Mesa Boogie Mark III Combo
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Mesa Boogie Mark III Combo

Mark III Combo, Tube Combo Guitar Amp from Mesa Boogie in the Mark III series.

content in English
Hatsubai 15/03/2011

Mesa Boogie Mark III Combo : Recensione di Hatsubai (content in English)

"Classic Hi-Gain Mesa Mark Tone"
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The Mark III was released in 1985 and lasted until 1992. It was the first Mark series with three channels - A clean, crunch and lead channel. It had various revisions (stripes/dots) and came with your choice of a 5 band EQ, reverb or both. The revision list on the Mark III series is pretty long, so it would be best to refer to Google to get the history on the revisions. The Mark III came in either Simul-Class or non Simul-Class. The Simul-Class allows you to run EL34s + 6L6s. It also has a switch to bring the amp into Class A mode. In the non Simul-Class model, this switch is replaced by a 60/100 watt switch. Other features include an effects loop and a ground switch. You can also choose between the long head or small head. My personal Mark III is a small head Simul-Class blue stripe with the 5 band EQ and no reverb, so I'll be basing everything off of that.

UTILIZATION

One thing about Mark series is that if you're not used to the EQ, it's going to sound awful. You need to learn how to dial in the Mark series amps. For my personal settings, I usually set the Volume around 9, Treble around 9, Bass around 1, Middle around 5, Lead Drive around 7 and Presence around 3. I then set the graphic EQ in a V pattern. Each knob has a pull/push feature that allows for even greater versatility. One thing about this amp is that the controls are extremely sensitive. A very small movement in the sliders can drastically change the tone. Tip - Pulling the Middle knob while in the Lead channel enables another gain stage. This isn't talked about in the manual, I don't think.

SOUNDS

Despite its looks, the amp is crazy versatile. It can get pristine cleans, a decent crunch, a ripping rhythm tone or a smooth lead tone. The problem lies in the shared EQ. If you set the amp to get a good rhythm tone, your clean tone will suffer a bit. The reverse is true as well. The Rhythm 2 channel also has issues with a volume drop (can be fixed via a mod). Rhythm 2 is the weakest channel in this amp, and I personally feel it needs to be boosted to bring out its true character, but most people buy the Mark III for the Lead channel anyway. The Lead channel in this is absolutely gorgeous. It can get extremely aggressive Lamb of God rhythm tones to buttery smooth Dream Theater lead tones. Learning how the 750 Hz slider acts is key to shaping your overall sound, and it's probably what you'll be moving the most, along with the presence knob. While my amp is Simul-Class, I actually run all 6L6s in it as I feel it sounds better this way.

OVERALL OPINION

If I were to recommend a version to search for, I'd recommend a red or blue stripe with the 5 band EQ. Simul-Class is really optional as I feel it sounds best with all 6L6s in the first place. Anybody looking for the classic Mark sound without breaking the bank should really look into this amp. It's truly a highly versatile gain monster. The only real drawbacks are the Rhythm 2 channel and its shared EQ. For an amp from the mid 80s, this thing was really a revolution.