(Updated 11th February 2010) Paul Rossiter
As with the case of echo units, determining which amplifier was used by the Shadows at any stage throughout their 50 years together is quite a challenge. This list has been put together from a number of sources, including photographs, films/videos, books and in particular The Vox Story by David Petersen and Dick Denney, and The Vox Book: the JMI Years by Jim Elyea , comments in magazines, comments of the various web sites devoted to Shadows matters and personal correspondence. Unlike the echo unit study, the voicing that characterises each of the amplifiers is not as easy to distinguish on recorded material, largely due to the many other influences that affect the tone, particularly microphone type and placement, studio compression and equalisation, and possibly even the actual guitar used. Some may claim to be able to distinguish between the different amplifier sounds on records, but there are similarly a number of references to listening tests which do not bear out such claims. Also, many of the dates associated with the early AC15's and AC30's that I have given here are at variance with some of the timelines inicated in The Vox Story by Petersen and Denney, and with some personal recollections. There have also been suggestions that The Shadows received prototype versions of some amplifiers and used them well in advance of their commercial release. In all cases I have just stuck to what is actually evident on the photographic and video/film record. I have also indicated some of the tunes that were recorded around the time that each particular unit was used as well as some of the sightings of the amplifiers used in performance. This is another contentious area as some argue that different amplifiers were used in the recording studios and in live performances, possibly due to the greater ease of transport of the lighter AC15 amplifiers and less need for volume in the studio. There have also been mentions of other brands of amplifier being occasionally used in the studio, such as a Fender Twin at Abbey Road in the 1960's and also possibly a Fender Deluxe Reverb. However, in the absence of any supporting evidence, most of those claims will have to remain in the realm of speculation. These tunes and songs are included as a possible talking (or debating!) point.
Finally, this list is almost certainly incomplete and I would welcome any additional information.
1. Prior to July 1959 Selmer Truvoice Stadium.
Selmers used on live recording of Cliff album Feb 1959.
2. July/Oct 1959
Jet purchased cream/brown AC15 (bolt-in chassis, 1st version circuit with 12AX7 input,
Goodmans Audiom 60).
Oct 1959: Bruce purchased AC15 (same as above).
Nov 1959: Hank purchased AC15 (same as above).
Jet and Bruce with new AC15's, while Hank still has his old Selmer.
Seen at May 9th Birmingham Town Hall, May 21st 1960 Cliff Richard Show.
Living Doll (July 1959), Voice in the Wilderness (Jan 1960), Please Don't Tease? (June 1960).
3. June 1960
Cream amplifiers exchanged for two-tone AC15 (2nd version circuit with EF86 input, Goodmans Audiom 60 loudspeaker)
Cliff Richard Show July 1960 with two tone AC15.
Frame from The Shadows 1960 promotional video for Apache, showing two tone AC15's.
The Shadows at Abbey Road recording Quatermassters Stores (the same date at which Apache was recorded) with two tone AC15 amplifiers.
Seen at May 1960 London Palladium, July 30th 1960 Cliff Richard Show July 1960 and (simulated recording), Oct 16th 1960, Saturday Night at the London Palladium.
Apache (17 June 1960), FBI (13 Sept 1960), Man of Mystery, The Stranger (7 Oct 1960), Gonzales (26/10/60).
Please Don't Tease (June 1960), Nine Times out of Ten (Sept 1960).
4. Sometime soon after Oct. 16th 1960
Swapped for 1st AC30/4 Twin (Fawn, TV front, Celestion Blue loudspeakers).
Christmas Pudding Show Dec 1960 with new TV front AC30/4's.
Cliff Richard Show Feb 1961 with AC30/4's.
Seen at Dec 31st 1960 Val Palmer Spectacular, Dec 1960 Christmas Pudding Show, Feb 23rd 1961 Cliff Richard Show,
March 2nd 1961 Cliff Richard Show, March 14th 1961 Cliff Richard Show.
Kon Tiki (27 Jan 1961), The Frightened City (18 Feb 1961), Blue Star (18 Feb 1961)
I Love You (Dec 1960), Theme for a Dream (Feb 1961)
5. Jan 16th 1961
South African Tour: Gibson amps on loan.
Live recording of Shazam, Sleepwalk, FBI and Guitar Boogie.
6. March 1961
2nd AC30/6 (Split front, smooth black covering, no gold piping, leather handles,
Top Boost add-on for Hank).
March 1962 Paris Olympia
March 5th NME Pollwinners Concert (Wembly), March 1961 Paris Olympia, March 1962 Paris Olympia.
But Jet used a TV front amp on April 27th 1961 Crackerjack.
Sleepwalk (20 April 1961), Wonderful Land (12 May 1961), The Savage, Peace Pipe (25 May 1961).
The Young Ones ( Jan 1962), Do You Want to Dance? ( May 1962).
7. May 1962
3rd AC30/6 (smooth black with gold piping, leather handles, add-on Top Boost).
1962 Vox advertisement.
Royal Variety Performance in 1962.
Used through to March 1963.
Atlantis (13 Dec 1962), Foot Tapper (8 Jan 1963).
It'll Be Me ( Aug 1962), Summer Holiday ( Feb 1963).
Two sets of amplifiers were apparently kept after 1962 (one for touring, one reserve)
and there was also some overlap with different versions. Also borrowed amps from
dealers for some overseas performances.
8. April 1963
4th AC30/6 (smooth black, piping, moulded SBU handles, add-in Top Boost).
The Shadows in Belgium in early 1964.
Seen at April 21st NME Pollwinners Concert.
Shindig (9 Aug 1963), Theme for Young Lovers (1 Nov 1963).
Start of Burns era: Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt (25 Feb 1964).
Lucky Lips (May 1963), I'm the Lonely One (Jan 1964).
9. April 1964
5th AC30/6 (black basket weave, top boost integral to chassis).
Also seen in May 1964 at Paris, 1964 tour of Germany.
On the Beach (June 1964).
10. mid 1964
6th AC30/6 (charcoal covering, plastic vents).
The Miracle (31 July 1964).
I Could Easily Fall in Love With You ( Nov 1964).
11. Late 1964
7th AC30/6 (black basket weave, grey control panel, grey Celestion loudspeaker).
The Shadows in 1965
Probably used up to breakup of the group in 1968.
In The Country ( Dec 1966).
The Marvin, Welch & Farrar era. Various post-Vox Jennings amplifiers.
Marvin, Welch & Farrar in Copenhagenin 1971 with Jennings ElectronicIndustries amplifiers.
Vox's and Mesa Boogie Mk 2c.
The Shadows in 1982 with Vox amplifiers.
Hank and Bruce usingMesa amplifiers at NEC Birmingham in 1986.
Matchelss DC30 and Matchless Clubman heads and cabs.
Possibly used on Marvin at the movies. Used on some tracks of the Cliff and the Shadows Reunited CD, EP and single along with a Vox AC30/6 (2008-9).
Hank's studio in 2009.
KCP amp used up to 2004 Final Tour.
KCP at the Final Tour 2004.
16. Also Pinnacle Amp used at beginning of European leg of 2004 final tour.
Peter Alden of EFTP (L) with Daniel Martin of the Foot Tappers (R) who now owns the Pinnacle amplifier.
JMI AC30/6 and AC30/6 top boost.
JMI's used on Cliff and The Shadows 50th Anniversary tour(photo courtesy John Miller).
Much of the above is drawn from The Vox Story by David Petersen and Dick Denney, and The Vox Book: the JMI Years by Jim Elyea. I also acknowledge the contributions of Charlie Hall, Peter Alden, Justin Daish, George Geddes, Alan Mckillop, Phil Kelly, Roger Alcock and Jim Nugent, via the Shadows chat sites. If I have left others off this list please let me know and I will be happy to add their names.
Also, if you have any corrections or additional material you would like me to add, please let me know.
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