The letter B was skipped because the letter A was used for 18 months and the letters I, O and Q were also skipped to avoid any confusion being mistaken for numbers.The serial number on a Marshall amp is usually located on the back panel of the chassis but some amplifiers made between 19 had the number on the front panel.This (a)(b)(c) sequence began in 1969 and was valid through 1983.
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Other sources to date your amp may include serial numbers and overall look and visual components on the amp as well.
For example, the logo on the amp or materials used during a certain time period of production.
This is the reason why Marshalls of this early era (up to 1968) are known as “Plexis”.
The sound of this amplifier is “creamy” and “warm”. This amp is more suited for blues players, with a smoother sound.
The switch from 6L6 to the KT66 valve gave Marshall amps a more aggressive tone.
Eventually the KT66 became too expensive causing the jump to EL34 and even more aggression. [Source: Wikipedia] Dating Marshall cabs and amps Info from Wayback Machine Serial number (no barcode) version: Marshall Serial Numbers and Chassis Codes Does it have a serial number stamped on the chassis?
Post a link of the desired amp on the “Ebay Watch Post”, so we can help analyzing it. I’ll concentrate on “how they sound”, “how they look like” and also “how to tell them apart”. It was made as a head and as a combo (known as the “Bluesbreaker” combo).
In this article, I’ll try to cover the more “desirable” Marshall amps that were built since 1962 up to the JCM800 series, wich most consider to be the “last” great Marshalls produced (That until Marshall released the Vintage Modern series. I will also try to give examples of where they were used.. I hope you like it These are just a few of the thousands of codes that Marshall came up with for their amps. There were many cosmetic changes on the first years until it finally got the “Classic Marshall Look” by 1964.
Note: "A" Date Code: The "A" Date Code ran for 18 months (July 1969 - December 1970) so the "B" Code was not used.
1979-1981: Some Marshalls made from 1979 to 1981 have the serial number on the front panel.
Before starting, I must warn you that acquiring vintage gear can be really risky.