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Need some input on amp selection questions

Bub

Member
Messages
9
I'm going to buy a new amp (maybe brand new, or new to me anyway). I almost certainly want a master volume equipped amp. I want to get the best tone I can at volumes that won't increase my tinnitus. :) If I have to get an attenuator that is fine. I guess you could say bedroom levels, but I live in the country and don't have to worry about neighbors, or housemates for that matter. Sometimes my dog leaves the room. I guess I play what could be called psychedelic blues. Not with a band now, but maybe in the future.

I've been looking at the Mesa Boogie Express Plus 5:50 or a full out Marshall. I know, two different animals. I want to get something that will do a liquid/fluid smooth distortion with sustain. I've got amps that do clean well enough to suit me. Maybe like Robin Trower Bridge of Sighs or Leslie West Mississippi Queen. Something in the Santana neighborhood would be cool, too. A combo with 12" is ok or an amp/cab with 2x12. If I can get the sound I like, a 4x12" would be ok. I have lots of room. Size doesn't matter, but weight might.

You can see what geetars and amps I already have in my signature. I have a bunch of pedals and have ventured into NOS/ANOS tubes. I have a 50's long-plate Mullard pre-amp tube that puts to bed any questions about whether tubes affect sound meaningfully. Clearly, I'm a novice compared to many here, but I know a thing or two about tone.

I found these two videos on youtube. The first is a guy with a les paul and a 100 watt marshall. In the first few seconds of his video I think the sound is amazing. He's a good player too. The second is a guy with a Mesa Mark V. From 12 seconds in to about 36 seconds is mind blowing. A lot of it is his playing skill and choice of notes, rhythm, etc, but the tone is 3 dimensional. I could do a lot with that. Could an Express Plus replicate that, or come close. What Marshall would I need to get in the neighborhood of what the les paul guy has going?

Any help will be appreciated.


 

Puckbucker

Member
Messages
1,289
I like the Express 5:50 - used to own one but not a Plus (which I do think is better). The Express - IMO - has very good cleans, nice crunch (but not super high gain crunch). The blues mode is interesting and might do some of the things you want, though it can be a bit bright. The Mesa OD mode I never liked that much. You really need to try one if possible (realize that may not always be easy). Short story is I don't think an Express is a Marshall type tonestack though it provides a wide array of good tones. I DO think the master volume in the Express works pretty well if you want to have a big OD sound and not go deaf. The 5 watt setting helps as well. I think if you don't like the blues mode on the amp you may not want it; but try the Mesa OD mode- if you bond with it (and you well might) it could work.

Another choice might be a Mesa TA-30. I find that, ironically, the AC Top Boost type mode and the "Marshall" type mode on that amp might do a better job on the tone you are looking for. Mesa recently discontinued the TA line but if you found a used TA-15 or TA-30 they might do what you are looking for. Again - always best to try as everyone hears things differently. Good luck.
 

Bub

Member
Messages
9
Thanks Puckerbucker. I realize I kind of asked a question that doesn't add up. The Mesa is not going to get a Marshall sound. I'm trying to decide which for now. I think that eventually I will own both. It's which one will I get first. I really like the Marshall sound in the first video, but I have the impression that it would be kind of a one trick pony. Maybe I'm mistaken. But it's a killer trick that would get me to the Robin Trower, psychedelic blues territory in spades. That guy is playing through a Dr. Z 1x15". I don't know if he's got anything else in-line, but he doesn't say he does. I could afford a Mark V, but it seems like it has more tonal adjustments than needed. I'll bet most people find what they like and don't use the zillion other tones possible. Again, I could be completely wrong. Plus, I owned a Mark IV briefly before selling it on ebay. It was so freaking loud. I mean, on one or two it was so loud. That was before I knew about attenuators. Might have been the best amp, but maybe I didn't know how to use it. But without some kind of volume reduction, I can't see how you could use it in any but large venues. I really couldn't believe a 1x12" could be that loud. I'll post an express plus demo video from Anderton's Music, featuring Rob Chapman. He's a great player. Their videos are very entertaining, to me anyway. This video shows how the express plus 5:50 gets in the neighborhood of that liquid sound, toward the end of the demo, at 20:49 to be exact. The nearest Mesa Dealer to me is Santa Rosa, CA, which is a good 3 hours away. I might do it for a purchase of this size. I'll look into youtube for demos of the TA15 and TA30.

 

Bub

Member
Messages
9
I would get a Mesa Boogie Mark 1.
I see it's got the 100 class A/B watts, switchable to 60 watts. Given my experience with the Mark IV, I'm guessing this is a really loud amp. This would have to be the original Santana amp, Black Magic Woman? Think it'd do the attenuator thing acceptably?

Edit: I just read a review that said it could attain endlessly sustaining liquid lead tones at reasonably low volume levels. Is it possible that the Mark IV was also capable of this and I didn't dial it in? God, I'll be embarrassed if that's true. Then again, I was just finding my way.
 
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StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
20,092
How bad is your tinnitus?

Keeping in mind mine may be very different from yours I would really advise you (of yours is at all bad) to make sure you can either try out the amp you end up getting for at least ten fifteen minutes or else make sure you can return it if you need to.

This may not be the case for you, but I had a very weird experience that tells my my tinnitus is less affected by loudness than by frequencies. I always loved the sound of a deluxe reverb for that sound, and got one.

I loved the sound, and this was a s low wattage amp, and even just playing it at low volumes, clean, my tinnitus was a raging waterfall after only ten or so minutes...at LOW volumes. I had thought that if I loved a tone, it couldn't hurt my ears but that was wrong. I still loved the tone but had to get rid of the amp. Just couldn't use it.

On the other hand, I have a Soldano SLO-100 that I can play at much higher volumes all day long without haivng that effect. You just don't know until you try.
 






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