Just got a .50 cal plus, a few questions from a newbie

DC-2, 3, 5, 10
50 Caliber

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Bottle Rocket
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Just got a .50 cal plus, a few questions from a newbie

Post by ratboy1956 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:20 am

Hey everyone. I picked up a couple amps today to flip for some quick $$$. I got a .50 cal.+ in the deal and it sounds pretty good and I'm hesitating to part with it.

I've read a bunch of posts on this amp but still have a few questions... here it goes any help is appreciated.

How do I date it? where is the serial number? I only found a reg. number is that the same thing?
Is it tube rectified?

Secondly, is this puppy for the most part a shred master? I generally play clean and use the natural "breakup" on non master tube amps. For the most part 60's Valco amps and silverface fenders. I've never found the right amp though... the silverface deluxe was too loud in most situations, and getting it to break up usually meant cranking it up past the feedback threshold of my hollowbody. I switch to a smaller amp and it breaks up too quick and I get too much "mud".

The 50 cal sounds pretty great on the rhythm channel and I've experimented a bit in dialing in a natural sounding 60's fenderesque tone... but it seems if I use the Lead channel all I can get crazy wild distortion. Is it possible use the footswitch to achieve just a very mild boost in gain? All I can get now is a day and night between a nice sparkly country tone and screaming overdrive. I find this frustrating. Should I just think of the lead channel as more or less a entirely different beast? Or am I doing something wrong?

The verb seems pretty weak too, I thought it would kick ass with the tube circuitry but it seems pretty weak... or maybe mine needs a new tube. Any thoughts? I saw some other posts on the .50 verb, but they still left me guessing to whether it could achieve the sound from a long style tank in a 60's amp.

Well, that's a long first post, but I'm really struggling to decide to keep it or move on in my tone quest. The style of music I play is largely 60's garage/surf/rockabilly/psyc... If this amp's best points are suited tonally to hard rock and metal then I'll continue on my tone quest. Thanks to any who reply.

Mark II
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Re: Just got a .50 cal plus, a few questions from a newbie

Post by polotska » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:23 am

Addressing just a couple of your questions:

Solid-state rectified.

According to Mesa, they don't have an accurate serial number database for these amps, so the serial number cannot be used to precisely date them. However, some general info:

50 Caliber + December 1988 Thru October 1993 Serial Number Range

To get a better idea of when it was manufactured: if you remove the amp chassis, there will probably be a month and year written on it.

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Bottle Rocket
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Re: Just got a .50 cal plus, a few questions from a newbie

Post by tridders » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:04 pm


If you are handy with a soldering iron, there is a simple mod that can be carried out on the 50 cal to install a 'drive' pot on the lead channel, that will address this issue.

The mod is well documented on the forum.


Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them you're a mile away... and you have their shoes :)

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