• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

Educate me on Mesa Boogie amps...

Celticdave

Seeker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,262
Folks, as embarrassing as it is to say, I really don't know much about Mesa Boogies. I've played a few in used stores that I'd have bought on the spot if I had the cash, but then I somehow forget about them until I come across another one like that. Now that I have some music on film/international radio and a little more change in my pocket, I'm slowly building gear up again.

I'm not a high-gain type player - think Santana, Clapton on From the Cradle...creamy but still with some bite when needed.

Last week I came across one with a tube selector on the front that was quite interesting. I sat there playing through it for over an hour. I'm pretty sure it was a Dual Rec Blue Angel. I'm thinking about picking it up next paycheck but wanted some input on the various models. I know some people swear by them!
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
Messages
20,180
Go to Mesa's web site and read through the owners' manuals. They also have a section for discontinued products, that contain manuals for those as well.

Might be a good place to start.
 

Celticdave

Seeker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,262
Go to Mesa's web site and read through the owners' manuals. They also have a section for discontinued products, that contain manuals for those as well.

Might be a good place to start.
I just did a quick search and yes, the one I'm looking at is a 410 Blue Angel. I'll check out the manual.

I'm more interested in sustainability, any known issues, tweaks, mods...and what to look for when buying used.
 

django49

Member
Messages
1,806
The BA is a great amp. My fave version is the 4 x 10. Use an Ethos Overdrive in front and you will have (at least I will have) every essential tone.

They have a "mojo module" that can be problematic. It is a "gooped up" set of electronics. If it DOES go bad, a good tech can bypass it effectively. I would not even try to replace it.
 

Celticdave

Seeker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,262
The BA is a great amp. My fave version is the 4 x 10. Use an Ethos Overdrive in front and you will have (at least I will have) every essential tone.

They have a "mojo module" that can be problematic. It is a "gooped up" set of electronics. If it DOES go bad, a good tech can bypass it effectively. I would not even try to replace it.
That's great to know. I was trained in electronics in the USAF, so I like to tinker. I've bypassed some funky setups before. In the Gibson Lucille I used on my last record, I gutted it...everyone was asking how I got the tone. Funny enough, I just made it simple in there. :cool:
 

mrwhipple

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
952
The Blue Angel has the best cleans and reverb of any of the boogies. Fantastic amp.

The mid control gives more bite once turned past 5. Kind of s secondary function in that control.

Those 4/10s are hard to come by.

Great smooth tone.
 

lemonpaul59

Senior Member
Messages
2,065
I just did a quick search and yes, the one I'm looking at is a 410 Blue Angel. I'll check out the manual.

I'm more interested in sustainability, any known issues, tweaks, mods...and what to look for when buying used.

Blue Angel has no overdrive channel. It is a pedal platform amp.

Santana's famous sound comes from a Boogie Mark I.

Larry Carlton's 70s-80s sounds were from a Boogie Mark I. Same with Robben Ford. Robben went to Dumbles, then Carlton switched towards the late 80s.


I love Bludotone amps but I can't stand Santana or Carlton playing one.

If you are looking at used Boogies for clean and medium gain, I'd say look at:
DC-3, DC-5, Lone Star Special, Maverick, Rectoverb, the newer Mark V:25 or V:35.
 

lemonpaul59

Senior Member
Messages
2,065
Look into a MkI or Kingsnake for Santana stuff.

Far too primitive, no channel switching. There are channel switching Boogies that do the Mark I thing quite well. I own a IIC+, Mark IV and a DC-3 that will all do a fine Carlos Santana sound to beat the band. In fact, a far better sound than Carlos playing a Bludotone.
 

LeicaBossNJ

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,583
I owned 3 Mesa Boogies at three different levels of incompetence in my playing and tone.

In general - you really want to know your tone and have good ears with their amps. They don't treat you like a baby and offer controls that allow you to dial in horrifyingly bad tones or sweet sweet, amazing ones.
 

Dashface

Member
Messages
6,349
I owned 3 Mesa Boogies at three different levels of incompetence in my playing and tone.

In general - you really want to know your tone and have good ears with their amps. They don't treat you like a baby and offer controls that allow you to dial in horrifyingly bad tones or sweet sweet, amazing ones.
A truer post has never been written. Mesa allow you to dial everything in - which means you can make them sound like crap if you don't listen to yourself.

They can be very rewarding if you take the time to dial them in well.

I've owned a few. They are incredibly overbuilt. Very heavy. If you want to be able to get classic sort of blues rock tones something like the LoneStar can be a lot of fun. Currently I have a Mk 2b which can do lots of those tones.
 

scelerat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,216
It's worth repeating: they make great amps.

Their manuals and customer service are among the best in the business, too.

I have a Mark I and a couple of Mark IIs. Great amps. I'm not a high gain player, rock and roll and twangy stuff. Very versatile and inspiring.
 

django49

Member
Messages
1,806
Those 4/10s are hard to come by.

Great smooth tone.
I like the 4 x 10 so much that when 2 more popped up locally, I hustled over to buy them. Obsessive? No doubt. But they are great. Some day I will likely let one or two go, but not right now.

BTW, one of the great things about it is that it is perhaps the least Boogie-like Mesa they have made. As a non-master, non-channel switching amp, it is very much just an old-fashioned crank it up sort of amp. With the trick of two mix/match power sections. I prefer both on at the same time.
One option is to simply crank it and control it with the volume knob on your guitar. The other is (what I do) use the Ethos pedal in front. With the amp itself set for a nice "bluesy" sound, I get 4 different sounds. including a very clean sound, as the Ethos "compensates" for the EQ in the amp. With the pedal set right, I can do Santana, Gary Moore and pretty much everything else I want without any added tweaking.......Very close approximation to the sound and usefulness of the Fuchs ODS 30, IMO. I have not felt a need to crank up my Mk series now for quite a while. It DID take a while to get everything balanced the way I like it, of course. The amp itself is fairly simple......The added 19 knobs and switches on the Ethos take a bit more effort to get right. But a great combination.
 

bigtone23

Member
Messages
6,768
They make great amps!
Oh, that's been said.
Lots of designs for various gain levels, but the aesthetics match the tones, for the most part. Mesa excels at overdrive and many of their amps also have amazing cleans. Look at the Blue Angels, Mark Series (probably I through III) and Lonestars first for what you are going for.
 

jazzwannabe

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
954
The Blue Angel is a great amp, great tone and reverb, but it's noisy. I've had three of them. You will want to experiment with the V1 and V2 preamp tubes to get that hiss under control.

Also, the Blue Angel has a master volume control, just not on the front panel. It's inside the amp in the form of a trim pot and looks like a bias adjustment trimmer. That's a little secret they showed me at the factory. You have to take the chassis out to adjust it, if you want to, but it's preset at the factory. This might help with the fine tuning if desired.
 

Celticdave

Seeker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,262
Great information y'all, thanks! I've had a few amps with umpteen knobs - fun to play with, but I'm a "simplicity is bliss" player, usually only using one channel.

Doesn't mean I won't explore all these models as they present themselves though!
 






Trending Topics

Top Bottom