Amplitudes: The Mesa Boogie Blog
MESA/Boogie®… MESA Engineering®… Boogie®… Which one is it?
Well, it’s all of them, really… And MESA’s Founder, Chief Designer and President Randall Smith shares some insights into the early days of how the different names came about, sometimes by accident, and that was that.
The name Boogie® was inspired by a young Carlos Santana stopping by his local music store in Mill Valley, CA – a store co-owned by Randall Smith – called Prune Music. Randall was an increasingly sought after amp technician with the big bands touring through San Francisco in the late 60s and early 70s. He was commissioned by the guitar techs from Country Joe & the Fish to play a practical joke on guitarist Barry Melton. The joke was to build a 100 watt 1x12 combo out of a 20 watt Fender Princeton, but to make it look like it was still just a Princeton.
Upon finishing the mod, Randy went looking for someone to play the amp to see how it sounded just as Carlos walked in the store. Randy asked Carlos to play a few notes through the amp and at first, Carlos said, “Nah, man - that’s just an old Princeton…”. Randy went on to explain that he’d done some modifications to the amp and finally convinced Carlos to play the amp. After a long, loud and inspired play test, Carlos looked around at Randy and the onlookers that had gathered at the store and said, "Man, that amp really Boogies!".
And the Boogie was born.
Throughout the 1970s, the company was MESA Engineering® and the amps were Boogies. To this day, Mark series amplifiers are generally fitted with a Boogie logo, connecting them all to that original Mark Series lineage which began in 1971 with the Mark I.