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New Amp: Mesa Boogle California Tweed 4:40


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Posted (edited)

This amp is outstanding.  I’ve had it for a couple of weeks  now and gigged with it once.  

As usual with MB amps, well built and sounds great right out of the box.  Easy to dial in, and unlike many MB’s with 1,000 knobs- this one is old school simple.  A couple of ‘nice to have’ features- presence control and variable wattage - but other than that it is a pretty straightforward equation.

Set the gain between 9-12 and you get a wonderful clean, warm but sweet 6v6 sound, really nice.  Bottom end is tight enough and stays in tact (not flabby or distorted) even with the master volume cranked.   Can be nice and twang-snappy with the right settings. 

Raise the gain and it turns creamy.  Not harsh or brittle around the edges, just good old 6v6 soul.  Pick attack can also generate very controllable breakup.  Very player friendly.Definitely different from my MB Fillmore 50.    Stays cleaner longer, sweeter tone.  The Fillmore is darker and a more complex sound like a 50’s Deluxe. Truly a lot to love about the Fillmore 50 too. 

The California Tweed is sweeter and more ‘sing’ and sustain than the Fillmore.  Very musical.   Kind of like a 60’s Deluxe Reverb with more headroom. I have the 40 watt version, so that makes sense,  but I did demo the 20 watt version which is similar just not as loud.  The 20 watt version was amazing for its size.  So portable and full sounding for that little combo in a box.  Way better than a PRRI at the same size (maybe smaller).   I was kind of shocked at how good that little guy sounded.  I opted for the 40 watt model for more headroom, but the 20 is plenty good and loud, especially for its compact size and weight. 

Fillmore is Amazing at low-moderate volume, and gorgeous breakup louder, but I play 95% clean, so the California Tweed is getting more play these days. Suits my live gigs better.   Cali-Tweed is 6lbs heavier but still only 30lbs (head only) and very portable.  The Fillmore transformer is pretty light and minimal so I’m guessing that the iron required to keep the Cali-Tweed 4x 6v6  output clean accounts for the extra weight.

The vari-watt function is terrific.  Sounds full even at 2 watts.  I don’t know how they pulled that off.  Way better than other vari-watt functions I’ve played in the past. 

I’ll try to do some A/B sound clips Cali-tweed vs. Fillmore over the holiday weekend.  

Happy 4th of July to all.  Regardless of your politics, we have a lot to be thankful for in this country. 

 

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Edited by tsp17
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Sounds like you've found the perfect rig for your musical style.  It's tough to find an amp that sounds great at home as well as in a live venue. 

Enjoy that sweet MB California Tweed!

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4 hours ago, Gitfiddler said:

Sounds like you've found the perfect rig for your musical style.  It's tough to find an amp that sounds great at home as well as in a live venue. 

Enjoy that sweet MB California Tweed!

I also think it's cool that he found the right amp! I love the Fillmore but I can see why he likes the tweed. Got to give it up to Mesa for introducing better amps for us guys that like vintage style tones. Their other amps are pretty cool too but just a little too high gain for my style.

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14 hours ago, Gitfiddler said:

Sounds like you've found the perfect rig for your musical style.  It's tough to find an amp that sounds great at home as well as in a live venue. 

Enjoy that sweet MB California Tweed!

 

10 hours ago, rockabilly69 said:

I also think it's cool that he found the right amp! I love the Fillmore but I can see why he likes the tweed. Got to give it up to Mesa for introducing better amps for us guys that like vintage style tones. Their other amps are pretty cool too but just a little too high gain for my style.

Thanks guys.  It is good to land on a sound that we dig, right?  The Fillmore is a great amp too.  Nice to have two great options that can suit a variety of situations and moods.  

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Today I was in a Santana groove and loaded up the Oye Como Va backing track.  
 

I set the multi-watt to two then ten then twenty watts and jacked the gain to about 3/4 (3:00 on the dial). 
 

man-  that felt good at each wattage. Fully focused yet creamy lead and great useable crunch on rhythm when you dig in a bit.  

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21 minutes ago, tsp17 said:

Today I was in a Santana groove and loaded up the Oye Como Va backing track.  
 

I set the multi-watt to two then ten then twenty watts and jacked the gain to about 3/4 (3:00 on the dial). 
 

man-  that felt good at each wattage. Fully focused yet creamy lead and great useable crunch on rhythm when you dig in a bit.  

Yea, I heard you all the way up here in Northern Calif!!  That thing is LOUD!  🙂

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17 hours ago, Gitfiddler said:

Yea, I heard you all the way up here in Northern Calif!!  That thing is LOUD!  🙂

LOL.  It was very fun.   Here’s a video comparing the Cali Tweed to a Lone Star.

 

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57 minutes ago, tsp17 said:

LOL.  It was very fun.   Here’s a video comparing the Cali Tweed to a Lone Star.

 

Although I am fan Of Mesa Boogie, I could never find my tones in the Lonestar that I find so easy to get with the  Fillmore.

In this comparison I prefer the Cali Tweed. But although I like the tone of the Cali Tweed, I need two channels, as I'm plugging straight in on stage. And I need to get a good rhythm tone with the ability to switch to a good lead tone without pedals. That's why I love the Fillmore. The two identical channels make it easy to dial in a great lead tone that works with the rhythm tone. In the past all the mesa amps that I've used were voiced to middy on the lead channel. And I like the bigger 6L6 tone over the 6V6 tone. Which is funny because most of my amps are 6V6.

My favorite tone in this video is the ES335 with a bit of reverb.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/6/2024 at 1:25 PM, rockabilly69 said:

Although I am fan Of Mesa Boogie, I could never find my tones in the Lonestar that I find so easy to get with the  Fillmore.

In this comparison I prefer the Cali Tweed. But although I like the tone of the Cali Tweed, I need two channels, as I'm plugging straight in on stage. And I need to get a good rhythm tone with the ability to switch to a good lead tone without pedals. That's why I love the Fillmore. The two identical channels make it easy to dial in a great lead tone that works with the rhythm tone. In the past all the mesa amps that I've used were voiced to middy on the lead channel. And I like the bigger 6L6 tone over the 6V6 tone. Which is funny because most of my amps are 6V6.

I keep thinking about getting a Fillmore, but with how full my stable is, can't really justify it. I do have a Lonestar Special, and yeah, in some days it's harder to dial in. It's very "subtle", while the Fillmore gives you three great modes with a lot of flexibility, and you don't have to flip a bunch of switches to get them. The ability to have TWO channels exactly the same is really great, as I always find that my favorite modes somehow end up on the same channel.

They kinda did that on some earlier amps like the 2 channel Solo Head and Tremoverb, but it wasn't quite the same. It was more like you could only use the EQ curve, while the channels stayed otherwise the same. So you could make the orange channel sound "red", but you couldn't have the clean channel on the red channel.

Edited by tbonesullivan
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On 7/6/2024 at 10:25 AM, rockabilly69 said:

Although I am fan Of Mesa Boogie, I could never find my tones in the Lonestar that I find so easy to get with the  Fillmore.

In this comparison I prefer the Cali Tweed. But although I like the tone of the Cali Tweed, I need two channels, as I'm plugging straight in on stage. And I need to get a good rhythm tone with the ability to switch to a good lead tone without pedals. That's why I love the Fillmore. The two identical channels make it easy to dial in a great lead tone that works with the rhythm tone. In the past all the mesa amps that I've used were voiced to middy on the lead channel. And I like the bigger 6L6 tone over the 6V6 tone. Which is funny because most of my amps are 6V6.

My favorite tone in this video is the ES335 with a bit of reverb.

The 6L6 vs 6V6 tone thing is very real to my ear too and i generally prefer 6L6 as well, but the Cali Tweed clean tone feels a lot like 6L6, not quite - but closer than any 6V6 amp I’ve played.  I bought some other 6V6 tubes to try out to see how i can get that much closer.  I keep reading that the newer JJ 6V6 tubes are similar sounding to 6L6.  I’ll report back after i try them (hopefully this weekend if i get the chance.). Funny- i love this amp, have had it only a month and I’m already tweaking.  

Tone chasing is definitely an illness.

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