Music

Mesa Boogie Express 5:50 Plus Amp Head

Since the rebirth of its predecessor, the Mesa Boogie Express, the Express Plus has acted as a diamond in the rough. I shouldn’t say it was love at first sight, given the front panel’s 15 knobs, 5-band EQ, and a host of intimidating switches, but nonetheless, I knew the Plus was an immense wiring improvement on the former clean channel and had a series effects loop which were my two greatest concerns.

Headroom was the name of the game as I was searching to find the right amp. The 5:50 Plus did more than just provide headroom, the clean voicing on channel one was glassy and pristine coupled by richness and depth. The Dyna-Watt patent opens up the clean’s potential by accessing 5,25, or 50 watt power. When the gain and master volume is cranked at 5w, a sparkly breakup occurs. Conversely, at 50w, breaking up is about as taboo as a long term relationship. The crunch voicing on channel one allows for great mid-gain edgy sounds comparable to a Wampler Triple-Wreck.

The blues voicing on channel two is a warmer version of clean voicing and has an increased amount of breakup at higher gain. The burn voicing can compete against any of the classic gain monsters on the Mesa line and beyond. This is especially true when cutting the mids on the 5-band EQ.

This amplifier had me at the clean channel. Everything else was just icing on the cake (and there’s a lot of icing). At 38lbs (5:25 at 27lbs), the 5:50 head is incredibly strong and durable. The all-tube spring reverb and equalization are individually programmed for each channel. The 5-band EQ can be modified and programmed through use of sliders or a preset rotary dial that provides a traditional Mesa V-shaped mid cut. It is important to note that the 5:50 model uses 6l6s while the 5:25 model uses EL84s for those with specific preferences. To top it all off, channel switching, EQ, reverb, and solo boost can be wired to a loop controller for enhanced programming during live sessions. In my opinion, the Express Plus was a worthwhile investment for how much it provides.

  • Pros
    Exceptional tone for musicians on a budget
    Outstanding versatility and features
    Strong build and quality materials

  • Cons
    Weight may be an issue. Try the 5:25
    Looks will cost you. An upgrade in colored grills and tolex will boost the Benjamins.

Should You Buy One?
I believe this amp surpasses the expectations that many guitarist are seeking after and it’s a step down in cost from many of the popular boutiques on stages today. Go for it.

– By Gary Schmidt – Mesa Boogie Express 5:50 Plus Amp Review

JHS The Bonsai, 9-way Screamer

With the JHS Pedals’ Bonsai you can get the classic sounds of nine Tubescreamers in one pedal. Let the Bonsai help you find your overdrive zen.

Opinions will vary about the lbanez Tube Screamer, but no one can deny the weight of its influence. Those that do love this iconic circuit often have an unquenchable enthusiasm for all of its many-splendored variations and modifications. It is for these players that the JHS Bonsai was created. The Bonsai lets one summon nine distinct and noteworthy versions of green dirt with nothing more than a twist of its rotary control. Being able to handily compare all of these circuits back-to-back is endless fun, even if your interest in TS tones is only marginal, so real Screamer fanatics wil find the Bonsai both irresistible and, in use, immeasurably satisfying.

https://www.jhspedals.com/products/guitar-pedals/bonsai/

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An up/downgrade Sequence

Starting small and messy
looper switcher

Sequence:
01. Origin Effects – Cali76 Compact Bass Compressor
02. Morley – M2 Wah
03. Electro Harmonix – Soul Food Distortion Fuzz Overdrive
-Lead Foot A/B/Y splitter to Digitech – Trio+ Band Creator + Looper
04. Chase Bliss Audio – Brothers Analog Gain Stage JFET Boost/Drive/Fuzz & IC Fuzz/Drive/Boost
05. DIY – Mad Mule Distortion Fuzz (Durham Electronics – Crazy Horse clone)
06. Electro Harmonix – Op-Amp Big Muff Pi Distortion Sustainer
07. DIY – Green Russian Big Muff Distortion Sustainer (Sovtek – “GREEN RUSSIAN” BIG MUFF π clone)
08. Mooer – Black Secret Vintage & Turbo Distortion (Pro Co “The RAT” Distortion clone)
09. Roger Mayer – Octavia Classic Octave fuzz
10. Dawner Prince – Boonar Multi-Head Drum Echo
11. MXR – M290 Phase 95 Dual Phaser
12. Dawner Prince – Viberator Stereo Uni-Vibe

13. Mosky – C8 Powerstation
14. Palmer – Pedalbay 80 Pedalboard
15. Blackstar – HT5210 5W Valve Guitar Combo