The Mesa Boogie Studio 22 is one of the liveliest sounding, easiest operating, small calibre amplifier out there. It features a 2 X EL84 power section, and is rated (very conservatively) at 22 watts.
These original Studio 22 amps were designed for players who didn't need the power and tonal versatility of the Mark Series amps. They have fewer switching options, but don't mistake them for budget amps. These are built to the same high quality standards as the other bigger Mesas, and offer a professional quality amp with professional features.
One of the Studio Boogie’s greatest virtues is its incredible simplicity of operation. It’s nearly impossible to come up with a bad sound or a wrong setting.
Patented “Dual Mode” circuitry makes the single input jack work for both rhythm and lead, providing very high headroom for sparkling clean rhythm and super high gain for monstrous lead tones.
The VOLUME control, which could also be called “preamp gain”, establishes the amplifier’s overall sensitivity to your guitar’s output. It is active in both Rhythm and Lead modes, and must be mixed in conjunction with the Master (or, when in the Lead mode, both Masters). In the Rhythm mode, the maximum clean setting is usually around 6 (varies with stronger or weaker pickups) and most players find their favourite cleanest brightest spot between 3 and 5. But if you want some break-up in the Rhythm model turn the Volume up high.
In the Lead mode the volume knob is intentionally less sensitive so that there is no need to ‘Ire-set” it for the two modes. With most guitars, distortion begins around 2 with a real nice sounding blues-type tone reminiscent of old Fenders turned up loud. Settings above 3 or 4 produce the more modern, “monstrous” distortion sounds. Gain and distortion increase slowly as the Volume setting is increased, often producing the tightest, best sounding heavy crunch tone between 7 and 9.
The MASTER control regulates the power amplifier level, or the actual overall loudness. (When you are in the Lead mode, both the regular Master and the Lead Master operate together — in series — to regulate the overall level.) If you run the Volume at 10, the Lead Master at 4, and the Master at 1 (in the Lead mode), Grandma can nap in the next room while you annihilate Manhattan with monstrous metal performance! You’ll still get the overdrive and sustain of big amps cranked way up.
This particular Studio 22 is housed in a relatively rare and very beautiful natural stained timber cabinet, set off by the beautiful wicker weave grille. The wood is solid Bubinga, which is often referred to as African Rosewood. It is harder & heavier than Indian or Brazilian rosewood, and often used in acoustic guitar construction.
The actual amp & chassis were originally in a standard cabinet. The owner sourced a lovely Bubinga cabinet made in USA by Mesa Boogie, and fitted a high quality Weber Alnico 30 watt 12” speaker.
Some years ago he commissioned respected Canberra amp tech Merrick Ciolek from Glass Audio to go over everything & make this amp as good as it could be. Merrick has told PREMIER GUITARS that he didn’t do a whole lot – replaced a couple of resistors, one capacitor and cleaned up a few dry joints. A nice new set of tubes and some professional tweaking.
We have since had it very recently serviced by Matt Robinson here in Sydney, and this is now one killer sounding amp. Matt cleaned up the circuit board, replaced some extra caps, PSU diodes and an HT resistor. And this amp now possibly sounds better than it did when new. Crystalline cleans with lots of headroom, sweet crunchy breakup, and roaring Boogie lead tones with singing sustain.
22 watts of Mesa Boogie is rather a lot more than equivalent rated amps by other manufacturers. The quality of components, construction and Mesa’s unique designs add up to a big, luscious and uncompromised tone.
This Studio 22 is in excellent condition and presents as a beautiful piece of furniture as much as a fabulous sounding guitar amp. It comes with an original Mesa Boogie footswitch and its fitted vinyl cover in good condition.