Dumble Overdrive Special

The video of the week is a video of someone playing one of these Dumble amplifiers in the studio… Enjoy!

Gregor Hilden using a converted Gibson 1968 Les Paul + an original Dumble Overdrive Special in the Studio for his new CD “Blue In Red” (all intrumental CD with originals and some covers like George Benson Breezin’ and others).
Please note: this is just a playback movie – done to the final mix – not live playing.

Alexander Dumble (formerly Howard Dumble until he legally changed his name) makes the most sought after boutique amplifiers in the world. Every amplifier is personally hand-built to order and the waiting list can take several years. And Dumble does not build them for just anyone — his criteria for accepting a customer’s order remains a mystery. 

With his ‘one amplifier per customer’ policy, the sheer scarcity of Dumble amplifiers in existence only adds to the overall mystique. A pre-owned Dumble, if you can find one on the market, goes for several times its original price, well above five figures.

Dumble started modifying and building amplifiers out of his backyard workshop, all the while making a living as a touring guitarist and studio musician.

In 1965, as an 18-year old, he was commissioned by Semie Moseley to build 10 Mosrite amplifiers for The Ventures who were among the very first guitar endorsees with their own signature model equipment. The Ventures did not cotton to his amps which they felt were ‘a little too rock n’ roll’ for their kind of music but they offered young Howard a business proposition nonetheless. Dumble declined and went back to playing guitar to pay his bills.

In 1969 he built his Explosion model amp which was later improved and re-voiced to become the Overdrive Special. Ironically, the basic Dumble design is based around the Fender Deluxe circuit but modified to achieve much higher gain, more harmonic complexity at the top-end and more low-end on the bass.

Other models in the Dumble range include the Steel String Singer, the Dumbleland, 25-watt Hotel Hog, 50-watt Dumbleman, a 450-watt bass amp dubbed the Winterland, the modular rack-mounted Phoenix and the Dumbleator – the latter being a device to interface his amplifiers with effects, much like an effects loop.

The clip above shows guitarist Gregor Hilden wrangling some pretty sweet tones from an Overdrive Special — one of the best examples actually, that I’ve heard of this amp in action.

If you happen to come across a Dumble amp, ask if you can plug in and try it out. You’ll never know when, or if, you’ll ever see another one. And you owe it to yourself to experience what all the hype is about. I’m still waiting on that opportunity myself.

Posted by Clinton Carnegie
The art of negociation and marketing was fully part of the success of Dumble, see here-after the incredible Reply to Request Information from Alexander Dumble to a potential customer in 1992, the original price list and the terms and conditions required to place an order.
Another one from Peter Leche

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