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  1. #1

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    I've been a fan of ZT's Lunchbox amps for a long time because of their rugged construction, ease of use, power, small size, and tone. When I heard they were coming out with a Jazz Club amp that would rival my Polytone, I felt like I needed to get one in my Capitol Hill Guitar Studio, in Seattle, WA.
    ZT Jazz Club Amp: Try it out in Seattle-b-w1sicmvzaxpliiwxmdawxsxbim1hecjdlfsid2uixv0-jpg

    It's really simply just that we wanted to build an amp that had no restrictions in terms of frequency response and headroom - loud & clean as you'd ever need, with all the bottom end required for a big body guitar - and our design philosophy has always been minimalistic - not too many controls, but the ones we put on there are effective. No being overwhelmed with a dozen tone control knobs, offbeat shaping controls, etc. All the major components are sourced in the U.S. - cabinets made in Ohio, metal panels made locally in California, drivers made by Eminence in Kentucky. The only parts in there that aren't made in the U.S. are parts that are not made in the U.S. at all, which is a lot of small electronic components. The amp is build by our chief engineer (he also owns the company) and his assistant in our Benicia, California lab. And of course, we wanted to make it light enough to carry it without a struggle, so the driver is a neodymium magnet, very lightweight.

    Reviews:
    Downbeat
    Guitar Player

    It should arrive sometime around September 5th 2019, and I wanted to let you all know that I'm happy to let you try it out, if you'd like to make an appointment with me.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Update: I got the amp last night and a few of my students got to try it out. All of them were totally blown away by the tone. One made the comment: You can play a $100 guitar through this amp and it'll sound great, but you can't play a $1000 guitar through a crappy amp and have it sound good. Another student: It's like the perfect brownie, out of the oven about 20 minutes with the perfect balance of sweet gooey goodness on the inside and semi-crunch of the crust.

    I've played my jazz box and some solid body guitars through it, and it sounds exactly like I want a jazz amp to sound.

    I'm really excited to help get the word out about this amp. I've posted the specs and some reviews here, and I'll be uploading some videos there and on my other social medias soon.

    Feel free to email if you'd like to set up an appointment in Seattle to check it out. LeadCatPress@gmail.com

  4. #3

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    I’m interested in knowing how the ZT compares to the Henriksen. Anyone had the opportunity to try them both?

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCM
    I’m interested in knowing how the ZT compares to the Henriksen. Anyone had the opportunity to try them both?
    Which model of Henriksen? Maybe I can get one in my studio so you can compare them. Do you happen to be in Seattle?

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Palmer
    Which model of Henriksen? Maybe I can get one in my studio so you can compare them. Do you happen to be in Seattle?
    Next time I visit Seattle I'll bring my Henriksen Blu. If I think I can handle the grief I'll get at the border, maybe I'll bring my Alfresco.

  7. #6

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    I used to have ZT Lunchbox and I really liked the sound. It was my fav solid state amp. I understand the new ZT Club is the same only bigger.

    I did try Henriksen Bud once, and I didn't like the tone at all. From what I can remember it had completely different tone. I think Henriksen amps aim for Polytone type of sound (which is my least fav of all amps). ZT is more like tube blues amp, it doesn't aim for pristine dry cleans.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hep To The Jive
    I used to have ZT Lunchbox and I really liked the sound. It was my fav solid state amp. I understand the new ZT Club is the same only bigger.

    I did try Henriksen Bud once, and I didn't like the tone at all. From what I can remember it had completely different tone. I think Henriksen amps aim for Polytone type of sound (which is my least fav of all amps). ZT is more like tube blues amp, it doesn't aim for pristine dry cleans.
    I've never tried the Bud, but I own the Blu and have played quite a bit through the ZT Lunchbox as well as the Jr and I actually think they sound quite similar to the Blu. The Blu has quite an 'electric' tone to it IMO (as opposed to "pristine dry clean"), definitely more 'electric' than my 2012 Mambo, but it is a very nice sound.

  9. #8

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    I would be most interested in comparing the ZT Jazz Club to the Henriksen Jazz Amp (10 or 12). Both amps seem to be competing for the same space. The Bud seems to be a different animal (to me).

    I’m not in Seattle, though, so unfortunately I can’t take up the kind offer to come by and test it myself. Many thanks, though!

  10. #9

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  11. #10

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    I'm waiting for the new lunchbox reverb model to become available! Hope I do have the funds for it though, cause a 1965 fender champ just came up locally...

  12. #11

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    I really dig the blue covering. But at $1300, seems kinda high. You can get a Quilter MicroPro 12 HD that weighs several lbs less and does a whole lot more. And even cheaper on the used market. But of course I haven't tried the ZT, so I can't say how the sound compares.
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 09-12-2019 at 09:08 AM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I'm waiting for the new lunchbox reverb model to become available! Hope I do have the funds for it though, cause a 1965 fender champ just came up locally...
    yes I might buy one of the new Cab II's

    should be interesting ....to see if jazz guys get into these
    i believe there's an Eminance Alpha 6A speaker in there
    (same as a Bud and Blu ?)

  14. #13

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    It may be worth reminding readers of this thread that not everybody liked the original LB.

    I read the reviews, which were positive, learned that some good players were using it and bought one.

    I could not get a sound I liked out of it, at any volume or in any setting. It was basically useless.

    Other players like it.

    It sat in a closet for a couple of years -- in case I ever had to load-in via a long flight of stairs.

    When I sold it, there were pieces chipped off the sides of the cabinet, even though I don't recall ever having dropped it or anything like that. It looked solidly made, but now I'm not so sure, even about that.

    The new amp is pricey and there are some very good options for less money and less weight. I would strongly urge anyone to compare it to other amps and to buy it with a return privilege. I saw $1300 and 25 lbs.

  15. #14

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    yes I might buy one of the new Cab II's
    bear in mind they are not compatible with the older lunchbox amps. Not sure about details, but they say so in the site.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    bear in mind they are not compatible with the older lunchbox amps. Not sure about details, but they say so in the site.
    yes I saw that too , thanks tho

    I might team it up with a bam200

  17. #16

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    From my experience, it is a totally different amp than the Lunchbox. It's true that there's not one amp that will please everyone (thank goodness), and you really do have to try it yourself to see. I posted a couple videos you can check below, and I'll be posting more when I have the time. I just got a new puppy, so I'm a little overwhelmed with cuteness at the moment.

    Instagram #1Instagram #2Again, you are welcome to email me me come check it yourself, if you're in Seattle.
    Last edited by Susan Palmer; 10-09-2019 at 03:34 PM.

  18. #17

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    I contacted the company, and they gave me a lot more info:We did release (not failed to) a Club amp in 2010 and discontinued it in 2013. The Jazz Club is much more refined than the original Club, with much greater capability and voicing optimized for jazz guitar. The Jazz Club is almost entirely U.S. made and the original Club was made in China. The Jazz Club is a much different beast from the Lunchbox Reverb. It has massive advantage in frequency range, of course, being a much larger amp, and greater headroom due to the size of the amp & driver and also the increased power. Here are the feature/spec differences (if a feature/spec is shown on one, the other does not have that feature/spec): Jazz Club 220W RMS, 12" driver, has Midrange, EFX Loop, XLR DI Output LB Reverb 100W RMS, 6.5" driver, has Headphone Output Here are some questions you may have regarding design, production and parts sourcing: How are these different from the old Club? It's basically a completely new design, the new Jazz/Ranaldo Clubs are more like 'spiritual successors' to the old Club than just being a new version of the same amp. This one ads a midrange control and a speaker/mic compensated XLR out, it's louder, each Lee Ranaldo Club is signed by Lee, and of course the cosmetics and manufacturing are different. I read that most of the parts are made locally, can you explain more? I'm not sure I would say that most major parts are local, but 'most', 'major', and 'local' are all relative terms, so that's a little hard to define. Wherever possible we used a local manufacturer or built the parts ourselves, the exceptions are where we weren't able to find someone who could do what we needed, or (with the speaker driver for example) there just aren't any companies nearby that make those parts. Here's a quick list of some of the bigger parts: Cabinets & Grill Frames - Built and spray-coated in Cincinnati, Ohio. The spray finish they use is made in St. Louis, Missouri. Custom colors are painted here, but the cabinet is still made in Cincinnati. Metal - Machined and finished in Berkeley, California. Silk-screening for the control panels is done in San Jose, California and the grills are powder-coated in Richmond, California. Speaker Driver - Eminence Speaker builds our drivers custom for us in Eminence, Kentucky. Electronics - The circuit boards are manufactured and most of the smaller parts are put on in Texas. The larger parts on the circuit boards (which require hand-assembly) are put on by us here in our shop. Power Transformer - By far the largest part that isn't made in the USA, these are made by Hammond in Canada, a long-time manufacturer of audio transformers. We bring them in and add the wire sleeving and connectors here. Boxes and Packaging - Made nearby in Vallejo, California. We stencil our logo on the boxes here. Cables - All built by us here. Screws, nuts, bolts, resistors, capacitors, glue, gasket tape, etc. - The smaller components are much more varied and less likely to be manufactured in the USA. In some cases it's a specific part we used that just isn't made here, for example our DSP is made by an American company, but their manufacturing is in Singapore. We decided to use Neutrik connectors because of their quality and ease of replacement if one ever breaks, but their manufacturing is split between Lichtenstein and China. We use Nichicon's audio-grade line of capacitors, which are made in Japan. In other cases there might be alternatives made in the US that would work fine (resistors for example), but are wildly more expensive because they're made for the military and aerospace industry. Wherever we're using a part that isn't US-made, we're getting if from a US supplier who we know and trust, and it's a high-quality part from a reputable manufacturer. What's the difference between how you're building these and the Reverb? The biggest difference is that the LB Reverb is assembled here, but we don't consider it to be built here since the parts are not mostly US-made. The cabinets, speakers, circuit boards, metal panels are made overseas and brought in for us to do the final testing and assembly here. If you add up all the hours that go into the final product at every step of the process, from us mounting circuit boards here to a truck driver unloading the spray coating in Ohio, the numbers get big fast. And when everyone is making reasonable American wages, it gets expensive fast. When the bulk of that labor is in China where the cost of living is much lower, the cost of the product can be much lower, so we keep the final assembly and quality control here and most of the manufacturing overseas to balance quality we stand behind with a cost that's affordable for working musicians. The individual components we're using aren't as high-end as with the Custom Shop, it wouldn't be possible in a $399 product, but are still vetted and tested seriously. It's like a Cadillac versus a Honda Civic, they're both quality cars that get you where you need to go, but the Cadillac has some extras that you couldn't get in a Civic. What's the difference between the Lee and the Jazz? They are similar amps, I think of the Lee amp as being his variation on the standard Jazz Club. A lot of the differences are cosmetic, obviously the color and grill pattern, but down to the location of the Treble and Bass knobs being swapped, since that's how Lee wanted it. His version has a different EQ/gain/compression profile that's heavier on the midrange and has a more forward 'rock' sound to it where as the Jazz version has more bottom end (partially thanks to being 2 inches deeper) and a more neutral sound. Lee's is a little louder because of the different voicing, despite the power being the same.

  19. #18

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    Any updated comments on this amp?

    Thanks

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greco
    Any updated comments on this amp?

    Thanks
    Everyone who has come to my studio has loved it, but the price has been too high, considering they were not currently in the market for a new amp. I asked one person to email me his impressions, and here's what he sent me:

    "Here are my impressions of the ZT Jazz amp. Feel free to use whatever comments you want while attributing them to "Ken."



    - The first thing I noticed was the amazing amount of clean headroom and clarity throughout the bass, mids and treble.

    - On the neck pick-up, this SS amp produced a deep, rich jazz tone rivaling my old trusted tube amp.
    - On the bridge pickup, the amp a crisp lead tone reminding me a little of Mark Knopfler's lead tones.
    - At 25#, the amp is light enough for me to carry around without any issues."

  21. #20

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    1200$ is a instant turn off. Sry.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mecena
    1200$ is a instant turn off. Sry.
    Totally makes sense! I didn't think it was worth it until I played through it.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCM
    I’m interested in knowing how the ZT compares to the Henriksen. Anyone had the opportunity to try them both?
    I'm curious which Henriksen model you're using. I can maybe get one in my studio for comparison at some point.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    yes I might buy one of the new Cab II's

    should be interesting ....to see if jazz guys get into these
    i believe there's an Eminance Alpha 6A speaker in there
    (same as a Bud and Blu ?)
    i believe they're shipping the LB reverb and Cab II now ....
    (sorry a bit too late for me)
    I ended up with a baby Toob 6.5 with an Eminance
    Alphalite 6A and am very happy with it ....

    good luck to ZT tho , I expect they're really good amps
    anyone actually played one yet ....

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Palmer
    Totally makes sense! I didn't think it was worth it until I played through it.
    For 1299$, I would rather have Squier Classic Vibe Strat, DV Mark Little Jazz and ZT Lunchbox then this 1 amp. xD
    Way better way to spend 1299$. xD
    But it's just me. xD

  26. #25

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    The only thing which I would spend on 1300$ is custom guitar.

  27. #26

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    I hear you. I'm just letting folks know that I have one in Seattle, if anyone would like to try it in person. To me, it is exactly the amp I was looking for and while the price is high, it sounds unbelievable and it's not too heavy to carry around.

  28. #27

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    At that weight and price, there are a lot of options worth considering.

    At the risk of belaboring the point, I didn't like my LB enough to consider another ZT amp. Obviously, others have had better experiences.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    At that weight and price, there are a lot of options worth considering.

    At the risk of belaboring the point, I didn't like my LB enough to consider another ZT amp. Obviously, others have had better experiences.
    You've never played through it... I'm just offering that opportunity to folks who want to check it out.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Palmer
    You've never played through it... I'm just offering that opportunity to folks who want to check it out.
    Correct. I haven't played through that one.

    If I may ask, do you have any financial interest in ZT amps?

  31. #30

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    Yeah, 25 ponds, 1x12, solid state for 1300$.
    U have tons of options in that range.

    Laney Lionheart, Peavey Classic, Fender Blues Jr, Vox AC 15, Egnater Rebel / Tweaker, Ibanez TSA combo .....

    All good and cheap amps.

  32. #31

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    Don't get me wrong, I think this amp would be descent, and I would love to try it myself one day.
    But if we take competition into consideration - big "no" from me.
    For like 1300$ you can get pretty much everything you want for a jazz gig.
    And if combo models from post above are heavy - 90% of them come in head + box variation.
    You can get Peavey head, both Egnaters head, Ibanez head, Laney head, ... I think only Fender and Vox don't have that option.
    But if you ask me, if I had that money - I would without 2nd thoughts go with Peavey Classic Mini Head and 1x12 box.

  33. #32

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    Henriksen seems to be pretty successful at targeting the higher priced solid state market though. Remains to be seen if Zt amplifiers can do that too. At prices higher than 1000$ you are obviously not selling just a good amp, but your proposition for an ultimate quality amp.

  34. #33

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    I don't believe in that.
    Guys from Quilter said that, even if they moved their production to China, .... They pretty much said that their amps don't have like, higher fail rate, cause of China. Their words - not mine.
    Same goes for Bugera amps.
    So that quality argument is pointless in case of like Bugera and Quilter.
    But it has some weight on amps like Marshall, or Ampeg. XD

  35. #34

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    If it sounds good, and if it's reliable.
    Then I don't care about components inside, and country origin.
    Ofc, I wouldn't love to be robbed with statement like - handwire high quality components.
    But I pretty much don't care about that stuff.

    Edit:

    Yeah, Quilter pretty much said to me on FB, that their China line, has same fail rate as USA stuff.
    And pretty much sounds the same.
    So ......

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Correct. I haven't played through that one.

    If I may ask, do you have any financial interest in ZT amps?
    Oh, you probably saw my studio on the ZT dealer page. I offered to be a showroom (by appointment only) because I really like the amp and there isn't any place where folks can try it out in the NW. They gave me a special code to give to people who wanted to order the amp and give my studio credit for it, but I'm just giving that to friends and not posting it online.

    I'm probably a little weird, but when I'm excited about something, I like to share it. I enjoy supporting people who make high quality / helpful tools for musicians. I thought some folks here might like the opportunity to check it out in person, and I always like meeting other guitarists.

    Obviously, it's not the right amp for every person; I'm just offering my time and amp for anyone who would like to check it out.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Palmer
    I'm probably a little weird, but when I'm excited about something, I like to share it. I enjoy supporting people who make high quality / helpful tools for musicians. I thought some folks here might like the opportunity to check it out in person, and I always like meeting other guitarists.

    Obviously, it's not the right amp for every person; I'm just offering my time and amp for anyone who would like to check it out.
    good on you Susan

  38. #37

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    I think some of you guys are dumping on Susan a bit, maybe I'm wrong. I just ordered a new Ukulele. If anyone near western ny wants to try it, c'mon over.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I think some of you guys are dumping on Susan a bit, maybe I'm wrong. I just ordered a new Ukulele. If anyone near western ny wants to try it, c'mon over.
    ok guys , form an orderly queue .....

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Palmer
    Oh, you probably saw my studio on the ZT dealer page. I offered to be a showroom (by appointment only) because I really like the amp and there isn't any place where folks can try it out in the NW. They gave me a special code to give to people who wanted to order the amp and give my studio credit for it, but I'm just giving that to friends and not posting it online.

    I'm probably a little weird, but when I'm excited about something, I like to share it. I enjoy supporting people who make high quality / helpful tools for musicians. I thought some folks here might like the opportunity to check it out in person, and I always like meeting other guitarists.

    Obviously, it's not the right amp for every person; I'm just offering my time and amp for anyone who would like to check it out.
    Thanks, Susan! I appreciate you doing this and your comments about the amp.

    I am strongly considering one. I for one don't mind spending significant dollars if the quality and sound are truly exceptional.

    Chris

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