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      TESTIMONIALS :: a few words from some satisfied customers
 Dude... YOU ROCK!!! They both sound amazing! thanx again. Travis 3/15/14 
  (Hiwatt DR504)(Ampeg V50H ) . 
    

Hey Billy,
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

 



Spokane,Wa. 1/18/2014 
Wow! 
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!!
-Ryan From: "Zombie4u" <zombie_4u@********.***>
Sent: December 21, 2013 8:24 PM
To: billyz@billyz.net
Subject: Review and many thanks!!
SPOKANE, WA 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 Spokane, WA

03-06-13

Billy, you rock, the bass sounds awesome!
Marcel

1/21/13

THANKS AGAIN Mr Z
The guitar is Smoking Hot now. Marshall and Les Paul, perfect match!
RR

1/15/2013

From: Wade
To: billyz@billyz.net
Subject: GZ30
 
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.

Thanks!

1/12/2013

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.
Kyle

11/29/2012

Hey man,
I just wanted to thank you. My Splawn amp sounds better than ever.

Tony

11-01-12

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.  
 
cheers!
Steve

 

09/07/2012

Billy,

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.

Thanks, Mark

Billy,

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

Z -

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
night.
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.

Thanks again
-Ben

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.

Ben,
> 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.
>
> Z

sept 3,2012

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

Hey Billy,

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.

Best Regards,

 

May 18, 2012

 Billy,
  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!!!

Casey

............................................................................................................................................

04/05/12

Billy,

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.

Best, Neal

...........................................................................................................................................

Hey Billy,

 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!!

 - Michael
On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM,

...............................................................................................................................................

Billy -

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! :-)

-Scott 1/12/2012

..........................................................................................................................................

Billy,

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.

Thanks again.

Richard 2/14/2012

............................................................................................................................................

On Jan 13, 2012, at 6:43 PM, Jason Clark <vastmassivesatellite@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>> Billy,
>> 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.
>> Cheers!
>> Jay

Billy Z

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.

Best Regards,

John 1/12/2012

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.

Kevin Sims
Austin, Tx. _______________________________________________________________________

Austin, TX 7/28/2011

This is easy. Billy will make your amp work good. In forty years of playing I've had lots of repair experiences, including mostly positive experiences with a few well known boutique "gurus." That said, Billy fixing my JTM45 clone is among the best, if not the best of amp repair episodes I've had. The amp had a tough problem -- arcing tubes and popping fuses -- even after a retube at a local shop. Billy turned it around unbelievably fast but more importantly HE FIXED IT! It sounds the best it ever has walking away, and my bill was well under a hundred bucks! Billy's that rare breed that's a player all about tone coupled with serious depth in amp electronics. If you view his rates at http://billyz.net you'll see that, unlike most techs that just quote you a bench rate Billy has set real world prices you can budget for. And more personalized service you will not find anywhere. Like I said, this is easy. Billy will make your amp work the way you need it to work. Billy will work with you big time. He will repair your gear like he would be using it himself. Tip this guy. He's doing you right.

Casey E.

 

Austin, TX 7/1/2011

If you're looking for quality amp repair, this guy is well worth the drive north.  I took him my Jet City head for a repair.  I also discussed some mods that were my "wish list" (Jet City is designed by Soldano and is high gain.  I wanted clean).  The amp was done, with mods, in four days!  As to the mods, he took a hi gain head that I had to pull back on and turned it into a flat out tone MONSTER (think Tweed Bassman)!!  This man, like the late Jon Bessent, does it for the love of the craft.  I cannot recommend him highly enough!!!  PS..When I picked up my head, I had a chance to play through one of his custom designs.  OMG...it would stand with ANY boutique amp out there.

Andrew D

(Thanks Andy, Glad you liked the Amp.... See my About page for the Exact Mod I did to the Jet City 20, Billy Z )


5/29/2011

I took my Brian Moore to Danny Ray's on Monday morning and by Thursday afternoon had it back in my hands. The work (nut replacement, intonation set-up and string height adjustment) was very well done - excellent craftsmanship and a great sense of how a guitar should feel. Thanks Billy Z!

Randall B. Austin,TX

 

Nobody sets up guitars like Billy Z. Every guitar he's set up for me (most of my collection and all of my stage guitars) feels like home. I needed my Les Paul repaired and set up three days before a gig, and I picked it up on my way to the show. Here's how much I trust his work - I got to the gig without even checking the repairs, and took the guitar out moments before taking the stage, and it played, sounded and felt perfect fresh out of the case. I knew it would. When everyone else told me my broken-headstock 71 Gibson SG was a lost cause, Billy took the time to attempt the impossible - and to succeed at it. I just played my 'lost cause' SG and it's never played or sounded better. If you don't know what it's like to play a perfectly intonated guitar, talk to Billy Z. He'll set you up.

- Jay Clark (of Jay satellite)

I have had amps custom made by Billy Z with creamy and rich tones that breath on you. It don't get any better than this folks!!!!
His hand crafted pedals are the best sounding I have ever had,all of my other pedals are on a shelf. My musician buds want to steal them from me.
There are boutique amps out there for twice the price with half the tone!
Thank you Billy for giving me my tone!
-TED DAVI

Billy,
Where to Start?
My ears are ringing! What a sweet amp…. I very rarely used the treble pick up with past amps..too harsh for my liking..much prefer the fatter clean distortion (especially on the 335)…this amp will allow for more of diversity in sound since it has a richer tone. I like Complex but using Plex makes it much cleaner… Anton and Austen came out and played the Z amp…the SuperLux amp killed it …especially at the volumes we played at….I am really looking forward to playing in a live setting with the band to see how much I can push this amp…I bet it just gets better the bigger the sound.
I impressed the boys with the natural distortion when the volume is rolled up and the voltage dropped…in fact I found myself playing the Star Spangled Banner…ala Hendrix… SWEEEEET! The amp has the best natural feedback I have ever experienced!
It does not need to be loud to get a fat sweet tone…I may try different guitars. I know the 335 tends to darken the tone…I bet a strat or tele would be brighter…
The craftsmanship is frigging out of this world…you are a master! I will let you know how she does in live performances….I really REALLY REALLY like the fat tone of the natural distortion…it is by far the best sounding amp I have played to date!
I would love to hear how you came to this design..
Anyway…great amp…the Dr Z maz is retired!

Kurt


"I've used Billy Z many times over the last couple years. He does great work, is super knowledgeable and will beat any other shops prices. It's a total win-win for me! I've recommended him to several people already."

Toby Walters-touring musician/worship leader

www.tobywalters.com


Actually, I attribute your tweed Deluxe for getting my Tone Taste started. I was instantly and always drawn to that little amp back in the late 70's....I'm just grateful that I had a little cash to be able to own and develop an ear for the finest of the essence.....

Again, thanks for being able to build and tune a great amplifier, you are in a small cadre of individual who have such a gift.
I am really excited about this amp. It may give me an opening to sell my whole vintage collection and just hang with the SuperLux!

Doug

Bill, got into town Sun night, leaving tomorrow, not much time to do anything, pay bills, set up the DynaWatt 44 amp thru the silvers ,with the les paul that amp screams and gets nasty in the complex mode, also loves the PRS’s, and the Nocaster. Those el34’s are an awesome tone and with the voltage control I won’t go deaf so soon. Thanks for a great amp bill, I will be going on line to give some feedback for stephans pu’s , let me know if it’s ok to mention the amp,

Thanks, Mel

Hey Billy,
Thanks for all the great work on this, I can truly say that I am stoked to be able to get ahold of one these babys.

I had Billy work on a couple of my Strats - setup and electronics. Played like a dream after Billy worked his magic! I also had him repair/revive one of my Fender Twin amps. Not only did he get it up and running, he added a "feedback loop modification " which completely opened up the sound. The amp never ever sounded better. Now I'm looking at one of his custom amplifiers. Billy is a wizard with electronics, setups, repair and he's also a killer player and a super duper nice guy.

- Ray


Since you re-engineered my Bigsby bridge,I've played my guitar more in the past week than I have in the past year. Anyone who thinks a Bigsby on a Tele is a tone killer needs to see Billy Z !
-John Mergili

I have known Billy Z for 3 three plus years, besides being a great friend and muscian, Billy is one hell of a master Guitar and Amp man.... He took my old 68' Vibrolux Reverb and turned back the clock to make it sound like it did in 1968. Fender or Gibson through it sounds fantastic!!!Also repaired a Tascam Porto Two recorder... and has set up all my guitars Thanks Billy!!!!

-Max Hudson