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Getting a Mesa Boogie Studio .22 to sound like a silverface fender

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Jack Clayton, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. Jack Clayton

    Jack Clayton Tele-Holic

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    So I just pulled the trigger on Mesa Boogie Studio .22 and I really love a lot of things about it. The breakup is smooth and unobtrusive, it seems to be a pretty great pedal platform, it's not gonna break my back like my Twin Reverb used to, and it ran me five hundred bucks which is a fair bit better than I would've done on a Princeton or Deluxe reverb. This amp may be a stop on the way to one of those options but in the meantime, I'd sure love for it to sound a little more like a silverface.

    The .22 is currently outfitted with the stock 12" speaker and mesa boogie tubes. My first thought is to switch to JJ's, and maybe get a Weber speaker. I'd love more clean headroom if I can get it, and a warmer breakup. Any suggestions on how to get it?
     
  2. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    By the time you change tubes and speaker you could have bought a princeton reverb for $850...
     
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  3. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Weber California with a hemp cone, or an Eminence GASC64 speaker, but that will be a good bit quieter, as it's a C12N style speaker. Eminence Commonwealth is a good JBL clone too.
     
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  4. brogh

    brogh Moderator Staff Member

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    +1 and you'll have another amp for free :)
     
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  5. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

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    Does yours have the graphic EQ?
     
  6. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Put American sounding ceramic in there. Jensen C12n or wgs or Weber ver. Imho. 5751 in v1 maybe
     
  7. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Saw some do the eff out in trick too.
     
  8. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire

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    If your amp doesn't have the graphic eq then maybe try an eq pedal.
    It's never going to sound exactly like a SF Fender , EL84 power tubes ss rectifier. Different gain structure.
    Play with it a while before you sink more $ into it that you probably won't recoup if you decide not to keep it.
    I had one years ago, my thoughts are that it had a good clean tone, ok reverb, great gain tones.
    Like Wally said, it may not do what a Princeton or Deluxe does but it will do some things that a BF/SF Fender can not do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
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  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The Boogie 22, as all MK Boogies, is built on the AB763 preamp. In the Clean mode that is what is there. The lead mode adds gain prior to what was...in the Clean mode...the preamp input stage. The amp has a long tail pair phase inverter and fixed biasing. These circuit aspects are more determinant of the operation of the amp than is the choice of power tube types. If you stay in the Clean mode and can run the controls, it goes into that BF Reverb amp world.
    Will it sound just like a BF Reverb amp??? Through the same speaker, one might be surprised. if One wants a complex amp, one might have to accept that it will not yield exactly what a simple circuit will yield. The payoff...if one likes versatility...is that a BF/SF Fender Reverb amp can never yield those tube overdrive tones that are in that little Boogie.
     
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  10. Jack Clayton

    Jack Clayton Tele-Holic

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    Yeah. It's not the plus version.
     
  11. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That is a confusing answer, imho, because the Plus version has the graphic EQ. So, in response to the question concerning whether or not your amp has the graphic, the answer is “No”, correct.
    Concerning the graphic, imho and ime, it is not necessary in the Clean mode. As Boogie explains in their manuals for these types of amps; the graphic EQ, which is post preamp, is of use in re-establishing tonla qualities——especially the low end—-when using high preamp gain for overdrive. That high preamp gain needs to be done with the tone controls, especially in the low end, reduced to prevent the preamp signal from being driven into unmusical distortion. The post-preamp graphic is used to bring those tones back into the signal path. Mesa manuals re goodmguidance for understanding how 6G, BF, and SF Fender preamps work, ime. Those same guidelines need to be observ3d when pushing volume...preamp gain....in those Fenders, imho and ime.
     
  12. guitback

    guitback TDPRI Member

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    Sure do love posts such as this (not). He already bought the amp. How about we give helpful opinions on how to make it a little more suitable for what he wants. I don't mean that to sound rude, but the whole "You know, by the time you make this amp more like the amp you SHOULD have bought in the first place..." thing is a bit overdone, no? Most of us have done the thing where we bought an amp that maybe wasn't exactly what we wanted, but we ended up changing a few things to make more usable in a certain context.
     
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  13. Jack Clayton

    Jack Clayton Tele-Holic

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    Sorry. I guess maybe it is the plus. It DOES have the EQ faders. And that's helpful info for me as I try to wrap my head around their usefulness. Thanks. I'll have to see if I can find a PDF of the owners manual.
     
  14. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Without circuit changes (which is what makes a Boogie a Boogie) and possibly transformer changes the only thing you can do is go to a 60s/70s style speaker.

    As Wally said, on the clean channel the Studio 22 is basically a Princeton Reverb with bigger transformers, much more power supply filtering (way bigger capacitirs) and a more strident speaker. Plus solid state rectifier that together is stiffer and way more direct - like a Bassman. You could get a tech to wire in a sag resistor to replcate a tube rectifier. Some Boogies have that on a switch

    It's got EL84s instead of 6V6s which alters it's sound character. It's got a variable mid control rather than the fixed mid resistor. It's designed for more volume and 'in your face' tone.

    So things you can do - first get as someone suggested a US style speaker like a Patriot Series Emi of lower wattage rating and efficiency - the Black Shadow is a Celestion modelled on a JBL D-series that's brutally efficient and very linear. No coloration.

    Run the treble at 5-6, pull the mid control back to maybe 4, run bass at 3-4. Keep the gain around half, dime the master.

    What's that - the balls done dropped out? That's the difference between a SF 12-14 watt PR and a Studio 22.

    Studios were quite strident - great for 80's/90s rock but not so much the earlier styles

    You can put the eq in the famous 'V' formation. But there's limits to getting 'Leo' tone from a 'Randall' amp.
     
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  15. Jack Clayton

    Jack Clayton Tele-Holic

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    Don't get too mad. I actually havent ruled out doing just that. I may sell my vibrochamp and a few other odds and ends, and go with the boogie and a Princeton as my two options.
     
  16. suave eddie

    suave eddie Friend of Leo's

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    https://mesa-boogie.imgix.net/media/User Manuals/Studio 22 Plus.pdf

    Check out the sample settings. I always find them useful at least for starting points.
     
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  17. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Also, confusingly, it could be 'not a +'.

    Mesa was - in the early days - a 'custom shop' or at least very flexible - things like the graphic and reverb were available as tack-ons. So they sold versions of the standard amp with and without eq and some of the Mark series reverb, or power scaling on the big amps. That's why some come with the reverb knob on the rear. You could even send early Marks back to the factory for mods or upgrade.

    Then when they marketed a '+' amp it often had circuit changes as well or other features.. I'm not fully across it - you'd have to go on grailtone or the Boogie board to find out the minutiae. If it doesn't say .22+ on the front it could be a .22 with eq optioned or retrofitted.
     
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  18. gridlock

    gridlock Poster Extraordinaire

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    Congrats on your Studio 22. I owned a Studio 22 about 15 years ago. I really good sounding amp but more Santana sounding than SRV or Clapton with their Fender amps.

    If you want the Studio 22 to sound more like a Fender amp, I would recommend first trying a ”Wampler Black ‘65” pedal and second an American voiced speaker.

    The Wampler Black ‘65 makes my Mesa Mark IIB sound like a very convincing BF Fender amp. We are talking a 6L6 amp VS an EL84 amp, but I bet the Wampler pedal will get you close to Fender sounds.

    The ‘65 Black sells for about $200 new but used for maybe $120-$150.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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  19. red57strat

    red57strat Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've had a .22+ with no GEQ and currently have a .22 (non-plus with GEQ).

    The difference between a + and non-plus is not the GEQ. It's the added Lead Master control on the + that is the main functional difference.

    Like most amps, these are heavily affected by the speaker. The stock Eminence speaker has strong mids. The amp will never really sound like a silverface Fender, but I'd go with an American voiced speaker with less mids to tip the sound in that direction.
     
  20. TNO

    TNO Friend of Leo's

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    Most Boogie amps use a different value midrange pot that boosts mids. Fender values are way, way down on the dial.
     
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