Can Someone Explain Dumble To Me? - [Serious]

Juan Wayne

Member
Messages
736
I mean no disrespect to the guy, I know he just died, but in reality that's one occasion when I tend to learn about some people. Either that or when Google makes a special doodle.

The thing is I keep reading farewell messages like the guy was Les Paul or Mendeleev, but I honestly don't know why, other than the fable and mystery surrounding the amps. I might be a despicable cynic asshole, and for all I know he was all the things they say about him, but I fail to understand how endless titles of "bonafide genius" and whatnot can come from modding and building amps.

Full disclosure about myself, I'm an electronics engineer so I indeed tend to be a cynic asshole in these matters, i.e. 4558s are all the same thing regardless or prefix, PIO caps in guitars are robbery disguised as magic and two pots of the same value will "sound" the same regardless of what you paid for them. Same with amps, I can appreciate the "chime and compression" of an AC30, but I know it has more to do with the lack of negative feedback and the biasing of the EL84s than magic.

Anyway, I'm just trying to learn, and I thank you in advance for your replies.
 

Juan Wayne

Member
Messages
736

I'd read it before and read it again today. It looks like a compilation of forum posts mixed in with some data, but nothing strikes me as unique and particularly genius other than @JustADudeNamedJoe's post under yours:

I think the best way I've ever heard it explained is.... Imagine if Jim Marshall had only made 1000 amps. They aren't for everyone, but a ton of people love the sound... And he just didn't make that many.

That's what I figured, but even then I'd tell you JM, as much as I love his amps, hot-rodded a Bassman circuit and kept working from there. Nothing otherworldly about that, it's a common practice in pretty much every area of the electronics field.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
10,523
  1. Dumble starts making Fenders modded to specific clients' needs.
  2. Said clients gain fame and recognition.
  3. "Dumble sound" is now a thing of its own. Most of the time they think of e.g. Robben Ford's sound.
  4. High prices, gooped internals and exclusivity (not any Santiago Montenegro can buy them) fan the flames of myth.
  5. Other manufacturers start building their own takes on the "Dumble sound" with varying success.
  6. Guitarists online bicker over which clone is the best. "Bob, who lives in a cabin in the wilds of Alaska is a real good guy and his Dumbledore 3000 model nails that sound I tell you!" "Nu-uh, if you haven't spent $8000 on Hank's Stainless Steel Swinger you know nothing about the Dumble sound!"
  7. Dumble dies.
  8. People recount the tales when they got to try a real Dumble for a few minutes because their friend produced so and so's album and they were drinking beers at the studio one time. "Magical, I tell you! Also, I was very, very drunk..."
  9. Dumble owners add another zero at the end of their Dumble amp listing price on Reverb. The amp is barely working but it's a Dumble and that makes it totally worth the price.
 

Juan Wayne

Member
Messages
736
he came up with his own way of doing things and was extremely selective about who he’d do it for. People go completely nuts for that kind of thing. Always have, always will.

So low numbers, black epoxy and odd secrecy equals genius? Like the Klon before the Klon? I was really hoping for something else coming from people like Joe Bonamassa and Carlos Santana.

I guess that's myself unintentionally proving that very psychological phenomenon then?
 

JustADudeNamedJoe

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
99
I'd read it before and read it again today. It looks like a compilation of forum posts mixed in with some data, but nothing strikes me as unique and particularly genius other than @JustADudeNamedJoe's post under yours:



That's what I figured, but even then I'd tell you JM, as much as I love his amps, hot-rodded a Bassman circuit and kept working from there. Nothing otherworldly about that, it's a common practice in pretty much every area of the electronics field.


Agreed. I love Dumble amps, but I certainly don't think they are the end all be all. I sure wouldn't pay 100k plus for one either.
 

charliechitlins

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
974
I think there's a lot of stuff going on in electronics that us difficult/impossible to quantify.
According to those around him, Hendrix could harness electricity...he could feel it, be inside it...roadies couldn't even tune his guitar...it would just howl.
I suspect that Dumble had a relationship with electronics that transcended the numbers.
As with music, for instance, you can only go so far with knowledge, then you need the feel.
Many who service amps have had the experience of performing a service, only to have an amp that feels stiff and less musical.
Maybe there was some magic in those drifted resistors and they somehow made things just so.
Dumble was reputedly a guy who could work with this stuff.
 

charliechitlins

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
974
What does that mean? All I can think of is chemistry and crystal structure, but I doubt that's what you mean. (And English is not my first language so if it is a common expression, I never heard it before).
I was just being snarky.
I have a lot of respect for Dumble.
"Crystal lattice" is a term that Dumble used in an interview and some folks use it to have a bit of fun at his expense.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,387
1) There are a number of relatively famous recordings that got there because of the uniqueness of his amps, which made those guitar tones desirable and often unattainable (given his low production).
2) He didn't invent preamp distortion, but his use of it was unique and early, when most amps needed to be cranked.
3) His designs were good enough to be copied by many, which furthered his influence on the amp industry and music industry.
4) Yes, rarity, which often generates its own market.
5) He never sold out or embraced fame, and was always a mystery to the public.
 

rollyfoster

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,762
So low numbers, black epoxy and odd secrecy equals genius? Like the Klon before the Klon? I was really hoping for something else coming from people like Joe Bonamassa and Carlos Santana.

I guess that's myself unintentionally proving that very psychological phenomenon then?

I don’t know that it equals genius but it certainly perpetuates a myth.
 
Messages
378
Full disclosure about myself, I'm an electronics engineer so I indeed tend to be a cynic asshole in these matters, ...

That's the issue, you're being rational about it. This is emotional and human psychology: people always want the unattainable. His amps are no doubt very good, I've never played one and don't hear a huge difference in recordings, but Jimi on a pro jr. will always beat any of us on a Dumble, and I suspect any of the Dumble clones or even bigger name approximations (like apparently the Mesa MK 2?) are close enough such that technically, there's no difference.
 

sleewell2

Member
Messages
1,318
never played a dumble but i did own a couple of fuchs that are in the ballpark. the notes bloom in a way that other amps dont. its hard to describe but different than say a fender with a od pedal as others kinda falsely will say gets you close. not saying the fender is bad per say, just different in a way you would really have to play or hear in the room to get the idea.


that being said i also think there is certainly a level of exclusivity and the price point that is also part of it. people who can pay that much for an amp or who could even get on the list are certain to hype them up. i am sure they are amazing amps but that aspect is just part of it whether people admit it or not.
 

LaceSensor1

Member
Messages
3,977
I think what separates Dumble from other small boutique boulders is his association with big name acts and the respect they gave him for what his products would do for them. That and his relatively early entry into the boutique/modded tube amp world. Sure anyone could clone/copy the design but could they build the A-list clientele like Dumble was abe to? And the third would be the uniqueness of his ODS circuit (and sound) when it was released.
 

NorCal_Val

Member
Messages
14,636
I mean no disrespect to the guy, I know he just died, but in reality that's one occasion when I tend to learn about some people. Either that or when Google makes a special doodle.

The thing is I keep reading farewell messages like the guy was Les Paul or Mendeleev, but I honestly don't know why, other than the fable and mystery surrounding the amps. I might be a despicable cynic asshole, and for all I know he was all the things they say about him, but I fail to understand how endless titles of "bonafide genius" and whatnot can come from modding and building amps.

Full disclosure about myself, I'm an electronics engineer so I indeed tend to be a cynic asshole in these matters, i.e. 4558s are all the same thing regardless or prefix, PIO caps in guitars are robbery disguised as magic and two pots of the same value will "sound" the same regardless of what you paid for them. Same with amps, I can appreciate the "chime and compression" of an AC30, but I know it has more to do with the lack of negative feedback and the biasing of the EL84s than magic.

Anyway, I'm just trying to learn, and I thank you in advance for your replies.

The interview;
https://thesubjectmatter.com/dumblearchive/Articles/default.htm
 

SweetClyde99

Member
Messages
627
Skeptical electronics engineer vs. BS guitar industry hype—I like this game. Let’s keep it going. Do I really need expensive guitar cables? None of mine are over 10 feet. How much difference can those claims of low capacitance really make?
 




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