• TGP is giving away a Strat, Tele, and Jazzmaster. Click Here for full details.
    Click Here to upgrade your account and enter today!

The Fender Years with Zinky: Master List

ArtDecade

Member
Messages
2,161
I have found that I quite like a lot of the Zinky-designed Fender amps, like the Pro Jr and the ProSonic. Is there a list of all the amps that he had a hand in designing? I think I might like to look for more of those models in the future. I am seeing that his designs are either a real hit or a total miss depending on the player, but I am certainly in the former camp.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,450
After many years, I recently sold my Prosonic. You have to keep things in prospective, it's a '90s amp. Great that there were added features; cascading preamp controls and class A, AB, AB-SS switch. Very flexible, but nothing earth shattering by today's standards.
 

ArtDecade

Member
Messages
2,161
After many years, I recently sold my Prosonic. You have to keep things in prospective, it's a '90s amp. Great that there were added features; cascading preamp controls and class A, AB, AB-SS switch. Very flexible, but nothing earth shattering by today's standards.
Most of my amps are from the 60s and 70s, so a 90s amp is basically hi-tech for me.
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,450
Most of my amps are from the 60s and 70s, so a 90s amp is basically hi-tech for me.
Those amps are usually bullet proof. The Prosonic can get very hot and there can be cap issues, as I had. They get hot, dry out and cause crackling noises. Might be better off with the older amps.
 

apalazzolo

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,076
A hand in designing? I forgot which ones but he had about 3 of those amps designed before he got the job with Fender; that's why they hired him. And when they hired him, he WAS the amp custom shop. That guy has such a bucking bronco intelligence.

Mike Lewis, who (among other things) was the driving force behind all of the reissue guitars, wanted to do for amps what he did for guitars. He found Bruce and told Fender to hire him in whatever they had for an amp group at the time. They said, "No. He can't be in the amp group because he doesn't even have a technical degree of any kind." Mike (in essence) said, "Fine, I'll hire him to design amps in my guitar group where we don't need technical degrees."

I do recall the impetus for the Vibro King was that Mike Lewis (who is a great blues player) and someone else said the best Fender tone they ever had was from an outboard reverb unit into a 3x10 Bandmaster. So Bruce made THAT as a combo.

After a while he thought it would be better with a grid bias tremolo (the Vibro King has optical trem). So when he struck out on his own and made Supro amps, he made the Supro Tremolectric; it's his idea of an upgraded Vibro King.
 
Last edited:

ArtDecade

Member
Messages
2,161
A hand in designing? I forgot which ones but he had about 3 of those amps designed before he got the job with Fender; that's why they hired him. And when they hired him, he WAS the amp custom shop. That guy has such a bucking bronco intelligence.
Do you know Zinky?
 

erksin

Member
Messages
23,158
My buddy went to high school with him, and we all met up at NAMM in I *think* 1993 or 1994 when these amps debuted. It was pretty cool sitting in the demo booth and hearing these things for the first time. They had Al Kooper (yes THAT Al Kooper) demoing the amps while Bruce talked about them. I remember talking about the ‘63 Vibroverb reissue with Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos and us both wanting one ASAP.
 

Glass Onion

Toneful truth seeker.
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,893
The Custom Vibrolux Reverb.
Had one liked it but was not the player I needed to be to appreciate it. Sold it to find a Reeves custom lead high gain. Don’t really regret it. But would love to have it back and try to make it work now that I know how better to play an amp like that.
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
12,891
Not to derail from Fender but, does anyone know what he's up to now? I know he restarted the Supro brand but, he sold that off in 2013 or so. Or, maybe he's still connected to it? I know he did some awesome amps of his own in the early 2000s too. Mofo and Superfly (played one, very cool amp!). Is he still in the business?
 

stratzrus

Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
20,961
After many years, I recently sold my Prosonic. You have to keep things in prospective, it's a '90s amp. Great that there were added features; cascading preamp controls and class A, AB, AB-SS switch. Very flexible, but nothing earth shattering by today's standards.
It's not common knowledge, but the Prosonic was designed to be a studio amp. Thus the line level effects loop (for rack effects not pedals) and the shared EQ since studio players are more likely to dial each tone individually than to switch between tones when multi-tracking.

This made for an amp that's not as user friendly for gigging as some others but as a clean platform for pedals, the clean channel driven into overdrive, or the gain channel dialed in from edge of breakup to molten metal, the Prosonic delivered the tones.

I gigged with one exclusively for a while but installed a pair of EVM 10Ls. They gave it a killer tone at volume and much more bottom end than adding a Marshall 2x12 with V30s but made it impractical for gigging due to the weight. It ended up being like a compact Twin Reverb with one of the best gain channels Fender has ever produced.
 

apalazzolo

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,076
Awesome! Did we miss anything on the list of his amps?
I just don't know ...

One bit of trivia I recall is that he conceived of the Smokey mini amp while hiking the Grand Canyon and sold the first 100 of them to Billy Gibbons (he passed them out as Xmas gifts that year).

He's sold hundreds of thousands of those things. In the early days, they were all in cigarette boxes but they were hard to source in volume. He spread the word among the Phoenix beatnicks that he'd trade a pack of cigarettes for each carton of clean empty boxes. They came out of the woodwork for that deal.
 
Last edited:




Top