Surgical Steel

“From pedal steel, through 6-string slide, to effects pedals, this amp can do it all with 90 watts of authority!” -Dr. Z


Power Output90 Watts
Output Tubes2 – KT88
Preamp Tubes1 – EF86, 1 – 12DW7, 1 – 12AX7
RectifierSolid State
ControlsVolume, Treble, Mid, Bass
Other4, 8, 16 Ohm speaker out
Tube Buffered Effects Loop
Speaker Cab
Z-Best 2×12 loaded with two Celestion G12-65 speakers:
28 ¼” H, 19 ¼” W, 13 ¾” D, 50lbs.
Dimensions & WeightHead: 19” W, 9 3/4” H, 9 1/2” D; 32 lbs.

General Information

I have always loved the haunting, sustaining tones that a pedal steel guitar added to a recording. This is why I was prone to design an amp for pedal steel use. The challenges were many… to build an amp that would clearly reproduce notes from an instrument with 70 gauge strings, to accurately generate correct frequencies when bending strings and using alternate tunings, and to output a rich and sustaining tone with adequate wattage.
I have succeeded in designing the perfect amp for the modern pedal steel player. The Surgical Steel incorporates my unique EF86 front end. This pentode tube can accept inputs of various voltages, like those from volume pedals, and reproduce them with accurate symmetry without distorting the signal disproportionately as 12AX7 input tubes do.

In 2016, while on tour, Joe Walsh came to the doctor and asked for an amp as a solid foundation for the array of pedals he was using live. I prescribed the Surgical Steel and it immediately went on stage to compliment his Z-Lux. We have found the Surgical Steel to be a stellar pedal platform for 6 string guitar, as it’s high headroom and near endless sustain offers the perfect canvas for a variety of effects pedal configurations. A full balance EQ section feeds a pair of ultra-linear connected KT88 power tubes. These powerful tubes (approximately 90 watts per pair) produce a rich, articulate, and thick tone that is unattainable with a solid state amp. Between the preamp section and the power section there is a tube-buffered effects loop for placing delay, modulation, and reverb with stunning results.

This amp has 4, 8, and 16 Ohm speaker outs. I coupled the amp head with with our Z Best 2×12 cabinet loaded with Celestion G12-65 speakers for a punchy, clear, and neutral frequency response.


Guitar Player Magazine offers a great review of the Surgical Steel in their July 2017 edition.


  • Dr. Z Surgical Steel Demo - Mike Daly & Dave Baker
  • Dr. Z Surgical Steel Demo 1
  • Dr. Z Surgical Steel Demo 2

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