On March 2nd, 2017, I talked to Howard Alexander Dumble (Part 1)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by seeaemearohin, Mar 2, 2017.

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  1. seeaemearohin

    seeaemearohin Supporting Member

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    ***I am going to try to recount this story in as precise detail as possible***

    As a young guitar player (22), I often get distracted by "mythical unicorns". That is to say, I get lost in the pursuit of tone. Generally, I am always very happy and very blessed with my rig but recently, I have become fascinated...no, infatuated...by Dumble amplifiers.

    The year was 2007. My father worked with my neighbor on my neighbor's Corvette frequently when I was in middle school. I remember the night that they installed the new speaker system. This thing was boomin', let me tell ya. As I sat in the passenger seat of a maroon 1994 Corvette, what I heard was something that could not be forgotten - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: Live from Austin, Texas. Of course, I was unsure of exactly what or who I was listening to but all I knew is that it was perfect. I expressed this to my father and neighbor. Before I knew it, we were inside the house watching the DVD footage of the concert. Stevie Ray Vaughan immediately became on of my favorite guitarists and still is to this day. Every player has something to learn from him. At the time, my knowledge of the boutique guitar world was null. All I knew is that I wanted a Fender Stratocaster. It was until many years later that I would discover his prized amplifier - the Steel String Singer.

    Fast forward to 2012, I was always opposed to John Mayer's music because I thought it was for girls. This is the year that I would change my mind. I had gone through a rough breakup and I heard "Heartbreak Warfare" on the Battle Studies record. To this day, it is still my favorite John Mayer song. At this point, I had discovered many, many more guitar players but John Mayer is the most relevant to this story. I started to get into the boutique markets. I had some money to play with since this was the year I graduated high school and had been gifted close to $1000 from a graduate party. This was easily the most money I had ever had at this point in my life. The first thing I did was transition from my trusty (albeit, poopy) made in Mexican Stratocaster to a '57 AVRI which is, and will always be, my number one. I started to by pedals by, what felt like, the box. I was swimming in pedals. I was chasing after John Mayer, SRV, David Gilmour, Drew Shirley, Dan Auerbach...then I discovered amplifiers. I discovered that amplifiers matter. I wise man once told me, "Always start with a nice amp. It is your foundation." I will always pass that information along to new players when I am asked for advice. I tried a Hot Rod Deluxe, Princeton Reverb, several TopHats, Orange Rockerverb, Matchless Chieftain...all great amps but nothing quite tickled my fancy. Finally, I found Hi-Tone which thrust me, violently, into "ear maturity". I finally started to hear the subtle nuances of higher quality amplifiers. Hi-Tone absolutely tickled my fancy. But alas, I have gone on a tangent. I realize your time is important but this story is worth the read; I promise.

    Finally, we're in 2016. At this point, I have very much found and am dialed into my tone. I shot for David Gilmour and fell a bit short but found a sound that I love and am still able to get that Gilmour sound. But as much as I love Gilmour, I also love the John Mayer sound. So the question was how to integrate that into my tone without getting rid of my Gilmour sound. I made strides toward this and was generally happy with the outcome but then December 9th 2016, John Mayer performed "Love On The Weekend" from Wave One of the Search for Everything on Jimmy Fallon. I was...astounded. I was blown away by how perfect this tone was. I wanted it. After I saw it on TV, I had my laptop open constantly, refreshing the page, until this performance was posted on Jimmy Fallon's YouTube channel. You see, I wasn't able to pause the TV to get a glimpse of his gear.

    I started scouring, scrubbing, searching for this sound. What was it? Obviously, much of the tone was coming from his fingers, I get that. Additionally, I realize he was using his new PRS amplifier. But there was a common sound that came before the PRS and that's what I was searching for.

    Then, the video was posted! I was able to get a good look at almost all of his gear. One thing stood out to me - a blue amp? I remember rewinding the video to pause it as the camera pans passed the amplifier - "Steel...String...Singer? What the heck is that?" I typed it in on Google, and the world of Dumble amplifiers opened up to me. I became consumed.

    I ended up having Jelle Welagen build me one of his Steel String Singers and am extremely excited to receive it. I think it will be a forever amp just like my Hi-Tone.




    This is where the story that you came to read about starts.




    To you, the back story might not have been relevant. In many ways, you're right. But to me, I felt it necessary to share my journey.

    Last night, I came across a thread from 2010 about Howard Alexander Dumble. The thread was mostly a bunch of circle-jerking as is almost every single thread about the topic. But I found this one more interesting than the others. There were several gentleman that were discussing how they contacted him in the 90's or so. They were discussing his demeanor, his prices, how hard he is to get a hold of, how he only makes amps for the best of the best, etc.. A comment was made that went something like this:

    "I heard if you're crafty enough to find his number, that's all it takes for him to build you an amplifier. That and 10k-15k."

    I figure, "Okay, I can figure out how to front that much cash if I can manage a six figure turn around. On top of that, I'm a crafty dude...right???"

    The details of how I obtained the number are quite entertaining, and a friend of mine here on TGP and in real life (eternally found) can attest to this but I feel it necessary to leave this part of the story out for multiple reasons. The most important is that I respect HAD and would hate to have people retrace my steps, harassing him, and him having to change his number for what I would assume to be the nth time.

    After this wild goose chase ended, I was sitting, alone, on my couch. No lights were on in my apartment. The balcony door was open allowing a gentle, cool air into my apartment. I sat there with my phone in my lap considering whether or not I should call him. I decided in favor of calling him.

    As I dialed the number, I was worried the number would be a disconnected number even though I got it from what I considered to be a very reliable source.

    As the phone started ringing, "Yes. At least the number isn't disconnected." The phone rang and rang and rang. It felt like it rang more times than usual but this was probably just an false conception due to the circumstances.

    The phone went to voicemail. It was his voice.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
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  2. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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  3. lendryesky

    lendryesky Supporting Member

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    I heard that David Gilmour said he can walk into any guitar store and get his tone. It may be apocryphal, but I don't doubt it
     
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  4. seeaemearohin

    seeaemearohin Supporting Member

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    With the right fingers, I'm sure that's true :) I saw him last April in Chicago. Truly amazing.
     
  5. Jason Calieri

    Jason Calieri Silver Supporting Member

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  6. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    That was a real nice story. ;)
     
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  7. goddot

    goddot Supporting Member

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    stupid....
     
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  8. ducker 1

    ducker 1 Member

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    Dumble used to have a FB page and maybe he still does-I dunno havent been there for over 2 yrs but---He seemed like a decent guy and answered some questions from peeps--He did have a laugh over my Jetter GS124 which I thought was funny myself,made the comment that he was cloned in a can--and I have played a Dumble OD special 1/12 combo back in 97--the owner wanted $12 Gs for it--nice little amp way out of my budget. Dumbles are great though.
     
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  9. CallEOD

    CallEOD Member

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    wow .... i'll never be the same.

    Alex who ?
     
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  10. lemonpaul59

    lemonpaul59 Member

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    Somehow, some way you should have come up with the scratch.

    In 1990 they went for $1500. Roughly what you'd pay for a Boogie Mark IV at the time.
     
  11. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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  12. voodoosound

    voodoosound Funk & Grooven member Silver Supporting Member

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    No. He didn't. That wasnt him. Just someone pretending to be him. Alexander is very low tech when it comes to the internet by choice. There's no way in hell he'd even entertain such a mundane brain sucking thing as Facebook.

    On a diffferent note there used to be character here on TGP that pretended to be Jeorge Tripps of way huge. He went by Mr. Huge
     
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  13. ducker 1

    ducker 1 Member

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    well all I know is that the page was closed down--so hey shoot me
     
  14. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    I want that 6 minutes of my life back.
     
  15. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    Wasted 7 minutes of mine!!

    Eric
     
  16. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    So you post two threads and 20,000 words about a 3m conversation with a 72 yr old man? Umm...ok.
     
  17. bobotwt

    bobotwt Supporting Member

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    That read more like Fifty Shades of Howie.

    Josh
     
  18. Cal Webway

    Cal Webway Member

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    You know in St. Louis at the Crate factory you could call and you were immediately connected to a wooden pallet, while waiting for its transformational conversion.

    .
     
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  19. onetracker

    onetracker Member

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    on the edge of my seat the whole time
     
  20. jmccann040878

    jmccann040878 Member

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    "At no point in your rambling, incoherent post were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this forum is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul"
     

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