THE HISTORY OF 1974
The untold story of the ultimate 18 watt superstar
Posted 9 July 2019
Posted 9 July 2019
Everyone remembers the 60’s as the decade that Marshall made things louder but that’s not the only way we were pushing boundaries. Determined to improve upon the existing 15W amp market, we began developing our own low powered amps. In 1965, our vision became a reality with the release of three new 18W amps. The 1958, 1973 and 1974, with their exquisite hand-wiring, were about to shake up the scene for studio players.
Almost a Bluesbreaker in miniature, the 1974 featured a grey and white pinstripe fret cloth, white piping and a white script logo. There were two channels, each with 2 inputs, tremolo and a footswitch. But as with all amps, it was inside the chassis where the magic was happening. The combo was powered by three ECC83 preamp valves and two EL84 output valves with an EZ81 rectifier. 12” Celestion speakers provided a characteristic rich sound that was perfect for studio use.
However, all these great features came at a price and in 1968 the original three models were replaced by 20W amps without the EZ81 rectifier, making them less expensive to manufacture. The 20W 1974 featured very similar styling to its predecessor but internally featured two ECC83 preamp valves, two EL84 output valves and a solid state rectifier. Marketing campaigns shifted to focus on the newer 20W heads and by the early 70’s the whole series was phased out.
After three decades off the market, the 1974 was resurrected in 2004 as part of a handwired reissue series announced at Summer NAMM. Named the 1974X, the reissue was designed to remain as faithful to the original as possible, with a few modern additions for player satisfaction. Special care was also taken to create an aged effect on the Celestion Greenback speakers.
Since its return the 1974X has been adopted by Angus Young (AC/DC), Josh McClorey (The Strypes), Will Farquarson (Bastille) and Winston Marshall (Mumford & Sons).