Maven Peal Tuskadaro


The following is a review of the Maven Peal Tuskadaro. The opinions herein are based on the subjective observations of a 42 year old guitar player who has been playing for over 27 years and has gigged many a dive bar throughout the 80's and 90's.
I have owned a bevy of gear over the years including and recently decided to rectify a mistake made in the late 70's when I sold a Marshall Superlead. I purchased a 74 Canadian Superlead to replace it and the volume was staggering in my home studio/office.
I have also been on a quest for good low volume tone in the house. I have now found an amp that will satsfy my 4 hole Marshall tone jones and provide umatched low volume tone ... Tuskadaro!
The amp isn't the most feature rich but then again thats not what 4 hole tone is about to me. Knob s form left to right.
Bright Volume; Normal volume; both from 1-12. Bass; Mid treb; presence. Above these cool chickenheads are 4 toggles: Treble boost for each channel; a preamp boost and a tight/loose/poweramp boost three way toggle.
The tone controls have more range than a 4 hole Marshall and really do seem to justify going to 12 in the range of tone control.
I have been primarily playing the power amp in the tight position for a nice responsive SL feel.
While I'm on the subject if feel I have to say this is the most touch sensitive responsive to tone/volume rolloff and pick dynamics amp that I have ever played.
The uniqueness of the amp is exemplified by the variable SAG and variable wattage chickenheads.
I am usually @ 3 for Sag and 3 for wattage and get a most excellent Superlead tone which is better than my 74 Superlead.
The bloom and articulation of notes is amazing.
The amp came with stock JJ tubes which sounds ok but to get a good power tube grind the wattage had to be @ 3.
However, I added 3 I63 Blackburn Mullards to the pre section and a pair of NOS EL34 Siemens and almost fouled my shorts. The smoothness and thickness of tone was like something I could surf on as it spewed from a 4x12 Avatar loaded w/G12H30's.
I am primarily using the amp with a stock 04 LP Std and the classic rock tones are top notch. The amp totally preserves the character of other guitars I have used with it including a RG570 w/Dimarzio Tone Zone in the bridge/Blue Velvet in middle and Air Norton in the neck. A Jem 7dbk with stock breeds also sounded huge. No preference for single coils or humbuckers is evident to my ears and a 20th anniv 4x12 w/G1280's also rocked.
I am a pedal junky and this amp has brought me back to my old old school style of using tone and volume knobs on the guitar because the amp sounds so good I don't want to color the tone with OD's and Dist or boosts. Although I may have to get a Katana because I don't currently have a true clean boost pedal.
The amp seems loves a Fuzzhead as boost/fuzz at any wattage but doesn't seem to like a Javaboost in mid or full range under 3 watts.
For home volumes you may still need a hotplate as wattage on 1 is loud with 4x12 cab and with the Siemens el34's the grind starts with wattage on 2. I usuallu use it with the wattage on 3 and hotplate on -8db to keep the Mrs happy.
I haven't played a lot of tube rectifier amps to comment on the sag emulation of a tube rectifier but it certainly feels squishier.
I am currently hunting RCA 6l6gc to try bassman tones.
With the current configuration the amp gives great 70's classic rock tones and heavier 4 hole tones ala George Lynch. I haven't gotten EVH brown tones ... yet but a pair of Slys would probably go a long way toward that along with more talent on my part.
The amp appears to be built like a tank and weighs a ton.
I can't end this review without commenting on the customer service. My emails have been responded to within 24 hours and usually within 1 hour even late night.
The amp is user biasable with a bias cable provided. I have the tech skills of a monkey and had a hard time biasing the amp. I called at 10:30 at night intending to leave a message and Dave answered the phone and talked me through everything. It turned out my Radioshack multimeter was bad. I got a new one the next day and it biased so easy my 5 year old could do it.
I am totally happy with this amp and its low volume and big volume tone.
If you ever get the chance to play one I highly recommend it.



Excellent review. I also have a Tusk and agree with all that you said. I've already tried 6L6's and got the Bassman tones I was after. If I could only have one amp, this would be it. The sag and output wattage controls are very useful and work great. I too, think it's a great amp.


No mention of the Tuskadero on their website. has the amp been discontinued? Would the RG88 be its replacement?


I think they stopped making the Tusk. I spoke with Dave about the RG88 @ a week or so ago at 10:30 at night when I called to leave a message with a bias question and he answered the phone.
IIRC he said it was similar to his first amp, the Zeeta. It has 4 output tubes and you can set up one channel with two w/el34's and the other with two with 6v6 which sounded to me like a cool Marshall/ Fender vibe.
I think a ton of other output tube configurations are available also.
I can't remember if it had an effects loop or not.
Originally posted by Roodboy
I can't end this review without commenting on the customer service. My emails have been responded to within 24 hours and usually within 1 hour even late night.

+1. Dave's always been berry berry good to me, totally into making sure it's right.


Platinum Supporting Member
Originally posted by dbeeman
Yep, Dave is the man

Can't wait to hear the DZ44


I think it will be a great sucess!!!
All the zimmerman knowledge in a smaller box :D


Gold Supporting Member
great review, nice to hear you dig the Tusk.. I had one but it was just too big in size for me.
I now have a Zeeta 1-50 which I totally love.

btw if you are interested in a SPF Ego Booster for $99 let me know :D it's a great clean boost.


Senior Member
Does anybody know how the Tuscadero got it's name?

Here's how...

I was in a band in the 70s called Mallard which was an offshoot of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. The band's first album has a song called Winged Tuscadero on it (Written by Zoothorn Rollo and David Wagstaff and sung by Rockette Morton). I had given a copy of the record to a friend of mine and he suggested the name of Tuscadero to the amp's designer. Wala!


That makes me feel a lot better about the name. I had always assumed it had something to do with Pinky & Leather Tuskadaro from Laverne & Shirley.

Trending Topics

Top Bottom