Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby Chinarider1A » Thu May 19, 2011 12:34 pm

Anyone use one of these? Seems like a good solution with the 6l6's and the low power switch.

Might be a great fit with a SMS

Just curious about the tone. Does it add color?

thanks - Dave
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Thu May 19, 2011 2:52 pm

Good amps. Highly recommended with the SMS Classic. They do have a "Boogie" color to them, but it's pretty Fendery and with Boogie's clever and flexible presence (negative feedback) control, you can really tailor the high treble.


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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby ChiroVette » Thu May 19, 2011 3:31 pm

I have a Mark III as well as my Fender Twin, and the thing you have to remember is that Mesa's are basically modified Fender Twins. The guy who started Mesa Boogie was a top engineer over at Fender, and his goal was to make an amp that could vacillate between the clean, crisp sound a Fender Twin and the gritty, dirty sound of a Marshal. I have been playing in Dead cover bands for years, and while my Fender Twin which I put two JBL K120's in is my preferred amp, my Mesa is no slouch either. You absolutely can get a great Jerry sound out of the clean channel of a Mesa Boogie, particularly with 6L6's.

Now if your Mesa is biased and balanced anything like my Fender Twin or my Mark III, I am going to give you a little advice to try, which will make your Jerry sound even "Jerryer."

Play through the main channel with the master up as high as you can stand it and balance the venue or your practice location with the regular volume. This will make your sound very clean. Set the presence all the way up, or one notch below the top. And now for the counter-intuitive advice: use the following settings:

Treble - 2
Mid Range - 8
Bass - 2

You may initially balk at those three settings (bass, treble, midrange) but I assure you that if you try them and play through ONLY the middle pickup of your guitar on single coil, you will love it! Now keep in mind that this is only if your amp is biased/balanced like a Twin. The reason is that in a Twin and in the Twin stage of the Mesa Boogies, the flat sound is actually not 5, 5, 5, as many people would think it is. The flat sound, which is what Jerry used out of his amp, is 2,
8, 2, and I am telling you you will get a great Jerry sound.

If you want to hear the sound I am getting with those exact settings, here, I will post the second set from my band's last gig, this past Saturday. I am using almost those exact settings I posted. You can tweak as needed, but start out with the basic 2, 8, 8 and dial it in for your individual guitar, amp, and the room:



Just remember, this will only work if your Mesa is tuned like a Twin, which it should be.

OH!! And the reverb on the Mesa's tend to be a little bit weak (make that a lot weak!)

For example, on my Fender Twin the reverb is so damned hot that if I put the reverb above 5, my amp sounds like an echo chamber in a freaking wind tunnel! But my Mesa, I have to put the reverb up to 9 or 10!! So that is something else you may want to keep in mind. By the way, this is video in name only. It was shot with a Zoom H4, which takes horrible video. We really only use these recordings for the band to listen to ourselves later on and find our mistakes. The audio quality is mediocore to poor but after a few verses of Me & My Uncle, you will hear my guitar clearer.
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby tcsned » Thu May 19, 2011 6:48 pm

I'm looking for a reasonably priced 50/50 now. They were going for as little as $400 a while ago now they seem to be gong for around $500 on eBay. I'm using my Mark III for power now and it's awesome, just 25 years old and has a lot of gigs in it. I picked up a BK Butler super cheap as an emergency backup and to power the talk box in the meantime.
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby ChiroVette » Thu May 19, 2011 7:12 pm

Yeah, tcsned, contrary to what a lot of uninformed people say, you really can't go wrong with a Boogie. Because the output stage is basically a modified Twin. lol You want to hear a somewhat funny but true story?

I don't know how old you guys are, but before the days of full Internet message boards like this, I am talking in the late nineties, I used to post on one of the Grateful Dead newsgroups, something like alt.dead, but I forget the full name. It was longer than that. Anyway, I was posting my ideas, how I get my sound, what I did, etc., just like everyone else was doing, and when I dared to suggest that I used my Mesa Boogie for Gigs in a Dead cover band, the unenlightened hordes of knee-jerk morons started flaming the crap out of me because they claimed I had no idea what I was talking about, meanwhile none of them probably had a clue how to play this material worth shit, but instead were regurgitating what they read in some Relix articles about Jerry's sound. I flat-out refused to argue with them because, quite honestly, I have been playing in Dead cover bands as the "Jerry guy" for the last 20+ years, and I have never had complaints about my sound.
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby tcsned » Fri May 20, 2011 4:38 am

ChiroVette wrote:Yeah, tcsned, contrary to what a lot of uninformed people say, you really can't go wrong with a Boogie. Because the output stage is basically a modified Twin. lol You want to hear a somewhat funny but true story?

I don't know how old you guys are, but before the days of full Internet message boards like this, I am talking in the late nineties, I used to post on one of the Grateful Dead newsgroups, something like alt.dead, but I forget the full name. It was longer than that. Anyway, I was posting my ideas, how I get my sound, what I did, etc., just like everyone else was doing, and when I dared to suggest that I used my Mesa Boogie for Gigs in a Dead cover band, the unenlightened hordes of knee-jerk morons started flaming the crap out of me because they claimed I had no idea what I was talking about, meanwhile none of them probably had a clue how to play this material worth shit, but instead were regurgitating what they read in some Relix articles about Jerry's sound. I flat-out refused to argue with them because, quite honestly, I have been playing in Dead cover bands as the "Jerry guy" for the last 20+ years, and I have never had complaints about my sound.

That's rich! I used my Mark III from 1987 till about 2003 when it started having problems and it's an awesome amp. Besides Jerry used a Mark II for a while. The only amps I've played that I liked more than my Mark III is a Rivera and of course my SMS preamp (though still Boogie power).
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby TI4-1009 » Fri May 20, 2011 6:12 am

I recently bought a Lonestar Classic. After researching the Boogies this one appeared to be the most "Twin-like" of the family. Gobs of tone, and the reverb on the Classic is outstanding. Plus if you want to play any other styles of music, you have lots of dial-in options.
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby strumminsix » Fri May 20, 2011 6:27 am

Why a Vintage 50/50? I'm not even sure they were produced that far back to be called vintage!?
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby tigerstrat » Fri May 20, 2011 8:05 am

ChiroVette wrote:Yeah, tcsned, contrary to what a lot of uninformed people say, you really can't go wrong with a Boogie. Because the output stage is basically a modified Twin. lol You want to hear a somewhat funny but true story?

I don't know how old you guys are, but before the days of full Internet message boards like this, I am talking in the late nineties, I used to post on one of the Grateful Dead newsgroups, something like alt.dead, but I forget the full name. It was longer than that. Anyway, I was posting my ideas, how I get my sound, what I did, etc., just like everyone else was doing, and when I dared to suggest that I used my Mesa Boogie for Gigs in a Dead cover band, the unenlightened hordes of knee-jerk morons started flaming the crap out of me because they claimed I had no idea what I was talking about, meanwhile none of them probably had a clue how to play this material worth shit, but instead were regurgitating what they read in some Relix articles about Jerry's sound. I flat-out refused to argue with them because, quite honestly, I have been playing in Dead cover bands as the "Jerry guy" for the last 20+ years, and I have never had complaints about my sound.


hmmm could you be referring to douchebag central...oops I mean rec.music.gdead?
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby ChiroVette » Fri May 20, 2011 9:42 am

LMAO!!!!

Never heard it referred to as douchebag central, but that sounds about right. The hordes off ass holes on that old newgroup were astounding in their judgmental ignorance! :lol:
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby Chinarider1A » Fri May 20, 2011 11:45 am

strumminsix wrote:Why a Vintage 50/50? I'm not even sure they were produced that far back to be called vintage!?




Thats how it was posted on Ebay
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby deadguise » Fri May 20, 2011 11:51 am

The Mesa 50/50 is a great amp. It also has a half power switch which can give it some "hair" at low volume when switched to low power.
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Re: Vintage Mesa Boogie 50/50

Postby helio » Mon May 23, 2011 6:16 am

I'm loving my SMS CTP + Mesa 50/50 pairing. Like the SMS, the Mesa is dead-simple to use, which I really like. As for it's tone color, I've never really noticed any undue coloration... but I haven't really compared it to much else. I did run the SMS through the power section of a Mesa Mark III for a bit, and thought it sounded great. But in the end, I preferred the 50/50. A bit simpler, clearer tube tone, I think. Some thoughts...

- as noted above... very, very simple device. Does its job really well. No more, no less.

- stereo: I'm not really using it for true stereo things like panning, etc... But, I run each channel to one 1x12... and I love the volume options that gives. Dial up both channels equally for plenty of power, or dial one down for less volume/umph.

- big, clear 6L6 power. I'm definitely a Fender blackface/silverface fan. I've tried several amps with EL-34s, -84s, etc... but always end up preferring the Fender tones. The SMS provides that, of course, with its Twin lineage. And the Mesa 50/50... basically some 12ax7s and 4 6L6s in a box... preserves that Fender things. This may be why I chose the 50/50 over the Mark III as my power... as the Mark III I had was Simul-Class, bringing some EL-34s into the tones.

- Price: I didn't do an exhaustive search, but from what I did do, it seemed like the used 50/50 market gets you a ton of amp for the price. I bought mine used off E-Bay for $425. After about 3 gigs, it fritzed out and needed some new caps, resistors etc... inside. Bummer, but it is about 20 years old and the seller had been very honest about the fact that he'd never had to do any work inside it. It was just its time. There is that peril in the used market. BUT... even with the added repair cost (~$250), I'd still consider this thing a great deal. Very solid, well-made, clean power that complements the SMS CTP very well. And after its doctor's check-up, it's rock-solid once again.
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