Featured Amp: The German Unification Amp

Don’t be fooled, what you’re looking at is not a Marshall JMP 100. But what do you do if you can’t buy one in your country? You build it yourself of course.

From 1949 until 1990 Germany was divided into East and West, famously by the Berlin Wall. During this time it wasn’t possible to buy western products like a Marshall amplifier in East Germany.

Amidst this time of separation, born of determination and ingenuity, this beautiful amp was built by a resident of East Germany. Without parts or schematic, the task would prove difficult as, at the time, it was forbidden to send technical plans, specifications or print media to East Germany. He would need the help of his Grandmother in West Germany — she had an idea.

His Grandmother baked the amplifier plans into a cake and sent it to the ambitious builder as a Christmas present.

His Grandmother baked the amplifier plans into a cake and sent it to the ambitious builder as a Christmas present. Now he had the plans, but no parts.

He set to sourcing what he needed in East Germany and Russia. The knobs are from a toaster, the tubes from the army and the transformers from a radio station. The final touch being a hand cut Marshall logo.

This amp is still functional today and is reported to sound quite good. A fitting piece for the collection of the Marshall Amp Museum in Reckershausen, Germany where it now resides.

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Thank-you to Siegbert Merker, the founder of the the Marshall Amp Museum, for bringing this amazing amp and its story to our attention.

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