This is a Malaysian-made ‘D’ or Dumble-style amp. Dumbles themselves are the most expensive amps in the world, commanding tens of thousands of dollars on the secondhand market as, like Trainwrecks, they’re not made anymore. (Their reclusive maker Howard Alexander Dumble having retreated further into the Arizona desert to make guns, apparently).
The fantastic prices pivot on Dumbles being the amps of choice for many of the greatest players – Steve Ray Vaughan, Larry Carlton and Robben Ford to name a few – and the mystique that suggests that Dumble would only make an amp once he’s heard and ‘approved of’ the customer and has had them sign a pretty curious ‘contract’, almost an NDA.
Trouble is, each Dumble amp is made for a specific player, so it may not sound great in another’s hands. Anyway, scarcity and fantastic prices have led to a whole industry of boutique replicas, clones and ‘reissues’ – makers like Two Rock, Bludotone, Fuchs, Brown Note, all of them expensive in their own right. Ceriatone are also in this category, though they make a wide variety of beautifully-made classic amp replicas which they offer in kit or ready-made from from their base in Malaysia.
I bought this after listening and where possible comparing to everything I could. It helped that I have had it further modified by someone who has been inside some very famous players’ Dumbles. The HRM stands for Hot Rubber Monkey, a mod to the tone stack which affects the overdriven character. Or a must have for your gimp room, if you prefer.
The 1 x 12 speaker is a Thiele design, closed back with tuned front facing ports, very efficient, from the Custom Cabinet Company. The snakeskin covering was prompted by a friend’s. Well, if you’re going to have an amp made, it might as well look distinctive. It’s a brand-new arrival so I’m still getting to know it, and I’m experimenting with different speakers which experience I might blog about too.