I first became aware of Z-Amps sometime around 2010 while trying to decide on my Holy Grail 15-20 watt amp. The Fender Tweed Deluxe 5e3 was the benchmark and first choice. Balancing price with quality was the first priority.
In my search, I ran across the website www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com, created and promulgated by Myles S. Rose. It was there that I became acquainted with Z-Amps. About the same time, I discovered that Mike Fuller of Fulltone Musical Products Inc. was also a fan of Z-Amps at www.fulltone.com.
Eventually, in January 2013, I chose a Carmen Ghia 1x10 combo over a 5e3, primarily because I had decided that it was a more affordable, similarly voiced cathode biased amp with more headroom and versatility. Three years later, I got another Ghia (a head). I am perfectly content with both amps and a loyal and avid cheerleader of all things Z.
Nevertheless, since the significant price increases earlier this year (2018), if I had to make the choice now, I would be compelled to choose the 5e3 Deluxe because of price parity.
Previously, Z-Amps were a high quality option priced well below the competition—not so now. The practical value and affordability have become casualties of competitive pricing.
With all due respect, and as stated in an earlier post—“So glad I got in when I did. Z-amps are now priced beyond my means”—I am not the typical affluent Z customer.
Finally, and for whatever it’s worth, All of my Z amps and cabs are dressed in Blackout.
Ghia Combo 1X10/Blackout/w/Ramrod/Racing Stripe Faceplate/Output Impedance 4/8 Ohm (New Jan.2013) Ghia Head/Blackout/w/Retro Graphic Faceplate/Output Impedance 4/8/16 Ohm (New Nov. 2016) Dr. Z 1x10 Cab/Blackout/w/Ramrod (New Feb. 2013)/Retrofit w/Full Grill (Aug. 2016) Dr. Z 1x10 Cab/Blackout/w/Ramrod (Replaced with a Ragin Cajun—New Feb. 2018) The Upshot: 1x10 & 2x10 Flex-Z-Bility!
"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." –Mark Twain
I feel your pain with the price increases. I don't have a lot of gear money, either.
Fortunately, the Docs stuff is built to last forever, so it's a wise investment. I can't just peel off a stack of hundreds for a new amp, but I can plan ahead and save. That new Nova will be mine, oh yes it will, but if I need to save up for a while, so be it. Over the long haul, Z's are still practical, relatively affordable, and a great investment in terms of tone and reliability.
I guess there's some good news, too, though not for the Doc - he doesn't make a dime off used sales - but the used market is a buyer's market right now, and there are always a few Zs available on EvilBay or Reverb.
The designer and builder of these wonderful amps has been very candid about his costs. If there is a price increase, he explains it here on the forum so we all know the back story. I've never had an issue with any of the Z amps I've had or have with the exception of tubes - but that's a different and unrelated story. As detuned mentioned, plan ahead and save - knowing you will purchase a top quality 1st class amplifier. And, if you call the Z shop for ANY reason, more than likely the designer will answer!
Great amps, nice guitars, and a small tonal spice rack.
Consumers always remember what an amp cost "the last time I priced one!" And in most cases, that was a few years ago. I remember buying a Maz 18 for a tad over a thousand bucks...now it's twice that!!!!! But when I stop to think, that was probably 13-14 years ago....
I used to spay cats for 35 bucks, now it's a $250.00-$350.00 procedure. The costs of business always go up as everybody knows, but few realize it goes up yearly, every year.
Like Doc, I've not raised my prices yearly (in an order to help my clients)....but that only made it tougher when the increases DID come around.....
Check the competition, you'll find Doc's prices have not increased any faster or greater that the "other guys!" Inflation, insurance, legal constraints, tax laws, employee compensations, etc.....they all go up, up, up....it's just a way of life....
"People sleep easy in their beds because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
Location: "Deep in the Heart of Texas" (Near the Alamo)
There's an old joke: The CFO bursts into the CEO's office and says, "My God--we're losing money on every unit that goes out the door! We have to DO something!" And the CEO says, "Don't worry--we'll make it up in volume!" It's the classic Hobson's choice every business has to sort out--how do you navigate margin vs volume? Basically, as far as the price increase is concerned, others have already said what I'm thinking. In terms of going back to black--I'd be willing to pay a reasonable premium for red, but the color thing wouldn't stop me from buying a really great amp.
Z-Lux combo: red/ZW Cure Friedman Mini Dirty Shirley and matching cab
A dozen other Z amps/cabs I've sold or traded. I may have a problem--but I'm an excellent customer.
My z-28 is a tank and I love it. I would love to own several boutique amps, but I can’t justify it financially. I’m growing to accept the Z-28 as “my tone” and choose to grow old with it. If the right opportunity presents itself for a trade I might do it (and regret it), but when something sounds so good and has such high quality, you can see why the doc is doing what he’s doing. His amps are up to par if not better than his competition and he was offering them for a steal new. Let the doc make his money!
GuitarZ: I'm okay with the AARP letters. You're still living and breathing? What the heck am I to think when a funeral home sends me a free consultation offer? Ouch!
Jun 21, 2019 15:41:26 GMT -7
The Bad Poodle: I bought airline tickets online... now every few days i get emails that read "Your trip is almost here but aren't you forgetting something?? You don't have trip insurance!" and i'm thinking..."is there something i should know about your plane maintenance?"
Jun 21, 2019 16:02:32 GMT -7
GuitarZ: Reminds me of buying my Honda. When they tried to sell me the maintenance package, I said "Is your car not reliable?" Long story short my wife teamed up with the sales lady to buy the maint package. Never again!
Jun 21, 2019 16:16:53 GMT -7
roscoenyc: I have never in my life experienced tube rattle. That said, I've only been playing electric guitar for 49 years.
Aug 2, 2019 6:39:37 GMT -7
The Bad Poodle: What cures tube SHAKE and tube RATTLE? A tube ROLL?
Aug 11, 2019 17:22:10 GMT -7
capofirstfret: I've experienced tube rattle in two different amps that I've had. In both cases I bought the rubber rings from Eurotubes and it fixed it for me.
Aug 14, 2019 12:57:35 GMT -7
roscoenyc: Guitar amps on carpet make me sad.
Aug 16, 2019 5:23:37 GMT -7
The Bad Poodle: Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Aug 16, 2019 14:12:09 GMT -7
GuitarZ: Thank you for neighbors with gardens. Fresh veggies and no hassle!
Aug 17, 2019 18:12:08 GMT -7
"Z" Steve: Sunshine Superman? Call any vegetable - call it by name!
Aug 19, 2019 11:53:09 GMT -7
GuitarZ: Idiot! I wanted to put a little air on my Zoom H1's circuit board to clear out any residual Deoxit from spraying the input connector. Guess which can I picked up to spray. Yup! Not the air can.
Aug 23, 2019 10:07:40 GMT -7
premiumplus (Dave): I was wondering why a Frisbee gets larger the closer it gets. Then it hit me.
Aug 24, 2019 6:14:55 GMT -7