Mesa Boogie Mark 1 Combo – USA 1977

by Mesa Boogie

$3,995.00 $4,495.00 20040
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This is a fabulous vintage 1977 Mesa Boogie Mark 1 outfitted in classic ‘wood & wicker”. It is not a reissue, it is the real deal – the model that laid the foundation on which a young Carlos Santana would build his trademark tone and sonic expression.

This article by Zachary Fjestad, from the Blue Book of Guitars. Published by Premier Guitar magazine in 2011 –

“Mesa/Boogie is a true American success story.

Founder Randall Smith spent a lot of time around electronics as a child. While he was in a band during the mid 1960s, he had the opportunity to fix a blown amp. After he successfully repaired that amp, Smith and his band decided to open a music repair shop that became the humble beginnings for Mesa/Boogie. At the time, Barry Melton was the lead guitarist for Country Joe & the Fish, and when Melton’s roadies asked Smith to modify a 12-watt, 1×10 Fender Princeton, he turned it into something like a 60-watt Fender Bassman driving a JBL D-120 12″ speaker. Smith soon became known for his ability to hot-rod small combo amps and, in his words, “What started out as a joke became the foundation of the company.”

Smith’s shop was a popular place among the hippie musicians of the era, and one day Carlos Santana wandered into the store and played one of Smith’s modified Princetons. Santana loved the amp and is quoted as saying, “This little amp really boogies.” This comment ultimately led to the company’s “Boogie” moniker. Smith estimates he built around 200 of these modified Princetons before Fender figured out what he was up to and cut off his supply!

In 1970, Smith left the music shop and ventured out on his own. In order to obtain parts and supplies at wholesale prices, he started MESA Engineering. In the early 1970s, Smith began experimenting with new preamp designs to produce the type of gain and distortion guitarists were requesting. The result was what is now known as cascading gain, and it was incorporated into the very first Boogie production amp line—commonly referred to as the Mark I.” 

This classic amp is in very good condition and everything works as it should. As far as we know it has not been modified in any way. It still has its original hand pressed plastic Dymo labels on the back of the chassis, and internally the amp is dated April 1977.

It is carrying a 12” JBL K120 speaker rated at 8 ohms. Most importantly, this amp is an export model, which means you can set it to any voltage from 117 to 240 volts, so you do not need a separate stepdown transformer to run this in Australia, or anywhere else for that matter.

You can switch between 60 or 100 watts output, and there are Presence and Line Out level controls on the rear of the chassis.

It is a superb tone machine as well as being a genuine collector’s item. Not only will it appreciate in value, but the pure tone at the cleaner end of the spectrum and the liquid breakup of the lead overdrive make it an absolute pleasure to play.

It is certainly a beautiful sounding beast and its sonic dexterity means that somewhere in those wonderfully interactive Mesa Engineering controls is a sound made just for you.

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