Gear that gave Whitesnake its bite goes up for auction

An auctioneer with a Marshall amp
An auctioneer with a Marshall amp
2:45am, Sun 15 Nov 2020
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The guitarist behind rock band Whitesnake’s biggest hits is selling a lifetime’s collection of Marshall guitar amplifiers and speakers.

Bernie Marsden, who founded the band with former Deep Purple vocalist David Coverdale, is selling much of his collection of amplifiers and speakers, including models he used onstage with Whitesnake during the 1980s.

The gear has been stored in a lock-up on a farm close to Marsden’s Buckinghamshire home.

Rock guitarist Bernie Marsden is selling some of his Whitesnake gear at auction (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

The 80 lots include amplifiers, speakers, guitar synthesisers, effects pedals and other equipment, and they will go under the hammer at Gardiner Houlgate in Corsham, Wiltshire, on December 10.

Also included is a four-piece drum kit built for legendary British rock drummer Cozy Powell, who died tragically in 1998. Powell was best man at Marsden’s wedding.

Before becoming a professional musician, Marsden worked as a trainee hairdresser in Bletchley in a salon around the corner from a store owned by Jim Marshall, creator of the iconic British Marshall amplifier.

Auctioneer Luke Hobbs with Bernie Marsden amp and speaker (Gardiner Houlgate/PA)

It was whiling away his lunch hours in Marshall’s store that confirmed Marsden’s passion for guitars and music was stronger than it was for washing hair.

Now aged 69, Marsden is selling much of his equipment so that other guitarists can use it, or fans can buy a memento.

He said that 2020 has been “a strange year, but it’s given me time to realise that I have a lot of now completely unused quality equipment”.

“This gear has done me proud but it’s time to pass it on to someone else.”

Whitesnake formed in 1978 and the band had major international hits in the 1980s with Here I Go Again and Fool For Your Loving, both of which Marsden co-wrote.

A receipt Marsden kept after buying equipment from Jim Marshall's amplifier shop (Gardiner Houlgate/PA)

Auctioneer Luke Hobbs said: “This is the most significant Whitesnake memorabilia to come to market.

“We’re expecting lots of international interest, particularly from the US where the band reached number one.”

A percentage of the proceeds is being donated by Marsden to food bank charity The Trussell Trust and homelessness charity Crisis.

During his career, in addition to Whitesnake, Marsden has played guitar with many acts including UFO, Elkie Brooks, Cozy Powell, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, plus Jon Lord and Ian Paice of Deep Purple in the band PAL

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