For the last six weeks or so, I’ve been sucked in by the convenience of amp modelling. Being able to plug and play on headphones at any time of day is very appealing when you can’t always find the time to set up a rig, or aren’t able to do so at a neighbourhood-friendly hour!
Anyway, earlier this week I decided to set up a ‘weekend rig’ (a ‘Sunday sports car’-type arrangement), and I’ve spent a very pleasant, very lazy afternoon doing some recording. Nothing particularly inspiring music-wise, unfortunately, but I was for the umpteenth time blown away by my Mark I Boogie. This thing records so effortlessly. Seriously, all you have to do is stick a mic in front of it, and that classic, super-thick tone is just there straight away.
This afternoon I plugged the xotic BB Preamp pedal into my 1977 15″ MESA/Boogie Mark I amplifier for the first time.
Although the audio quality isn’t perfect, having an iPhone handy makes it way easy to take snapshots like this (no surprise that there isn’t anyone buying point-and-shoots, camcorders, Flip cams etc… any more), so here’s a minute with the Mark I.
You can hear the Mark I on its own before I click on the BB, which has its EQ set totally flat, a small boost in volume, and drive at about 10:30.
With so much gain in the tone already, I liked using the BB to just push it into saturation, and it seems to naturally raise the upper-mid range a little, too. In the room, it starts to get into Mark II territory — maybe with a slightly British twist? — although the effect is not as pronounced on video.
I’d love to try out the xotic AC Booster with this rig: the BB’s lower drive cousin is even more transparent, although in my A/B test the BB was quite a bit more versatile.
More video of my favourite amplifier – the MESA/Boogie Mark I
Even though Carlos Santana is one of my favourite players (and we both play D-type and Mark I Boogie amps), I’ve strangely never put too much effort into mimicking his tone before – likely because I play a Telecaster 90% of the time. This weekend, I decided to give it a go, and while nobody plays quite like Carlos does, I think the tone is pretty close to the mark.
Two key changes from my usual setup – I used my Squier Esprit instead of a Tele, and switched off the graphic EQ on the amplifier.
For more videos of my various amplifiers, guitars & pedals, please visit my YouTube channel.