Thinking about going from Kemper to Mesa California Tweed. Crazy?

Wj73

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
35
Just looking for feedback here.

As the title states, I have a Kemper Stage and am thinking about going back to a tube amp, specifically the California Tweed. I definitely like the Kemper (play through a Headrush FRFR), and have very nice sounding profiles from Mbritt, Tonejunkie, etc. It sounds great, but I feel like there's something missing at times. I'm mostly a home player so don't get crazy loud, but it just feels different. Maybe more importantly, I find myself switching from profile to profile and tweaking the myriad options. It feels like I do that more than play. Yes I should stop, but I seem to have no self-control.

I saw/heard some demo's of the California Tweed, and it's basically the sound and tone I hear in my head. Couple that with the master volume and power switching options and I think it would be suitable for home use. Add a couple pedals and I should be good. I found a place locally that has one and I plan to play it hopefully this weekend.

I'm leaning towards this. Just looking for some feedback. Thanks!
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,699
Its a really great amp if you're into Tweed style amps. A 40W 6V6 power section can get really loud too, if needed. The power scaling options are useful for home playing and the whole amp has a lot of good modern features. Very clean and simple signal path. I think the new Fillmore and this Tweed amp are really good amps from Mesa as they're both really refined Fender circuits and the bass response is really clear on them. Doesn't flub out.

If you want a strong clean platform amp and also with modern features like the effects loop, its definitely a solid choice.
 

mlj_gear

Member
Messages
2,997
Just looking for feedback here.

As the title states, I have a Kemper Stage and am thinking about going back to a tube amp, specifically the California Tweed. I definitely like the Kemper (play through a Headrush FRFR), and have very nice sounding profiles from Mbritt, Tonejunkie, etc. It sounds great, but I feel like there's something missing at times. I'm mostly a home player so don't get crazy loud, but it just feels different. Maybe more importantly, I find myself switching from profile to profile and tweaking the myriad options. It feels like I do that more than play. Yes I should stop, but I seem to have no self-control.

I saw/heard some demo's of the California Tweed, and it's basically the sound and tone I hear in my head. Couple that with the master volume and power switching options and I think it would be suitable for home use. Add a couple pedals and I should be good. I found a place locally that has one and I plan to play it hopefully this weekend.

I'm leaning towards this. Just looking for some feedback. Thanks!
I liked the California Tweed that I played a lot, but I really wouldn't recommend buying one without trying one first. That's mainly because they have much less break-up on tap than I was expecting from a tweed-style amp. Granted, there were a lot of different tweed models, but at least based on my twenty minutes with the amp, the California Tweed breaks up less than any tweed short of a high-power Twin.
 

Snottyboy

Member
Messages
1,587
I liked the California Tweed that I played a lot, but I really wouldn't recommend buying one without trying one first. That's mainly because they have much less break-up on tap than I was expecting from a tweed-style amp. Granted, there were a lot of different tweed models, but at least based on my twenty minutes with the amp, the California Tweed breaks up less than any tweed short of a high-power Twin.
This was my experience when I tried one for a couple weeks. I was REALLY excited with the various power options available, hoping that amp would translate into several great usable clean and driven tones. But the grind was less than anticipated (and I didn't expect a ton) even with hotter pickups. And the cleans, although good, weren't better than anything I already have. I really found a couple personal sweet spots, and that just wasn't enough to justify owning it. That said, the amp is extremely well built. I own a couple old Marks, and the CT is built up to standard.
 

jzuker

Member
Messages
111
I love mine. Got for the feel as much as tone. The different power levels really give it a lot of variation in feel and tone, I think.
And, yes, Mesas are very robustly built.
I mainly use pedals for dirt with the CT, but I do like the amp's own break up as well.
 

Wj73

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
35
I don't need a ton of gain. I'm a clean to mid-gain player at most. Not afraid to get some gain from pedals either. Can anyone describe how much dirt is available once you start adding a drive pedal or two?
 
Messages
878
Just looking for feedback here.

As the title states, I have a Kemper Stage and am thinking about going back to a tube amp, specifically the California Tweed. I definitely like the Kemper (play through a Headrush FRFR), and have very nice sounding profiles from Mbritt, Tonejunkie, etc. It sounds great, but I feel like there's something missing at times. I'm mostly a home player so don't get crazy loud, but it just feels different. Maybe more importantly, I find myself switching from profile to profile and tweaking the myriad options. It feels like I do that more than play. Yes I should stop, but I seem to have no self-control.

I saw/heard some demo's of the California Tweed, and it's basically the sound and tone I hear in my head. Couple that with the master volume and power switching options and I think it would be suitable for home use. Add a couple pedals and I should be good. I found a place locally that has one and I plan to play it hopefully this weekend.

I'm leaning towards this. Just looking for some feedback. Thanks!
This precisely sums up what modeling junkies don't understand about the average player. The more options you have the tweak, the more time you will spend tweaking. On top of that, an exact tonal clone of an amp will still sound and feel different from a traditional amp package (combo, head/cab, etc). Yes, a modeled JCM 800 might sound the exact same on a record as the real thing, but it doesn't feel the same when you are playing it in the room.

If the Cali Tweed isn't all you thought it would be, keep looking. Get away from endless tweaking and find something that inspires you. Modelers are for flexibility, not the every day player.
 

Waxhead

Member
Messages
6,026
Just looking for feedback here.

As the title states, I have a Kemper Stage and am thinking about going back to a tube amp, specifically the California Tweed. I definitely like the Kemper (play through a Headrush FRFR), and have very nice sounding profiles from Mbritt, Tonejunkie, etc. It sounds great, but I feel like there's something missing at times. I'm mostly a home player so don't get crazy loud, but it just feels different. Maybe more importantly, I find myself switching from profile to profile and tweaking the myriad options. It feels like I do that more than play. Yes I should stop, but I seem to have no self-control.

I saw/heard some demo's of the California Tweed, and it's basically the sound and tone I hear in my head. Couple that with the master volume and power switching options and I think it would be suitable for home use. Add a couple pedals and I should be good. I found a place locally that has one and I plan to play it hopefully this weekend.

I'm leaning towards this. Just looking for some feedback. Thanks!
Cal Tweed is a fantastic amp imo - I'd much rather have any Mesa amp than a Kemper.
With the Cal Tweed you have the original the Kemper would do an inferior clone of.

And then you'd have to do over 50 Kemper copies to cover all the tones in that one Mesa amp.
Minimal tweaking required - Mesa amps are just plug and play :)

Cal Tweed does up to mid gain overdrive - fantastic quality imo.
If you want distortion add pedals and CT is very pedal friendly
 
Last edited:

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,455
I wouldn't switch lanes overnight with no intention of going back. Hang on to the Kemper and add a good tube amp which you really love the sound of. Enjoy both the tube amp and the profiler. If one day you find you are using only one, then sell the other.
 

StummerJoe

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,146
I would really consider one of the Fillmore amps before the California Tweed. The CT is a fine amp, but with the Fillmore you get a killer clean that can get edge of breakup PLUS two distinct overdrive channels. Plus you get two cloned channels. I'd rather have the option of being able to get dirt from the amp, and you don't get that with the CT.

I wouldn't sleep on Rivera amps, either. Excellent deals on used Rivera's and they are every bit as well built an reliable as any Mesa. Overbuilt, really. Fender cleans, BF & Tweed, and Marshal like gains.
I have a Rivera Jake Studio Combo and a Fillmore 50. I actually prefer my Jake, but not by much. In stereo I'm in heaven.
 

Stratburst70

Member
Messages
5,586
This would be a no-brainer for me. Get the Cali Tweed; Mesa makes a great amp. My only suggestion is that you read the manual - 90% of complaints about Mesa amps wouldn’t happen if owners had read the damn thing first. They’re great but you have to get to know them first.

IMO, the only people who really need a Kemper are pros who do a lot of fly dates or are rushing from session to session.
 

StummerJoe

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,146
This would be a no-brainer for me. Get the Cali Tweed; Mesa makes a great amp. My only suggestion is that you read the manual - 90% of complaints about Mesa amps wouldn’t happen if owners had read the damn thing first. They’re great but you have to get to know them first.

IMO, the only people who really need a Kemper are pros who do a lot of fly dates or are rushing from session to session.
:agree Definitely read the manual. Amazing how many folks didn't bother and returned a fine amplifier. Mesa Boogie does very good manuals that are easy to understand and useful suggestions for starting off. The controls don't respond the same was as on your typical Fender or Marshal.
 

juxtapolice

Member
Messages
930
no. Id argue most of us need one amp really so if you find one that speaks to you, get it. Kemper is a tool for session players, hobbyists that want to play a plethora of amps and tours (plus musical theater) that demand consistency and immediate sound changes without a hiccup. Most others fall into a camp of one or two sounds that fit our styles.
 

Inupiat

Member
Messages
114
If I had the cash I'd grab the Cali Tweed in a second!! It's a great amp, and contrary to a post above I didnt find it to be a loud amp for 40 watts. For cleans to mildly driven its phenomenal, I would say between the Tweed and Fillmore, the Tweed has more character to its sound. The Fillmore came off clinically clean if that makes sense.
 
M

Member 222310

This would be a no-brainer for me. Get the Cali Tweed; Mesa makes a great amp. My only suggestion is that you read the manual - 90% of complaints about Mesa amps wouldn’t happen if owners had read the damn thing first. They’re great but you have to get to know them first.

IMO, the only people who really need a Kemper are pros who do a lot of fly dates or are rushing from session to session.
Very guilty of that with the Fillmore. Glad I ultimately read it rather than returning it
 

Senor Forum

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,477
The California Tweed was great clean, but man, the second it broke up at all, I hated it. HATED IT. Easily my least favorite break up of any Boogie amp I've played.
 

Inupiat

Member
Messages
114
The California Tweed was great clean, but man, the second it broke up at all, I hated it. HATED IT. Easily my least favorite break up of any Boogie amp I've played.
I will admit I played extensively clean and only a smidge of hair, not fully pushed...although not that I think of it, same with the Fillmore...I may revisit both as I jumped on neither.. yet
 

darkphader

Member
Messages
674
Love my Kemper but played the last 6 gigs with a tube amp, there is something to the sound and feel of the real deal. It was actually the RevivalDRIVE that finally provided the tones I was missing with a clean tube amp that allowed me to gig at these lower volume levels as other drive pedals, no matter how celebrated, weren't really providing the tones I heard in my head (not that I've tried them all, far from it, and your favorite might be totally different).
Anything will work, amp, modeler, profiler, as long as the combination of it and the supporting components give you the sounds you love.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
32,710
The only justification for the added fuss and bother of a modeller rig is that it does something that you cannot get from a standard simple rig and you need and will use that function.
This is outside of any sound comparison.
If you need some special sound only available on a digi rig then that becomes a viable reason.
Few gigging players need that.
 




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