The full range of Marshall’s top-secret, not-yet-released vintage stompbox reissues have been spotted online, with Pedal Pawn’s Chris King Robinson now in possession of all four pedals.
First it was the Blues Breaker, the low-gain overdrive pedal much-loved by John Mayer that sells for silly money online, and is great but nonetheless there is the suspicion that Mayer’s advocacy of the pedal goes someway to explain such inflationary phenomena in the vintage market.
The word on the digital grapevine was that more were to follow, and so it came to pass, with the newly minted Guv’Nor, Drive Master and Shred Master distortion pedals all turning up online.
As Robinson explained in a recent YouTube video on the Pedal Pawn channel [below], the German online gear retailer Thomann had listed some preorders for Marshall vintage reissues. Robinson did what any gear nut with the knowledge that a vintage MkI Blues Breaker costs about $600 or more would do: he added to cart.
Initially, Robinson was told the stock was on back order, but the pedal turned up, and he duly shot a quick demo video. This time he has them all. And still no official word from Marshall. As far back as a year ago, the British guitar amp company denied all knowledge that there were any pedals in the offing. Standard procedure for a product launch.
In the world of electric guitar, such high-profile launches are meticulously choreographed, just-in-time management meets ballet as the news dances en avant across social media and online retail partners, the media kept on a tight leash, et voila! Blammo! A shiny new thing. And then we have Marshall, and this shaggy dog story of the vintage pedal reissues.
No-one really knows what is going on, except to say that these ‘90s cult favorites are coming. That much seems inevitable. And they’ll be a heck of a lot cheaper than what you’d pay for a vintage model.
They will still be the same size, in the black metal enclosures that might have been better to slim down in recognition of today’s pedalboard over-population, and they offer a range of drive flavors that are technically vintage but have never been out of style.
The Guv’Nor and Drive Master are both voiced for the famous JCM800, and feature 3-band EQ stages. After all, it is only right that Marshall pioneered the Marshall-in-a-box drive pedal first. The main difference between both is that the Drive Master did not have the Guv’Nor’s effects loop. But if you’re in the market for a Judas Priest/Iron Maiden/Slayer-style distortion, either would serve you well. According to TonePedia, the working title for the Drive Master was “the Guv’Nor II”.
The Shred Master, meanwhile, despite the name, is perhaps most famous for Radiohead-style distortion, having found itself on the ‘boards of Messrs Greenwood and Yorke. Or for placing a reverb pedal in front of it for My Bloody Valentine tones if that’s your bag.
Of course, you could use it for shred, for more modern distortion, making use of the Contour dial to shape your sound.
The Blues Breaker is more aptly named. Think Beano, think Eric Clapton, think Continuum, think when will all this be available at a shop near you? Well, soon.
For a closer look, check out Pedal Pawn’s video at the top of the page. We’ll bring you official news from Marshall as and when we hear it.