Wanting to play a prank on Barry Melton of Country Joe and the Fish, Randall Smith cuts open a little Princeton practice amp and packs it full of reconfigured high-powered parts. Carlos Santana tries out this wolf in sheep’s clothing and proclaims, “Man, that little thing really Boogies!” Word spread fast, and before long, there were over a hundred little Princeton/Boogies on Bay Area stages, all of them built up a dirt path in a mountain shack Randy had converted from an old dog kennel.
Randall Smith releases the first MESA bass and Boogie guitar amps that were built entirely from scratch. Randy proved to have an ear for tone, a passion for tube technology, a vision for designing high-performance amps, and an unwavering devotion to redefining what we think of as amplified guitar. Over the next half-century, MESA/Boogie® would introduce new circuits and features that, in the hands of artists, became the iconic guitar sounds of rock and roll, hard rock, and metal.
Smith invents a breakthrough high-gain cascading preamp architecture, allowing sustain without the need for high volume. The MARK I introduces the world to High Gain Overdrive, opens a new realm of performance, and launches the era of modern guitar tone. Throughout the 70s and 80s, MESA/Boogie amps graced the stages of countless iconic classic rock bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, and the Eagles.
At the dawn of a new decade, the company pioneers yet another landmark feature in guitar amplification with the introduction of the world’s first Dual Mode amplifier, the MARK II. Later commonly referred to as “channel switching,” this concept allows players to switch between clean and high-gain lead performance at will, with independent gain and volume controls for each. In the 80s, MESA models powered hard-rock and metal performances by acts like Metallica, Whitesnake, Ratt, Van Halen, and Danger Danger, among many more.
The Mark III came to market in 1985 offering guitarists three foot-switchable modes (Rhythm 1, Rhythm 2 & Lead) to dial in and select between three tones (Clean, Crunch & Lead), adding further versatility to the Simul-Class, 100 Watt, or 60 Watt Boogie Heads and Combos that were so well received by players of all styles and genres.
Mark IV. Tone shaping controls evolved over the Mark IV’s three modes. These Boogies were offered in their original short chassis or a new “widebody” (23-inch) format, with the combo providing a rear-mounted speaker for a warmer, wider voice. Voted Amp of the Year three times in Europe, and it’s still one of our most popular models. Includes the fabled IIC Lead sound.
The Mark V introduces a simpler, more intuitive layout that offers 9 Modes, Multi-Watt™ Channel Assignable Power, Variac™ Power reduction, Preset and Slider EQ Assignability, and independent Reverb control. One of the most versatile Boogies ever.
Mark VII. The “Magnum Opus” of Randall Smith’s 50+ year career in visionary amp design, the new Mark takes that knowledge, history, and innovation and distills it into the most versatile 90-watt Mark Series amplifier ever. The long-awaited “Simul-Seven” leapfrogs its predecessor, the Mark Five, and the secret Mark Six prototype to arrive at the most power-packed Boogie ever.