The Amp Chronicles; the finale.

So…. I present, Dr Z:

I can't explain what this does.... it just does.

In the pic you see my 15w Fender Super Champ (which I’m keeping- still a surprisingly good amp for the money) next the Z. The Maz jr is an 18w, this model is without the reverb (the “NR” version) and one basic master-volume channel. Turn the volume up and master volume down and get a bassy/woody chugg-ing type overdrive or turn volume down with the master up and then tweak the “cut” knob to taste and get some pretty sparkly-crystal cleans. This guitar does a decent clean Voxy sound and a Marshally overdrive. But more than that, it really is its own amp. It contains EL84 tubes, a tube rectifier and 2 ECC83s in the preamp section(Mostly JJ tubes). It came with Dr Z’s “Brake Lite” attenuator pre-installed. Pretty nice. Ah, and an effects loop… which i can’t wait to play.

I first thought this amp wouldn’t be enough… after all I’ve been playing 15w out of the Fender and I wanted a slight volume increase. 18w should be close to what I use right? I’ll never use the attenuator!!
I was wrong. This amp is loud. To play my 1000 member church, I had to click on the attenuator (2 out of 8 ) to get the tone I wanted without the VOLUME associated. I may be using that thing more than I first thought!

Also, this amp is very touch-sensitive. I was getting a nice gritty grind (with very little overdrive) just by varying my dynamics from my ‘clean’ setting. I believe I’ll be knocking an overdrive off my board just in favor of boosting this amp a little. In fact, I played a full Easter Cantata with this amp and only turned on the Zendrive for 2 of the “harder” songs. This amp covered basic overdrive very well.

Anway– after all the worrying, selling gear etc…. here is the amp.

Why this amp over the Matchless?
#1: Price! This amp is about 1/2 the price of the Matchless! The main reason I had interest in this Matchless was that it was a floor model with a great price. Even then, it was a few bucks more than the Dr Z.

#2: Weight! The Matchless is about 20 lbs more than the Z. I wanted a combo amp I could carry in 1 hand if need be. The Z can be carried in 1 hand (not incredibly comfortable, mind you) and I can have my pedalboard in the other hand, with the backpack/gigbag for the guitar on my back. 1 trip in and out of a gig/church.

#3: Honestly- the Z fits me better. It has great cleans, good drive and takes pedals well. I love my pedals/overdrives so this fits perfectly. The Matchless has nicer, sparkly cleans, but not the kind of overdrive I would really like. It was also a bit more finicky about which overdrives it liked (trust me, I played everything I had through each amp). The Z is made for more versatility which tends to be what we look for when we play a wide range of popular worship songs: from Rock to blues, to Gospel Funk. Mmmmm.. I really like this amp!

P.S.> I now have another Fulltone OCD. And its perfect. And it likes this amp. More on that later.


8 Responses

  1. congrats! did you get it new?

  2. yup. I did. After trying tons of amps and playing them over and over and … with every effect i had, i narrowed my amp search to these amps. And as I’m a bit OCD with my gear (lolz at the pun), I feel better knowing what this amp has been through– only what i do with it.

  3. Congrats on the new amp!
    What pedals are you running these days?

  4. Ah Dan… I need to finish my Gear tab don’t I?
    I’ve pretty much found my niche- what pedals work for me. My board really hasn’t changed in the last 2 years.

  5. I’ve been toying with the idea of selling all of my amps and getting just one, good, versatile, quality amp, and the Maz Jr. is on my short list. Glad to see someone else who really likes it.

  6. Ben… I’ve been following your blog too…. just know this amp is LOUD. But in a good way. Dr Z’s Brakelite attenuator was installed in mine– and I use it far more than I first thought I would! Great amp though… awesome.

  7. Brother, I just pulled the trigger on a used Maz 18 NR head. A friend in the US will pick it up locally and will ship it to me up north so it may take some time to get to me … I know it’s a loud amp and I don’t mind using an attenuator (Webber Minimass) that I am currently using for my 40w Traynor. I’m so excited 🙂

  8. Yeah man! I hope you like it as much as me. Its got sparkly-cleans, but with the body of a Marshall. Super easy to dial in a little dirt and then with a pedal in there (Zen).. BOOM. Nice. Let me know what you think when you get it!

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