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School me on the Mesa Mark I (Original)

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by WineCaster, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. WineCaster

    WineCaster Tele-Meister

    469
    Jul 12, 2012
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin
    I'm looking into possibly trading my '71 Twin Reverb /w Altec 418C's for an amp I've never had the opportunity to play, a 1978 Mesa Boogie Mark I. I don't know ANYTHING about these amps but am curious enough to entertain the thought of a trade. Can anyone shine some light on if this model of Mesa holds any type of clean against my Twin? Any higher collector value? Versatility? Are there better Mesa amps out there that I should check instead of the original Mark I?

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    twr102 likes this.

  2. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone
    The Mark 1 is a great amp in it's own way. Nothing sounds like a Twin, but these have big open cleans and good reverb. They're heavy, and you will find if you're downsizing to get lower volume that it's probably louder depending on what speakers are in your Twin.

    Mesas of that vintage are aggressive, can be honky, and sensitive to eqs especially. The treble control is almost like a second gain and affects mids and bass. You can't just put them on indiscriminate settings and expect it to sound it's best.
     
    brookdalebill and bftfender like this.

  3. mherrcat

    mherrcat Tele-Holic

    508
    Dec 12, 2013
    California
    Is that a MKI? I didn’t think the original MKI had the equalizer. I saw one in a GC a couple of years ago and it didn’t have that.

    Personally, I might keep the Twin...
     
    zephyrR1 likes this.

  4. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    67
    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    If Fender cleans are your thing, your Twin is as good as it gets. It's easy to set up a good sound and play, and you can get whatever dirt you want with pedals.

    The Mesa is a great amp, but getting what you want from it is tricky. Knobs all over the front and back, and they all matter. Might be as heavy as the Twin or heavier. The controls are very sensitive and have a wide range, so you are not going to plug in, spend a minute fooling with the knobs, and be ready to go. The one pictured has all the options: Hardwood cab, 60 watt/100 watt switch, graphic EQ.

    I was a BF Fender guy for 45 years, then tried a Mesa Studio 22. Great little amp, but I could never get to the point where I was satisfied with my control settings. I finally sold it and built a Mission 5E3 kit. Three knobs, sounded great 30 seconds after I turned it on. Mesa might be for you if you want that infinite overdrive and sustain, but it wasn't for me. Just too hard.
     
    Wildcard_35 likes this.

  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I had an early one, but I did not bond with it.
    It was not nearly as beautiful as this one.
    Anyways, I'd trade.
    If you don't bond, you can still find SF Twins for cheap.
     
    bodevelho likes this.

  6. stevehollx

    stevehollx TDPRI Member

    34
    Feb 17, 2015
    durham nc
    Never owned a I but owned a III, IV, and V. Boogie gain is part of my soul and what I grew up playing. The sag and liquidity (yet touch response?) of a boogie dirty lead is something I can't fully escape. The I-III are not versatile though. Channel switching was sub-par until the IV due to the share EQ in prior.

    Gain staging is most aggressive left to right on the faceplate. The more you turn a knob on the left, the less effect the knob(s) after it have. Presence on some Marks are really aggressive. The classic Boogie tone for gain is volume-7 treble-7 mid-5 bass-2 presence (to taste, but likely 6+) + scooped EQ.

    And it looks like furniture! :p

    Play a modern one to get the feel and see what you think. The I and early II (before IIC+) have less gain but for the style on this forum generally a Mark I could be a great amp still. Or just head to the grailtone forums.
     

  7. stevehollx

    stevehollx TDPRI Member

    34
    Feb 17, 2015
    durham nc
    No clue what that Altec speaker is though. Boogies love EV EVM-12L (heavy!) and Celestion CL80. I would put the latter in a combo for weight reasons as it still has a smooth full sound.
     

  8. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    I had one of the first ones. I believe the EQ was an option you could get, which I did. Also reverb. Small as it was (which influenced the name) it weighed a ton. The Boogie name came from Santana, who played one or a precursor, and remarked that the little guys could really boogie. Or something like that.

    Master volume and graphic EQ were new for me in an amp. I really abused both features. As much as I would appreciate having a graphic EQ, I have had a very difficult time zeroing in on something I'm looking for. Thinking back, I should have used the EQ the way Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Ole Blues wore faint wisps of toupees, as a little goes a long way.
     

  9. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    Minnesota
    I'd go for it. I have the IIb with the same options shown above (and a flight case). There is a learning curve, but it'll do a LOT that the Twin won't (can't) do. As mentioned, you can always find another Twin.

    I haven't played a MKI, but the MKII was the first "channel switching " amp: Dual Mode Preamp, US Patent 4,211,893. The GAIN BOOST on the MKI is probably not like the MKII, which came out in 1980. The MKIIb came out in 1982 and was the first amp with FX loop. Mine is from 1982.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
    BopT and Berndizzle440 like this.

  10. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone
    The 417 like the EV-L is actually a flat high efficiency speaker originally designed for PA and mid-boost woofer work - like the Emi Legend. It wouldn't have been original but they're legendary in their own right. Cast alloy frame. This would be LOUD if the amp and tubes are healthy.
     

  11. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 3, 2012
    Austin, Texas
    Start with a Fender Princeton. Remove the Tremolo and use that triode and an extra gain stage. End up with an original Mesa Boogie.
     

  12. WineCaster

    WineCaster Tele-Meister

    469
    Jul 12, 2012
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin
    Sounds tempting enough. Thanks for the info! The boogie guy needs something on top of my twin so back to deliberation.
     

  13. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    If you are looking for pure cleans, keep the TR. For a Booogie, the MKIV is my choice. However, if you are not looking for overdrive with a bit more versatility; the TR is the one to keep. Fwiw, that TR can have two very different channels in it...with one much hotter...by making some totally reversible changes to the Normal preamp.
     
    Mr Ridesglide likes this.

  14. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    That Boogie is a $2k+ amp to the right buyer. It's the Santana amp sound wise. Has all of the factory options too....

    Your 71 twin is realistically in mint condition, Recapped, with NOS tubes, and original cone matching altecs, worth a grand in my eyes, and it's a hard sell at that. I traded a very clean 67 Twin for a Mesa Boogie Mark III head and $300 worth of cheap flippable heads. No regrets. Everybody should own a Boogie.

    Big Fender's will never recover value wise. Boogies don't seem to ever come down.
     

  15. knockeduptele

    knockeduptele TDPRI Member

    99
    Dec 15, 2017
    London

    Grab it with both hands - twins are two a penny in comparison
     

  16. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    IF you like the Boogie, then this is the point of contention...what does he want on top of the TR?
    there is a deal there that I personally would not pass up, but it is all depending on the boot.
     

  17. WineCaster

    WineCaster Tele-Meister

    469
    Jul 12, 2012
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin
    He wants $500 on top of the TR, bringing his asking price for the Mesa to $1700. My TR is a mint '71 Non-MV with all original RCA tubes and original cone Altec Lansing 417-8C speakers.
     
    twr102 likes this.

  18. brbadg

    brbadg Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    58
    Mar 11, 2008
    Timonium,Maryland
    Don't forget Garcia and Weir both used one in the mid 70's.Hardly guys who were looking for overdrive and distortion.
     
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  19. WineCaster

    WineCaster Tele-Meister

    469
    Jul 12, 2012
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin
    Sounds like he had the reverb pan removed (doesn’t have it) which seems odd to me... any red flags in the circuit picture? Said you could hear the springs vibrating and it was annoying.

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    View attachment 521892
     
    twr102 likes this.

  20. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    Just stating my experience, but I haven't seen a Silverface twin go for over 800 (regardless of speakers, except original JBL D-120's), in 5 years.

    They're both fine amps. I think the Boogie is a steal for the twin and $500. Especially with the hardwood cab. I see the value going up.

    1x12 vs 2x12. Huge difference in desirability. Everybody wants a small combo.

    The Boogie is a much much rarer amp, especially in a non Tolex cabinet.

    The Boogie looks good from the pics. Reverb is easily fixed.

    The Boogie has every option, including the rare as hens teeth, and truly needed, graphic EQ.

    Clean they can sound identical to a twin, through the same speakers.

    Only downside is the Boogie is a good bit trickier to dial in. The twin is kind of hard to make sound bad.

    Boogie is much more versatile though.
     

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