Dr. Z FAQ - (Frequently Asked Questions)

Since we receive so many questions pertaining to Dr. Z Amplifiers, we have decided to put together a FAQ that should help answer the most common questions we receive.  We'll be updating this FAQ on a regular basis, so check back often.  In fact, if you have any ideas on what should be added to this FAQ, please feel free to pass them along to us and we'll see what we can do to accommodate.

When an item says "On Order", how long will it take to be in stock?

Well, that's a bit hard to answer since it varies.  It could be anywhere from one day to a month, depending on when it was ordered and they typical lead time of that particular amp.  When we sell a Dr. Z amp, we reorder it right away.  Since Dr. Z never stocks amps, and they're all made to order, we have to wait on them to custom make that amp for us.  Usually custom amp builders like Dr. Z will "do a run" of a particular model every so often, so if they are just about to build Maz 18 Jr NR's, for instance, then the lead time will be very short.  If they only build Galaxie Heads once every few months, then the wait could be longer.   Since we have shipments coming to us every single week, so you are sure to get it from us a quickly as possible.

I see a few models are Special Order Items.  What exactly does that mean and how do I order?

We stock just about every model and every color combination of Dr. Z Amplifiers, but some of them we just special order for people.   What this means is we can take a 20% deposit and order it for you from Dr. Z.  Like we mentioned above, we have shipments coming to us every single week, so you are sure to get it from us a quickly as possible.  When you place a special order from us, we will contact Dr. Z right away and try to get you a general ETA.  The balance will absolutely not be charged until we're ready to ship your new amp to you.  By the time we charge your card, we'll already have a tracking number ready to give you.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to give us a ring.

I notice the Red Dr. Z's you stock have Tan instead of Salt & Pepper grill cloth.  Why is that?

Good question.  It used to be that just about all the Red tolexed amps that Dr. Z sold had Salt & Pepper grills.  We started using Tan several years ago.  Truth is, we had a Maz 18 in Red w/ Salt & Pepper grill on order, and Dr. Z accidentally sent us a Tan grill instead.  We called them and they were going to replace it right away, but as we looked at it we realized we liked it much more than the Salt & Pepper.  As you know, Salt & Pepper grill cloth is a weave of black and white and Tan is a weave of cream and black.  Since the piping, Z logo, and knobs are all cream in color we feel it does a better job of tying the overall color scheme together.  Don’t get us wrong...  The Salt & Pepper still looks very cool.  It's just that the Tan grill looks more balanced in our eyes.  We still stock the more popular heads and cabs in Salt & Pepper, but just not as much as the Tan.

Why are you the only dealer that sells the Dr. Z amps in Surf Green

This goes back several years.  If you've browsed our website much, you'll know that we're in love with retro greens.  We stock unique pedals from Diamond, Keeley, Dr. Scientist, and others, that we had special runs made in Surf or Seafoam green.   We have the *only* Surf Green MESA Boogie amps ever made coming to us now.  In our store, we stock all the Surf Green Fender guitars we can get our hands on.  We admit, we're a little silly about it.  As for the Dr. Z's, we tried for a couple years to get them to do a couple amps in Surf Green, but they were adamant about sticking to the Black, Red, and Blonde colors.  After much begging and pleading, Dr. Z reluctantly said he'd be open to the idea as long as we committed to a respectable quantity, which made sense to us since we knew he didn’t want to get into special one off runs for everyone and their brother. Then we found out another problem...  New Surf Green tolex didn't exist. .  A quick search in forums back then showed the demand was there, but no one could find any.  Fender's last run on the Bronco finish was done many years ago, and no one had stocked it in a decade or longer.  We contacted the primary tolex manufacturer, and they wanted 36 beams of tolex minimum to run a custom color.  That's $10,000 in tolex.  Yes.  Ten thousand dollars!   So...  We partnered with Mojo Supply on an order and split it.  They took 18 beams of Bronco finished tolex, and we took 18 beams of Nubtex (the finish on all Dr. Z amps).   By the way, if you need any Surf Green tolex, we have plenty.  It's $21.99 a yard.  Give us a ring!

I'm a bit confused about the Standby Switch.  Exactly when do I use it?

Many people still don't know how and when to use the stand by, and it's completely understandable since just about everyone has a different opinion on how to use it.  Well, in the Dr. Z Official Forum, Dr. Z himself confirmed the following for use on his amps:  
  • Always check to make sure the amp Standby is on before you power up.
  • When powering the amp up, have the Standby switch already on.. Switch the power on, wait a minute, and turn Standby off.
  • When taking a short break, put the amp back on Standby.  
  • When powering down, DON'T put the amp on Standby. Just turn it off.
  • Now, if you just turn it on without using Standby, it'll be okay. Standby just warms the Tubes up a little slower, so they will last longer
  • When plugging in/unplugging effects or switching speaker cabs, It's always best to turn the Standby switch on.

Dr. Z Maz Specific Questions

1x12 vs. 2x10 Speaker configurations

Brian:  "We actually get this question quite a bit; perhaps even daily.  Honestly, both configurations sound really good, but there are some differences.  In general, the stock 12 inch speaker (Celestion G12H30 in the combo) is going to be a touch warmer and a bit less percussive than the 10" Custom Dr. Z speakers. It is most noticeable in the feel of the amp more so than in the overall EQ response. The 10's just have a bit more “snap” to them with a touch more crispness in the highs and an overall tighter bottom. When a customer is choosing between the two configurations, we recommend he considers the style of guitar that's being played. If your guitar tends to be a little on the bright side going with a 1x12 may be the ticket as you will benefit from the added warmth and bass response. If your guitar is warmer and you would like a bit tighter sound that cuts through the mix a bit better the 10’s may be the way to go. Honestly, you really can’t lose either way."  

Jake:  "When choosing between the two, I like ask if the customer what the primary use of the amp is going to be.  Speakers, as you know, react quite differently depending on a number of variables, and comparing one to the other is not always cut and dry. Personally, I think the Maz 18 Jr. sounds the best when you're standing out 10-15 feet in front of it cranked way up with the 2x10" speakers.  However, my personal Maz 18 is the 1x12 version.  The reason for this is I don't play out live all the time.  I'll jam with some friends on occasion, record a bit, or just play around the house.  For these uses, I think the 1x12 sounds better.  I like the wider frequency response I get from the 12" when recording and at "lower than window shattering" volumes.  The same may apply if you play at a club, church, etc. with a sound guy that makes you turn down.  I think in this instance the 1x12 will out perform the 2x10 as well.  Just something to keep in mind."

Celestion Blue?

One of the speaker options that is available with many of the Dr.Z amps is the 12" Celestion Alnico Blue speaker. We get a lot of questions about this speaker in terms of the benefits over the stock options. One of the factors to consider with this speaker is that it is only rated at 15 watts. Although the Maz jr and Ghia are rated at 18 watts this speaker will be just fine in those amps, however any more power than that you may want to look at another option. From a sound perspective this is a pretty unique speaker. It is prized for it’s warm top end and nice British chime. If you are a fan of Vox amps this is often considered the "voice of Vox". At only 15 watts some aspects are pretty unique with this speaker versus some of the higher powered options. With such a relatively low power rating this speaker can be pushed in to overdrive at a pretty low volume. When pushed it has a very nice natural compression and is quite warm sounding. It should be noted that the bass response is a little different than most people are used to with modern speakers. The low end on this speaker is very loose sounding when pushed and really does not tighten up no matter how it is EQ'd. For rigs that are very bassy to begin with this speaker can fall apart a bit at higher volumes. We recommend in this instance either pairing it with another speaker such as a G12H30 or looking at a different speaker all together. If you still like the Alnico type sound, but want a bit more power handling the Celestion Gold may be something to look at. It has the same basic characteristics as the Blue but at 50 watts the bass is a bit more solid when pushed.

Reverb vs. NR

On the surface this would seem like simply a choice between having reverb or not, however there is a bit more to it. When the reverb is removed from the circuit the signal is actually traveling a bit shorter distance within the amp (and not losing some of it's strength while traveling through the components of the reverb circuit) and this translates to a bit hotter signal. If you put a reverb and non-reverb (NR) model next to each other you will notice that the NR model has a bit more gain at comparable volumes with the reverb model. The NR model maybe has a bit more of an "organic" sound at a lower volume; a touch more dynamic. This is something to consider as if you are worried about clean headroom the reverb model will give you a little more head room. It should also be stressed these differences are pretty subtle. The NR models also include an effects loop at no extra charge.  

Is 18 watts enough power?

Some customers are concerned that many of the Dr. Z amps rated at 18 watts are not going to be enough power for their needs. One thing to consider is the efficiency of these amps. Most lower powered Dr.Z amps are utilize Class A type circuitry.  This is quite a bit more efficient than most higher wattage amps that are Class AB power. In general, an 18 watt Class A amp is about as loud as a 40 watt class AB amp. An 18 watt Maz Jr or Ghia is more than enough power in most cases to play with a moderately heavy drummer.  In cases where more volume than that is needed the PA will usually be bringing in the extra muscle. Most people are pretty surprised how loud an 18 watt Maz really is, as it is widely regarded as one of the loudest 15-18 watts amps out there.  

Maz Jr 18 vs. Maz Sr 38

When you compare the wattages of these two amps it would appear that the Maz Sr at 38 watts is twice the power of the 18 watt Jr model. On paper this is correct, but in terms of actual volume the difference is not as substantial. The biggest difference you will notice between the two models is that the SR has quite a bit more clean headroom than the Jr. The difference in volume with these two amps certainly smaller than you might expect, but the gain is a different story. In general, the Jr begins to breakup at about 75% the volume of the Sr.