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!
Dr Z Cure & Maz 8 Combo 1 PRS McCarty and 1 PRS McCarty Hollowbody 1 G&L ASAT Classic and 1 G&L Legacy 1 Dana Bourgeois Country Boy Assortment of Pedals
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.
Jetta studio combo Z-Wreck Junior combo Z-Lux combo: red/ZW Friedman Mini Dirty Shirley and matching cab Too many guitars Too many pedals
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: Ugh! Dropped small nut while installing new outside lamp. Thought I saw where it landed. Couldn't find it. Moved the car & such. Engineering mind said, drop another (after ~hour). Bang! Within 5 seconds. Nut found! Yea! Wife Impressed!
Apr 5, 2020 16:44:09 GMT -7
GuitarZ: Bells & Whistles-New Cars. A year with our Subaru Outback, finally realized doors have to be unlocked for inside rear hatch button to work. Dang! I need that feature for social distancing. Looked like an idiot pulling up & jumping out to manually open.
Apr 11, 2020 8:13:15 GMT -7
roscoenyc: Truss rod, 1/4 turn at a time.
Apr 22, 2020 8:49:12 GMT -7
GuitarZ: Here's a laugh. Got a Vodka delivery for the Mrs. Had to show ID. Taped my license on the end of my 20'telescoping pole. Driver got a laugh along with me and the Mrs.
Apr 22, 2020 14:05:01 GMT -7
bugman: Hello! I’m new here and looking forward to learning a lot
Apr 26, 2020 17:57:53 GMT -7
groovergeorge: I'm back after quite a long hiatus. Jut a shout out to all my old friends from years back and hi to all the new members.
Apr 27, 2020 6:22:16 GMT -7
GuitarZ: Best Pandemic Comment - Delivery guy shows up. As we're social distancing, I look at myself in brown loafers, black socks, gym shorts, t-shirt and say "I realize this is not my best look". His response "You can wear whatever you want to the apocalypse."
May 1, 2020 14:39:30 GMT -7