Can the Mark amp get me the tones I'm after?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by barryberyr12, Oct 9, 2005.

  1. barryberyr12

    barryberyr12 Guest

    I know a lot of you guys don't really care for the Mesa Amps, but the other guitarist in my band has been driving me crazy to check this amp out, and I checked out the harmony central reviews and they were all great.
    I'm considering buying the Mark IV head.
    The tones I'm after are...Robben Ford, Scott Henderson, Trey from Phish, John Scofield, Jimmy Herring, and Mike Stern, great Santana leads.

    I know it's a very wide mix of players and sounds, but do you think this amp can get me close to these tones...can you guys vent on the positives and negatives of this amp...and I'm more than willing to put out more money for pedals if I have to.
    Thanks!!!
     
  2. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    I had a 1999 model. Hated it. Harsh, sterile, hard as f*ck to dial in. I tried different tubes and speakers, to no avail for my ears.

    Sorry! :(
     
  3. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Member

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    I'd say Fuch's, two rock or CAE would be your best choices.
     
  4. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Well consider this, NONE of the players you mentioned are using Boogies to get their tone.

    I'm with Riff on this one, I had a Mark IV and was glad to get rid of it. That swiss army crap never works, you will just wind up with three mediocre tones.

    Ps. FOOK pre-amp gain!
     
  5. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

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    I had one for over 10 years.

    I liked it, found a tone I could use for a lot of things but it really is 3 shades of the same color.

    If you check one out, make sure you find a way to use it with your band as opposed to just in a music store.

    I plugged into a Bogner Shiva one day and had my ears completely re-educated.

    Then I went tone-quest nuts and tried a whole bunch of things but I developed a real disdain for the MKIV because I'd hear this really great tone out of say a Savage or a Carr or a Bad Cat and try to find a way with all those knobs and switches to get it but I couldn't.
     
  6. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    I like the Mark IV, so there!

    Best, Pete.
     
  7. SteveVHT

    SteveVHT Member

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    Some people just don't know how to dial in an amp obviously...:D
    Yes to all the players you mentioned.
    It does have a slight learning curve, but if you know how the amp works, all those tones are in there.
    Some people are just stuck on power amp distortion at blistering volumes, but most of those amps are one trick ponies.
    The amp is not sterile or stiff in the least...It actually has a ton of power amp sag with the right tubes...
    Speakers are another important thing. I prefer the Mesa MC90's/EVM cabs with the Mark 4 and 3 heads.
    And yes...the 4 is a swiss army knife that actually works. But put into the wrong hands, that said person may try to use the tweezers to cut down a large oak tree....catch my drift...:D
    And yes, I have an OD100SE and OD50, plus a wide variety of other high end amps.
    But if you are looking for an amp that can fit into just about any style and do it well, the MArk 4 is a great amp.
    Steve
     
  8. Argonaut4

    Argonaut4 Member

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    I'm with Steve on this one and, I too, own(ed) many other high-end amps. The Mk's do take some patience to figure out. Their tone controls respond like no other amp, and the EQ is your friend. Like a lot of amps, either you love 'em or hate 'em. I happen to love them. They work for my style.
     
  9. agentcooper2001

    agentcooper2001 Member

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    Trey from Phish actually did use a MKIV or MKIII for quite a while, before he switched to a '65 Deluxe Reverb.
     
  10. Wizard of Ozz

    Wizard of Ozz Silver Supporting Member

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    CAE OD100... most definitely if you're into Henderson & Ford.

    A friend of mine is a huge RF fan, and when he plugged his Baker RF Sig. into my CAE OD100SH/SE clean channel, he was simply blown away. RF tone for days... smooth, singing, and then some. And as far as Henderson goes, he's been using one for years now.
     
  11. raz

    raz Member

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    You're asking a hell of a lot from a Mark IV. I don't dislike the amp, in fact at some point I'll pick up another one. But the tones you're identifying are too broad in range to manage on the Mark IV without frustrating the hell out of you. Yes, you can get reasonably close, but on the Mark IV there are a gazillion ways to sound bad...a lot more ways to sound bad than to sound great. You start doing that kind of twiddling onstage, and...well, you don't need more than a rudimentary knowledge of statistics to predict the potential outcome.

    IMHO, the Mark IV is an amp to discover YOUR tone on, not to approximate someone else's. Some people would say all amps should be that way, but that's a debate for another thread.

    Whatever else is or isn't true, I'd bet even the Mark IV afficionados here would agree that you shouldn't buy one without playing it first. It is absolutely not an amp that sounds good regardless of where you set the knobs, and you have to experience the complexity to really understand what you're getting into. Play it first, and play it extensively, otherwise you're really gambling a lot of money.

    My tuppence.
     
  12. johnc

    johnc Member

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    I've heard the amp get the Trey and Santana tones and I think it would probably do Scofield too.

    In the Mesa line, I think the Lonestar probably comes the closest to the Ford tone.

    Does the other guitarist in your band have a MKIV or have a friend that has one? Just curious as to why he might be suggesting it. What are you currently using?

    You should definitely try one out first before buying.
     
  13. regotheamigo

    regotheamigo Member

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    If those are the tones your after, I have the perfect amp for you, and its another Mesa. The Lonestar is what You want. Its very Dumble sounding, and can do Robben Ford, tone all day. I know cause I have one. Its very fat sounding. Trust me, you won't be let down. :)
     
  14. raz

    raz Member

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    I'll second this. It's not going to "nail" those tones, but it's gonna get you in the ballpark...maybe even in the infield. This would likely be my choice were I in your shoes.
     
  15. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    This is one of the funniest posts I have ever read in here.
    :dude

    Sure, don't take my advice, it's not like I owned one for a couple of years, gigged, rehearsed and recorded with it or anything like that. Obviously we all have a lot to learn.
    :rolleyes:
     
  16. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Pete, I would *love* to be able to play the early Boogie you had!!! I think somewhere along the way, as Mesa Boogie transitioned from a real boutiquey kind of outfit to one with higher production, the mojo got squeezed out of the amp.

    I played mine for a year, swapping tubes, speakers, guitars, fiddling with knobs, and was never really satisfied. The clincher came when I got a TopHat Emplexador and got instant gratification within minutes of first plugging in. I will say, though, I did a "line out" recording from the Mark IV one time with a TC Electronics G-Force delay, and it sounded pretty darn sweet. But I could never get the amp to sound as I wanted playing live....
     
  17. kevin hart

    kevin hart Supporting Member

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    i owned a mark I that is used from 1976 til i bought my mark III in 1985 and i loved them both. when the mark IV came out i tried it and was not at all impressed. i thought that it was very versatile, but that none of the channels sounded as good as the mark III or mark I tones. me advice would be to find a used mark III.
     
  18. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    I agree with the 'hard to dial in' factor.

    Seems that all Mesa's are *sort* of that way. I've had a few, and was not impressed. Not that you COULDN'T get great sounds out of it, but the amount of tweaking that you had to do. Makes no sense to spend hours trying to find a good sound. Irritated by the fact that even minor changes in my master volume, and I'd have to run back and re'EQ the damn thing all over again.

    Since my time is better spent playing my instrument, the more time I have to fiddle with the amp is not time well spent.

    Give me an amp that sounds good in MOST settings, not the other way around.

    Don't get me wrong, they do sound good.
    <analogy pending>
    But I would rather have a girlfriend who was happy with me most of the time, rather than hearing her b$%ch most of the time about how I'm not doing enough to make her happy.
    <analogy complete>

    EP
     
  19. barryberyr12

    barryberyr12 Guest

    Okay Okay..I get it...Mark III is better than the Mark IV ;)
    You guys don't have to convince me anymore, I think I'm gonna go with a Two Rock Custom Artist instead...more money, but worth the tone.
     
  20. Tone Disciple

    Tone Disciple Gold Supporting Member

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    Okay, I will weigh in here. I currently have a Mesa Mk III (red stripe if you want to get specific) with EQ and reverb, as well as a Matchless HC30, a Bad cat Hot Cat 30, a Top Hat Ambassador 35 and a Fender Prosonic, so I can at least give some perspective on those comparisons.

    Bottom line, for what Boogies are going for now ($1000-1200 used for a Mk III) they are a great deal. I posted mine for sale a few weeks ago on TGP, got some inquiries about it and began playing and tweaking it to make sure I could answer the questions and thought - Why am I selling this amp? So- I pulled the ad and am reconsidering it. 60 watts, great reverb, 6L6 clean tones, stout drive for blues to crunch, switchable EQ, and all in a nice compact package. I have the short head and a 1x12 cab in blonde.

    Last time I read a Santana interview a few weeks back he was still using Boogies. All the tones you are after are great ones to try for, and you can get pretty close with the Boogie as long as you have the right guitars.

    Boogies may not be the latest thing, but look at the price of Two Rocks compared to their original selling price and you can see that we guitarists can be a fickle bunch in our quest for tone. I would encourage you to check some out.
     

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