100 for 100

part 1

Posted: 28th March 2023

Our history is built on alternative music created by artists. Without these genre defining guitarists pushing the boundaries of what can be done, welding a wall of Marshall amps behind them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

As we celebrate Jim Marshall's 100th birthday we’re showcasing 100 artists, 10 a month for the rest of the year. Artists, who have made the music scene what it is today, breaking through defiantly into the industry that Jim helped shape.

Read time: 8 mins

lita ford

Born in London, England, legendary guitarist Lita Ford began playing aged 11 after being inspired by Ritchie Blackmore’s playing in Deep Purple. In 1975, aged only sixteen Lita was recruited by Kim Foley to join the all-female rock band The Runaways. The band soon secured a recording contract and released their first album in 1976. The band quickly gained significant media attention and the Runaways became a successful recording and touring act during their late-1970s heyday. 

Following her success with The Runaways, Lita decided that she wanted to have just as much success with a solo career which reached its peak in the late 1980’s. Her 1989 duet with Ozzy Osbourne single ‘Close my eyes forever’ remains Ford's most successful song, reaching number 8 in the US Billboard Hot 100.

Being one of the first women in a male dominated scene wasn’t the only thing that made Lita stand out. Her choice in guitar and amplifiers always gave her a signature tone that everyone was hooked on. She always used a Kahler and favoured a classic ’80s Marshall tone with plenty of preamp gain.

aaron forbes

Session guitarist Aaron Forbes started out by playing guitar in church. After discovering his love of guitar, he kicked off his professional career by playing with Funky House legend Donae’o in 2011. Aaron’s talent has meant that he has since gone on to work with Fuse ODG, Mabel, Dave, Stefflon Don, Jonas Blue, Not3s, Madison Beer and Liam Payne.

During his career Aaron has also taught guitar and has created his own online courses too to help all kinds of people pick up the guitar. He even went on to start his own music school in Essex, which he ran successfully for three years, teaching and inspiring other musicians.

jeff beck

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Jeff Beck rose to prominence as a member of the rock band The Yardbirds. After his time in The Yardbirds, Jeff founded and fronted The Jeff Beck Group - which consisted of Jeff Beck on guitar, Rod Stewart on vocals and Ronnie Wood playing rhythm guitar. Jeff Beck was also a part of Beck, Bogert & Appice consisting of bassist Tim Bogert, drummer Carmine Appice and of course, Jeff Beck.

Jeff Beck’s playing style is legendary, constantly switching from blues to jazz-fusion to metal (and more!) throughout his career. He is well known for his technical prowess combined with his true perfectionism.

Although he was a phenomenal player already, after ditching the plectrum and picking up the Stratocaster the iconic Beck techniques appeared. Alongside incredible left-hand techniques, using minor pentatonic and mixolydian modes, one of these techniques is how Beck would use ‘scoops and drops’, hitting the whammy bar immediately to give the note a slightly out of tune pitch - A very advanced technique to perform whilst fingerpicking. 

He’d shake the whammy bar and aggressively ‘throw’  it upwards, creating a unique harmonic, fluttering, screaming sound. Jeff would typically set the tremolo floating high, meaning he can pull the whammy bar up and down.

jake kiszka

Jake Kiszka is one of the two brothers that founded the American Rock band Greta Van Fleet. Jake’s love of music started from a very young age, and he would often play with his dad’s musical instruments. By the time he was three years old he had started to play the guitar and by the age of nine had started to play alongside his twin brother Josh. The Kiskza brothers went on to form Greta Van Fleet in high school in 2012 when they were just 16 years old. 

Jake has credited the likes of Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page for his playing influences and musical style.

john 5

American guitarist John 5 is the stage name given to John William Lowery. He gained this stage name after leaving David Lee Roth’s Solo band and joining Marilyn Manson as the guitarist in his band. John 5 started playing guitar at the age of seven years old and began his career as a session guitarist ten years later when he moved to L.A. 

He has performed with the likes of David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and more recently joining Motley Crüe. John 5 has also had an extensive solo career spanning over ten albums and has championed Marshall Amps and Cabs for many years.

John 5 once gave a very handy tip to all levels of guitarists “You can get good advice from anybody. The fountain of information should never, ever stop.”. This advice is something you can hear throughout his own playing, there are always surprises to be found whether it’s new licks, solos or techniques, John 5 loves to show off his range of skills in his playing.


Image Credit: John 5 at the Rickshaw Theatre, CC BY-SA 4.0, Tyrel Snowdenvia Wikimedia Commons

laura mary-carter

The exciting alt-rock duo, hailing from Brighton, Blood Red Shoes burst onto the scene when they released their debut single in 2005. Their sudden surge in popularity saw them play alongside Biffy Clyro, Maximo Park and Panic! at the Disco as well performing their own headline tours. 

Laura spoke about one of the defining moments in her career, hearing ‘Live through this’ by Hole. She said that the first time she heard this record, it really did change everything for her. It made her want to pick up guitar, and it gave her that moment of clarity where she knew that this is what she wanted to do with my life.

peggy jones

Peggy Jones’ music career started in 1956 when she joined a small local doo-wop group called The Bop Chords, who ended up separating in 1957. Following the separation of The Bop Chords, Jones joined the group she is most famous for – Bo Diddley’s band. It was in this band that she began to form her path as a guitar hero as she took on the role of both rhythm guitar and singer.

By the time the 60’s came around Peggy decided that it was time to focus on her solo career and in 1961 left Bo Diddley’s to focus on her solo career with The Jewels. They went on to become a big top R&B band in New York and Boston’s club scene throughout the 60’s, before finally re-joining Bo Diddley’s in 1970 bringing The Jewels with her.

Peggy Jones’ playing style is highly influenced by Bo Diddley and the unique sound he tried creating using innovative technologies. Bo Diddley also taught Jones all about open tuning and how by tuning your guitar slightly away from your standard tuning, you can create a whole new range of sounds. Peggy’s distinctive sound has been created due to her experimental attitude towards new effects pedals and guitars, to create new and innovative sounds.

dan hawkins

Alongside his older brother, Justin, Dan Hawkins plays an integral role in the instantly recognisable sound of The Darkness. Successful singles such as ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ and ‘Love is Only a Feeling’ earned their debut album three Brit Awards and a quadruple platinum certification. 

In 2006 The Darkness decided to take a break, during this time, Dan formed Stone Gods with some of his former bandmates. Following the reunion of The Darkness in 2011, the band toured with Lady Gaga and rocked the stage at Download and Sweden Rock Festival.

Whenever Dan was asked who had influenced The Darkness’ sound, he said they had always taken inspiration from bands like Queen and ABBA who each had their own style and unique sound.

kerry king

When you think of thrash metal there’s one band that stands out from all the rest: Slayer. Founded by Kerry King and the late Jeff Hanneman, Slayer have defied the odds for a non-mainstream band, winning Grammy Awards, charting high and even performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live.  

Having rocked the stage for many years including performances at Download, Rock Am Ring, Sonsiphere and many more, Slayer embarked on a final farewell tour in 2018.

If you distil Slayer’s iconic sound down to the bare bones it’s Kerry King’s JCM800 2203 roar that’s at the heart of everything, and in particular the sound of King’s favourite 2203 head, which he nicknamed “the Beast”. What separates the Beast from most JCM800 2203 models is a distinctive EQ at the front end that boosts the mids, along with a very adept noise gate. This is key to creating pockets of silence that emphasise the brutality of King’s playing.

gina gleason

Growing up in Philadelphia, Gina grew up with a love and passion for music. Specifically, the guitar, which she fell in love with when she began playing at age 14. 

Gina first met John Baizley from Baroness after she purchased a fuzz pedal online in 2016. After noticing it was Gina who bought the pedal John reached out to her and invited her to jam and test out the particular pedal. The pair bonded over their love of guitar music and stayed in touch. Shortly after guitarist Peter Adams left the band in 2017, John reached out to Gina and asked her to fill the space in Baroness. 

Since joining the band, she has been credited as a contributor to multiple tracks on Baroness’s 2019 Gold & Grey album. She admits that the writing came naturally and with lots of contributions from members of the group.