ben harper

Larry Thomas knew how much Alexander Dumble revered Leo Fender and his designs. Thomas took Dumble to visit Leo’s office, where this photo was taken. It hasn’t been changed since Leo’s last day at work.

Photo courtesy of Larry Thomas

His amps fetch eye-popping sums, and the stories are legendary. Dumble’s friends share their memories of a true musical visionary.

Howard “Alexander” Dumble was about as close to a guitar mystic as you can get. He was an eccentric recluse as well known for the mythology surrounding his creations as for the amplifiers themselves. The list of players who have relied on his amps carves a through line of the history of modern electric guitar styles. Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jackson Browne, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson, John Mayer, Sonny Landreth, Joe Bonamassa, and dozens of other A-listers found their sound through a Dumble amp. On January 17th, Dumble passed away at his home in Turlock, California.

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Dumble Amps: 10 Guitarists On the Late Legend’s Design

Jason Isbell, Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robben Ford, and more top string benders talk about how much they loved Howard Dumble's amps and what made them so special to plug into.

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Best Albums of 2020

Premier Guitar editors reveal the records that helped them cope during COVID-19 quarantine. Plus, their most-anticipated releases of 2021.

We made it. To the end of a year that has already gone down in infamy as one of the weirdest (and worst) in decades.

As the pandemic turned the world upside down nine months ago, many musicians and their livelihoods were heavily impacted. No concerts, no touring, album release dates postponed, restricted studio access, and let’s not forget the dangers of actually being in the same room with other humans (sometimes that’s necessary to make songs). But let’s try to forget all that for a moment and focus on what really matters: music! The silver linings of tough times can be sweet: beautiful and amazing albums were made this year, connecting us isolated social distancers, and helping us tread water.

At best, this list will open up some new tunes for you to spin at home this holiday season as you’re welcoming a new year ahead. At worst, you can just skip what you don’t like. (But surely listening to any of these albums would be better than reliving this year!) Either way, let us know which albums were your favorites in the comments below.

As we say good riddance to 2020, we wish you this sentiment with more oomph than you know: Happy Freakin’ New Year!

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