Are Fender amps better than Marshall? Do Fender amps sound better in every genre? Are Fender amps more durable than Marshall amps? If you are a novice guitar player who’s curious about brands, then I believe you already have these two renowned companies. Fender and Marshall are considered two of the best guitar amplifier companies globally, so it isn’t easy to choose which is better.
So, when did these two companies start producing amplifiers?
Fender’s history can be traced to producing quality guitar amplifiers in 1946 when they introduced the original Princeton, Deluxe and Professional in the market. With over 75 years of making quality instruments and amplifiers, Fender has already produced numerous legendary guitar amplifiers that have been a staple in professional guitar players’ gears.
Many legendary guitar players prefer to have a Fender amplifier with them every time they perform live or record a song, like Eric Clapton, Brian Setzer, BB King, Jimmy Vaughan, Buddy Guy, etc. Most of their amplifiers have been used to record hit songs, which is why Fender has already established a name in the industry for its performance and durability.
On the other hand, Marshall is also one of the most trusted guitar amplifiers in the industry, and since its inception in 1962, its guitar amplifiers have already been a mainstay in the stages and studios of every guitar player. There is always a Marshall amplifier you can see in their stocks for every major music store.
Many legendary guitar players have been using Marshall amps throughout their careers, like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Slash, Angus Young, Joe Bonamassa, Jeff Beck, etc. Marshall amplifiers have been among the most sold guitar amplifiers in history, a testament to the brand’s quality.
Do Fender guitar amplifiers sound better than Marshall amplifiers?
When it comes to choosing which is better between the Fender guitar amps and Marshall amps, then it really depends on your preference as a guitar player.
If you want to have a clean sound from your guitar amplifier, then there is no better than the Fender guitar amplifiers. A Fender Stratocaster and any Fender guitar amplifiers are really the best combinations when it comes to a clean sound. Fender is widely known for its sparkly tone, which is really evident in all of its guitar amps.
Although Marshall amps are also decent when it comes to clean tones, it cannot really go against any Fender guitar amps. Their clean tones are emphasized more in the mid frequencies rather than their highs. Still, Marshall amps can still be used without any hitch, even if you use them for clean tones.
On the other hand, the Marshall amps are really the best in the business when it comes to distorted or crunch tones. Usually, Marshall amps have a high gain capacity, which is why they are really perfect for distorted and crunch tones. There is no wonder that every legendary rock band uses Marshall for their guitar amplifiers.
Fender guitar amps can also produce great overdrive and crunch tones, although they cannot really match what every Marshall amp can offer. Fender guitar amps are known for having a lot of headroom, which is why you still need to crank the volume up before you can get an overdrive tone from it. This is why they are perfect for clean tones and not for overdrive tones.
Do Fender Amps Perform Better In Different Genres Compared To Marshall Amps?
When it comes to different genres like rock, metal, blues, jazz, and many more, Fender and Marshall amps have always been used by different guitar players, but there is really no clear-cut choice when it comes to which is the better brand overall.
There is only one clear winner between the two for the rock genre, and it is the Marshall amps. Marshall amps are really known for their contribution to rock music. A high percentage of legendary rock guitar players use a Marshall guitar amp, as it has been a mainstay amp throughout the years.
One of their most renowned guitar amplifiers, the Marshall JTM45, was introduced into the market as a cheaper alternative for the more expensive Fender Bassman. The guitar amplifier produces a distinctive “British sound,” which is a loud, bright, and crunchy tone.
The Marshall JTM45 was frequently used by Pete Townsend and Eric Clapton early in their careers. Eric Clapton preferred the combo version of the JTM45, also known as the Bluesbreaker. The Marshall JTM45 has become an iconic amplifier for rock throughout the years.
Another guitar amplifier made by Marshall that rock guitar players frequently use is the Marshall 1959 Super Lead Plexi. With Pete Townsend not satisfied with his old Marshall amplifier, they created the Plexi to satisfy his desires, and the result exceeded what Pete had in his mind. The guitar amplifier turned out to have a more aggressive tone than what he had imagined.
The Marshall 1959 Super Lead Plexi was frequently used by Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page, which really helped popularize the guitar amplifier to another level. The word “Plexi” refers to the plexiglass panel that is in the front and back faceplates of the guitar amplifier.
On the other hand, Fender also has guitar amplifiers that are used by professional guitar players playing the rock genre. The Fender Bassman is one of the best options for a Fender amp in a rock genre situation. Jimi Hendrix also used the guitar amp in some of his performances and recordings.
For Jazz, it is clear that the Fender guitar amps are the winner against the Marshall guitar amps, as they have a more clean and bright sound compared to the Marshall amps.
One of the Fender’s guitar amps that jazz guitarists adore is the Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb. It is a tube guitar amplifier that is able to produce a clean and articulate sound even when the volume is cranked up.
Another guitar amp from Fender that makes the list is the Fender George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe. When you speak of George Benson, it is synonymous with the jazz guitar. The guitar amplifier is really perfect for jazz playing as it has a warm but clear tone, even in loud volumes.
It isn’t easy to find a proper guitar amplifier from Marshall that you can use for jazz as they are really made for rock and hard metal. However, you can still use Marshall amps for jazz music if you know to tweak the equalizer of the amp. If you know how to deal with such things, then I believe you can still sound good.
Although many guitar players use Marshall guitar amps for blues, Fender still has the upper hand on this one.
One of the most iconic figures in the guitar industry, BB King, who is also known as the “King of the Blues,” uses a Fender ’65 Twin Reverb as one of his mainstay amplifiers. This is a testament to how perfect this amp is for blues playing.
Another guitar amplifier from Fender that is great for blues playing is the Fender Deluxe Twin Reverb. It has a warm tone that is needed for playing blues but still maintains its clarity, even at a high volume.
On the other hand, Marshall has its own “Bluesbreaker,” which is based on a Marshall JTM45. The guitar amplifier was frequently used by the “guitar god” himself, Mr. Eric Clapton when he was still a young guitar player.
Overall, are Fender amps better than Marshall? It really depends on what you prefer. As a guitar player myself, I like to play with a clean tone, so I really love Fender amps. The only thing that I really like with any Fender amps is that they are versatile enough that you can use them in any genre.