1989 Mesa Boogie Studio .22

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by GaryOsborne, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

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    I'm having a hard time finding info/videos on this amp. It's not the "+" version and does not have the graphic EQ sliders. It just has one row of knobs, two channels, one 12" speaker, reverb and 22 watts of output. The one I'm looking at is super clean and has spent the majority if it's life in a road case. I'm assuming it was some kind of answer to the DRRI or vice-versa being they're both 22 watts. I just assume the Mesa is probably a little louder and has a little better overdrive tones. I've admired this amp for a while. Idk exactly why. I love how simple it looks and it's relatively portable and probably loud enough for most gigs. As some of you know I recently bought a Blues Dlx RI and I've found it to be a little loud, even on stage. I'll probably keep it unless I can make some decent money off it (I got a really good deal). But the Mesa is only 425$ and I have my tax money coming this week. I've wanted a 22 watt amp for a long time and hopefully I'll finally get one. I've been through a lot of amps recently and I was explaining to @waparker that it's a monetary issue. I've never really had the money to get exactly what I wanted so I've always had to cheap out a bit and thus am never really satisfied. The satisfaction thing may be a whole separate issue entirely lol. But this isn't a psychiatric forum! So can any of you guys that have(or had) this amp relay some of your experiences? They don't come up very often and never this clean and cheap.

    Here's a couple photos :

    image-784748231.jpg

    image-3541183221.jpg

    Just FYI I'm currently playing a classic 50s esquire with no effects. Mostly county and the occasional classic rock or blues tune.
    Thanks.
    Gary.
     
  2. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Never played one of those, but I'm a big Mesa fan in general. I've owned probably 5 or 6 Mesas previously, and recently bought a 25w/10w switchable Recto-Verb combo which I love.

    Congrats and enjoy!
     
  3. uriah1

    uriah1 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I had the studio caliber 22.. Great little amp. Comes with a V30 want to be speaker.
    I swapped out. I think I got rid of it, since it was tough for me to dial in gig to gig.. too much tweaking , but, I am the ultimate tweaker. Heavier than it looks.

    Look up F30. Same thing, diff year..

    .
     
  4. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If the F30 is basically the same amp, thumbs up. I thought the F series replaced the DC series, no?

    I gigged an F30--sometimes through a Mesa vertical 2x12 cab--and it absolutely was a perfect gigging amp.
     
  5. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

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    Yeah I've looked at F-30s but they're still really pricey.
     
  6. Guitarwrangler

    Guitarwrangler TDPRI Member

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    Several years ago my band was playing an after-rodeo gig in Vernal, Utah. Before the show I checked out the local mom and pop's music store to see if they had any cool guitars or amps. They had one of these boogies just like your picture and agreed to let me rent it for the show that night. I liked it just fine. We were playing a really large room-so it was miked but it was more than loud enough to play any medium sized club unmiked. Tonewise, it was good- but not great compared to my usual amps. (Twins and Supers). Not quite as warm sounding and a little bit harsh-but in a good way (if that makes any sense). It took my pedals really well and I liked it enough to play the whole show through it but not enough to buy it. I will say that I had a Boogie mark 2-c at one time and I really preferred the sound of the .22 cal. over that amp.
     
  7. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

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    Yeah the mark series is waaay out of my league. I'm gonna go play this amp Friday so we'll see how I like it. But please keep the info/experiences coming.
    Thanks.
    Gary.
     
  8. JohnS

    JohnS Friend of Leo's

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    I had one with the EQ sliders. OK amp. I thought it needed the EQ. Weak reverb. The volume difference between the clean and boost sounds is too great. That's why the + model had a second volume control.
     
  9. Stubee

    Stubee Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I had a chance to buy a nice .22 years ago from a friend. Took it home & played with it a lot, a good sounding and versatile amp, plenty of volume. While I was mulling it over he got ridiculous GAS and traded it in on a new guitar (and got absolutely hosed doing so).

    Another friend loaned me his to try but that .22 has some issues with volume drop in/out. He took it back, got it fixed, then decided he liked it too much to sell.

    $425 sounds good for that amp. I like 'em though it can take time to get settings to your taste.
     
  10. Myewgul

    Myewgul TDPRI Member

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    Ive played the + and really like it. It sorta reminded me of a lower wattage mark iii, but not quite, as IIRC it uses el84s?
     
  11. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

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    I believe it's a 22w EL84.
    I keep hearing people say things about having to really tweak the knobs on Mesa's which seems weird to me. Do they all have some weird tone stack that makes it difficult? What about the caliber line specifically? There's not many knobs on it compared to most mesas so maybe it's different. A lot like the F series, the F-30 in particular that was mentioned before. I tried to get an F 30 and an F 50 but the price wasn't right. I love the idea of a Mesa with a single row of knobs lol. If I could find an F-30 around this price i'd snatch it up. But I've always heard good things about the Caliber series. Someone told me (someone on here or maybe in Nashville) that he loaned his Mesa .50 cal to Johnny Cash's touring guitar player in the 80's and he used it a lot. I was really surprised by the number of guys in Nash playing Mesa amps. And not just the Lonestar stuff but older F series, Marks, etc. for a while I thought you HAD to play a DRRI downtown lol.
     
  12. Bugeyed Earl

    Bugeyed Earl Tele-Meister

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    ^^ yes, both the .22 and .22+ use EL84s.

    I have a .22+ and love it, but there is an uncommon issue I've experienced: The channel switching can go awry, be sure you can get a fully clean tone when in rhythm mode, and that you can hear a distinct difference between the channels (it will be a big difference in a normally functioning amp - the lead channel should be very gainy.) In my experience, it won't do this intermittently, it either works correctly or it doesn't. I've read that some other people have had issues with the switching, but it doesn't seem to be common enough to worry about it.

    My amp was malfunctioning when I bought it, and it gave me a combination of both lead and clean channels when I selected the clean channel. I could only get a clean tone if I unplugged the footswitch entirely. Fortunately, I got my amp for a song and was able to repair it after doing a bit of research. Make sure your amp has the original footswitch.

    If you mainly play clean, you won't be bothered by the switching problem (if this amp suffers from it,) and the volume boost between channels won't be an issue either.

    The reverb on these amps is somewhat disappointing. One of the members at the Boogie forum reported negligible improvement by swapping in a long tank. I can live with the weak 'verb.

    Here's my amp:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Octave Doctor

    Octave Doctor Tele-Afflicted

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    I found one in a store in Pittsburgh, played it for about an hour. It had a pretty good range of tone and sounded great with a Strat, but it was the wrong end of the month to be buying an amp.
     
  14. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

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    Yes I think he says he has the foot switch. It also does not have the "lead master" knob that yours does based on the photos. But like you mentioned, I'm a clean channel + OD pedal guy. Mostly clean though. But I really think this amp is pretty flawless. It looks new, he has the foot switch and says everything works properly. I sort of know the guy through my guitar tech so I think he's ok. I prefer clean tones but would like to mess around with that mesa tube gain.
     
  15. Chancerubbage

    Chancerubbage Tele-Meister

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    I had a boogie Mk III. Yes, it was a tweaker. But I think part of the problem was one of expectations.

    Here is why.

    I had a friend with a Mark IV. He was able to have, at the tap of a foot switch, 3 great useful, perhaps it can be said, necessary tones. Without pedals. The grail for many players.
    Clean
    ::stomp::
    Crunch
    ::stomp::
    Lead

    Any of the 3, on call any time, all in a single combo, from one footswitch. Load in to gig by walking in amp in one hand your guitar in other. Pay quite dearly to be an owner.

    When I saw a used (affordable) boogie, I jumped on it. It was mark iii.

    With a mkIII, you could get great if dark clean, and crunch. On call at the same time. But you would have to twiddle to get the LEAD tone and lose one of the other sounds. OR you could get great crunch and lead, but lose the clean, without having to twirl knobs.

    Getting to all three was no picnic. Perhaps I should have used pedals. No! Simplicity! Minimalism! No Batteries! Using a pedal to get a great lead tone out of an amp that had its own great lead tone just seemed wrong. Many were attracted to boogie with the feeling the amp alone would provide all the tone they needed. Was there something about the tone stack that made rolling back on the guitar volume not a workable option to get clean? It's possible. It has been a while. I remember having to dial in tone a lot.

    Also I badly missed having a vibrato circuit and a spring reverb. I had one as a rack mount. Weren't really any pedals that pulled off verbs or tremelos at the time. An extra plug. More gear. More cables. More foot switches.

    The Boogie was a tweaker. But it was a tweaker because I expected more, and because the potential flexibility was there. Just seemed to be some effort behind the flexibility once you had one.

    At least with the .22 they seem to be emphasizing two sounds and simplicity up front.
     
  16. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

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    Yeah. I'm kind of looking to keep it simple. Does this amp not have spring reverb? I can't find the manual online. I would ideally use it on the clean channel with a small board. Maybe just a delay pedal and a lead boost, unless I fall in love with the amps lead channel which is possible.
     
  17. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Cool amp. As has been noted, the channel levels ate pretty unbalanced. But if you are only using the clean side, no worries!

    I have, and regularly gig a DC2, which is the amp that replaced the .22 and .22+. I love it. It's midrange presence and the rest of it's voicing makes for a really nice and very warm clean channel. Mesas tend to sound a little goofy by themselves, but man do they sit in a mix perfectly. I don't find them hard to dial in either. At all. I think the idea that they are hard to dial in is majorly overblown by people who can't get them to sound like Fenders or Marshalls.

    If you dig Boogies, and can let a Boogie be a Boogie, they work just as easily as anything else.

    It is true that the controls are highly interactive, but so what? They still all do what they are labeled to do.

    Try it out and see if it's your kind of amp. From those pics, it's the cleanest one I've ever seen. I'd say $425 is plenty fair for that amp in that kind of condition.
     
  18. Bugeyed Earl

    Bugeyed Earl Tele-Meister

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    Some of them have a small spring reverb unit mounted inside the amp chassis, but the rear photo of the one you're interested in clearly shows the traditional reverb tank mounted on the side. From what I've read, the amps with the chassis-mount reverb can easily be fitted with an external unit if desired.

    By the way, I'd be curious about your impression of the reverb whether you buy the Mesa or not. Mine seems to be maxed out by about "4" on the knob...
     
  19. mickeydean

    mickeydean Friend of Leo's

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    i owned one that i used in the orchestra pit for about a year. it was just too noisy. i have heard it is a common complaint with these amps. would have been great for live because it had wonderful tone, but for close mic live stuff like a pit or in the studio, way too much noise/hiss/hum.
     
  20. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's

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    I owned the same amp and loved it. Great overdriven tones. I don't recall playing it clean.

    A great, well built, excellent OD, compact little amp. Sorry I sold it and will probably buy another some day.

    PS: used it in a rock band. Sold it to buy a Marshall to be heard over the other guitar players 100 watt tube Peavy.
     
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