Two guitarists have the ultimate 4th July cookout as they crank two Marshall stacks in an empty warehouse and let rip with The Star-Spangled Banner

Weekend Warrior Creative Lab demo two Marshall stacks in empty warehouse
(Image credit: YouTube/Weekend Warrior Creative Lab)

There are all kinds of ways the American guitar player can mark Independence Day. Some may choose to set off a box of fireworks. Others will invite the neighbours around for a barbecue. Or you could partake in an even more noble tradition and dig out a pair high-volume British tube amps, crank them up and play The Star-Spangled Banner.

That’s just what the two YouTube gear enthusiasts behind the Weekend Warrior Creative Lab channel did, but they took it stage further, setting up their rigs in huge expanse of a 250,000 sq ft warehouse, wholly empty save for some stand-up lights, their guitars, and two full-stacks.

Okay, the tube amps were British, which seems a little off-message for the 4 July, and the whole America breaking free from the Empire, but when you consider that it was Jimi Hendrix that really make the Star-Spangled Banner a work to be reinterpreted on electric guitar, and that he used a Marshall stack, that all seems legit.

Since Hendrix’s performance of the anthem at Woodstock, The Star-Spangled Banner has become a rite of passage for high-profile guitar players. Some are old hands at it. Metallica's James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett have performed on many occasions, likewise Joe Satriani.

If there is a high-profile ballgame or NFL match on the calendar, chances are someone is getting booked in to do the honours. Just last year, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks performed it before the Jacksonville Jaguars play-off match, with Tedeschi doing the hardest job having to actually sing it.

As for the amps, one was technically not British, a CeriaTone reproduction of a 100-watt 2555 Jubilee Marshall. The other was a 50-watt 1979 Marshall JMP 2204. And these went through a a pair of Marshall 4x12s, one a 1976 loaded with Celestion Greenbacks, the other a 1960B Cabinet from the ‘90s that houses four Celestion GT12s.

STL@SF: Hagar, Satriani perform national anthem - YouTube STL@SF: Hagar, Satriani perform national anthem - YouTube
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“We had both amps cookin’ pretty hard – not totally flat out, but just below the point of squealing and oscillation at idle,” write the pair. “From the player’s perspective, this was an amazing experience. It is not every day that you can crank an amp as loud as you want.”

Amen to that. This is something we have always wanted to do, that surely every guitar player would want to do, because there is something fundamentally appealing about finding a large, empty space and a guitar amplifier that is too loud to be cranked up anywhere else. 

Star Spangled Banner July 4th Cranked Marshall Stack in a Warehouse - National Anthem - Independence - YouTube Star Spangled Banner July 4th Cranked Marshall Stack in a Warehouse - National Anthem - Independence - YouTube
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These, after all, are de facto public address systems. Just imagine the air pushing out of those speakers.

Check out the results of this magnificent experiment above. You’ll find Kevin playing a Charvel Pro-Mod So-Cal FR loaded with EMG-85 and SA electric guitar pickups, and Matt on Fender American Vintage Reissue ‘59 Stratocaster. You'll find us looking for an empty warehouse...

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.