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In 2012, however, another plaque went up on the wall of 76 Uxbridge Road, Hanwell, west London.It wasn’t blue, but black, and it was placed on a site very much connected to the legacy not only of Hendrix but of thousands of other artists as well.– was tested one Sunday night at nearby music venue The Ealing Club by a local group of musicians who always gave useful feedback when it came to the all-important matter of the sound.Underwood says he remembers the line-up of the band on the first test date – future Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell (who was either employed or just about to be employed by Jim Marshall as a ‘Saturday boy’ in the shop), Dave Golding on sax, Kenny Rankin on bass and Jimmy Royal on lead and vocals. and there are other versions of the story too – such as the testimony of Ken Flett, who joined the Marshall operation in 1963.Findlay performed in an advisory role but didn’t want to be officially involved. It does seem that Bran and Craven worked together on the all-important technical side of the first amps; Ken Underwood himself took part slightly later, from early ’63 to late ’63, helping out on mounting the main mechanical components to the chassis.Marshall lore has it that the first ‘complete’ Marshall amp, the famous bare chassis, was demonstrated in the shop at number 76 in the autumn of 1962, where it caused a sensation – plus a flood, according to Jim, of 20 or more immediate orders – and was sold to Pete Townshend.
Terry Marshall has also said that he was present at the first trial of the prototype amp, that he was playing sax in the Ealing Club band, and that he also remembers the guitars that were used that day… The very first amplifiers – a run of six, most parties agree – were not built on Marshall premises, since at number 76, the tiny shop with a counter down one side and drums piled on shelves to save space, there was simply no room.Regular Marshall customers such as session player Big Jim Sullivan, the Tremoloes’ Brian Poole and youngsters like the High Numbers’ Pete Townshend were all in agreement: an amp like a Fender, but cheaper, with guts, would sell very well indeed.No doubt, Jim’s astute business brain must have thought of the success of Tom Jennings’ Vox company, situated a few miles down the Thames on the other side of London.Instead, they were assembled in the builders’ sheds at home, and – according to Underwood – sold by Marshall through the shop on a commission basis.And then Jim Marshall astutely took control, employing Dudley Craven and Ken Bran officially on the amp-building side, adding his own name, selling the new ‘Marshall’ amps exclusively through his shop and taking control over the cabinet-building and all the vinyl work in the rear of a new, larger premises just across the road, at number 97.