In the sphere of boutique amplifier nerdery and obsession, there is no more lusted over object than the Dumble.
A one man operation, Alexander ‘Howard’ Dumble built two or three amplifiers a year while he was active, mainly for celebrity musicians and studios. Famous tone connoisseurs such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana, Ry Cooder, Lowell George, John Mayer and Joe Bonamassa all swear by the sought after amps, the problem being that they were about the only people who can or could afford them. Now fetching between $70,000 and $150,000 USD on the secondhand market, Dumbles are an inaccessible pipe dream for almost everyone in the world.
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That is, until now. Amplified Nation is a boutique amplifier manufacturer hailing from Boston, Massachusetts who are bringing the magical sound of the Dumble to the masses with their exceptional amps. All of Amplified Nation’s products are designed and handmade by master builder Taylor Cox, who has in-depth knowledge of, and experience with, a myriad of genuine Dumble amplifiers. Cox is famous in the boutique amplifier industry and is considered one of the very finest amp builders around; his expertise in regards to D-Style amplifiers is unmatched. Excitingly, Gladesville Guitar Factory have custom ordered their picks of the Amplified Nation range, which are available to purchase.
The crown jewel in the Amplified Nation catalogue is their magnificent 100 watt ‘Dirty Wonderland’ Head, available in Maroon Suede with a black sparkle grill. The Dirty Wonderland is an exceptional single-channel amplifier that exhibits all the glorious tone of a D-style amp at a far more accessible price. Powered by 6L6 tubes, the Dirty Wonderland has an incredibly uncompressed and open sound, allowing players to truly utilise their picking dynamics like never before. As well as a traditional three band EQ circuit, the amplifier also features bright, mid and deep switches which provide an additional boost in three different frequency ranges. This allows players to really dial in their own unique sound and tailor their tone for any situation.
The Dirty Wonderland
The Dirty Wonderland has both a preamp gain control and a transparent master volume, meaning players can achieve gloriously saturated tones at any volume. Whilst the Wonderland could certainly be considered a clean amp by nature, it features two very useful ‘dirty’ switches on the back that kick it up into a whole new world of saturated sounds. One of the dirty switches breaks up the expertly designed preamp, whilst the other distorts the power amp section. This means players can tailor their overdrive sound according to their own tonal preferences, making this one of the most versatile D-Style amps on the market.
When set clean, the Dirty Wonderland has an enormous amount of headroom, making it an exceptional pedal platform. As well as this, the amp features a perfectly crafted tube-powered reverb circuit that allows players to organically create a sense of space within their sound. The on-board reverb is incredibly versatile, thanks to the inclusion of both a level and a depth control for the effect, making it incredibly fine-tunable. Finally, Amplified Nation have even seen it fit to bless players with a ‘half power’ mode, meaning users of the amp can achieve a full, deep sound at volumes appropriate for the stage, studio and even the bedroom.
Also currently available in a matching Maroon Suede finish is the 2×12 Creamback Cabinet. Designed to pair perfectly with the Dirty Wonderland head, this cabinet features a set of ceramic G12M Greenback speakers from Celestion. The G12M is the quintessential rock and roll speaker. First crafted in the 1960s, the G12M was favoured by just about every guitar hero of that era that you could think of.
Emitting a deep, rich tone and featuring increased power handling, the Creamback Cabinet allows the Wonderland to truly shine. Providing a powerful low-end push, a woody midrange and crystalline highs that never become shrill, this cabinet is a one way ticket to tonal heaven when combined with its 100w counterpart.
But there is so much more to the boutique wizardry of Amplified Nation than just the almighty Dirty Wonderland! Head honcho Taylor Cox has also been hard at work crafting his versions of famous Dumble combos favoured by the finest guitarists of yesteryear. The ‘Bombshell Overdrive’ is Cox’s version of Dumble’s game-changing ‘Overdrive Special’. An incredibly powerful 50w 1×12 combo, the Bombshell features two channels and a cascading gain stage. Incredibly easy to dial in and simply oozing with quality, the Bombshell provides one of the most harmonically rich, full and clear clean sounds in the world as well as the most delectably smooth drive tones imaginable.
Trem-Drive Deluxe 50W Combo
Another gem in the Amplified Nation catalogue is the Trem-Drive Deluxe 50W Combo. Featuring a single-channel setup with two drive controls and a master volume, the Trem-Drive is a tribute to Dumble’s glorious ‘Overdrive Deluxe’ circuit. With plenty of saturation on tap as well as both a reverb and a tremolo circuit, the Trem-Drive has multiple voicing options, making it an incredibly versatile rock and roll monster.
Amplified Nation have succeeded in not only replicating, but absolutely nailing the immensely full, deep lows, throaty mids, divinely sweet highs and irresistible crunch of the most sought after boutique amplifiers in the world. From Stevie Ray Vaughan to Eric Johnson, some of the world’s finest and most tonally discerning musicians have sworn blind by these magical circuits, and you can own a piece of that magic yourself – in Maroon Suede no less. It’s a good time to be a guitar player, folks.
For more information on Amplified Nation, head to guitarfactory.net.