Dr Z have a great reputation for making boutique amplifiers with simple control layouts. The thought process with the company appears to be ‘less is more’. All hand built in the USA, the new DB4 series is aimed at those that like the old ‘Marshall’ tones of the late Sixties. They’ve been designed in collaboration with world famous guitarist Brad Paisley.
DB4 actually stands for Dr Z and Brad Paisley’s fourth amp design collaboration and is available in either a head, a 1×12 ‘Classic-Lite’ – which uses a Celestion Alnico Gold – or a 2×12 ‘Bluesbreaker’ combo format that’s loaded with a pair of Celestion Alnico Blue speakers.
As an 18/38 Watt amp, the DB4 is based around an EL84 valve output section which can be driven either at full or half power. This allows you either a bit more headroom or the ability to hit the output stage a little harder by halving the power section. The preamp is actually a 5879 US-made pentode preamp tube, which you would have found in the old Gibson GA-40 Les Paul amp, and is paired with a 12AX7.
The amp has some really simple controls and this, I would imagine, is why it will be so popular. If you have ever played any Dr Z amps then you will be familiar with their ability to dial in some great guitar tones with this type of setup. Control-wise, the front panel offers Volume, Cut and Tone. For a lot of players striving for a good guitar sound, this is all you really need. There is a High and a Low input on the front panel and that is about it.
There’s no effects loop or channel switching here, and so this is a very ‘vintage inspired’ amp design.