The Climax was a limited-edition amplifier (only 100 were made), and after all of them were sold, Kendrick began offering the same amplifier in a kit version, renaming it the “New JoyZee” in honor of Fischer, who lived in Colonia, New Jersey. The JoyZee’s American channel has a Fender blackface-type voicing and a control set that includes Clean Volume, Treble, Bass, Reverb, and Texas Tea. This latter control bypasses signal around the tone stack to allow the user to layer a tweed-Fender-style voicing on the blackface sound. If the Texas Tea control is turned all the way up, you hear just the tweed voicing, but the idea is to blend the two voices together for what Kendrick terms an SRV sound.
The New JoyZee’s British channel is self explanatory, although, according to Kendrick, when the Lead Volume control is set to one-half or less, the output stage stays in class A to yield a sound that’s more reminiscent of a Vox AC30. Turn the Lead Volume up past halfway and the output stage transitions into class AB for a tougher, plexi-Marshall-style response. You can independently EQ the British channel via the Treble, Middle, and Bass controls, but, true to form, reverb in not available on this channel.
The New JoyZee arrived here with a pair of 6L6 output tubes, however, it can also be fitted with 6V6, 5881, EL34, 6550, KT66, or KT88 tubes. (External test points and a screwdriver adjustable trim-pot allow you to quickly re-bias the amp for the tube of your choice.) The New JoyZee is great sounding amp that covers the bases whether you’re going for glassy blackface tones, rawer tweed flavors, or singing, early Marshall-type sounds. The spring reverb sounds excellent on the cleaner tones, and this amp delivers plenty of volume to hang with a loud band. The absence of master-volume controls could be an issue in some situations, however, the Master Presence and High-Cut controls make it easy to get exactly the right treble response with humbucker or single-coil guitars.
If you’d like to build a New JoyZee, you can order the kit directly from Kendrick Amplifiers (kendrick-amplifiers.com) for $1,199. Don’t feel confident about your electronics assembly skills, but still want the experience of building your own amp? Consider enrolling in one of Kendrick’s three-day “Build Your Own Amp Camp” events ($569), where you can put together the New JoyZee—or perhaps the 50-watt Lion VII ($999) or 5-watt 118 ($399)—with assistance from the Kendrick folks.