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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:54 pm
Posts: 247
I've never really given the F series much thought at all, but from time to time I like to research discontinued Mesas to see if I'm missing out on anything. I never really loved the Express, I just liked it, since they are often compared I figured the F series wasn't anything hadn't already heard. But the high gain tones based on various videos I found sound pretty impressive to my ears! It almost had a Fryette/VHT vibe, (which I always thought was a nice blend of Mesa and Marshall) and that's not a bad thing. I don't know if they seemed to only appeal to a nitch market or what, but I may have been missing out on something! Considering I have a Mark V I doubt I'll find myself purchasing one, however they do spark my interest!

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Past Amps:
2004 Mesa Triple Rectifier
2000 Mesa Nomad 100
2009 Mesa Electra Dyne
2012 Mesa RA-100
2012 Mesa Mark V
2007 Mesa Stiletto Deuce II
2014 Rectoverb 25 Head
PRS Archon 50 Head

Current Amp
Mesa MultiWatt Dual Rec


Guitar Cab:
Mesa Road King 2x12


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
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Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
I've had 2 F50s. They are sort of crispy sounding, very cutting. Not very Mark-ish at all. They remind me a lot of my Dyne, though the F50 has a LOT more gain.

I suspect that many people looking at Mesa are looking for the Mark tone or Rectifier tone. People who want what an F50 sounds like look at Soldano or Marshall.

I only found out about the F50 when I sat in with a friend's band one night. I plugged into the guitarist's amp and had one of the best experiences of my life. I bought my first F50 a week later. As much as they may not be well-known, there is a constant trade in these amps. There are always a few for sale somewhere. They must have made quite a few of them.

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Mini Rectifier blue LED
2x Recto 2x12 Horizontal
2x Recto 2x12 Vertical


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:28 am 
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Mark III

Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:54 pm
Posts: 247
Very cool. The Marshall/Soldano sound is very appealing to me as I personally love the tone of a SLO. It may be worth tracking one down considering how cheap they are used. I like having different options for different moods. It's looking as appealing if not more than an RA-100 now, (especially due to price) I need to track one down and jam on it. I'm guessing they were discontinued because they weren't your typical Mesa tone?

I had an Electra Dyne and loved it, but never felt I could get the right amount of gain to saturation ratio. It wasn't as tight and responsive as I liked. That's why a Mark series fits me better. How does it compare to the Nomad that it replaced? I owned a Nomad 100 and I liked it but found it a little muddy.

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Past Amps:
2004 Mesa Triple Rectifier
2000 Mesa Nomad 100
2009 Mesa Electra Dyne
2012 Mesa RA-100
2012 Mesa Mark V
2007 Mesa Stiletto Deuce II
2014 Rectoverb 25 Head
PRS Archon 50 Head

Current Amp
Mesa MultiWatt Dual Rec


Guitar Cab:
Mesa Road King 2x12


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
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Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
My experience with the F50 has been that if I want as much gain or saturation as a Mark, I have to add an overdrive to it. If I want to get the Dyne to have as much gain as the F50, I have to add an overdrive to it. So the F50 is sort of in the middle.

I A/B'd an F50 and a 5:50. On the rhythm channel, the 5:50 and the F50 were pretty similar. The 5:50 has a crunch setting, and the F50 could get there by turning up the gain. On the lead channel, the 5:50 had a bit less gain than the F50 on crunch mode, and a bit more gain than the F50 on burn. The F50 to me had just the right amount of gain.

The tone of the Express seemed quite similar, but a bit smoother. The F50 sounds a bit more raw, which I prefer. I could probably be happy with either. When I bought my current F50, I really wanted to get an Express because of the additional features, and the price difference was minimal (the store had a used one of each). But after an hour of A/B, I chose the F50.

Of course now my F50 is collecting dust because I have a Dyne. The number one thing I love about the F50 is its punchy transient dynamics. It is ALIVE. The Dyne is even more so. I also like the Dyne clean quite a bit more than the F50 clean. I never really liked the F50 clean. I use the Dyne with an OD808 and a BB Pre, so I can get pretty much any amount of saturation out of it.

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JP-2C WICKER, Baby!
Mini Rectifier blue LED
2x Recto 2x12 Horizontal
2x Recto 2x12 Vertical


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:55 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:54 pm
Posts: 247
My problem with the ED is I thought the low end was too boomy and as I would turn of the "volume" it would saturate but lose the quicker powerful attack I liked at lower gain settings. Boost pedals helped but never quite did it for me. So it's not a saturation issue, it's an attack/response issue. I don't like much saturation, I like powerful/in your face/cutting sound if that makes any since.

_________________
Past Amps:
2004 Mesa Triple Rectifier
2000 Mesa Nomad 100
2009 Mesa Electra Dyne
2012 Mesa RA-100
2012 Mesa Mark V
2007 Mesa Stiletto Deuce II
2014 Rectoverb 25 Head
PRS Archon 50 Head

Current Amp
Mesa MultiWatt Dual Rec


Guitar Cab:
Mesa Road King 2x12


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:11 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:35 pm
Posts: 12
My F-30 was my very first "real" (or lets say "non sh!t") amp.

It's still delivering anything from blues to metal. Especially the F-30 has not the amount of "in your Face" gain as my recto, but can kick some ass. Maybe the clean is not as crystal clear as a lonestar (at least i would say so). But it doesn't need to. I's an allround amp, a verygood addition to a studio or a small-gig-musician.

I think it isnt as popular as some other amps out there, cuz it didnt have enough time on the market and maybe, wasnt profilic enough.

BUT I LOVE MINE :lol:

Just my 2 cents.

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2012' Dual Rectifier Reborn/Multiwatt
2003 F-30
Gibson Flying V new-Century with EMG X Hum's
92' Dyna Gakki made,Fernandes/Furny Super-Grade + EMG X's (Les Paul copy)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:16 pm 
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Mark II

Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:09 pm
Posts: 75
My take is that they were not popular especially with mesa guys because they weren't mesa sounding...Being a vintage marshall guy myself, they are a nice alternative to a marshall, without that annoying mesa midrange voicing...

Go figure, I finally find a mesa that really does it for me and they discontinue it, as with everything else I like or enjoy...

The mark may be mesa's benchmark amp,but they do nothing for me... NO disrespect, but all these color stripes and production quirks to be wary of, tell me they were searching for perfection while selling less than so .

Hey, I am happy to have bought an American made amp in the F50, wish i could find a few more customs...... I am now considering a DC or Maverick... So maybe I am right church, wrong pew thus far :)

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'64 Fender Concert Amp
'71 Fender Super Reverb
[2] '78 Marshall 2104 Combo's
Custom F50 head with matched 3/4 back 1x12
Custom F50 Combo
'87 Roland Cube 60 keyboard CK60
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:30 pm
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Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Clearly Mesa recognizes that different people like different tones. The number of different tones you can get from them these days is astounding.

I do notice that the F-series amps are quite simple, something that their current amps most decidedly are NOT. I don't even think Mesa knows why they didn't take off. I don't know if the caliber series amps were any more popular.

I would say that the DC is probably not that different from the F series. Just based on where they fit historically, I would guess they are in between the Mark/Studio preamp and the F series. The Maverick is probably a lot different. But you might want to give the TA and MR a listen for very different Mesa tones.

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JP-2C WICKER, Baby!
Mini Rectifier blue LED
2x Recto 2x12 Horizontal
2x Recto 2x12 Vertical


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:41 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:36 pm
Posts: 45
I have an F-30, excellent amp. I think the F series never caught on because they don't sound like the typical Recto or Mark. I was getting excellent chimey cleans and a nice hard rock crunch out of my F-30.

the good
- user friendly, easy to dial in
- less expensive than other Mesas
- separate tone controls for clean and gain channels

the bad
- I didn't like the fx loop, had noise issues and didn't play nice with some of my pedals

I recently replaced my F-30 with a Mark III. The loop on the Mark III is working better for me and the tone controls are much more versitile. I feel like I have a lot more control over my tone. The Mark is better fit for me, but I can certainly see where some players might prefer the F series.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:00 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:37 pm
Posts: 10
My F50 is the first Mesa I have owned OR even played. I really like it. It, IMHO needs no extra boost to get into high gain territory. I have gotten get solid tones for my punk band as well as decent high gain thrash tones out of it. I have been through many amps (Engl, Fryette/VHT, Soldano) and this little sleeper combo holds its own for sure. Obviously the clean tone is fantastic as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:48 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:25 pm
Posts: 37
I'm new to the board, as i just acquired an F-50 combo in a trade. Love it so far, seems to be really versatile without alot of tweaking, which seems to be the opposite of what i hear about Mesas.

For me, clean, blues, hard rock, and metal, is just a footswitch or gain adjustment away - no endless EQ tweaking or anything - in fact, the EQ is very subtle - in some cases barely noticeable. Can't compare to other Mesas popularity as i've never owned another mesa, but the F50 seems like killer amp in a nice small package to me.

Another thing - after trying a few external cabs - the combo's C-90 speaker seems perfectly suited for the amp - really tames the high end.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Mark I

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:51 pm
Posts: 26
Just bought an F-30 bout an hour ago, with money from selling my DC-5, the DC-5 was more classic sounding, midrangey, required a lot of tweaking, I have never tried an f30 until tonihght, and was very suprised! I expected midrange since it was a smaller amp but not the case, much more modern sounding, and alot of bass and as mentioned very simple! no tweaking, just turned the bass down and got a nice sparkle in the lead channel. Very happy with this amp!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:01 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:55 pm
Posts: 3
I just bought an F-50 for $400. Needs a bit of work though.

I like it. I would say these amps are not popular because they have full controls for the lead channel on the amp, yet none for the countour boost.
The problem is, the lead channel is a bit flat on the EQ. It's nice for blues with a Strat, or something twangy (then it's great!) but it basically isn't all that write-home-to-mom-ish for a humbucker high gain Les Paul sort of guitar. So they kind of dropped the ball, cause a lot of guys would essentially flip to contour, leave it there, and essentially not have the functionality they wish they had. I could be wrong tho of course :) That's just my impression so far

The other thing is, it is not exactly traditional Mesa sounding. More like Soldano. Or a tricked out Marshall. Then again, I like that aspect. It's pretty gritty. It's like real hard rock, not quite thrash metal, more just very in your face hard rock sound.

For $400 it's wicked though.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:23 am 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:34 pm
Posts: 8
I am an F-50 user...currently going back and forth on "upgrading" to a vintage Mark.

Couple reasons I reckon:

-The trend of amps over the past 5+ years is toward smaller, quieter amps that can sound good at home as well as on the gig. Power scaling and all that. Even though the F-50 isn't a large amp size-wise, it is ridiculously loud. Even if you fashion some FX loop-volume pot hack, the amp sounds its best at levels that are impractical for most applications. This is one place where I think they really messed up on the design (hindsight being 20/20). There are fairly simple ways around this, but if you are doing a quick demo of the amp in GC and dont have a terminated patch cable or a volume pedal handy...you are SOL.

-Similar to point 1, obtaining a good low gain, reasonable volume, bluesy-OD sound out of this amp seems next to impossible. There must be 100 boutique pedal and amp builders that have sprung up in the past several years trying to chase this area of tone specturm. Mesa missed the mark (horrible pun) on this too with the F-series, IMO.

-Mesa is kind of known for amps with a $hit-ton of knobs and functionality. Maybe people view the stripped down aesthetic of the F-50 as too much of a "budget-vibe"?? The strange thing about this is, despite less knobbery, I don't think this is a particularly easy amp to EQ. Maybe relative to other Mesas...

That said, the going rate on these amps in the used market seems crazy cheap. The quaility of amp you are getting for your dollar is much, much better than others of comparable prices.


Last edited by dirk_benedict on Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:52 am 
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Donating Member

Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:48 am
Posts: 629
Location: Central Texas
I've never had the opportunity to play an F-series but was wondering what some of you who have played them thought of the reverb. The reverb is not tube driven on the F-series amps.

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2 Partscasters
Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp
Marshall JMP-1 Preamp
FYD Twin Reverb Preamp
various pedals & effects
Homemade tube power amp
1X12 Thiele w/ Celestion G12H30
YOUTUBE mesafanintexas


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