Howard Alexander Dumble, the legendary designer of Dumble Amps, has died

Famed amp builder Howard Alexander Dumble, the man behind the revered Dumble guitar amps, has passed away.

The news was confirmed today (January 18) on Dumble’s official Instagram account in a statement which read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Howard.

“His work has brought joy and inspiration to countless musicians and engineers,” he continued. “May he rest in peace.”

Dumble’s legacy will undoubtedly showcase him as one of the most iconic amp builders of all time, having forged a career that has seen him build amps for John Mayer, Robben Ford, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton.

Noted for their ultra-responsive character – considered by many to be the most responsive amps on the market – and celebrated for the personal approach that influenced their design, Dumble amps are among the most loved and sought-after amps on the modern market. . time.

The Dumbleland, Overdrive Special and Steel String Singer are arguably Dumble’s three best-known and rarest models, although amps such as the Phoenix and Dumbleator were also personally designed by the equipment manufacturer. legendary at various times in his career.

Dumble officially started producing amps in the mid 60s and by the end of the 70s his customer list included the likes of David Lindley, Jackson Browne, Lowell George and Bonnie Raitt. Dumble’s clientele will grow exponentially over the next decade and will soon feature Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robben Ford.

In fact, it was his friendship with Ford that ultimately inspired the creation of the two-channel Overdrive Special. Talk to MusicRadar in 2017, Ford said Dumble “told me he got the idea to build the Overdrive Special from listening to me play through a stacked ’60s Fender Bassman and cabinet.”

“I’ve always been very proud of that,” he added. “I think it might have something to do with the really warm relationship we both have. I consider him a very close friend; I mean, like a family.

In recent times his amps have been used by the likes of John Mayer and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the latter of whom responded to news of Dumble’s passing by saying, “He was a real genius and I don’t use that term. lightly. .”

Shepherd – who hides Dumble circuitry in his Fender cabinets – spoke to total guitar last year about Howard’s ingenuity, and said it was the designer’s surgical approach to sound tuning that made Dumble amps so great.

“He had these amplifiers built to specifically suit the way I play, so they would effortlessly do the things I want them to do,” observed Shepherd. “Like, I want a certain sound to come out of it and I want it to react on a certain note, it just does it instead of me having to really try to manipulate it out of the amp.

“And I think that’s why in the beginning you had this whole thing about when [Dumble] builds amplifiers for people, he wouldn’t want people to sell them because that amplifier was built around that specific person’s playing style. It was meant for this guy to play it.

“I go to his house and sit for hours and hours and he just listens to me play. And he plugs me into a variety of amps and he listens to what I’m trying to get out of the amp; he closes his eyes and hears the way I play it, and he anticipates what I’m trying to get the amp to do, and then he builds an amp around that.

About his philosophy of building amps, Dumble once said guitar player diary in a rare interview, “I try to be flexible. I have always been aware that everything I do must be done with the best intentions. Never have anything sloppy.

“Always make sure it works and looks perfect,” he continued, “The actual techniques that I use to get the sound I’m looking for have evolved significantly. It’s a growing process. “It’s the hardest thing about sticking with one thing. You’re always thinking of new ways to do it.”

Orianthi and Joe Bonamassa were among the first to pay tribute on social media following Dumble’s passing.

“RIP Alexander Dumble,” Orianthi wrote. “[It] was an honor to know him. The first time I met him was when I was 18. I was invited to his house a few years ago and he showed me much of his collection, including the first amp he ever built that he let me play. What a legend.

JoBo, meanwhile, posted “Rest in Peace Alexander,” and called Dumble “genius and one of a kind.”

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