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Kiwi

Has anyone played a Dumble?

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I've seen them played on Youtube. I've seen them discussed on Youtube. Everyone's sitting on the fence or screaming their praises but for esoteric reasons.

But every Dumble emulating pedal sounds woolly to me or like a Fender emulating pedal. I don't get it. What's so great about them? Honestly, someone please enlighten me without resorting to sh*t like 'it makes you sound like yourself but more' and other crap like that.

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They seem to be a holy grail as far as amps go and have price tags to match, possibly due to their rarity. I doubt I'll ever play or even see one in the flesh in my lifetime. They sound very nice to my ears but not a sound I'd use, too bluesy for me so no, no idea what the fuss is all about. There's a bunch of other amps for a lot less money I'd choose before a Dumble.

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I suspect that for most of us a Dumble would be the very embodiment of the law of diminishing returns. From the necessarily degraded internet audio clips I've heard, Dumbles do not [i]seem[/i] to stand so far ahead of other amps to justify the eye-watering cost.

Whether the expensive clones or sim pedals provide a cost effective way of getting close is open to debate; for who among us could really tell the difference.

TBPH, I'd rather spend the money on a range of tasty amps with differing core tones: an old AC30, a Plexi, a nice JCM800, a Tweed something, a slew of Brown- and Blackfaces and some high gains for 'chunk' and Djent.

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Am I right in remembering that Mr Dumble didn't charge outrageously for them, and the current high prices are largely down to a mixture of hype and scarcity? From the schematics that are around on the internet, it does look like he had some good ideas which have been influential to other designers. So even if they may not seem head-and-shoulders above everything else today, at the time they did some things which were fairly unique.

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[quote name='Beer of the Bass' timestamp='1471196286' post='3111171']fairly unique.[/quote]

Either they were unique or they weren't, but anyway, I recall reading that he covered the important bits up (wax or resin or something) so no-one could work out exactly how the amps were wired. Good bit of PR, anyway!

The same could be said of 1958 Les Pauls. I doubt whether many people can tell the difference between a genuine one and one of the modern reissues in a blind test.

There's an awful lot of hype in every area of this industry.

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[quote name='Jacqueslemac' timestamp='1471204050' post='3111269']
I recall reading that he covered the important bits up (wax or resin or something) so no-one could work out exactly how the amps were wired.
[/quote]

I heard a rumour (and nothing more) that someone took a peek under some of the covered circuitry and it was just a Tube Screamer providing the overdrive. No idea if it's true or not and my ears aren't good enough to tell if it's even plausible or not.

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[quote name='Jacqueslemac' timestamp='1471204050' post='3111269']
I recall reading that he covered the important bits up (wax or resin or something) so no-one could work out exactly how the amps were wired.
[/quote]
[quote name='GarethFlatlands' timestamp='1471206424' post='3111284']
I heard a rumour (and nothing more) that someone took a peek under some of the covered circuitry and it was just a Tube Screamer providing the overdrive.
[/quote]

That's completely plausible, considering that a fair few Marshall valve heads have a solid state distortion circuit (think Boss DS1) in the front end, and their Yngwie Malmsteen signature head incorporates a DOD 250!

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[quote name='JapanAxe' timestamp='1471553390' post='3114015']
That's completely plausible, considering that a fair few Marshall valve heads have a solid state distortion circuit (think Boss DS1) in the front end, and their Yngwie Malmsteen signature head incorporates a DOD 250!
[/quote]

A chum of mine who fixes amps always smiles quietly when someone brings in a JCM800 and mentions that they don't use dirt pedals because they 'don't need to with an all-valve head like this'.

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There's so much hype about these amps. What with all the stories about "if you phoned Howard Dumble to ask how your amp was coming along he'd cancel your order etc"

I guess all people have to go on is hearing the likes of Larry Carlton and Robben Ford playing through them. However, if they use any type of pedal etc, does that then invalidate what you're hearing. The French nutter / genius that has built two amps for me has made a couple of Dumble clones. I tried one out and despite being a "nice sounding" head, it was nothing more than that. Though, never having played through a real one, how do I know if it's even similar?

I've seen a couple in the last year or so get "snapped up" on EBay USA for around the $50,000 mark but personally I can't see any amp being worth that unless it's just for an investment. To me, it's a bit like that Marco Pierre White thing when he started out. Throw a few people out of your restaurant for being philistines by asking for the salt and very soon everybody wants to eat there.

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The ibanez [quote name='JapanAxe' timestamp='1471553390' post='3114015']
That's completely plausible, considering that a fair few Marshall valve heads have a solid state distortion circuit (think Boss DS1) in the front end, and their Yngwie Malmsteen signature head incorporates a DOD 250!
[/quote]
Ibanez took this route with the TSA line of combos and were pretty open about shoving a Tube Screamer circuit in the front end. I'm not a fan of Tube Screamers as such but I totally understand how a solid state circuit might provide a bit more midrange definition than valves. My standard for hi gain sound has tended to be Mesa Boogie, lots of djent, whereas more Fender for overdrive sounds. Not sure if the MB has a solid state drive circuit though.

Dumbles seem very over rated. Especially now that companies like Fuchs seem to get so close that the differences simply aren't worth bothering about.

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Although there isn't apparently one particular one given that he would tailor each amp to each customer, I love the Dumble sound, there's something about that smooth touch-responsiveness you can get out of them. I have a Custom Tones Inc Ethos Overdrive that formed the basis of my tone for almost a decade.

Bought a Kemper last year after my Mesa Boogie and pedalboard got stolen, and several of my main gigging profiles are Dumbles. They're not for every situation, but damn they sound good.

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I saw SRV back in the day. I have not played a Dumble but his was so loud that the rhythm section were reduced to bit part players.

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