Dude... YOU ROCK!!! They both sound amazing! thanx again. Travis 3/15/14
(Hiwatt DR504)(Ampeg V50H ) .
Just thought I would give you my report after a few weeks with my "new" Tophat Ambassador-
Not only is it whisper quiet now, the overall "tone" sounds better than it did before to my ears, so.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the incredible work!!!
Absolutely NO recurrences with the other problems that you fixed as well.
I will definitely recommend you to any friend I can find!! I will be bringing my guitars by soon for set-ups too...
Thanks again, Billy- Say hi to Ranger for me!!
Brad , Spokane, WA 3-15-2014
My Gibson SG standard sounds, plays, and feels phenomenal !!
Thanks so much Billy!!
I never gave much thought to a professional setup before but wow what a difference!
With the classic wiring restored there is indeed an added clarity and oddly a high end sparkle that is much more defined when I roll the volume down now. Very very nice work man!
I can't wait to get my Epiphone to you next!
Thanks as always!!
From: "Zombie4u" <zombie_4u@********.***>
Sent: December 21, 2013 8:24 PM
Subject: Review and many thanks!!
To anyone who may wonder whether or not Billy can do a high gain Doom type mod to an amplifier...
or if you happen to just love the world of fuzzy high gain goodness
the likes of which comes from bands such as, Sleep, Truck Fighters, or the Sword...
My Avatar 45 watt Amp ( from Avatar Speakers, yes they make amps too )
has been artfully crafted into the 50 Watt AVATAR Z!!!!
Billy must have infused this thing with DNA from the Kracken, and Godzilla!
It is absolutely a TITANIC CRUSHING SUPERBEAST!!
Like some HUGE fantastic creature of fantasy
this purple and gold monster growls with THUNDEROUS authority!! BOOM BABY!!
The tones of DOOM,FUZZ,GAIN,CRUNCH,and GRIT are easily
and readily available WITHOUT pedals!!
Seriously. I can't say that about very many amplifiers.
I freaking love pedals but this amp no longer needs them.
I didn't think it was possible to get an amplifier so completely to my liking.
I have the BEST Amp!
I contacted Billy on a whim to see if he could take an already great
(albeit more classic Marshall JTM style)amp,
my Avatar 45, and give me that Orange, Electric USA, Matamp type of gain and fuzz.
I figured "eh, at best a little more gain would be nice."
He actually took the time to REALLY listen to the specific elements of my request.
I was flabbergasted by his attention to MY tone!
It was a completely unexpected honor to have someone
treat me like I was Slash, or Toni Iommi
and basically create for me my very own "signature" custom Amplifier!
There is not another one like it. Some come close like an Orange TH100,
but this one is just simply like "whoah."
I've been a professional musician for over 17 years
with bands such as Lucid and Sweet Hollow from Spokane, WA
but I'm just a working class dude
and I of all people now have this incredible, unique, made in America amazing Amplifier! !
Thanks to Billy Z, it is the...AVATAR Z!!!
MY Avatar Z!
Ryan R Mendoza
Billy, you rock, the bass sounds awesome!
THANKS AGAIN Mr Z
The guitar is Smoking Hot now. Marshall and Les Paul, perfect match!
Hey Billy, this is Wade. I purchased the GZ30 Austin Special just a couple days ago. I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know that I am absolutely enjoying the amp. I got to say, this amp sometimes sounds like a deluxe reverb without the flabby bass to my ears and at other times like an AC30. It definately has some of the best characteristics of American and British amps. I just peeked inside the 2x12 cab, That was a surprise. I don't think I have seen a cabinet with bracing and port holes like that. You can't see it through the tolex at all. Very nice. Sounds like a monster too.
I've got a question for you though, what kind of resistors are those little brown ones in the signal chain? And several of the caps are not like any I have seen used before.
WOWWWW...just finished up the test run on the Pro. I'm amazed. It didn't sound bad when I gave it to you, I just wanted it to sound as good as it was capable of- I had no idea that this is what the amp could do. The breakup on its own is beautiful, and transitions perfectly when pushed by my tubescreamer. It's warm and bassy, not cold and farty like it used to be. Warm, squishy, tube-y, everything that a good Fender should be. Thank you. Would happily take any new projects to you in the future.
I just wanted to thank you. My Splawn amp sounds better than ever.
Got a chance to put the LongHorn Modded Bassman through its paces last night and , it's a winner. Amp definitely shows it's pedigree as a bass amp - the bass and mids are very full and forward in the EQ. No trace of icepick, which is nice. While I'm a fan of my Tweeds, I really dig that there's no sag with the BF Bassman's SS rectifier which gives a much tighter bottom end with no sign of fartiness like a Tweed.
The Normal channel yields a very nice clean tone, and surprisingly the first time I preferred to use a Bright switch on a Fender that was equipped with one! The breakup comes on smoothly and gradually in this channel and it takes pedals very well (tried OD, fuzz, delay, reverb). The girthy mids and full bass EQ that this amp has sounds phenomal with reverb played clean - much sweeter and smoother than my Twin.
The gain in the Bass channel comes on early and often. Snappy, punchy, sinewy with modest volume, full, muscular yet still articulate when you turn up and the compression kicks in - almost a hybrid tone between a Marshall and Fender is the impression I get (have no idea what Trainwreck sounds like, so maybe that is what it's closest to). You did a great job re-working a channel which most everyone agrees is unusable straight in. It definitely has a bit of a "sweet spot" with the controls (can get a little intense sounding at certain settings) and I'm still learning where the best settings are for a given volume level (controls seem very interactive on each channel). I have 6 great amps now and have played plenty more over 36 yrs, but I can't think of one that nails the Stones "Brown Sugar" tone like this one does - brilliant. And next to a Super, this is probably the best amp I could think of for slide on either channel.
The two channels seem to be in phase with each other when I jumpered the channels. Lots of very interesting tonal combinations and possibliities open up with that and it actually makes for some of the amp's most compelling tones.
Again, think this is a great amp.
Just wanted to let you know the Marshall has never sounded this good, I don't know what mods you did but this is how I always imagined a Marshall should sound.
My Fender plays like a dream , best playing guitar ever, why don't they come from the store this way .
Best , Josh
September 05, 2012
Hey, just wanted to let you know, the Deluxe sounds great!! It's
exactly how I imagined it could sound. Even Oz and Ray commented on
how great it sounded when I plugged it in at the Guitar House last
Besides the bright cap mod and the general cleaning, biasing and
testing, what did you do?
Whatever it was, it sounds fantastic, and takes all my pedals really well.
I played it most of last night. Sounds beautiful and clean. I have no idea what a real blackface is supposed to sound like, but to me, this is classic Fender sound.
> Glad you like it.
> I changed the V2 plate load to 82k and the V1 Cathode to 2.7K . you
> wanted more headroom. Those tungsols sound good too.
That GZ20 is now my main amp, it really does the job especially with my Nash Tele . played it last night, sounds really good, really happy with that amp, it’s the go to amp, thanks again bill, mel
Z, you brought my old JTM 45 back from the dead, sounding better than ever .
July 3 2012
Well, it's been a week and I've come to fully appreciate the terrific job you did. It is difficult to explain; the improvements to my instrument are nuanced but substantial. First, you restored the vintage value with refurbishing and putting back the original electronics, which are smooth as silk. That's truly awesome! Second, and to me more importantly, every aspect of tone and playability is improved, such that the total is greater than the sum of the parts . As with my other instruments you've worked on, I think you fully exploited this guitar's potential. I can play with more confidence, and have more fun! Many thanks.
May 18, 2012
The guitars work beautifully. I suppose a lot of players like new strings, but I like them better after an hour or so of break in so, just about there. Anyway, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the care you put into my gear. It's so much more fun when your gear works well!
BTW, I was talking with Mike G. today and I think he's going to want you to set up his son's vintage Rick 12 string.
I'm telling you man ... I had no idea my guitars could work this good!
As always, THANKS A MILLION!!!
I picked up my two acoustics today (and paid you via Oz).Just wanted to say I'm thrilled with both!The Bourgeois OMC plays the way I remembered in way back when. I love this guitar.The Martin D-1 plays 10x better than it ever has. I like this guitar, but may start loving it now. Once again, I really appreciate your advice, expertise and service.
I finally got the DRRI back from Jay, and I have to wonder how you were able to find a brand new amp with the exact same stickers I had on mine? :D
Whew, does it ever sound good! I was late for work this morning because I couldn't stop playing it. Six years in and out of shops and it finally sounds like it should! Thanks again!!
On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM,
I hope to be sending you some clips of the new amp soon, but just had to vent one more time to say how amazing this thing is sounding now. I mean - it's just incredible. I'm plugging straight in to the Marshall, no pedal - and getting all the gain I need. The responsiveness of plugging straight in like this blows away using any of the pedals I've tried. The high end is just stellar - particularly when paired with something like a British greenback that is also sweet on the high end.
The gain is also slightly... complex. I don't know how to describe it, but the way it sings on the high end, plus the power chords, plus everything else. Just amazing. (And, remember, the pickups I'm using are not that hot at all.)
I'm running ALL controls on "10" except for the bass which is on zero, and the "normal" channel which I tend to pull back to about 8 or so with the Bright channel on 10. But that still varies some... I may wind up running it on 10 as well.
Don't mean to talk your head off, but this thing is just amazing sounding. I've got some great music near completion and will send you some clips of the amp when ready. Remember what you did - you may wind up getting amps sent to you for the "Billy Z Plexi Mod" one day! :-)
Thank you for your work on the guitar and amp. The Super Reverb is, in fact, very super now; with the tone controls fully open and the volume set to about four, it is an amazing machine.
On Jan 13, 2012, at 6:43 PM, Jason Clark <email@example.com> wrote:
>> Just wanted to let you know I am playing the melody maker through my '65 vibro champ (that you worked on as well) and this guitar is just so perfectly set up...I know I tell you all the time how great your work is but seriously, Billy, you are a wizard with guitars...you make them a pleasure to play...it makes playing so much better and just wanted to tell you I wasn't sure about this guitar until I got it back. You've done it again. Thanks for all you do, bro. I'm a better player for it.
Just a quick note... I played the hell out of my DRRI last night. It seemed to just get better, the louder I got. Before, anything past about 5 seemed to get farty, and wouldnt take my pedals well at all. Playing clean, it was outstanding.... rich and clear at the same time. The sustain is gorgeous. Equally, I am impressed with how much better it takes my pedals. I am impressed with the Mercury Magnetics iron, and very happy to have the peace of mind that it is running well. The NFB mod seems to have added life too. Overall, ti sounds like a new... different amp.
Thank you very much. I will be recommending you every chance I get.
Hey, Billy. Thanks for the excellent work you did on my Gibson 335, Stratocaster and Mesa Boogie amp. The guitars both play smooth and sweet. Just to my specifications. It really shows that you care about the work you do. And thanks for going the extra mile fixing the foot switch for the mesa. I'm a loyal customer! Thanks again.