Educate me on Mesa Boogies.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by alvagoldbook, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook Member

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    I've been a Marshall user all my life, and I'm thinking of getting a more diverse amp. I'm thinking Mesa Boogie might be the way to go. I also want a bit of a change as far as tone goes.

    Problem is I don't know who sells Mesas. I haven't found them online at the usual haunts, AMS, Same day music, musicians friend. Maybe someone can give me a big help there.

    Also how would you compare the tone of a Mesa to a Marshall? Anyone have some side by side recordings?

    I need an amp that has a minimum of 3 channels (for clean, crunch, and lead) and an amp that's tubed. Any recommendations?
     
  2. tubeboy76

    tubeboy76 Member

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    The Mesa Nomad 45 is very versatile...3 channels, 4xEL84's, Reverb, weighs a ton. The reason you don't find Mesa online is their dealer agreements. Dealers are NOT allowed to ship any Mesa product out of state. If they do, they will be dropped as a dealer. They also price fix their gear. Dealers cannot sell under retail, period, end of story.

    On that note, I would try to seek out a used Nomad head or if you like it heavy, a Dual Rec. If you can find a Nomad 50 (2 6l6's instead of 4 EL84's, out of production), buy it. You won't be disappointed but the 45 is almost as cool.

    My favorite head by Mesa (I sold it and now I'm pissed) was my DC-5. If you can find one of these, you're gold. It only has two channels, but you can footswitch the graphic eq to change the tonal response (and therefore the amount of gain) of the overdrive or clean channel. Reverb is great, clean is great, od is great...it's just great!

    The Mesa tone is not as sharp as a Marshall. There is less spike in the upper midrange and more low end. Can get fluffy, but always sounds big. Not as chirpy and chimey as a Marshall on clean. Great for any genre and the tone from model to model changes enough that they don't all fall into a category (like the "Marshall" tone).

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    I would hang on the Marshall, I have both a marshall and mesa mark iv, the mark iv is very versitial, but it wont get the marshall tone, so I have a DSL401 for my Marshall tone craving,

    you might hold off, mesa is coming out with a new Mark V, have not seen one, and if your looking for a mark iv they might be discounted, anyway a mark iv is very versital, you can change the tone a lot by the power tubes, I have 6v6 tubes which give me great tone, the amp also takes 6L6 or EL-34, you can trim the power, 90 watts or 50 watts or lower by how you set up the amp, and the three channels with EQ really give you a lot of tone options if you set the amp up right.

    Anyway the Mark V is coming soon and I really would wait to see what it has to offer.
     
  4. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook Member

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    I do plan on holding onto my Marshall, but I do want something a little different. Anyone have any opinions on the Road King 4 channel amp?
     
  5. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

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    If you want over compressed sounding tones, a bass control that is virtually unusable above 2 , everything you play regardless of style to sound like santana, tone stack that is an absolute nightmare , amp to sound totally different from one day to the next and never ending fiddling with controls to get back to where you where the day before, complete and unabashed frustration with the whole thing and a boat anchor weighing 80lbs to lug up and down steps .............then go for it, mesa is just what you are have been searching for.

    I had mesa and I wouldnt take one again if you gave it to me for nothing,well I would, but Id sell it and pocket the cash !! :crazy

    YMMV

    Bryan
     
  6. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

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    A Mesa can sound incredible but MANY folks find them hard to use. You really have to know how to tweak an amp to get a Mark Boogie to sound right. I gave up.
     
  7. RichW

    RichW Member

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    Uh, ok.

    That said, I play a Mark IV amp and I totally love it--but I'm more of a high-gain player, so I like some compression. The lead channel on the IV is awesome, and in my opinion, does not sound like Santana at all if you don't dial it in for such a sound. I could do without the rhythm channel, but for now I'm using it for a blues-ish overdrive sound. The clean channel is really, really nice; I've got a more jazzy thing going on there, laid-back and what not, with the highs rolled down. The OP should, in my opinion, definitely try a Mark IV if he can find one, and make up his own mind. Boogies do have a very different sound than Marshalls, so it's a matter of taste, I think. And yes, most Mesa amps are heavy--they are built like tanks. I consider this a pro, and not a con.
     
  8. trwigg

    trwigg Member

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    Don't know what size amp you are really looking for but the Mesa Subway Rocket is a very cool amp and very unassuming. They may laugh when you show up with it because of the size but when you turn it on their jaw will hit the floor. Since they are not being produced anymore you will have to get a used one and they can be had for $400-$500 in good shape. Good luck.
     
  9. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    Aw man, put yourself in a room wiht a Dual REctifier, and select teh RAW mode on either lead channel , and crank the gain about half way, but turn the volume up a bit and you will get a wonderful tone that is NOTHING like Santana.
    The biggest mistake people make with Boogies is to turn the gain way up, then complain about the fizz. The gain knobs have HEADROOM just like the volume knobs do, so turn it down some and explore the other tone options there.
    Three channels, bulletproof, footswitching with solo boost, what's not to like ?
    So they are heavy, big deal, get a freakin' trolley.
     
  10. mvd18969

    mvd18969 Member

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    hmmmm........I've being using Mesa Boogies for 20 years now and not once has anyone every commented on how "santana" my tone was..........


     
  11. alvagoldbook

    alvagoldbook Member

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    well I'm using a Marshall 30th anniversary right now, which is a fairly complicated amp, especially on the back panel. I don't have any trouble with figuring out complicated amps. Some people aren't really wired for it (no pun intended), especially if you long for the days when single channel amps were the only thing that was produced. Others,like myself, prefer more options.

    I suppose the multiple different power tubes in the amp is what makes them heavy. Most amps have 5 to 8 tubes (2-4 for power, 3-4 for preamps). I believe the Mesa Road King has 6 power tubes for switching between different types, I dunno how many pre-amps they have. Either way, that's a lot of extra electronics, and the weight adds up.

    Most Marshalls (if you're dealing with a 100 watt) has 7 to 8 tubes. The 30th anniversary has a total of 11 tubes, 4 power and 7 preamp. The result is that it's about 10 pounds heavier than the JCM 2000 TSL. If I remember correctly, up until the JCM 2000 line the 30th anniversary was the heaviest head Marshall made. I dont know if the JVM is heavier off hand.

    Heavy personally doesn't bother me much, especially since I work out on a regular basis (makes all the difference in the world!) Even a 12 pound Les Paul seems to not be too bad after a while.

    In any case, the point is that a lot of people have different tastes. This is a good thing, and everyone should embrace it. Otherwise we'd all sound like Britney Spears.
     
  12. guitarstan

    guitarstan Member

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    Forget Boogie....Plug and play is the way to go....Dr Z Carmen Ghia, 2 knobs sounds like a Marshall and a Vox. This amp is for serious players who want to play their guitars instead of turning knobs all night long :RoCkIn. Use pedals for OD or what ever else you need. Ya can't hide behind this amp, you must play your guitar or it will show your flaws.

    [​IMG]

    Too many knobs....think of all the junk inside this head. It certainly looks impressive, hope you have a full time roadie and amp tech.
    [​IMG]

    or how about this thing....very impressive to look at bragging rights aside:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2008
  13. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

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    Overtly fiddly ,over fussy, maddening endlessly twiddling knob settings , its all part of the mesa experience. Still, if some dig them, thats cool.

    Bryan
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2008
  14. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    My feelings are similar to yours, but the original Mk. 1's can sound really good, IMO, and are pretty easy to dial in.
     
  15. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

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    [​IMG]


    to be honest ( and serious ) with you, I think the image of dudes like him above playing his PRS through boogie amplification whilst another guy is scratching records on the mixer at the back is not one I think Randall Smith envisaged in his plans for the future.

    Bryan
     
  16. HEAVENandHELL

    HEAVENandHELL Member

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    So what's the difference between fussing with the knobs on the Boogie versus carrying an additional fuzz pedal and having to fuss with the controls on it? Besides the obvious fact that the Boogie has 3 different tones all on the amp.

    Can you tell that I love my Dual Rectifier? The tones are awesome, and, yes, my favorite tones are not with the gain cranked!
     
  17. RichW

    RichW Member

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    To the OP: consider also asking for feedback on Boogie amps on different forums. I cannot help but feel that every time Mesa gets mentioned here, a bashing fest ensues (e.g. mr. Matthews chiming in three times just to make sure his negative opinion gets through--nothing personal, Bryan, but it's a bit annoying I think, and this is not meant as a flame or anything).
     
  18. Londoncalling

    Londoncalling Member

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    A couple of places for general info...

    http://homepage.mac.com/mesaboogie/MarkSeries.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa_Boogie

    Searching here (TGP) should bring up quite a bit of knowledge on the Mark series, The Lone Star amps, and the Stiletto (not a dig, I remember reading quite a few threads...). A few PM's to contributors to those threads might dig up more info.

    No personal experience with them, beyond jamming for 20 minutes on a Mark I (liked it) and a Lone Star Special (liked it) and enjoying their recorded tones!
     
  19. BryanMatthews

    BryanMatthews Member

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    hey there Rich, no hard feelings buddy. Ive stated what I think of Boogie amps and it cannot be taken as a generic statement as there are players out there who think they are the business. thats what makes the world go round, ive shared my thoughts and said my piece, Ill just enjoy reading the differring opinions of users and non-users here on TGP.

    Have a great day Rich

    Bryan :BEER
     
  20. guitarstan

    guitarstan Member

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    I'm an ole fart from the 60's so I'm biased. I'm used to dialing in foot pedals somehow it's more intuitive. I am totally overwhelmed when I see all those knobs[​IMG]
     

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