The requirements of a jazz guitarist are much different to those of a blues, rock, country, indie or metal guitarist. Essentially, a jazz guitarist needs an amp that can deliver pristine cleans, and one that can emphasise the natural tone of the guitar with just enough of the amp’s own character to add some smoothness and depth too.
ALL THAT JAZZ
The DV Mark’s DV Jazz 12 is a 45 watt solid state combo amp with onboard reverb. It’s a classy little box that almost looks like it’s dressed in a tuxedo. The controls are all top-mounted and you get a full suite of EQ: treble, middle and bass, plus a volume control, reverb level control and an auxiliary input jack for plugging in an iPod, CD or mp3 player. It’s the same preamp and power amp section as the smaller 8” speaker version that’s available, but this one features a 12” DV Mark Custom speaker. The reverb is DV Mark’s latest generation digital reverb, which seems to be the same kind that’s included in the DV 40 212 combo reviewed elsewhere in these pages.
On the rear panel you’ll find a balanced XLR Line Out for sending a signal to a mixing desk for studio and live applications. There’s also an internal speaker on/off switch so you can silently practice using headphone (and there’s also a 1/8” mini plug for headphones on the back). Don’t worry: because this is a non-tube power amp, you can’t cause all sorts of electrical apocalypse by turning off the speaker the way you would with a valve amp. Oh and there’s a speaker out for connecting to an 8 ohm extension cab.
By the way, this is an extremely light amp, which is great news for performing guitarists who hate lugging gear around. You could carry your guitar case in one hand and the amp in the other and never get that awful “uh oh, I’m off balance — do I let my guitar hit the wall, or my amp?” feeling that we’ve all known and dreaded at rehearsal studio load-ins.
A LIGHT TOUCH
For testing I used my Gibson Les Paul Traditional with Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbuckers, which are faithful recreations of the earliest Gibson PAFhumbuckers from 1955. What I discovered immediately was that the DV Jazz 12 really prefers to be presented with a neck pickup sound. This is to be expected of course, since the neck pickup is where the vast majority of jazz guitar playing occurs. The bridge pickup sounded thin, twangy and slightly honky through the DV Jazz 12, yet the neck pickup sounded full, multi-dimensional, almost piano-like and yet with a sweet softness around the edges. It’s an extremely listenable sound that just makes you want to keep playing for hours.
The digital reverb adds a lush bed of ambience, and higher levels seem to thicken up the reverb effect rather than simply make it overwhelm the program material. It’s one of the nicest-voiced digital reverbs I’ve ever come across, especially when you’re using such a pure clean sound with it.
JAZZ YOU WERE
This is a surprisingly loud, complex-yet-simple-toned amplifier which is great for live performance, recording, or just getting jazzy around the house. It helps that it looks like a classy piece of kit, and it’s so damn light that you’ll want to take it everywhere just in case the mood strikes you for some full-bodied, ambient, sonorous tone.
Hits and Misses
Loud enough for most situations
- PREAMP AMP: Solid State
- POWER AMP: Analog
- POWER: 45WRMS@8ohm / 60WRMS@4ohm
- SPEAKER SIZE: 1x12” DV Mark Custom
- IMPEDANCE: 8 ohm
- SIZE: 43.5cm x 42.5cm x 30.5cm
- WEIGHT:18.95 lbs / 8.6 kg