Music August 1, 2020
The first impression when unboxing the Dumbloid was that it has a look of a high school project. A Hammerite paint finished box covered with stick-on Dymo labels makes it look like it could have been ripped straight off an old Stevie Ray Vaughan pedal board. There was no information included in the box but the name Dumbloid would suggest that if you are buying this pedal you already know what you are aiming for and that is the sound of a Dumble Amp.
There are two ways of achieving the Dumble Amp tunes, one is to ping over £80,000 for a genuine vintage custom-made amp or to try and fake it with a pedal or combination of pedals.
If you think by plugging this pedal into your solid state amp those tones will be achieved then you will be wasting your money. I tried this with my Fender Strat and line 6 Spider II amp. The result was awful. However, place the pedal between the Strat and a basic tube amp (Marshall DSh 15c) and the results are far more impressive.
The four knobs control drive, accent, tone and volume on this overdrive pedal which has already made adjustments to the incoming guitar tone via some graphic equaliser process and then sends this modified signal through the overdrive system to work with your tube amp to really make it sit up and sing without massive harshness or overwhelming distortion. It is this modified signal combined with the overdrive that seeks out that illusive Dumble Amp sound.
How close it gets to a Dumble Amp is difficult to say unless you have one to compare and contrast (and how likely is that ever to happen) but the effect when used with the little Marshall Amp was excellent.
The Dumbloid itself produces very little unwanted noise even when the gain on the amp and pedal were cranked up high. The wide range of tones can be adjusted from powerful cleans with a hint of break up to fat dirty tones by simply adjusting the gains and volume on the amp in conjunction with adjusting the volume and drive knob on the Dumbloid.
The jazz/rock toggle switch seems to simply roll off tone which probably has its uses but in rock mode the pedal really comes into its own. The tone knob will significantly soften or brighten the sound, whereas the accent knob has much less effect on the tone by adding a very small amount of attack.
To achieve the same tones produced by the Dumbloid using a good quality graphic equaliser pedal combined with a separate overdrive pedal would probably be possible but would require a great deal more knob twiddling and time wasting whereas by using the Dumbloid half the job is already done for you.
Given this is essentially an overdrive pedal the range of usable tones, which can be pushed out through a basic tube amp, was far better than I expected from the unassuming box covered with Dymo stickers. Is this a true representation of a Dumble Amp? I doubt it and you would hope not given the price difference. Will it produce a rich powerful blues/breaker sound? Yes, certainly and probably the real reason you would want it on your pedal board. RRP $599.95
- Great sound on a tube amp
- Retro/home made design
- Good range of usable tones
- Very little unwanted noise
- Doesn’t sound great through solid state amps
- No included instructions