Randall Smith Interview on the origins of Mesa/Boogie

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Mexitele Blues, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    A different take on Mesa Boogie from someone who loves his Express 5:25. It’s interesting to me why the amp works as it does but I’m really taken playing it. There have been threads of late about practice amps, bedroom amps, solid state amps, modeling amps, pedals for crunch and distortion. I can use my Boogie indoors at a volume I can sing over without a mic. I can dig in and push the amp to the edge of breakup. I can still have clean headroom outside the house, and I can play blow the windows out loud. Some of this is due to cascading gain but more of it seems more like magic. The only pedal I use is a Keeley compressor to give my single coil tone a little more thickness at low volume. My introduction to Boogie was a Mark IV in a GC while shopping for a guitar. It had the best low volume tone I’d ever heard. I didn’t need 90 watts but I kept my eyes open. Turns out a mom and pop in Maryland had an Express 5:25 for a crazy low price when the model changed to include equalization. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with a piece of gear. Guitars, bikes, anything. Amazing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    And imho worth every penny. 5E3 channel, BF channel, tube reverb, bias vary trem....and assignable attenuation. It is the best ‘new’ boutique amp I have been around. The fellow who owned the one I used for about two months is having seller’s remorse....and that is after he received his much awaited and fantastic Bludo ODS.
     
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  3. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

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    Well I certainly defer to you on all things amp Wally. I have to say, the baby blue Mesa Tweed is doing things to me, but a Tone King's reputation precedes it. Glad to see the quality hasnt dropped off since Mark sold the company.
     
  4. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Teletext, no need to defer to me. I am merely stating my opinion.....maybe strongly???? I like that Imperial MKII.
     
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  5. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

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    Not at all strongly, I just meant you have a lot more experience with amplifiers of all stripes than I do so I value your opinion.
     
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  6. nocastermike

    nocastermike Tele-Meister

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    I have had a few boogies. Really great dependable amps. Tricky to dial in,but full of great sounds. I prefer the old mark 1 thru 3 styles.
     
    uriah1 likes this.
  7. redchapterjubilee

    redchapterjubilee TDPRI Member

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    My Mark I reissue head was the first amp I owned that sounded like I wanted an amp to sound like. I rode that amp across dozens of stages over seven years until last year I largely retired it in favor of a '59 Bassman LTD. Still got it, love it, but I'm going in a different direction right now.
     
  8. L.A. Mike

    L.A. Mike Tele-Afflicted

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    .
     
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  9. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    he basically says the same thing in every interview haha. but i think it's such a cool story from a really interesting person. i love the early Mesa amps... complete with sharpie on the chassis and changes mid-production... you can almost document the guys thought process as continued to tinker. the designs were surprisingly simple and built like tanks too.

    by comparison, the modern Mesa offerings look like something smuggled out of a NASA lab. they're impressive and incredible sounding amps... but i like the simplicity and beauty of the early "hot rodded fenders"
     
  10. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I want to sell both of my Boogies. The problem? I can't lift them anymore. I have a hardwood MK I RI that sounds awesome, but it would probably be more suited to a studio.

    But the Fillmore 25 looks interesting...
     
  11. Rigel7

    Rigel7 Tele-Meister

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    I interviewed Mr. Cotton once. Very, very difficult to understand, but a lovely man nonetheless.
     
  12. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr TDPRI Member

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    When I got my Mark IIb, I gave up on distortion pedals for lead tone. It seemed to me, using a pedal is like putting a transistor gain stage in front of a tube pre-amp and tube power amp. The boogie has a tube gain stage built in that goes to tube preamp and power amp.

    I still have my Mark IIb I got new in the 80's. It was my road amp for years, very reliable with super clean and dirty tones at any volume.
     
    magic smoke likes this.
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