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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:19 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:15 am
Posts: 191
Hi Folks.
I would really appreciate if fellow Mark IIB owners could give me their opinion on my amp.
I've always heard that the Mark IIB has loads of clean headroom?Mines hasn't and has a very gainy "clean" channel.I can get a lovely clean but volume 1 has to be down around 4-5.
I've posted a clip below of a Les Paul straight in to the amp with volume 1 at 8 and master at about 1/2 recorded on my phone in a small bedroom.
The thing is I love the tones I'm getting from the clean channel but I am scratching my chin a bit and wondering if there is something wrong as I don't think the clean channel is meant to be as gainy.
The lead drive also screams which is is ironic because when I first got this amp recapped I posted about it's lack of gain on the lead channel but after replacing all 12ax7's that sorted that out either way I would definitely appreciate if you could have a listen and give your opinion.Is it the nature of the beast?Is there something else going on?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6xMQY_2Wtc


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:47 pm 
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Mark II

Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:14 pm
Posts: 96
Location: New York City
i gave a listen to vid you put on youtube... it does sound a tad grindy for the clean channel. but several things play into that...the pups on your les paul, tone settings, preamp tubes, etc...

a good starting point for good Fender-like clean chime on a IIB clean channel is;

vol: 6-7
treb: 7-8
bass: 1-2
mid: 5
master: to taste
presence: 0

depending on age and wear on an old mark series amp the clean channel volume is super sensitive. just rolling it back from say 8 to 7 is going to affect that grind or gainy tone. running that volume down to say 5-6 is not totally unusual to clean up a set of hot pickups...

nice pickin by the way...sounded almost strat-like!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:06 am 
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Mark III

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:15 am
Posts: 191
lovetoboogie wrote:
i gave a listen to vid you put on youtube... it does sound a tad grindy for the clean channel. but several things play into that...the pups on your les paul, tone settings, preamp tubes, etc...

a good starting point for good Fender-like clean chime on a IIB clean channel is;

vol: 6-7
treb: 7-8
bass: 1-2
mid: 5
master: to taste
presence: 0

depending on age and wear on an old mark series amp the clean channel volume is super sensitive. just rolling it back from say 8 to 7 is going to affect that grind or gainy tone. running that volume down to say 5-6 is not totally unusual to clean up a set of hot pickups...

nice pickin by the way...sounded almost strat-like!
Thanks for taking the time to listen.I do like the tones out of it but was wondering if there was something "wrong" as the IIB's preamp is said to have a lot of head room with just a touch of break up with volume 1 at 10?So you don't think there's anything going on that shouldn't be then?As you say if I roll volume back to 5 it cleans up.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:37 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:14 pm
Posts: 96
Location: New York City
MK IIB wrote:
lovetoboogie wrote:
i gave a listen to vid you put on youtube... it does sound a tad grindy for the clean channel. but several things play into that...the pups on your les paul, tone settings, preamp tubes, etc...

a good starting point for good Fender-like clean chime on a IIB clean channel is;

vol: 6-7
treb: 7-8
bass: 1-2
mid: 5
master: to taste
presence: 0

depending on age and wear on an old mark series amp the clean channel volume is super sensitive. just rolling it back from say 8 to 7 is going to affect that grind or gainy tone. running that volume down to say 5-6 is not totally unusual to clean up a set of hot pickups...

nice pickin by the way...sounded almost strat-like!
Thanks for taking the time to listen.I do like the tones out of it but was wondering if there was something "wrong" as the IIB's preamp is said to have a lot of head room with just a touch of break up with volume 1 at 10?So you don't think there's anything going on that shouldn't be then?As you say if I roll volume back to 5 it cleans up.



I agree that it did sound a bit gritty. The IIB has the higher plate voltages in the preamp leading to its lean clean tone. Things can start to drift causing a slight change in performance. If it cleans up at 5-6 nicely then it is just one of "those" amps. Run the master a little higher and do the same test... I have seen some Mark II's have a slight bleed over from the lead channel when the relays start to fail. Make sure lead gain and master are at 0 when you do your tone tests. Your ears are your best diagnosis if you believe something is amiss.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:56 am 
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Mark III

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:15 am
Posts: 191
lovetoboogie wrote:
MK IIB wrote:
lovetoboogie wrote:
i gave a listen to vid you put on youtube... it does sound a tad grindy for the clean channel. but several things play into that...the pups on your les paul, tone settings, preamp tubes, etc...

a good starting point for good Fender-like clean chime on a IIB clean channel is;

vol: 6-7
treb: 7-8
bass: 1-2
mid: 5
master: to taste
presence: 0

depending on age and wear on an old mark series amp the clean channel volume is super sensitive. just rolling it back from say 8 to 7 is going to affect that grind or gainy tone. running that volume down to say 5-6 is not totally unusual to clean up a set of hot pickups...

nice pickin by the way...sounded almost strat-like!
Thanks for taking the time to listen.I do like the tones out of it but was wondering if there was something "wrong" as the IIB's preamp is said to have a lot of head room with just a touch of break up with volume 1 at 10?So you don't think there's anything going on that shouldn't be then?As you say if I roll volume back to 5 it cleans up.



I agree that it did sound a bit gritty. The IIB has the higher plate voltages in the preamp leading to its lean clean tone. Things can start to drift causing a slight change in performance. If it cleans up at 5-6 nicely then it is just one of "those" amps. Run the master a little higher and do the same test... I have seen some Mark II's have a slight bleed over from the lead channel when the relays start to fail. Make sure lead gain and master are at 0 when you do your tone tests. Your ears are your best diagnosis if you believe something is amiss.
Funny I was also wondering if I might be getting some slight bleed from the lead channel too but because I am also able to get a really clean sound too I wasn't so sure?As far as using my ears I've nothing to compare too as when I got the amp it went straight in for a service(re cap etc)That's why I was seeking the opinion of other IIb owners.Maybe it does just have a hotter preamp due to component drift etc??I'll do that test and report back.Thanks a lot for your help.Much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:19 am 
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Single Recto

Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:56 pm
Posts: 1707
Location: Pacific Coast
That's your 'clean' channel? That's sounds like the way I set my Mark IIB's lead channel - lol. Just that slight overdrive kind of a "Hiwatt" sound.

This is one reason I abandoned myself purchasing any any of Mark IIB successors. Great amps but going away from the Fender tone and going toward hi-gain tone what was and now what most of today's guitarist demand.

I have miles of headroom in the clean channel so I get Nile Rodger tone but mine is Coliseum 300 series.

Great playing!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:25 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:15 am
Posts: 191
RR wrote:
That's your 'clean' channel? That's sounds like the way I set my Mark IIB's lead channel - lol. Just that slight overdrive kind of a "Hiwatt" sound.

This is one reason I abandoned myself purchasing any any of Mark IIB successors. Great amps but going away from the Fender tone and going toward hi-gain tone what was and now what most of today's guitarist demand.

I have miles of headroom in the clean channel so I get Nile Rodger tone but mine is Coliseum 300 series.

Great playing!
Yeah that's all on the "clean" channel at bedroom volume with a Les Paul.I very rarely use a crisp clean sound but if I need pure fender clean it's still there but I need to back volume 1 off to about 5 or 6-7 with a strat.

I love what's it doing but don't know if it should be doing it :) How do you set your lead channel to get a similar sound?

I don't like the real high gain stuff either by the way.

Thanks for the comments on the playing.Was just sitting messing around ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:17 pm 
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Single Recto

Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:56 pm
Posts: 1707
Location: Pacific Coast
Its hard to say what's happening if its that nature of a Mark IIB or something peculiar about your MarkII.

My rhythm volume setting is 5,
my lead volume is 7 and lead master is 3
then overall master is depend how loud 1 to 4.

By Boogie owners, this is fairly light gain. But its my preference.

My lead channel gain sounds like the clip you post, light moderate gain and my clean (rhythm) channel is headroom clean, a lot of spank, chime, kind of sterile if you asks me but I'm o-kay with it.

Remember mine is the 300 Series Coliseum so at half power its 75 watts or so. And mine got the M. Bendelli [msp] loop -reverb modification. So I have a limit control in back too.

Oh a possible culprit,the preamp tube on the rhythm channel you swapped out could have an exceptional gain compared to regular 12AX7. I've experienced this many times. Putting a 5751 could clean up the clean channel, no put intended.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:53 pm 
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Mark III

Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:15 am
Posts: 191
RR wrote:
Its hard to say what's happening if its that nature of a Mark IIB or something peculiar about your MarkII.

My rhythm volume setting is 5,
my lead volume is 7 and lead master is 3
then overall master is depend how loud 1 to 4.

By Boogie owners, this is fairly light gain. But its my preference.

My lead channel gain sounds like the clip you post, light moderate gain and my clean (rhythm) channel is headroom clean, a lot of spank, chime, kind of sterile if you asks me but I'm o-kay with it.

Remember mine is the 300 Series Coliseum so at half power its 75 watts or so. And mine got the M. Bendelli [msp] loop -reverb modification. So I have a limit control in back too.

Oh a possible culprit,the preamp tube on the rhythm channel you swapped out could have an exceptional gain compared to regular 12AX7. I've experienced this many times. Putting a 5751 could clean up the clean channel, no put intended.
I've had the opinions of a couple of MarkIIB owners now who say that their clean channel is not as gainy is mines.It could be something with this amp but also @lovetoboogie said it's not uncommon with humbucker guitars either?As you say it could be a really strong 12ax7 or something else.As long as there's nothing wrong with it I'm cool with it though.I just wanted to get comparisons from other IIB owners.Thanks a lot man.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:13 am 
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Single Recto

Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:56 pm
Posts: 1707
Location: Pacific Coast
I don't think there's anything wrong with your Mark IIB after all.

I re-listen to your YouTube Clip and re-read your post. You have the Vol. 1 (rhythm or clean) channel at "8". That setting is enough to give you some break up or you call gainy. Your clip I hear slight break up but stay fairly clean. That's normal especially with humbucker (Les Paul). Now if you want to get more headroom set Vol. 1 no higher than "5" and overall master to your liking.

Mark IIB is my favorite Mark Series. The others post-Mark IIB gets a bit hi-gain for what I want out of Boogies. If I need more gain I go for their Recto Series (Dual Rectifier in particular). But that's my taste.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:10 am 
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Mark I

Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:00 pm
Posts: 34
Even when the clean channel is set to 6-7 there is some hair on it especially when your guitar has some output,.
I never ran the clean channel super clean and rairly used the gain channel , I just hit the clean channel with a bunch of pedals
to suit my needs served me well for 30+ years some other lucky soul has it now

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Mesa MKIIb ( my first in 82 )
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:28 pm 
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Bottle Rocket

Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:02 am
Posts: 4
i dunno.. i run my volume 1 on my '81 mark iib on about 2-3, and push my master volume up high as i can get away with- seems like for around the house northwards of 3. it can be squeaky clean, for sure that way.

mines set basically input 2-3 (bright pulled)/treble (not pulled) 10/bass 0/mid 0/master 3-4 (pulled)/lead gain 7/lead master(bright pulled) 3-4 and presence about 6-7. presence is really the critical adjustment for controlling the bark-- but it's NOT subtle when you get it wrong. mine goes INSTANTLY dark and honky and hilariously ungratifying to play when you've gone too far.

i've always run any of my 3 mesas this way, and while it's not 'in the manual' to keep my input gain this low, i find i can actually get beefier, less eq'd sounds out of them that cut really well.

all that said, i run mine for rhythm, mid gainy dirty sounds and chording over lead-type biz. key to making it work though really is to get your master volumes up. mark ii's are funny, and wasn't sure i liked the amp at all for MONTHS besides for loving it's great clean tone (dialed totally differently) until i discovered that that amp really doesn't seem to like being less than 3 on the master. it'll work-- but i find to to have a sharp nasal tone if too quiet that utterly disappears into a glorious thick awesomeness once it opens up!

it's funny-- i discovered this, and far as i can tell, everyone perpetuates that you need the input gain to be up around 7. for almost 25 years, i've been running my master high and keeping the damn input low, and have loved the results previously with a .22, and a .50. the mark is really similar in some ways, just sounds glorious in ways the other two didn't with the big iron.

also-- running it this way, if you want good cleans, just dial your guit volume back a bit... marks have the amazing capacity to clean up to FANTASTIC loveliness just by dropping your volume dial, and i'm finding i never even need the clean channel set up this way.. just knock off some volume.


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