Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Dual/Triple Rectos, Maverick, Blue Angel, Nomad, Road King, F-Series, Lone Star & Stiletto

Moderators: Guitarzan, Grandor, ned, Platypus

Post Reply
BigGenerator
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:58 pm

Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by BigGenerator » Mon Jul 04, 2016 2:29 pm

I'm looking for feedback that anyone can offer regarding how to get a good (any!) distortion sound from my new Mesa/Boogie Mark Five 35. I've tried five guitars...Les Paul, SG, PRS CE22, HSS Strat and SSS Strat...and can't find any settings to get a good distortion sound. Everything sounds like a Fender Twin, to be honest. This video was done using the PRS CE22 with no effects.

The amp sounds GREAT with a Line 6 Helix in front of it...and like a Twin clone without any effects.

Thoughts? Opinions? Thanks!

https://youtu.be/kxu8MRd1GLM

User avatar
Old BF Shred
Mark IV
Posts: 872
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:26 am
Location: So Cal

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by Old BF Shred » Mon Jul 04, 2016 3:19 pm

I have not had a chance to try a V 35, but the Mesa website demos do sound different! Perhaps just a weak preamp tube that did not survive shipping. I don't recall you saying you had try to swap out any of them.
Good luck!
Stiletto Ace head
Triaxis/50-50
4x12 and 1x12 cabs
Studio Cal 22+
Various Hamer, G&L, Jackson

"Old rockers never die; we just start to smell that way...or is it the amp?"

Image

BigGenerator
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by BigGenerator » Mon Jul 04, 2016 5:17 pm

Thanks for suggestion of checking the tubes, Old BF. I haven't touched them to date, and I'll have them checked out.

Regards,

Matt

User avatar
Markedman
Donating Member
Posts: 1254
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:56 pm
Location: Norfolk, CT

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by Markedman » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:17 am

Take it back to the dealer!
JP2C, Mark llC++ DG, Mark IV-A/B.

User avatar
bendo
Mark III
Posts: 357
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:52 pm

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by bendo » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:14 pm

You have a bad preamp tube. Likely in position V2 or V5. You have volume, but it sounds like you are getting little to no cascaded gain. So V1 is probably OK.

If it's brand new, your tubes are under warranty. They will be diagnosed and replaced free of charge. Take it back to the dealer you bought it from.
BDR529

BigGenerator
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by BigGenerator » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:45 pm

Thank you for the diagnosis, Bendo.

Thank you to everyone for being so helpful. It's greatly appreciated!

Matt

Nicklotsaguitars
Mark III
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:15 pm

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by Nicklotsaguitars » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:34 pm

Are the dials operating ok?
What I mean is, are the clean channel dials affecting the drive channel or vise versa?

Both channels sound remarkably similar. I'm wondering if there is a switching problem. There was a loud click as you changed channel.
I'd also suspect a pre amp valve being down. At least half a valve.
I'd suspect V1 as only one half of it is used for input gain. Then the second half of it is used for
2nd gain stage of clean and fat
3rd gain stage of crunch
2nd gain stage of channel 2 (all of channel 2 not just certain modes)

How does the gain control respond across all settings.
If it sounds like a Twin on every single mode. Then I'd suspect V1. The Fender Twin doesn't cascade gain. It has v1 doing input gain and that's it.
As a temporary test swap it over with V4 which powers the reverb. If the gain improves and the reverb is bad. You've found the problem. Simply swap them back when you're going to take the amp back to wherever you bought it. They'll likely do the same test and swap the valve
some guitars and some amps

BigGenerator
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by BigGenerator » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:59 pm

Hi Nick

Yes, the dials seem to be OK. And yes, there was a loud pop when I switched channels.

The gain doesn't do much across channels; I've got a Twin no matter what settings I try.

I'll try the swap as you suggested and will let you know the results.

Thanks much!

Matt

BigGenerator
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by BigGenerator » Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:25 pm

Hi Everyone,

First, thank you for the great feedback. (How many times has that pun been used here? LOL) I wanted

Since this was purchased online through Sweetwater, and I didn't want to be sans amp (sorry) for a long period of time, so I decided to do the tube swapping myself. I ordered tubes from MB last Tuesday (7/5), and they won't arrive until this Thursday (7/14). That's ridiculously slow...so I decided to drive ten minutes to Guitar Center and get a (temporary) non-MB tube there.

After watching MB's excellent "trouble shooting" video, I got to work. I tried V1...and it still sounded like a Fender Twin. I then swapped out V2...and WOW...this thing sounds AWESOME. And is it ever LOUD! Problem solved, or so I thought. I ran through all the various settings (I really love the MK IIC+) , and everything SEEMED OK. But then I noticed something. (How I didn't see this immediately, I don't know.) Check out the two circled items on this photo:

Image

After I swapped out the V2 tube, I noticed that one of the EL84 tubes was bent about 20-25 degrees forward. I very gently pushed it to a slightly more upright position...but the socket is still bent. PLUS...immediately beside that is a mounting screw that is almost completely unscrewed. With these three problems (I'm including the tube in that count), I'm guessing that this amp was seriously dropped/thrown by UPS during shipping. The terrible thing is that now I'll have to ship it again to get it serviced or replaced. (Who knows if there's more going on inside that I can't see?!)

So...I'll be calling Sweetwater tomorrow, and will hopefully get things taken care of properly.

Let this be a lesson to everyone: Don't do what I did, and be sure to INSPECT everything thoroughly upon receipt.

Again, thank you to everyone for your help. This amp rocks...even if it does need to get some TLC.

Regards,

Matt

SamuelJ86
Mark III
Posts: 286
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:22 am
Location: MO

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by SamuelJ86 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 1:37 am

Glad to hear you fixed the problem! Before sending your amp back I'd give mesa a call. I've owned 3 mesa amps and have seen countless others and they always have crooked tube sockets. So that might be normal. I can't tell from the pic, it doesn't seem horribly crooked, but mesa would know how much is too much. And the bolt, also might be normal. My big V has the same thing, just as unscrewed as yours. Again, ask mesa to be sure. I think it's there to put pressure on the top of the hard shell or something, idk. Maybe someone with a v 35 can weigh in to see if their bolt looks like that. A phone call to mesa, I think, should put your mind at ease and you can rock out!
PRS 408
Les Paul Custom 08
Edwards Alexi
Mark V
JP2C

User avatar
Blaklynx
Mark III
Posts: 386
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:00 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by Blaklynx » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:04 am

Don't touch that screw! (unless you take the chassis out then you will have to loosen it)

Mesa amps (in general) have this screw. It's been discussed several times on this forum "What is this screw?" keeps on being asked.


I believe it does at least one of two things:

1. Minimises rattle / vibration of the chassis. The screw bottoms out on the cabinet providing a tension force (or clamping force; depending how you want to see things)

2. Provides additional earth (not sure about this). I'm sure I've seen photos showing the screw bottoming out on a silver metal-like pad that is stuck on the cab. Don't ask how it can earth because it doesn't make sense to me. Maybe the metal-like pad is there so the screw tip doesn't dig into the cab damaging the cab.

I'm sure someone else can chime in.

-B
Gotta love tubes!
Image

If you're interested in the chicken head knob replacement on my Roadster amp, go here:
http://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.ph ... 98#p476098

BigGenerator
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by BigGenerator » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:19 am

Thank you Samuel and Blaklynx...I'll give MB a call about the socket...and I won't touch the screw.

Matt : )

Nicklotsaguitars
Mark III
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:15 pm

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by Nicklotsaguitars » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:27 am

Yep don't touch that screw.
It's some kind of mounting screw. I doubt it's loose. Got em on my Mk5.
EL84's always end up sitting funny with use. My 18watt has em pointing in all sorts of directions as does my Watkins Clubman. The only EL84 amp I have that doesn't is my Class 5. And that's near impossible to get the valves out of without removing the chassis.

If you've a JJ 12ax7 in V2 now. I wouldn't bother ordering a new valve, if it's all ok and not microphonic.
some guitars and some amps

IronSean
Mark III
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:17 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by IronSean » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:22 am

Nicklotsaguitars wrote:Yep don't touch that screw.
It's some kind of mounting screw. I doubt it's loose. Got em on my Mk5.
EL84's always end up sitting funny with use. My 18watt has em pointing in all sorts of directions as does my Watkins Clubman. The only EL84 amp I have that doesn't is my Class 5. And that's near impossible to get the valves out of without removing the chassis.

If you've a JJ 12ax7 in V2 now. I wouldn't bother ordering a new valve, if it's all ok and not microphonic.
However, doesn't Mesa's 5 year warranty hinge on using Mesa tubes? If it's a tube related failure with a non-mesa tube, they might not cover it?

Also, wouldn't the tubes have a 6 month warranty that would garner a free replacement of that bum tube anyway?
Mark V
Studio Preamp
formerly: Quad Preamp, Rocket 44 112

BigGenerator
Bottle Rocket
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Can't get distortion from a new Mark V 35 Combo...help!

Post by BigGenerator » Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:24 pm

I've replaced the V2 tube with a Boogie tube, and as is back to normal.

Thank you to everyone for your help!

Sincerely,

Matt

Post Reply