Hey guys, I'm new to the world of Dr. Z. I just got my first Z, a mk.I MAZ Jr. 18 that was professionally converted to head and cab from a combo (and is reversible!!). So far, this thing has so many different great sounding options, but I am finding I am getting a bit of option paralysis; I am coming from a 70s Traynor YGM3 which had only a few great usable sounds (and wasn't master volume). With the Traynor, I got most of my tone shaping and drive from a variety of different pedals (AnalogMan King of Tone, Lovepedal Tchula, Maxon OD820, Greer Amps Lightspeed, Vemuram Karen, T. Jauernig Gristle King...). I find that most of these pedals into this amp become almost piercingly bright when played into a good sounding clean or mild overdrive from the amp. I have browsed the web and these forums a bit for some settings and some guidance already, but am still struggling a little bit to land on a tone that makes me go "wow".
My current rig (recently severely shrunken-down pedalboard):
My guitar (tone) heroes range from John Mayer to David Gilmour to Paul Kossoff to Jimmy Page... the list goes on (and on, and on...). My main guitars are a PRS Custom 22 with low output Bare Knuckle Mules PAFs, and a few different Strats with a variety of different pickups (from very vintage-sounding low-output to slightly more modern higher output options). At the moment, I am trying and struggling to get that classic Strat jangly "bell-like" tone out of any of my Strats (at the moment I am trying to replicate the sounds found in this video, especially the neck pickup and neck+middle tones:
Anyone have any suggestions? I am finding that most sounds I come up with are either a bit dull sounding, or much too bright.
Last Edit: Mar 11, 2019 17:08:59 GMT -7 by krugerj
Post by Chilly Gibbons (Todd T.) on Mar 11, 2019 17:21:34 GMT -7
Great looking cabs! On any used amp I always recommend new tubes so that you have a top performing platform on which to begin (at least new power tubes). With a Maz, you really have work the cut knob to control the brightness. It does wonders.
Z-Lux Combo in Black, Z-Lux Head/1x12 Z Cab in Red, Cure, Maz 8 Head/1x12 Z Cab In Black, another Maz 8 head/1x12 cab in blond, blond Z-Verb, Red Z-Verb, Maz 18 NR MKII in Black, Therapy blonde, Red Monza, Air Brake, and few more now, but who is counting? Past: Monza 1x10 in Red, Mini Head in Red, Maz 18 Head in Black (Baby come back...)
Chilly Gibbons (Todd T.) : The wood work on the head is impeccable! I had no idea it wasn't factory until the guy I bought it from told me! Regarding new tubes, that might be what I do next, but we'll see if I can coax a tone I like out of this before doing that as I think the tubes have already been replaced once or twice. The cut control definitely takes some getting used to!
Faze : Wow thank you for that PDF! I will check out some of the other tones on there! At the moment I am trying to get a John Mayer-type tone (or at least, as close as I can get with el84s) and unfortunately the two options on that PDF aren't what I'm looking for. But I will definitely use some of those as a baseline to keep tweaking!
Last Edit: Mar 11, 2019 19:07:29 GMT -7 by krugerj
Your amp settings in the first photo are pretty close to the settings I use, but gigging, my master volume is usually about 1:00. There are a few pedals that sound pretty bright using a G12H30 type speaker. For more fatness, but clear, I've been using a WGS Reaper HP and either a Tanabe Dumkudo Twin or Hermida Mosferatu. Even my Barber Direct Drive Super Sport is pretty bright and thin.
I'll second the recommendation about getting the 6N14N power tubes. There are speakers I like better than a G12H30 but it is still capable of getting you "in the ballpark" of the tones you are after. Are you running the Master where it is set in the photo? I find that having the Master below 12:00 makes the amp less responsive and sound the way you are describing. You may need to use a speaker attenuator so you can crank that Master Volume.
Have you played the amp with a band yet where you can turn it up? I was underwhelmed with my first MAZ when I was playing it at home. Then the first time I got to play it at a live gig with a band I understood that it was designed for that. They cut through the mix better than most other amps I have played. You are far from being the only first time Z owner to have this initial opinion.
I played a Traynor for several years too. It was a YGL-3A. They made fine amps and were underappreciated outside of Canada. You certainly have the gear to get the tones you want, except maybe you need that attenuator. A lot of forum members use one.
Thanks for all the replies! Hopefully I can address all the comments and questions:
The speaker is a Celestion G12H30. I’ve only ever had good experiences with this particular speaker and never found it too bright necessarily, that’s why I was surprised in this context!
I have not yet played with a band, that will come in the next couple weeks. I will also try cranking the master when the neighbours are out next...
I will definitely check out the NOS tubes as a couple of commenters suggested, it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ll shoot an email to Perry. I’ve also read a few things about replacing the stock pre-amp tubes with other options. I’ll start with the power tubes first.
Post by Christopher on Mar 12, 2019 9:05:26 GMT -7
I play a Strat into my Maz JR and can coax juicy tones with the master at 11 o'clock and the volume between 10-12 o'clock depending on how much fatness I'm in the mood for. I have a GH 30 inside and an old pair of JJs at the moment. The cut is the key to getting what you want from the top end IMO. The treble doesn't need to be above noon to do the job and the cut can add or remove top end sibilence. One thing to remember w Z amps is to set the dials w your EARs not your EYES. There's a lot of tweakablity to the Maz and the only way to find what works for you is some time working it out. Don't forget the second input is also less bright and can chill the top if needed.
Post by bourgeoisboy (Josh) on Mar 12, 2019 9:13:13 GMT -7
When I got to the place w my Maz that I kept having to mess with the EQ to try and get a good tone it was the tubes. It did sound a little harsh to me at that point. This was the first amp that I had experienced this with. With the new tubes especially the NOS ones, It sounds good no matter my settings. I use a Celestion Gold speaker and I’ve never had problems with it being too bright.
Everbody is different and that's one of the great things about the electric guitar. One person's settings may not work for the next guy but yours in the picture above are a lot like my "go to starting point" on the MAZ 18. I'd turn up the Volume to noon, back off the treble just a tiny bit.
At that point every little bit more you can get out of the Master will be gold.
Hope you enjoy your new rig. It looks great.
***disclaimer: I use the guitar's volume control a lot too.
Last Edit: Mar 30, 2019 16:08:48 GMT -7 by roscoenyc
Hi - I recently had my Maz turned into a cab and head and put a WGS Reaper speaker in it. I use pedals for sounds and keep the amp clean.
Here's some (o'clock) settings to try: Vol - as needed Treble - 10-11 Mids - 1 Bass - 9 Master - 3-4 Cut - noon -1 Reverb - 9-10
I find running the master quite high really opens the amp up. Even if I have to be really quiet, I prefer the master up and sometimes will plug into the low input. Oh ya, these settings are for my Strat. I find the same with the Cut, running it higher and turning down the treble accordingly.
I had the G12H30 anni speaker when I got the amp. Other than at home quiet, it really never did a thing for me. My bass player calls it "ganky". I first went with a WGS ET65. Nice all rounder, but I find I love the WGS Reaper way more (30 watt version). They say its like a G12h30. It's not. Nicer balance, not so scoopy, smooth, luv it...
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