Amps

Another key (and a BIG one) in the search for the John Mayer tone is selecting the correct style of amplifier. For years now Mayer has been using Two Rock amplifiers, which are a variety of the infamous Dumble style amplifier. To make a long story short, starting in the late 60’s, Alexander “Howard” Dumble was building amplifiers for all kinds of guitarists, including Stevie Ray Vaughan. Only 300 or so of these amplifiers were rumored to ever be created, and they are now very expensive, if you can even find one.

John Mayer Gear: Amps on stage

John Mayer amps on stage – Dumble (left) and Two-Rock (right)
photo courtesy aaron warren – www.flickr.com/photos/pedalfreak/4778288116/

 

Fast forward 50 years later and there are dozens of companies who build amplifiers that are based on the tone of those original Dumble amps. Two Rock is one of those companies, and is John Mayer’s amp of choice. The clean tone of these style of amps is a huge foundation in John Mayer’s tone, and anyone who’s played one can attest to that. The overdrive tone comes more from his use of pedals, which are featured on the Pedals page.

John’s Two-Rock is a limited edition signature model which is no longer in production, but it is based upon the Two-Rock Custom Reverb model, which is still available.

John Mayer Gear: Two-Rock Signature Amp

Two-Rock Limited Edition John Mayer Signature Amp

 

Two-Rock has also recently come out with small studio-sized amps, such as the Two-Rock Studio Pro 22, which offers Dumble-like tone in a lower watt package.

John Mayer Gear: Two-Rock Studio Pro 22 Amp

Two-Rock Studio Pro 22

 

But Two Rock isn’t the only option in the Dumble-arena. There are a number of companies that build Dumble style amplifiers, at a variety of different prices. Arguably, the most popular runner-up to the Two-Rock amongst Mayer fans is the one of the Ceriatone Overtone models.

John Mayer Gear: Ceriatone Overdrive Special

Ceriatone Overtone Special (Dumble Clone)

 

These Ceriatone amps are made in Malaysia, can be had for under $2,000, and sound fantastic:

Perhaps you are like many people however, who still don’t have $2,000 to spend on an amplifier. Are there any other amps that can get you in the John Mayer tone ballpark? Absolutely. Dumble amps are rumored to be modified versions of old Fender amps, and so a good solid Fender “blackface” style amp, as well as some of the more modern Fender amps, can also do the trick.

John has been to known to use several different Fender amplifiers, such as the following:

 

Fender Super Reverb
John Mayer Gear: Super Reverb
Fender Vibro-King
John Mayer Gear: Vibro-King
Fender Vibrolux
John Mayer Gear: Vibro-Lux
Fender Blues Junior
John Mayer Gear: Blues Jr
Fender Band Master
John Mayer Gear: Band Master
Fender Bassman
John Mayer Gear: Bassman

 
Several Mayer fans praise the Fender Blues Junior, a relatively inexpensive amp, as a great portable tone machine. Others have also achieved great tones on the Egnater Tweaker 15, another small amp that has a Fender voicing option.

So in short, the John Mayer tone begins with a Dumble, or at least Fender voiced amplifier. There are several great models out there, and plenty of demos available on the internet. If you’re looking for a good deal, hit your local music store and try their selection of Fender amps. If you have more to spend, you can’t go wrong with a Two-Rock or a Ceriatone.