Photo credit: shannon e. hall

Super Lead Superfans

Philip Snyder

56-year-old, Philip, started learning to play guitar when he was just 12 years old.  Living in the USA, Philip has been both a performing and recording guitarist as well as a songwriter since the mid-1980s; and a guitar teacher for 24 years up until recently. During his time as a musician he has had the great fortune to play and record with some wonderful and very talented musicians and have amassed a collection of guitars and amplifiers himself that he is grateful to own.

What’s in your Marshall collection?

I’ve got quite a few Marshall’s in my collection now

  • 1977 50w JMP 2-channel head full stack with 1973 Greenbacks and 1978 Blackbacks in the modern slant cab and Creambacks in the modern straight cab
  • 1980 50w JMP master volume head full stack with 1979 slant cab with G12-65s and modern straight cab with G12-75Ts
  • 1984 Lead 12 with Vintage 10
  • 1985 Lead 20 with Creamback
  • 1986 Master Lead Combo with Vintage 30
  • 1989 5210 with G12M-70
  • Origin 5w combo
  • Origin 50w head half stack with 1960A Classic slant cab loaded with Greenbacks

The 1980 JMP and 1979 slant cab have an interesting albeit unverifiable story.  Supposedly they were both 1980 NAMM display models and were sold by Jim Marshall on the final day of the show to a guy who owned a music store somewhere in the Midwest who took them back home and stored them away in road cases for decades before selling them to the collector that I bought them from.  They are both in factory mint condition and the head has never even had the tubes replaced.  I call them my "museum pieces" and they sound fantastic together.  I also have the speaker cable that was reportedly what the head and cab were connected with at NAMM and Jim supposedly gave it to the guy who bought them. I wish there was a receipt to prove this! It's a good story regardless!

Are you part of a wider Marshall or music community?

I've played in the local Charlotte, NC music scene since the mid-1980s and back in those days nearly everyone played Marshalls, so I guess that was a sort of community of guitar players who all loved Marshall.  I had a 1988 2550 head (black Jubilee) with a 1960AV cabinet at the time, and I remember getting a lot of compliments on how amazing that rig sounded. It was a fantastic amp and I wish I still had it.  These days there are fewer of us around here who believe you need to push air with big amps to get that feeling of power behind you, but I know some who still value and use various models of Marshalls.  For me that's what rock 'n roll is all about... the big energy. I don’t like the idea of using the in-ear technology because they isolate you from the room and the energy.  I want to feel the amp pushing me, and I can always depend on Marshall to deliver that.

What does Marshall mean to you?

It is the sound of rock 'n roll electric guitar that I hear in my head.  Any time that I have ever played through a different brand of amplifier I always try to get it to sound like a Marshall (to various degrees of failure).  Marshalls are the only amps that I am ever truly happy with.

What's your first memory of Marshall?

Seeing KISS on the Paul Lynde Halloween special in 1976.  That was my "Beatles on Ed Sullivan" moment, it changed everything for me.  The walls of Marshalls behind them were the perfect backdrop to the greatest thing I had ever seen or heard.  From that point on I was imprinted to believe that Marshall was the only amplifier that was good enough and I still believe that.

What was your first amp?

A terrible little Harmony solid state amp that I bought for $69 from Service Merchandise. I think it was about 1980 maybe. I was probably 13 or 14 years old and bought it with lawn mowing money.

I remember cutting out the Marshall logo from the cover of a product catalogue and gluing it to the grille cloth and wishing for the real thing. When the Lead 12 came out in 1983 I bought one almost immediately and I've been a Marshall player ever since.

photo credit: hannah lee

What made you choose Marshall?

Every band that I loved growing up played Marshalls.  They are synonymous with rock 'n roll.

Who is your favourite artist that plays a Marshall amp?

That's a tough one… there are so many, but KISS, AC/DC, and Randy Rhoads come to mind. I also love The Wildhearts who have always flown the full Marshall backline, as well as The Darkness.

If you could build your very own signature Marshall amp, what features and functions would you choose and why?

I like simple, uncomplicated amps.  I see the value in effects loops and channel switching, but I have never really needed those options.  I just want a good amp that does one thing better than any other amp.  It must be all tube/valve and have a master volume, and it must sound at its best with the tone stack dimed.  Loud, dynamic and full of tone.

What's your favourite amp?

The 50w 2204 JMP head... no question. In my opinion it was amplifier perfection. I compare all amps I use against it.  Clip the bright cap and let it roar!