NEWS: Dr. Z Ends Production of Several Amp Models

The End of Several Eras

Dr. Z has always been at the very top of the boutique amp world with many models to choose from to suit any guitarist's needs. Now in his 30th year, Dr. Z is thinning the herd of his 22 models down to a more manageable level. It's very difficult to hand produce this number of models efficiently, so in order to streamline his operations some of his amps will sadly cease production. When we were notified of this, we felt some of these models made sense. Amps that were extremely popular at one time, such as the Dr. Z Route 66, has slowed to only a few sold per year. Dr. Z himself has on numerous occasions told people about the Dr. Z Z28 being his favorite of all his amps, but it has never been a major seller despite it's unique tonal characteristics. In a world now seemingly owned by 6V6 amps, it's a bit ironic that Dr. Z's first 6V6 based circuit is going away. We have sold hundreds of Mini-Z's, but we have known for years that Dr. Z barely made a cent when he built them. We thought they'd be gone a few years ago. Great amp, that's for sure, but expensive to produce.

But then, some of these amps hit us kind of hard. The Dr. Z Remedy? Oh, man! One of the best amps he made. Very "Marshall-esque", but still entirely Dr. Z all the way; his own 6V6 based interpretation of that 60's plexi vibe. Of course, there's now the EMS, which covers a lot of this territory, so we understand why there might not be room for the Remedy. Still, those of you that have a Remedy, we know you love it! We hear about it all the time. Remedy, you will be sorely missed.

And the Dr. Z M12... We're quite sad about this one. The M12 is near and dear to our heart. This amp was actually our idea, and we wanted none other than Dr. Z to build it. We wanted a "purpose-built from the ground up" low wattage pedal amplifier, and he nailed it! With a high-headroom preamp section, and a pristine clean tone that delivers punch at less volume than than typical tube amp levels. Perfect for studios, churches, homes, or live. But when you turn the dial up and hit it hard, the EL84s start to really cook and it breaks up in a very smooth, harmonically rich way. Many people started to refer to the M12 as the "Mini-Z-Wreck". A great description! We never intended the M12 to be this versatile, but it certainly came out that way. It's truly a great amp that has no equal in it's category. If this type of amp appeals to you, you should grab one. They'll talk about this one well into the future. I own serial #1, and I will never sell it.

Next is the beloved Dr. Z Monza. In all our years being a Dr. Z dealer, we never saw people fall over themselves like they did when this little fire breathing monster first hit the scene. Most popular in a 1x10 configuration, it was the ultimate portable high-gain stage toy. But this amp is a bit different from most heavily overdriven types. You can make a full G chord and hit the strings hard and still make out all six strings despite the gain. Add to that the super effective Master Volume (which came later in the Monza's life) and you get a very versatile amp that goes from clear cleans, to old school heavy metal, and everything in between. I don't own a Monza, but when we get down to the last one, I may just take it home.

And finally, the Dr. Z Maz 8. This one is a little like the Mini-Z in that I honestly didn't think it would last as long as it did, and the reason is pretty much the same. It was simply too expensive to build. From the beginning this amp actually cost Dr. Z more to produce than the bigger brother, the Maz 18. There are a few reasons why this is the case. First, the filtering necessary to keep a single-ended Class A amplifier quiet costs more than an amp that isn't single-ended. Adding to that, the popularity of the Maz 18 was 10-1 greater than the Maz 8, so parts on average were more for the Maz than the 18. But the truth is... Most people can't handle the truth. Most people would never spend more money for a Maz 8 than they would for a Maz 18. Dr Z knew this, so the Maz 8 was always a little bit of a loss leader to hit a particular audience. He sold it for less than the 18 even when it cost more to build. A great amp, no doubt, but in the long run it didn't make to continue to offer it. All of this essentially means this: The Maz 8 was always sold for less than it was worth. Those of you who bought them, congrats!

So, we say goodbye to the Route 66, Z28, Mini-Z, Remedy, M12, Monza, and the Maz 8. If you've ever wanted one of these, now would be the time. All the ones we have come with the full Dr. Z Warranty, but once they're gone, they'll be gone for good. Farewell, friends!

Jake Langston
Humbucker Music