Alexander “Howard” Dumble, the legendary amp builder behind Dumble Amps, has passed away.
News of his death was confirmed today (18 January) in a statement posted by the Dumble Amps Instagram account. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Howard,” it wrote. “His work brought joy and inspiration to countless musicians and engineers.”
Dumble was one of the most celebrated builders in the world of guitar amplification, having built custom amplifiers for the likes of Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robben Ford, John Mayer and many others.
Before he was 21, Dumble began modding Fender amplifiers at home. Concerned with achieving the best results possible with his creations, the builder slowly gained a reputation within the guitar community for his extremely high-end builds.
The Overdrive Special, a two-channel valve amplifier, would gain particular renown. Robben Ford explained in an interview once that he would rent one whenever possible for his performances – later learning that it was he, himself who inadvertently inspired Dumble to create the amplifier.
“[Howard] told me he’d got the idea to build the Overdrive Special from listening to me play through a ’60s piggyback Fender Bassman and cabinet,” Ford told Reverb in a 2017 interview. “I’ve always been very proud of that. I think it might have something to do with the really warm relationship we both have. I consider him a really close friend; I mean, like family.”
Many from the guitar community have posted their tributes to Dumble online, see a selection below:
RIP alexander dumble … was a honor to know him. First time I met him was when I was 18 , I was invited to his house a…