Posts Tagged ‘Mark’

Recording :: MESA/Boogie Mark I

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.

Even though the music-assembly wasn’t going so well, I did bounce out a very little sample of the Mark I, which you can hear on Soundcloud. Great fun!

(Telecaster -> Keeley TS808 -> Mark I MESA/Boogie 15″ -> AKG C1000S -> Logic Pro)

 

 

 

For Sale :: Mesa/Boogie Mark IV B

Mesa/Boogie Mark IV 1×12 combo. Awesome amplifier with more features than almost anything else out there; supremely versatile, and exquisitely built. Electro-Voice EVM12L speaker.

I’ve had this amp for the best part of 10 years, and it’s in beautiful condition. Comes with the FU-3 foot switch and original slip cover.

£1050 ono. Email [redacted] No longer for sale, enjoy the pictures!

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Tone :: My Mark IV & Me

With so much programming required for my current project, I’ve been at my desk pretty much non-stop recently. That means basking in the glow of up to four screens at a time, which has started to occasionally induce headaches, eye strain etc… – symptoms of computer vision syndrome, a kind of studio tan for your eyes and brain.

I always have an amp by my desk for practice and warmup exercises, but in an effort to tempt myself away from working I’ve shelved my trusty Roland JC-50, and replaced it with the amp I bought with a year of shelf stacking money when I was 15 years old – my Mark IV Mesa/Boogie.

This amp provokes thought more than any other. I’ve had it for the best part of a decade, and played it just about every day through school and when I was at music college. I’ve played it with Strats, SGs, my Squier Esprit (in the picture above), and most of all Telecasters. I’ve played it with meters long pedal boards, in stereo rigs, and simply jacked into the front. When I played gigs in my teens, this was the amp that came with me.

Playing the Mark IV this evening, I wasn’t quite happy with my tone on any of the channels. Yes it’s a stadium amp, with more headroom than basically anything else out there, but I know from experience that it can kill at low volume too. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling it this evening. Any tweaking session on this thing is at least a half hour tonal excursion, but spending time with my eyes off the screen is the aim of the game here so I dived right into it, and for about the millionth time I ended up in the same spot – T/M/B @ 7/4/4, gains at 7-8, lead drive at 8. Slightly scooped 750, edge off 6.6k, and a boost on 80 & 240.

How much of my life have I already spent tweaking this amp?!

The thing is, it always ends up sounding awesome. But next time I plug in, it’s just not going to feel quite there.

I love tweaking amp settings, so I’m cool with that aspect, and I do love the tones it spits out. Maybe it’s just that I know there are some real solid gold tones in there that makes it so frustrating. I’m so conscious of the fact that whatever tone I can get dialled in is, say, 85% as good as I’ve heard it at its best. For a 1 channel amp, 85% of a Boogie at its peak is still a cut above. But take that 85% times 3 channels and you get the niggling sense of ever-so-slight disappointment I feel every time I plug in.

I’ve had it crunch and sing like nothing else, and cleans which would kick the ass of a Twin (seriously). But in nearly 10 years I’ve never been able to get all three kicking in sync, and there’s a frustration that I’ve absolutely nailed how to get the amp sounding nearly as good as it can, but never achieved perfection.

As an aside, I could write for days about every aspect of the Mark IV that makes it the most powerful and versatile amp I’ve ever owned, and there’s no doubt that it’s my ‘desert island amp’…but damn! I feel like really mastering it it requires an approach that borders on the academic, so this can be considered as ‘entry one’ in the logbook of my quest to own the amp I’ve owned for so many years. 

 

Tone :: Mark I MESA/Boogie 15″ + xotic BB Preamp

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.

 

Mark IIB MESA/Boogie

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My 1981 Mark II Boogie has been out of action for a couple of weeks after a preamp tube failure. I swapped in some JJ 12AX7s (not my favourites, but still) from my Ceriatone Overtone Special yesterday to get it back up and running – super, super classic tone. There is nothing more fun than revisiting an amp like this…super super tone. Nice.

EDIT: Apparently the preamp tubes were not at fault – the relay has been isolated as the cause of the issue I’ve been having with the amp. Bugger.

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Return to the Mark Series

There is mounting evidence that my next amp will be a Mark V Boogie.

Via @MesaBoogie / Amplitudes

1977 Mark I MESA/Boogie

My first new YouTube video in 6 months.

Recently, I’ve been playing the Mark I with a few pedals up front and getting some totally classic sounds – having the all time most classic Boogie overdrive and a Big Muff in the same rig? Purest, most heavenly luxury.

Anyway, these are a few tones that I’ve been playing around with recently in one four minute package for the world to digest. It’s so much fun making videos about stuff you absolutely love, so I’ll try and get on a roll and stay on it….more to come? Hopefully.