Alexander Dumble didn’t build many amplifiers in his lifetime, so if and when one comes up for sale it’s going to be for silly money. Fortunately, there are some pedal manufacturers out there that have a handle on how to get close to the Dumble feel and tone – and that includes J. Rockett.
In its lineup, J. Rockett has a pedal called The Dude, which was based on a Dumble Overdrive Special amp owned by Keith Urban. It also had another pedal, the Hot Rubber Monkey (HRM), which featured the brand’s interpretation of an ODS with an EQ modification.
Alexander Dumble did what he called the ‘Hot Rubber Monkey’ mod on certain later amps and it comprised a passive tonestack (treble, mid, and bass on trimmers inside the amp) after the overdrive stage for fine-tuning. Now, Version 2 of J. Rockett’s HRM is with us.
This time, the company got hold of an actual Dumble amplifier with the HRM EQ mod and spent two years trying to come up with an HRM pedal that improves on its original version. This included sourcing some NOS parts for authentic sound. With the Gain knob set at minimum, unity gain is around one o’clock on the Volume knob and you start off in clean-with-grit territory.
From there, the Gain has plenty to tap into and runs the gamut of what you’d expect from a hot-rodded tube amp. There is marvellous touch-sensitivity here with the pedal really responding as you dig in.
In terms of the EQ, engaging the pedal immediately tightens up the bottom-end, and the overall tonal impression is a nice warmth and thickness in the midrange with a singing top-end.
Both qualities have plenty of adjustment with the two tone knobs that just happen to be called Midrange and Top End. The former works on the lower mids, adding girth to the tone, while the latter can dial in a silvery bell-like brilliance. Between the two, you can bring out a throatiness that will definitely be heard in a band mix.
We obviously can’t say that we compared the HRM V2 to an original Dumble amp, but it’s certainly in the ballpark of tonal qualities that one might expect. It’s a beautifully voiced overdrive pedal of the sort that, once you’ve started, encourages you to keep playing.
- PRICE: $229 / £239
- ORIGIN: USA
- TYPE: Drive pedal
- FEATURES: True bypass
- CONTROLS: Level, Gain, Top End, Midrange, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 30mA
- DIMENSIONS: 58 (w) x 103 (d) x 51mm (h)
- CONTACT: J. Rockett Audio Designs