended up on other songs from the Led Zeppelin II, but no conclusive info on this is available.
The Marshalls were however most likely used on the rest of Led Zeppelin albums, although of course not exclusively.
Super Lead or Super Bass?
Although it was commonly believed that Jimmy used Super Leads amps exclusively with Led Zeppelin, the recent exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum revealed that he actually used a modded Super Bass and two 1959 Super Leads.
Also based on this new information, the Super Bass was Jimmy’s main recording and live amp, and it was the one that was modified by Tony Franks, while the SLPs were his secondary ones. This Super Bass also has a serial number SB/A 10053, which according to some sources leads back to Hendrix, and the suffix “/A” means that this was a 200W variant.
According to Page himself, his Marshalls were modified to some extent by Tony Franks. Based on the info in the section above, this was his Marshall Super Bass, but based on his wording, it sounds like Tony modified more than just one amp.
Marshall 100’s which are customized by Tony Franks in New York (he customized Hendrix’s amps too actually) so they’re about 200 watts, KL88s, or whatever they call them.Jimmy Page – Guitar Player interview, 1977
This quote from Jimmy together with what was revealed at the Metropolitan Museum also makes this whole thing a lot more confusing. The Super Bass that was modified by Tony Franks is a 200W variant, so there would be no need to modify that amp in order for it to become a 200W amp. Maybe all that was moded was just changing the tubes with KT88s.
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