Mesa Express Amp Reviews at Band Levels Only Please


Silver Supporting Member
I recently purchased a 5:25 head from a TGP member. Deal went great! I am really impressed with the amp. The versatility of both channels, tone, etc. It even has that "touch sensitivity and bloom". :rolleyes:

But.... and it's a but as big as Jessica Simpson's. I am basing my rave review on house alone levels. Meaning I'm jamming at home theater loud levels as well as "everyone is asleep" levels. I jam using backing tracks and while I can turn it up loud it is still not matching a live band gig situation.

I don't have a band right now. ($10,000 Reward: a decent bass player & drummer that will commit time and effort to a band. Must be very good players and professional attitude and reside in my area.... I won't hold my breath.) So I can't judge this amp on how good it will cut through a live band setting.

I've been burned by Mesas before. Years ago, I had a Nomad 45. Sounded great when playing by yourself. Couldn't cut through in a live band situation. And compensating with more volume is not the solution. For me, it took a Dr Z Route 66 (with an attenuator no less) to cut through the mix and do a man's job. Too bad a 66 does not have enough gain for me. I've seen other players struggle with cutting through the mix using the popular Dual Rectos. And they compensate by turning up and it just doesn't work!

For home jamming, the 5:25 is a keeper. More versatile than everyone's current darling: Egnater Rebel. But deep in my gut I'm afraid to take her out of the house and throw her in with the bass, drummer, and god-forbid another guitar player to compete with.

For those that gig or rehearse with the Express Series (5:25 or 5:50) can you please provide a review in that context? I don't want to have to spend extra dollars on a Dr. Z Galaxie (+ attenuator) if an Express can do the job.

Don't be afraid to say it can't do the job.

Thanks very much.


Ok, well my nicely crafted post got deleted because I took too long to submit it, grrrr :cool:

So, in a nutshell...I've had my Express 5:50 1x12 for 2 years. I got it when they first came out. I got it because I wanted a 6L6-equipped amp and 50 watt capability to ensure some headroom.

I've played over 20 gigs with this amp and it is awesome!! I never have any trouble cutting through a mix. I play in a band with a drummer, bassist, acoustic guitarist, keyboardist and a percussionist. There is plenty of sound happening, but we all play at a responsible volume and we balance ourselves well. We have played inside and outside gigs with equally good results. I had been playing a Gibson ES333 and also a LP Standard and loved the tone, and then last summer I got a G&L ASAT Classic. The ASAT and the Express are a match made in heaven. So much tonal variety, it is amazing and inspiring!

2 years on, I still love this amp and think it was a great investment for me.

I hope this helps?


what about something in front of the Route 66? Dr Z's are known for being great pedal platforms.

I've noticed that my Dual Rec T'verb has to be EQ'd carefully to cut in a mix with a loud drummer... my Mark II seems to fit naturally


Senior Member
Cutting through the mix is a function of having your own section of the EQ spectrum. Many Mesa users want a ton of bass response, which is fine alone but gets muddied up once bass and drums enter the picture. As a general rule you need to be brighter in a band than alone.


with respect to playing at band levels, it depends on what size room you practice in, how loud, how many pieces, etc...i play in a 6 piece reggae band 2x guitars, bass, drums, sax, and trombone, and i have no problem cutting through even at 5 watts on the dirty channel. clean headroom disappears at 5 watts since you have to crank it up to keep up with a drummer, but the red channel sounds great.

i read all these reviews where people claim this amp is too bassy, because once you turn up the bass the gain starts to get muddy. yes, this is true, BUT THATS WHY THESE AMPS HAVE POST GAIN EQ CONTROLS! the contour knob is your friend, and is imperative IMO to getting a good bass response. keep the bass below 9:00, then crank up the countour to taste. this amp sounds really really good IMO, i gig with it regularly from house parties to medium sized theaters. once you learn how to dial in a mesa and then you should have no problems getting satisfactory tone. keep the treble up high, and the bass low, that should solve most problems.

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