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Encyclopedia > Mesa Boogie
The Mesa Boogie Logo
The Mesa Boogie Logo

Mesa/Boogie (also known as Mesa Engineering) is a company in Petaluma, California that makes amplifiers for guitars and basses. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Shortcut: WP:NPOVD Articles that have been linked to this page are the subject of an NPOV dispute (NPOV stands for Neutral Point Of View; see below). ... Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links MesaBoogie_Logo. ... Image File history File links MesaBoogie_Logo. ... Look up company in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Aerial view of Petaluma, California. ... An amplifier is a device which changes a small movement into a larger movement. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... A sunburst-colored Precision Bass The electric bass guitar (or electric bass; pronounced , as in base) is a bass stringed instrument played with the fingers (either by plucking, slapping, popping, or tapping) or using a pick. ...

Mesa was started by Randall Smith as a small repair shop which modified Fender combos to give them more gain. Soon the word spread, and with users like Carlos Santana, Boogie became one of the big names in the industry. Other notable Boogie users include: Les Claypool, Jade Puget from AFI, Tom Delonge from blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves, Mark Tremonti from Alter Bridge, Allan Holdsworth, John Scofield, John Petrucci from Dream Theater, Steve Lukather, Buckethead, Metallica, Munky (from Korn), Tim Mahoney (from 311), Prince, Jerry Cantrell, Frank Zappa, Eric Book, Andy Timmons, Cannibal Corpse, Terry Balsamo from Evanescence, Devin Townsend, Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, Flea, Rammstein, Emppu Vuorinen of Nightwish, Helmet,Trivium, Dir en grey, Gavin Rossdale and Nigel Pulsford of Bush, Lamb of God, Ed O'Brien of Radiohead, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Foo Fighters It has been suggested that Fender Amplifier History be merged into this article or section. ... Carlos Augusto Alves Santana (born July 20, 1947), is a Grammy Award-winning Mexican-born American Latin rock musician and guitarist. ... Leslie Edward Les Claypool (born September 29, 1963 in Richmond, California, U.S.) is a singer, lyricist, bassist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, best known for his work with the alternative rock band Primus. ... Jade Errol Puget (born November 28, 1973 in Santa Rosa, California) is the guitarist for American rock band AFI, and the keyboardist/synthesizer operator for the electronic duo Blaqk Audio. ... AFI, in recent years short for A Fire Inside, is an American band from Ukiah, California. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... Angels & Airwaves is an alternative rock band fronted by former blink-182 and Box Car Racer guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge. ... Mark Thomas Tremonti (born April 18, 1974)) is the lead guitarist for the band Alter Bridge and former guitarist for the band Creed. ... Alter Bridge is an American hard rock band[1] formed by Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips (former members of Creed), with Myles Kennedy (lead vocals and guitar formerly of The Mayfield Four). ... Allan Holdsworth (born August 6, 1946 in Bradford, West Yorkshire) is a British jazz guitarist and composer. ... John Scofield (born December 26, 1951 in Dayton, Ohio)[1] is an American jazz guitarist and composer, who played and eventually collaborated with Miles Davis, Billy Cobham, Medeski Martin & Wood, and other important artists. ... John Petrucci (born July 12, 1967, Kings Park, Long Island, New York) is an American guitarist best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. ... Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band comprising James LaBrie, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy. ... Steve Luke Lukather (born Steven Lee Lukather on October 21, 1957 in San Fernando Valley, California, USA) is an American Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, arranger, producer and guitar player, best known for his work with the rock band Toto. ... This article is about the Avant-garde metal composer and musician. ... Metallica is a Grammy Award-winning American heavy metal/thrash metal band formed in 1981[1] and has become one of the most commercially successful musical acts of recent decades. ... James Christian Munky/The Gorilla Shaffer (born June 6, 1970 in Rosedale, California) is the nu metal band Korns guitarist, generally filling rhythm and lead guitar duties since his bandmate Brian Head Welch left the group. ... This article is about the band. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... 311 (pronounced three eleven) is a band, from Omaha, Nebraska. ... For another person sometimes known as The Artist, see Michael Haynes III. Prince Rogers Nelson (born June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota) is an American funk musician. ... Jerry Fulton Cantrell Jr. ... Frank Vincent Zappa[1] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, musician, and film director. ... Andy Timmons (born 26 July 1963) is a virtuoso guitarist who has played in the bands Danger Danger and Pawn Kings. ... Cannibal Corpse is an American death metal band founded in 1988. ... Born in Jacksonville, Florida on October 9, 1973, Terry made his start in the music world as an early member of the now infamous Limp Bizkit. ... Evanescence is a Grammy Award-winning American alternative rock band founded in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1998 by singer Amy Lee and former guitarist Ben Moody. ... Devin Garrett Townsend (born May 5, 1972 in Vancouver, Canada) is a Canadian musician currently residing in British Columbia. ... Fall Out Boy (commonly abbreviated as FOB) is an American band from Wilmette, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) that formed in 2001. ... For other uses, see All Time Low (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Flea (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Ramstein. ... Erno Emppu Vuorinen. ... Nightwish are a Finnish symphonic power metal musical group, formed in 1996 in the town of Kitee, in eastern Finland. ... Helmet is an American Post-Hardcore band formed in New York City by Page Hamilton (vocals/guitar) with Henry Bogdan (bass), Peter Mengede (guitar) and John Stanier (drums) in 1989. ... For other uses, see Trivium. ... Dir en grey is a Japanese band formed in 1997 and currently signed to Firewall Div. ... Lamb of God is a Grammy-nominated five-piece metal band from Richmond, Virginia, formerly known as Burn the Priest. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Radiohead are an English rock band. ... This article is about the band. ...



Randall Smith, the creator of Mesa Boogie began his career at Prune music, a Chinese grocery store turned music shop. Working as a repair tech while his business partner and friend, David Kessner, ran the front, Smith quickly gained a reputation with the local San Francisco Bay Area musicians. Smith, taking great pride in his work was soon seeing business from the likes of the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Carlos Santana. Bay Area redirects here. ... This article is about the band. ... Big Brother and the Holding Company is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1965 as part of the psychedelic music scene that also produced the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. ... Carlos Augusto Alves Santana (born July 20, 1947), is a Grammy Award-winning Mexican-born American Latin rock musician and guitarist. ...

In 1969, Smith, as a joke, modified Barry Melton's (Country Joe and the Fish) Fender Princeton amplifier. He removed the standard 10 inch speaker and modified the chassis to fit the larger transformers that were needed by the 4-10 tweed Bassman, the circuit that he had added into the tiny 12 watt Princeton. Finally, Mounting a 12 inch JBL D-120, a popular speaker of the time, Smith had created what would be the first Boogie. Country Joe and the Fish, from the cover of Feel Like Im Fixin to Die Country Joe and the Fish was a rock music/folk music band known for musical protests against the Vietnam War, from 1965 to 1970. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... For professional wrestler John Bradshaw Layfield, see John Layfield. ...

Randall Smith, needing to test his creation, took the "hot-rodded" Princeton into the front store. Coincidentally, Carlos Santana was present and "wailed through that little amp until people were blocking the sidewalk". Impressed, Santana exclaimed to Smith, "Shit, man. That little thing really Boogies!" It was this statement that brought the Boogie name to fruition. Carlos Augusto Alves Santana (born July 20, 1947), is a Grammy Award-winning Mexican-born American Latin rock musician and guitarist. ...

The MESA name came about through Smith's other job, rebuilding Mercedes engines and repairing houses. He needed an 'official' sounding name through which to buy Mercedes parts and building supplies. The name chosen was MESA Engineering because it was seemingly familiar with a professional air. It was originally capitalized but has been written as Mesa in recent years.

In 1971 Bassist, Patrick Burke addressed Randall in hopes of a custom Bass amp. Smith was persuaded and constructed the Snakeskin Mesa 450 - Smith's first bass amplifier and the first 'official' Mesa/Boogie product.

The real breakthrough came when Smith began his project of building a preamp for Lee Michaels to drive his new Crown DC-300 power amplifiers. Not knowing what signal was required to drive the power amps, Smith added an extra tube gain stage to the preamp to cover his bases, with 3 variable gain controls at different points in the circuit.

When Smith took the construction to Michaels and plugged it in, they were both disappointed, as they could only hear a very faint sound coming out of the speakers. They soon realized that the speakers had been plugged directly into the preamp, and rectified the situation by plugging them in correctly to the power-amp. After plugging everything together correctly, Michaels hit a power chord to test the new setup which "practically blew both of our [Michaels and Smith] bodies through the back wall".

Smith had discovered High Gain, purely by chance. He set about designing a Mesa/Boogie amplifier around the new principle, and in 1972 the Mark I Boogie was released.

He proceeded to evolve the Mark series, with the Mark II released in 1980. The 1980s saw Mesa instigating and leading in the 'Rack Revolution', with popular power amplifiers such as the M180/190 and Strategy series, as well as pre-amps such as the Quad and Studio.

Arguably the most desirable Boogie ever built was designed in 1983, the Mark II-C (and later the II-C+). The Mark series culminated in 1990 with the Mark IV, still one of the most advanced amplifiers in the world.

In the '90s, Mesa launched the smaller Dual Caliber series and the more powerful Rectifier series, the latter of which is perhaps the most important amplifier of the '90s.

The new millennium has not seen Mesa slow down, with new models like the 4-channel Road King and perhaps their best clean channel yet, the Lone Star and Lone Star Special.

Current Guitar Amplifiers

Mark IV models and Mark I re-issue

In the 17 years between 1972 and 1989, there were 7 different Mark series designs, culminating in the Mark IV in 1990. In the 16 years between 1990 and 2006 there have been no new models, and it is widely considered that the Mark series came to its conclusion with the Mark IV.

The Mark IV was one of the most advanced amplifiers of its time. It features 3 almost fully independent channels, a graphic equalizer, master volume and many pre- and power-amp options.

The 3 channels are labeled Rhythm 1, Rhythm 2 and Lead. Rhythm 1 and 2 include shared bass and middle controls, but other than this the channels are fully independent, with volume, gain and presence controls for each. The graphic EQ is footswitchable. The Mark III was used most notably by Brad Gillis on the Ozzy Osbourne album "speak of the devil". The Mark IV was used by both James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica on the 'Black' Album as well as many subsequent albums. Recently, Willie Adler and Mark Morton of Lamb of God have gained acclaim while using these amplifiers. John Petrucci is also a long time user. James Alan Hetfield (born 3 August 1963, Downey, California[1]) is the main songwriter, lead vocalist, guitarist and a founding member of the American thrash/heavy metal band Metallica. ... Kirk Lee Hammett (born on November 18, 1962) is the lead guitarist in the band Metallica. ... Metallica is a Grammy Award-winning American heavy metal/thrash metal band formed in 1981[1] and has become one of the most commercially successful musical acts of recent decades. ... Willie Adler (born January 26, 1976) is one of the two guitarists of the metal band Lamb of God, and is the younger brother of bandmate Chris Adler. ... Mark Morton is the lead guitarist of the metal band Lamb of God. ... Lamb of God is a Grammy-nominated five-piece metal band from Richmond, Virginia, formerly known as Burn the Priest. ... John Petrucci (born July 12, 1967, Kings Park, Long Island, New York) is an American guitarist best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. ...

It has the ability to footswitch between Simul-class and Class-A. It should be noted that the two outside power tubes can be substituted for EL34 valves, and all 4 tubes can be substituted for 6V6 valves. This topic has already been covered in electronic amplifier. ...

The Mark I re-issue amplifier is a reproduction of the most popular Hun/Ree (100w with reverb) format of Mark I amplifier. It features a Celestion C90 speaker in its combo format, but is also available as a head. Celestion is a British maker of loudspeakers. ...

History of the Mark Series


The people at Mesa Engineering can help you date your amp if you give them your serial number (from back panel of amp), provided they have the right records. Their records for the Mark II, III and IV are great, but may not be complete for the Mark I - although they are very good.

The thing to remember is that Mesa/Boogie has, can and will customize and retrofit just about anything for the customer. So, the presence or absence of options such as reverb, "simul-class," 60/100 watt capability and EQ-as well as cabinets and speakers-may not always be the best way to date your amp.

Mark I

The Mark I refers to the first Boogies ever made - although they were not called "Mark I" until the Mark II came along. Mark I's are most commonly 100 or 60 watt combo amps with a 12-inch speaker, primarily Altec-Lansing or EVM, though some 15-inch speaker models and models with other speakers were produced. The Mark I had two channels: one clean, voiced somewhat similar to old Fender, called "Input 2," and one "high gain," called "Input 1," which produced the overdriven "Boogie lead" sound used most notably by Carlos Santana on the "Abraxas" album and after.

The Mark I differs from later Mark-series amps in that it does not have footswitching capabilities - you plug in one or the other input for the two tones. Reverb was optional and a lot of early Boogies didn't have reverb. Later, you could get a Mark I with reverb and/or graphic EQ.

Early models have "slave out" and "reverb" labeled on the back with Dymo stick; they do not have any "pull lead" capabilities on the volume controls. Later Mark Is had "Pull Bright" and "Pull Boost" on the volume controls. The front panel controls were Volume 1, Volume 2, Treble, Middle, Bass and Master. Some models were made with hardwood and wicker cabinets.

The early models are fairly inconsistent, since many of them were "custom" models, made-to-order for various buyers. Some sound cleaner, some don't. American guitarist Rivers Cuomo of Weezer used an early Mark I with an original double cutaway Gibson Les Paul Special to produce the guitar tone heard throughout 1994's Weezer. Rivers Cuomo (born June 13, 1970), is the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of the rock band Weezer. ... For the albums, see Weezer (1994 album) and Weezer (2001 album). ... Alternate cover Cover of 2004 double-CD deluxe edition Weezer, often referred to as The Blue Album, is the debut album by the alternative rock band Weezer. ...

Mesa has stated the original and the reissue have a "looser" lead sound since the first two preamp stages occurs before the tone controls. In the various later Mark II and III models, there is only one gain stage before the tone controls. This signal chain is an issue of some dispute among Boogie owners.

Original Mark Is are hard to find and expensive (and often modified if you do find one), but very collectable. While the Mark I varies in sound quality, the Mark I reissue is very consistent from amp to amp.

Mark IIA

The Mark II introduced channel footswitching, so you could go from rhythm to lead. It also wasn't referred to as the "Mark IIA" until the Mark IIB was issued. You could also get a separate head for this model, which could be hooked up to a number of different speaker combinations, although a 1x12 cabinet was typical. However, the reverb circuit is considered noisy and the footswitching made a popping sound when used; both of these features were later improved on the Mark IIC - see below. As noted above, the preamp gain on the Mark IIs occurs after the tone controls. A Mesa/Boogie person has stated to me that the IIA has a "tighter, more focused sound" than the Mark I. The clean channel on this is very nice, but some argue that EQ is needed on the lead channel to be able to dial the midrange out in order to get something other than the "Santana" tone.

The IIA and IIB, and some late-model Mark I amps used a silicon device called "fetron" in place of one of the 12AX7 preamp tubes, and included a switch for configuring the amp for either fetron or 12AX7 operation. The reason for using a fetron was to address some of the problems associated with microphonic 12AX7 tubes in a high-gain situation; somehow, Boogie users didn't care too much for the fetron, so its use was later discontinued.

Mark IIB

The Mark IIB introduced an effects loop and an expanded control panel, featuring both a lead drive and a lead master dial. More importantly, it marked the introduction of Mesa's "simul-class" system, where two of the power tubes (always 6L6s) run in class AB pentode while the other two tubes (either 6L6s or EL34s) run in class A triode. If you have a simul-class amp, running all four tubes generates approximately 75 watts RMS of power, while running only the class A tubes produces about 15 watts. You could also get a non-simul-class Mark IIB in a 100 watt model, which allowed to shift down to 60 watts by turning off a pair of power tubes.

The two input jacks on the front panel are marked "Input" and "Foot Switch." The front panels read Volume, Treble, Bass, Middle, Master, Lead Drive and Master. It has "Pull Bright" on the Volume, "Pull Shift" on the Treble, and "Pull Bright" on the Master.

Mark IIC & IIC+

The Mark IIC and IIC+ are gaining reputations in vintage circles as the best Boogies, next to the classic Mark I, due to their much-praised rhythm channels, and to a lesser degree their lead channels.

The Mark IIC featured a quieter footswitching system and a new mod to the reverb circuit. Sacks again: "The reverb was noise-ridden on the Mark II, a problem which persisted with some IIB models as well. The solution Mesa came up with involved resistor swaps and a change in ground lead placement. That mod is still on the books of 'official' mods, which they send to their authorized techs; it runs about $50." Nowadays, Mesa/Boogie no longer does this mod at its own factory.

The Mark IIC+ was the last of the Mark II series and featured a more sensitive (i.e. useful) lead channel and, more importantly, an improved circuitry in the effects loop. Unlike earlier Mark II models, pedals could be used without the amp's signal overloading their inputs. However, the volume pedal option on the Mark IIB discussed above by Sacks cannot be implemented on Mark IIC+s.

Some owners/dealers/sellers often say the "+" refers to an amp having an EQ, but they are mistaken. The mistake originates, I believe, because in the mid 1980s Mesa issued their Studio .22 model and then changed the name to Studio .22+, which featured improved wiring, etc. All the Mark II models could be made with EQ as an option, but not all of them did. A Mark IIC+ could, for example, refer to a 100 watt amp without EQ or reverb.

You can tell if a particular amp is a "+" by looking for a hand-written black "+" mark directly above where the power cord attaches to the back of the amp. Be aware that many vintage dealers jack up the price on a Mark IIC+ but often don't know anything about what the "+" means - they often don't even know where to find the "+" mark. Indeed, the mark itself can be forged, so let the buyer beware. But, you can call Mesa/Boogie and ask them to check your serial number against their records. Mesa/Boogie only made about 1,400 Mark II amps before going to the Mark IIC+.

The IIC+ Guide for Dummies

The Chassis Codes –

SR – Sixty Watt -Reverb SRG- Sixty Watt- Reverb- Graphic HR – 100 Watt-Reverb HRG- 100 Watt- Reverb-Graphic HRGX- 100 Watt-Reverb-Graphic-Export DR – Simul-Class - Reverb DRG- Simul-EQ-Reverb DRGX- Simul-EQ-Reverb-Export

You could get a standard 60 or 100 watt with no graphic or reverb so there are possible S, D and H only chassis codes. Any amp could have an export power transformer, so an X is possible as well. For example, SX, DX and HX.

A 15” could be added to the chassis code designating a long chassis.

The Number after chassis code –

This is the week of production.

Example – A DRG 6 is a Simul-EQ-Reverb from production week six.

For Reference – The DRG 6 was produced in 6/84. Estimated production is early to mid April 1984.

The Options –

For those original customers who ordered the C+, you can give your self a “Doh” for not ordering a Simul, EQ, EV, Reverb, Export with an Imbuya Head or Combo with a lifetime supply of STR-415’s. Even better, all that and a Series 300 would have been incredible.

For those of you with the foresight, thank you, even if you went with the tolex and the Eminence MS-12. It is a great speaker.

The cabinet and chassis could be ordered as a standard head, standard 1x12 Combo, 1X15 Combo, 15” Head and all could be tolex, hardwood, but only combos have the SUS-4 Shock Mount option. They could be ordered with the “Boogie” logo or the “Mesa Boogie” logo. The “Mesa Boogie” logo appeared primarily on the long chassis heads, but you could have requested on an any amp.

A ridiculous option known as the 300 series was also available. The 180 Watt behemoth could be ordered with all the classic options and had a half power switch and most had a limiter circuit to reduce the insane volume of 180 Boogie watts. From time to time, one can see a Simul-Class 300 150W series running two EL-34’s in the center sockets and four 6L6GC’s in the outer four sockets. An Audiologists dream, it was made in a strategic alliance with of one of the USA’s leading hearing aid manufacturers.

The “+”

The plus is dedicated to IIC’s after the 12,500 production. There have been documented +’s as low as 12400, mainly in some prototype, nearly stock or customized circuits. In recent months I have witnessed two IIC I’s. These are IIC’s that almost made it to a plus, but had “Pull Deep” faceplates and a stock IIC circuit with the RP11A circuit board. These were very interesting times at Mesa. A customer could have chosen a C or a C+, hence, the “I” looks like the initial swipe of a +, but never got the other horizontal swipe so do your loop tests. I could imagine Mesa having to call on all outstanding IIC orders and asking if they wanted the upgrade. In the C+ transistion around 12,3XX/124XX a “yes” meant a plus and a “no” could be the “I”.

A “+” also refers to any amplifier upgraded below 12,500 that has been verified either by the loop test or visual circuit identification. If your amp was upgraded in the early 90’s to the present, Mesa will have an RA, or Return Authorization verifying the upgrade. Mike B. has a very good catalogue of the amps he upgraded, but please call customer service with the serial number first and let the guy earn a living. The amp may have the 100 or the 105 PT. For those seeking originality, the 105 would be the production transformer. In some opinion’s, and depending on playing style the 100 may be a better fit and offers a smoother tone than the 105. It’s really up to personal preference for tone or originality. Now, if Mesa found two 100’s On a shelf in stock room during the C+ production, they would use them, so never put it past Mesa to be frugal. Some also infer that the Export, or X101 is the most suitable transformer for the C+. Again, it is up to your personal preference. Another view of Mesa’s frugal nature is it took half a year to finally get “Pull Deep” face plates for the 15” models. These 15” chassis +’s have been left to doubt, rumor and speculation as to the amps authenticity. A simple serial number should dispel any questions. If it’s above 12,500, 15” wide and sounds awesome, you should not have to question the “Gain Boost” face plate not being a +.

The Quest –

Sometime in late winter 1983 Randall Smith was attending the Musik Messe in Germany to represent Mesa/Boogie products in the European market. During his absence, Mike Bendinelli and Doug West decided to modify the IIC. A few weeks of R&D turned out to be a significant step in the evolution of the high gain tube amp. Although the original modifications proved to be a move in the right direction, I am sure that the tone obsessed duo would not be satisfied until they nailed it. The final design did not go into production until about February 1984. In essence, the C+ circuit was born sometime in January of 1984. This circuit has the tendency for extreme gain and brightness. When asking Mike B. why the IIC+ was so bright he kindly replied, “That was Doug West, he kept saying make it brighter”. Doug was obviously looking to shred without the assistance of a boost pedal and got what he wanted. The moral of the story is why the cats away the techs will play. Obviously Randall was impressed with the results and gave the green light for the change in circuit design and production. I also must admit that the 100 PT was probably being phased out. Many 105’s date to late 1983. The X101’s could date back to 1982. Another oddity is that Mesa was going to the “Pull Deep” face plates as well. The 1983 Christmas card shows the IIC with a “Pull Deep” face plate. It makes more sense as it adds a minimum of gain and a wall of bottom end. Knowing Mesa’s frugal nature, they probably sat boxed until they ran out of the previous plates.

The rest is history.

The Tech –

Below the power cord are the famous initials MB, for Mike Bendinelli. No, he did not build every amp, he did the vast majority of final inspections and Burn ins. If you look at the circuit boards they have the initials of the person who populated each individual board. If you’re lucky enough to have a final inspection tag, you we get the initials of everyone who built your amp. Any C+ could have the initials SDG, BN, CD, RH, LB, PG and RCS, yes the man himself. I noticed my power cap board had these initials. There must have been a pandemic. And lastly, the infamous KDW, later known as Kay Dee. KD, in my opinion was the best wiring technician Mesa had. From the C+ to the early Dual Rectifiers every amp was neat and tight. For those amps not wired with this pride, Mike B. refers to them as having the “IIC Slop”. To dispel a myth, Mike B. was not the only person to perform the final Inspection of the IIC+ amps. A very small number of them are signed “RCS”. Yes, that it Randall C. Smith. Who do you think covered for Mike when he had to take an off site tech visit to Prince on the Purple Rain Tour in late 1984? Also, Mike had vacations, but he has mentioned coming back to piles of amps so the initials RCS are pretty much an Alien sighting on the back of the IIC+, but they do exist. I have one and have only found two others. Again, either a pandemic or Mike was out in the field. An 11/84 RCS IIC+ with Simul-EQ and Reverb was sold on E-Bay in April, 2007.

The Face Plates –

The stock face plate should say “Pull Deep” over the Master volume. If it says “Gain Boost” it is the IIC face plate and you should do the loop test regardless of the “+” marked status if the serial number does not fit the sequence. The exceptions would be a 15” chassis above 12,500. Mesa used the remaining 15” IIC face plates before rotating to the “Pull Deep” stock.

Note: Pull Deep Face Plates Appear in the 1983 Christmas Card.

The early “Pull Deep” plates had a dark gray EQ face and the EQ toggle order is –

Top – Auto Middle – Out Bottom – In

The Later Plates had light gray EQ face, which scratched much easier. The change in toggle order is probably by customer request or a change in the availability of the switch.

The EQ toggle order is –

Top- Auto Middle - In Bottom – Out

The EQ face was later changed back to the darker gray face with the same toggle functions.

The Loop Test –

1) Plug your guitar into the Effects Return jack 2) Switch to lead mode 3) Turn the Lead Drive and Gain controls with a note ringing. 4) If they have NO effect on the volume and sound you have a+.

The Circuit Boards –

Preamp – SP11A – Early 60/100 non Reverb with less ground plane for V3B. The plate voltage was run off the 30uf/500V cap via a wire to the 30uf/500V board cap to the V3B. I’ve only seen one board like it.

SP-11A – 60-100 watt non-reverb RP-11A Simul-100 and 60 Watt Reverb

The SP-11A and RP-11A were designed for the MK IIC. Their use was continued with the IIC+, Hence, the ability to upgrade from IIC to IC+.

Power Amp – PWR- 7-C1 Simul-Class and 100 PWR -7D – 60 watt.

Filter Cap – PS-1C

The Soup –

The components used in the manufacture of the IIC+ vary widely from start to finish. From resistors to capacitors you will see changes in size, color and type of construction. Some have metal film resistors in certain amps, while others have carbon film. The coupling caps could be Sprague 715P, 225P, Mallory Orange Drops and all could be used in any section of the preamp. The cathode caps are generally black Mallory’s and in certain areas of the circuit, a military specification hermetically sealed silver cap was most often used on the .22 Pull Bright, Graphic EQ, V1A Pull Shift circuit and the 3.3uf cap for the V4B reverb cathode. Substitutions are common so you may see all of the above replaced with the same value in the black Mallory case. The pot tolerances are all over the map. After July or August of 1984 Mesa had to use a 22K series resistor with the Master Volume pot as CTS switched production from the USA to Taiwan. These early Taiwanese pots would have your Master Volume pumping out the volume of 5 at a setting of 2. From this point on, the series resistor stayed and is still in use on the MK IV today. So if you think all IIC+’s will sound the same, think again. Some will rip your head off with the Volume 1 and Lead Drive set to 7 and others may need to go to 8 or 9. The same is accurate for the EQ settings. One of the most consistent components is the graphic EQ. It’s surprising that when you set them all flat, it basically sounds exactly like having the EQ out. A special debt of gratitude goes to Richard Ray who always told us to use our ears and not the numbers on the knobs.

The Schumacher Transformers –

The digits 606 are Schumacher’s EIA manufacturer code.

The digits after are the last number of the production year, example, 3 is 1983. The next two digits are the week of productions, example, 42 is the 42’nd week of 1983. It’s not the Fibonacci Sequence, trust me. EIA 606-342.

60W OT - T60-152019 Simul Output - SC-152019B – Simul-Class

60W PT - 00-162310 60W Export - PT: X62-162318 Simul/60-100 Power - 105-162318 – Power X101-162318 – Export

Some early IIC+’s may have leftover 100 power transformers. This is just how it was.There is nothing worse than an obsessive IIC+ owner with a slightly different amp from someone else’s. It’s either, “Why Me”, or “Wow, it’s Rare and it sounds better than yours”. Rare is for Filet Mignon and $ 48,000,000 works of art.

The Serial Numbers –

12,500 to 14,400 are pretty much unquestionable. 14,400 to 15,000 in my opinion have early black dot MK III’s in the serial number sequence. There has been visual proof that a 15,000 does exist ( BWK aka Ian Dickey), but IIC +’s between 14,400 and 15,000 just never seem to surface. Anything from 12,400 to 12,499 is a certain possibility, but the loop test is your only way of knowing without pulling the chassis to view the circuit board. Even then, if you do not know what you’re looking at you probably will not be able to tell. A recent MK III Black Dot surfaced with a serial of 15113 from 5/14/85. It had a DR 13 chassis code which may put the start of the MK III production to 2 or 3 of 1985 which would coincide with the IIC+ production, but it may dispel the 12,500 to 15,000 serial number sequence. With a IIC+ in the 1406X range from 2/85, the C+ may not have even made it to 14,400. If it did, it may have been randomly sequenced in with the early MK III production. An inference to the actual monthly production from 12,500 from April 1984 to 137XX from October 1984 averages 200 units per month for the six month period. From late 137XX in November 1984 to 1406X in February 1985 the average drops to around 121 per month. With the MK III looming Mesa was definitely phasing out the C+ as orders for the III were being generated and amps being built as early as March 1985. Any C+ after March 1985 would have possibly been an attempt to use up the remaining stock and finally push production to the MK III full blast. Even if the IIC+ production was in full effect at an average 121 per month, the sequence would be about 14,370 to 14,400 as an inference. With new MK III orders and fewer MK II orders, the production slowed on average 79 amps less per month, thus reducing the amount of upper range IIC+ serial numbers. The final peek into the model change was the use of the 105-162318 power transformer on the first 150 or so MK III’s. When they were gone, the much smaller unit we know today was assimilated into production.

The End of an Era-

Asking why Mesa quickly went to the MK III is like asking why the earth spins. The circuitry and board design on the MK III was Mesa’s leap from the MK I style circuit boards and labor intensive manufacturing. It would have happened eventually. RCS is an amazing engineer, but an astute business man as well. As the PCB market moved forward with newer, cheaper techniques, so did Mesa. The extra savings may have been necessary to the companies long term survival as the orders increased the labor cost increased while the pricing stayed consistent. Saving an extra $ 300 per amp in production cost and still producing a bullet proof design was an outstanding achievement and allowed Mesa to move forward with future designs. Obviously, the stripes were a constant evolution to fine tune the III to player’s desires. While the chief designer, play tester and the brilliance from the Chief Technician the core team managed to sell around 13,000 plus units. With the three modes, we had our first glimpse of the future MK IV. It has lasted longer and sold more than any previous MK design. It may get to the point where it will pass them all combined unless the rumored MK V makes its debut soon and the IV is put to pasture.

Best Regards,

Edward P. Morgan ©10/2007

A gracious thank you goes out to Ian Dickey, Richard Ray, John Kamaly, George Stergiou Jr., Todd Duane, Joey B., Anthony Chan, Nicko Pilgrims, Marco Morgan, Mike Bendinelli and to the hundreds of C+ owners that allowed me to invade their privacy.

S.O.B. (Son of Boogie)

The S.O.B. was introduced sometime during the Mark II era. This was Mesa's first attempt at having a "reissue" of the Mark I. It had 2 inputs and its controls were Volume 1, Volume 2, Master, High, Middle, Low, Limit. The "Limit" seems to give distortion to the amp while maintaining the volume. It wasn't considered a true Mark I reissue, however.

Mark III

The Mark III introduced a third channel - a "crunch" rhythm sound right in between the rhythm and lead channels. This amp has a two-footswitch system; one footswitches between the current rhythm mode and the lead mode, and the other selects either the clean rhythm mode or the crunch rhythm mode. The two rhythm modes share all of their controls, while the lead mode only shares the rhythm modes' tone stack, featuring independent gain and master volume controls. There seems to be some dispute over the sound quality of this amp.

Mark IV

The Mark IV is the state-of-the-art Mesa/Boogie three-channel combo amp Most important is the independent controls for all three channels - except bass & treble, which are the same for both Rhythm 1 (clean) and Rhythm 2 (crunch). There were two versions of this amp. Start of production until about September 1993 Mark IV's are referred to as version A, late 1993 and on are version B which are the current model. Early B's have an attached power cord like the A version. Notable differences: Version A - No footswitch for reverb. Both normal and switchable effects loops. No satellite send for separate power amp. No stereo effects loop. Lead channel modeled more after the Mark IIC+ Version B - Switchable reverb, single switchable stereo effects loop, Satellite send to drive another power amp. Voicings altered slightly for a more modern tone. A tad more gain on Rhy 2 on tap.

Although there are 2 different versions, they are both highly regarded as equally impressive. The Rhy 1 channel is very clean and can be everything from twangy, to bluesy, to bell chime clean. Rhy 2 has more gain on tap, however falling short of a metal rhythm. More classic rock ACDC'esque. However with the addition of a boost pedal, this channel is often used for metal rhythm. Lead has most gain on tap. It is highly regarded as one of the best boogie lead channels to date. Liquid lead tone much smoother and less fizzier than the rectifier series.

Rectifier Series

The Rectifier series, commonly called "Recto" by modeling amplifiers, was instrumental to the success of D tuned 7-string nu- and heavy-metal in the 90's.

There are 3 variants: Single, Dual and Triple Rectifier.

The Single Rectifier amplifiers are rated at 50 watts and use a silicon diode rectifier, as opposed to tube rectification. Currently in production are the Single Rectifier Solo Head 50, the Rect-o-Verb 50 head, and the Rect-o-Verb 50 combo, which is fitted with a single 12" Celestion Black Shadow speaker. The Rect-o-Verb line features the same circuitry as the Single Rectifier Solo Head 50, but incorporates reverb. All Single Rectifier amplifiers feature a pair of 6L6 power tubes as well as five 12AX7 pre-amp tubes. A bias select switch, which allows the user to swap out the stock 6L6s for EL34s, was added in the "Series 2" versions of all amplifiers in the lineup. Also, the Reverb control knob was moved from the back to the front on the Rect-o-Verb models. The Single Rectifer amplifiers feature two fully independent channels. Types of diodes A diode can be thought of as the electronic version of a one-way valve. ... AC, half-wave and full wave rectified signals A rectifier is an electrical device, comprising one or more semiconductive devices (such as diodes) or vacuum tubes arranged for converting alternating current to direct current. ... Pair of 6L6GC tubes: Left: General Electric version from 1960s Right: current manufacture from Svetlana Electron Devices, Russia 6L6 is the designator for a vacuum tube introduced by Radio Corporation of America in July 1936. ... 12AX7 is a miniature dual triode vacuum tube of high gain. ... Matched EL34 Vacuum Tubes by Russian manufacturer, Svetlana The EL34, is a vacuum tube of the pentode type. ...

The Dual Rectifier Solo Head is the most popular model of the Rectifier series. The name comes from the use of 2 rectifier tubes, which are switchable between silicone diodes. Equipped with a quartet of 6L6 power tubes, the Dual Rectifier will produce depending on options chosen 70-100 watts. For a looser sound, Dual Rectifier amplifiers allow users to utilize tube rectification rather than the common silicone diode rectification at the flip of a switch. Like in the Single Rectifier series, a bias select switch is standard. The Dual and Triple Rectifier amplifiers, which also feature 5 12AX7 pre-amp tubes, were originally designed with 2 channels(though not true parallel channel circuits), but recently were redesigned to incorporate a third channel. However, many people consider the older 2 channel models to have a superior sound. Pair of 6L6GC tubes: Left: General Electric version from 1960s Right: current manufacture from Svetlana Electron Devices, Russia 6L6 is the designator for a vacuum tube introduced by Radio Corporation of America in July 1936. ...

Additionally, the first 500 Dual Rectifiers are also considered to be the "holy grail" of the rectifier line. These Pre-500 rectifiers are said to have superior tone due to specific transformers that were only used on these early models. In addition these first 500 also feature a unique circuit board that was changed toward the end of 1992. You can distinguish the Pre-500 dual rectifiers by their serial number found on the back of the amp and should fall between # R-0001 to R-0500.

The first 503 not only used the 100 watt output transformers from the MK III, made by Schumacher. There is usually a two year difference in the year of production of the power transformer usually 1992 and the output transformer, usually dated late 1990. The first production circuit revision is the RF-1C and is in amps up to around 280. From 280 to 503 Mesa changed the circuit design to the RF-1D. In essence, Mesa had used two slightly different circuit designs between the first models produced in February, 1992 to the end of the 500 around August, 1992. As of late August/September 1992, the amp was again revised to the RF-1E, and then again shortly after to the RF-1F. The RF-1E seemed to be missing many connections on the bottom trace which led to point to point connections to resistors and LDR's. This poses the question of whether these amps are unique in tone due specifically to the transformers, but also the circuit design. The most notable association with the transformer theory is directly linked to George Lynch. It has also been written that George looked at the circuit boards for a distinguishable mark that was used to identify these amps. It can be assumed that he was looking for the circuit board revision. Mr. Lynch, like many other famous guitar players may have stated that it was the transformers that made the Dual Rectifier so different, when in reality he was providing useless information to throw other players off the source if his tone. As many seasoned players know, this is not an uncommon tactic. ( Edward P. Morgan 9/7/2007)

Other than the Dual Rectifier Solo Head, there is the flagship Boogie model (replacing the Mark IV as the company's most advanced amplifier), the Dual Rectifier Road King. The Road King is well known for its vast number of options. It has an unprecedented 4 channels, each with the option of two different speaker outputs, two effects loops and Progressive Linkage, which allows five different power tube configurations (2x6L6, 2xEL34, 2x6L6+2xEL34, 4x6L6, 4x6L6+2xEL34), which are signaled by different LED lights on the front of the amplifier. The amp also features Recto-Tracking, which automatically selects the appropriate rectification (single or dual 5U4s or silicon diode) depending on the power tube configuration.

While these myriad options provide ample tweaking opportunity and ultimate customization of tone, they are also the one drawback of the Road King - it's just too complex for some. In response, Mesa announced the release of the Dual Rectifier Roadster, a scaled down and less expensive version of the Road King with fewer options for the power amp and speakers, but retaining 4 independent channels.

The Triple Rectifier utilizes 6 6L6 power tubes for 150 watts output power, with 3 5U4 Rectifier tubes. It was designed with the tag line "When excess is barely enough", and used by bands such as Metallica, Limp Bizkit and KoЯn. Metallica is a Grammy Award-winning American heavy metal/thrash metal band formed in 1981[1] and has become one of the most commercially successful musical acts of recent decades. ... Limp Bizkit (alternately written as limpbizkit) is a nu metal and rapcore band from Jacksonville, Florida. ... Korn logo KoЯn. ...

Lone Star

The Lone Star amplifier was released in 2004 with the tag "Tone as big as Texas", and now comes in two variants, Classic and Special. In very generic terms, the Classic can be compared to vintage Fender amps, while the Special would be more in the range of an old VOX AC-30. However, since no two models of amp really sound alike or even operate the same, this is just to have some idea of an amp with the same type tubes as each of these.

Mesa/Boogie's description of the Classic is riddled with connotations to the sound of Texas blues, a style exemplified by Stevie Ray Vaughan, and this is the sound that the amplifier was designed to recreate. However, while its blues tones are widely reported as some of the best around, the success of the Lone Star has been its clean channel, widely regarded as one of, if not the best clean sound Boogie have ever produced. A measure of the quality of the sound is reflected in Carlos Santana's current amplifier rig - 3 70's Mark series Boogies, 2 Dumble Overdrive Special amplifiers and a 2004 Lone Star classic. The Lonestar features two channels, both capable of switching between 50 watt (tube or solidstate rectifier) and 100 watt (solid state rectifier). In 2007 Mesa added a 10 watt option to the Lone Star. Both channels are now capable of 10, 50, or 100 watt operation. The 10 watt option is true Class A amplification. Stephen Stevie Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990), born in Dallas, Texas, was an American blues guitarist. ... Carlos Augusto Alves Santana (born July 20, 1947), is a Grammy Award-winning Mexican-born American Latin rock musician and guitarist. ...

The Lone Star Special was released in 2005, having been previewed first at a NAMM show. The differences are mainly in the power amp section, primarily the use of EL84 tubes rather than 6L6, giving a different sound than the "Classic" Lonestar. It also comes with 3 different wattage settings - 30, 15, and 5 watts. The 30 watt selection uses a solid state (diode) rectifier for a cleaner tone. The 15 and 5 watt settings use a tube (valve) rectifier for a warmer, "grittier", sound. The 5 watt setting uses one power tube producing singled-ended Class A amplification, whereas the other two settings produce push/pull Class A amplification [1]. Not only does this lower the wattage but also enables the tube to be saturated for an overdriven sound at much lower volume. In addition, the 2nd harmonic (an octave above) is not cancelled out, resulting in a richer overtone. The NAMM (National Association of Musical Merchants) Show is the largest musical trade show in the world. ...


The Stiletto "Stage I" was released in 2004, and is designed as a British-flavored variant of the Rectifier series. This was in response to musicians using Marshall amplifiers combined with Mesa/Boogie amplifiers. Two models were released; the Deuce, and the Trident. Both come standard with EL34 tubes. Matched EL34 Vacuum Tubes by Russian manufacturer, Svetlana The EL34, is a vacuum tube of the pentode type. ...

The Deuce is a 100w dual 5U4 rectified quad EL34 powered head. The Trident is the highest output wattage of the Stiletto line, with a switchable 50w/150w power rating. It has six EL34 power tubes and three 5U4 rectifiers. In electronics, a vacuum tube (U.S. and Canadian English) or (thermionic) valve (outside North America) is a device generally used to amplify, or otherwise modify, a signal by controlling the movement of electrons in an evacuated space. ... Matched EL34 Vacuum Tubes by Russian manufacturer, Svetlana The EL34, is a vacuum tube of the pentode type. ... Matched EL34 Vacuum Tubes by Russian manufacturer, Svetlana The EL34, is a vacuum tube of the pentode type. ... In electronics, a vacuum tube (U.S. and Canadian English) or (thermionic) valve (outside North America) is a device generally used to amplify, or otherwise modify, a signal by controlling the movement of electrons in an evacuated space. ...

As of the 2006 model year, all previous models are generally referred to as "Stage I" versions, and have been replaced by the new "Stage II" versions. The Ace is the first of the "Stage II" series. It is a 50-watt amp that is available in different formats.

The "Stage II" models have several features that were not available in the first series. This features are RE-voiced modes, two new clean modes named Fat and Tite, a Fluid-Drive mode and faster power supply. The retail price is a little bit more expensive than the Rectifier series.


The Express line of guitar amplifiers was released in 2007, and has essentially replaced the F-Series in the Mesa Boogie line up. Although not directly descended from the F-Series, these two lines do have some features in common, some of which have been expanded upon in the Express line. This amp does not have solid state rectification like the F series, while still having plenty of gain it has it's own unique sound that is thick, chunky and a little furry on the crunch setting. Adjusting the contour setting will help you dial this in.

The Express line offers a new amplification technology developed by Mesa Boogie called “Duo-Class”. This technology offers the ability to run the power section of the amplifier in either true “class A” (single-ended) mode, or true “class AB” (push-pull) mode. This allows the operator to choose between running the amplifier at a reduced power output of 5 Watts (class A), or full power (class AB). When ran in 5 Watt (Class A) mode, the power section is operating on only one vacuum tube. Structure of a vacuum tube diode Structure of a vacuum tube triode In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube, or (outside North America) thermionic valve or just valve, is a device used to amplify, switch or modify a signal by controlling the movement of electrons in an evacuated space. ...

There are two different models offered in the Express line; the 5:25, which has a maximum power output of 25 Watts, and the 5:50 which has a maximum power output of 50 Watts. Curiously absent is a 100 Watt output model.

The 5:25 operates on two EL-84 tubes in the power section, and produces a maximum rated power output of 25 Watts. It is available as either a Short Chassis Head (Width 19in), or a 1x10 (Open Back) Combo unit containing one E50 Speaker, and comes with casters included. European road E50 is a part of the International E-road network. ...

The 5:50 operates on two 6L6 tubes in the power section, and produces a maximum rated power output of 50 Watts. It is available as a Medium Head (Width 22-7/8in), a Long Head (Width 26-1/4in), a 1x12 (Open Back) Combo unit containing one C90 Speaker, or a 2x12 (Open Back) Combo unit containing two C90 Speakers. Both Combo units come with casters included. Pair of 6L6GC tubes: Left: General Electric version from 1960s Right: current manufacture from Svetlana Electron Devices, Russia 6L6 is the designator for a vacuum tube introduced by Radio Corporation of America in July 1936. ... The C Programming Language, Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie, the original edition that served for many years as an informal specification of the language The C programming language is a low_level standardized programming language developed in the early 1970s by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie for use on the UNIX... The C Programming Language, Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie, the original edition that served for many years as an informal specification of the language The C programming language is a low_level standardized programming language developed in the early 1970s by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie for use on the UNIX...

Common features among the models in the Express line are as follows:

  • Fixed bias current.
  • Five 12AX7 tubes.
  • Two fully independent channels with four style modes (channel 1 = Clean or Crunch, channel 2 = Blues or Burn).
  • Independent gain, treble, mid, bass, reverb, master and contour controls per channel.
  • Footswitchable Variable Contour Control on each channel, which Mesa Boogie says provides the power of their traditional 5-band graphic EQ from one rotary control.
  • All tube, long spring reverb.
  • All tube FX Loop external switching Jacks for channel 1/2, contour 1, contour 2, reverb.
  • Three button footswitch (Channel 1/2, reverb & contour).

12AX7 is a miniature dual triode vacuum tube of high gain. ...


Studio Preamp

In the late 80's Mesa Boogie introduced the 2 space rack mounted Studio Preamp as a tool for direct recording of electric guitar. The preamp was originally marketed as being based off the Mark IIC design but there is evidence that it is closer to a IIC+ in its circuitry and tone than a IIC. Most notably its gain levels are more similar to that of a IIC+. In any event the controls of the Studio Preamp are similar to the IIC/C+ design. There are two channels, Rhythm and Lead that share a Volume, Bass, Mid, and Treble tone shaping control. The Lead Channel has a Drive and Master Volume control. The Studio Preamp also utilizes the Mark II era EQ and a few other switches to further shape the tone. Other features include an effects loop and reverb.

The sales life of the Studio Preamp did not last long probably to make way for their flagship preamp, the Triaxis. But, as rumor would have it among Mesa fanatics, the real reason Mesa discontinued the Studio Preamp was that it was such a great sounding and popular preamp it stole sales from their regular amp line and was bad for business. There are those who claim the Studio Pre was the best sounding preamp section of any amp Mesa Boogie ever made. Of course this is subjective. The most recognized users of the Studio Pre were Pete Townsend of The Who and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.


A five-tube preamp built to package all of the "Mark" series amps into one package. The Triaxis will give you the impeccable cleans of the Mark IV and the scooped crunch of the Mark IIc series. This amp has come under fire since the new millennium for being just a preamp and in need of being in a rack with a power amp to run with it, however to rack users, the Triaxis still remains the number one preamp of choice for a wide pallette of crystal cleans and Mark series tones. John Petrucci used this preamp to record overdriven tracks on "Images and Words", as well as the side project cd "Liquid Tension Experiment 1". While lacking the tone of the Rectifier series, it is widely accepted that the Triaxis and the Studio Preamp are the closest you can get to the Mark IIC+ in preamp form.

Rectifier Recording™ PreAmp

The MESA Boogie Rectifier Recording™ PreAmp is basically a Rectifier, designed for silent recording. It can also be used as the front end of a rack mounted Rectifier guitar setup.

Bass Amps

Mesa also makes Bass amps, although they are less popular than their guitar amps. Still, Mesa's bass amps are used by numerous big names, such as Les Claypool, Sir Paul McCartney, Justin Chancellor, Ben Kenney of Incubus, John Campbell of Lamb of God, John Myung of Dream Theater and Cliff Burton.The current lineup of Bass Amps includes the simul-state Big Block series, M-Pulse, and Walkabout. Mesa's all tube bass amps: the Bass 400+, pushes 500 watts at peak through twelve 6L6 tubes which equals about 350 watts RMS. The earlier Bass 400 had six 6L6 tubes for about 180 watts RMS. The Big block series Are known as "hybrid amps", where the power stage is SS (solid state), and the Pre-amp section is tube. In most cases, The preamp tubes are 2 12ax7 and 1 12au7 splitter tube. Leslie Edward Les Claypool (born September 29, 1963 in Richmond, California, U.S.) is a singer, lyricist, bassist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, best known for his work with the alternative rock band Primus. ... Paul McCartney, as photographed by Richard Avedon for the 1968 LP The Beatles (aka The White Album). Sir James Paul McCartney,KBE, MBE (born June 18, 1942), better known as Paul McCartney, is a British musician, composer and producer. ... Justin Chancellor (born November 19, 1971) is an English-born musician; currently the bass player for Tool and formerly of the band Peach (GB). ... Ben Kenney, (born on March 16, 1977), is an American musician, and the bassist for the rock band Incubus. ... For other persons of the same name, see John Campbell. ... Lamb of God is a Grammy-nominated five-piece metal band from Richmond, Virginia, formerly known as Burn the Priest. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band comprising James LaBrie, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy. ... Clifford Lee Burton (February 10, 1962 – September 27, 1986) was a bass guitarist best known for his work with the thrash/heavy metal band Metallica from 1982 - 1986. ...

Discontinued Products


The Quad preamp is divided over two channels, the above one is modelled after a Mesa/Boogie Mark IIC+ and the lower channel is based on a Mark III.The preamp uses 8 NOS Tesla E83CC tubes. These were made in the 70's by Telefunken and are as good as it gets. The whole signalpath of the Quad uses tubes and no opamps like many other preamps such as the Triaxis and the JMP-1 (opamp only used in dynamic voice control of triaxis). So tubes have a huge influence on the tone of the preamp. Mesa/Boogie designer and president Randall Smith: "The Quad (plus the Simul 395 Stereo power amp) is intended primarily for the concert-touring pro. And the idea is to offer a real alternative to the usual assemblage of two or three (or more) separate amps -usually modified- plus a custom switching system." Some sources state that Channel 1 is based upon the IIC, however, according to Mike B. at Mesa Boogie, the IIC and IIC+ circuits are quite different, and the Quad is in fact closest to the IIC+ circuit. Specification: 2 channels, 4 modes (2 rhythm and 2 lead) 8x E83CC NOS Tesla preamp tubes (Telefunken production!) 2 custom made Accutronics spring reverbs Tube driven reverb and stereo fxloop 2x 5 band graphic EQ 5 EQ shift functions per channel to change the sound Hand made in the USA 8 on/off jacks for each function

Blue Angel

The Mesa Blue Angel series was an offshoot of the Rectifier series, but sported single channels that thrived with jazzy clean tones, but gave an aggressive sound when turned loud. The amps were available in the form of a head, 1x12, 2x10, and 4x10. The amplifiers featured Mesa's Progressive Linkage technology, enabling the use of two 6V6 power tubes and four EL84 tubes. The amplifiers used a single 5U4 rectifier tube and 5 12AX7's.


Mesa's Nomad series was produced until the early 2000s, and were considered a successor to the Caliber series of the 1990s. They boasted three channels with the option of a graphic equalizer on some models. It was sold in 45, 55, and 100 watt variations, and was phased out with the introduction of the F-series


The Maverick was a Class-A, channel switching amp available in a 4x10 or 2x12 combo format, as well as a 35-watt head. The amp was aimed towards country and classic rock players, and was replaced by the Lone Star.

Formula preamp

The Formula was a rackmounted preamp, with MIDI switching. Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci has once used this amplifier in his rig as a clean preamp. The clean channel is arguably second best to the newer lonestar amplifiers, however the gain channels left something to be desired. While putting out a tone reminiscent of the F series (a tone between the rectifiers and mark series) the preamp has been dismissed by many as being too loose and lacking in punch and gain clarity. There are a few home mod plans out there that apparently improve on the circuitry to make the gain channels more usable. Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band comprising James LaBrie, John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy. ... John Petrucci (born July 12, 1967, Kings Park, Long Island, New York) is an American guitarist best known as a founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater. ...


The F-Series debuted in 2002 as the spiritual successors to the early '90s Dual Caliber series. There are 3 sizes, the F30 (30 watts), the F50 (50 watts) and the F100 (100 watts). As of the 2007 model year, the F-Series has essentially been replaced by the Express line of Amplifiers.

The smallest amplifier in the series is the F30. Rather than 6L6 tubes, it is built around two EL84s. It is available in a 'shorthead' version or as a 1x12 combo.

The F50 has been the most critically acclaimed model, featuring two 6L6 tubes in the power amp and using solid state rectification. It is available as a 'mediumhead' version, or a 1x12 'widebody' combo.

The F100 is a similar setup, but with a quartet of 6L6s for 100w output. It is available as a 2x12 combo or in a 'longhead' version.

The F-Series was dropped in 2007 with the introduction of the Express line.

External links

  • Mesa Boogie Homepage
  • The Mesa Boogie Mark Series Registry
  • The Unofficial History of the Mesa Boogie Mark Series
  • The Boogie Files - History of the Home of Tone
  • Mesa/Boogie at Harmony Central

  Results from FactBites:
Mesa Boogie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2936 words)
Mesa was started by Randall Smith as a small repair shop which modified Fender combos to give them more gain.
When paired with the MESA Boogie Stereo 2:90 power amp, it is considered one of the finest and most versatile rackmount guitar systems ever produced.
Mesa's Nomad series was produced until the early 2000's, and were considered a successor to the Caliber series of the 1990's.
Unofficial SG Homepage: Articles: Mesa Boogie, 1996 (1427 words)
Mesa: Chris, you're using two rectifiers on stage and in the studio, are you using the channel switching?
Using the Mesa stuff gave me what seemed like more of a vintage rock sound or a hard rock sound without it being a heavy metal sound.
Mesa: So one night you might use a cleaner tone for one song and the next night you might decide to just rage on it.
  More results at FactBites »



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