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A terrible idea? Making a Buster combo into a head

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by paganjack, Apr 22, 2010.


  1. paganjack

    paganjack

    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    So lately I've been musing about this idea. I have a Mesa Buster 115 combo, which I generally really like, the amp's tone is so "the sound in my head"- tight, punchy, warm, super articulate, and a little wooly when needed. Also, it takes pedals SO WELL. OD/Fuzz through an all-tube amp is completely different from SS.

    I don't really love 15's though. So I was thinking about re-casing the amplifier section into a new head case. Then I could use the 15" cab when I want a Jamerson/Bootsy sort of tone, and grab a 210 or a 410 for some gnarlier, louder rock tones. Also, I wouldn't have to lug a 122lb combo around by myself. Currently, stairs are... tiring. :ninja:

    My first thought was to saw it in half...but I quickly realized that that was an abomination of an idea.:eek:

    I drew up some basic plans for a new headcase, it seems like it would be fairly simple... I'd use .75" plywood, since that seems to be what was used for the combo. I might do blue or dark green tolex, although the mesa style tolex is great and evidently invincible. Got any thoughts/advice/criticism/remonstrations/non sequitirs?
     

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  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yeah, I've seen it done before--both homestyle and from the Mesa factory. It's a fine idea, and not too difficult. I would not saw the case though, I would just unbolt the head guts from the current case and then install them into an all-new case. You could build it yourself, or there are a few companies that build custom headcases for exactly this sort of project.
     
  3. paganjack

    paganjack

    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah that is basically my plan, unscrewing the amp guts and installing them in a homebuilt case. I'm not taking a saw to the amp. Do my cursory case plans look reasonable? I may go grab some plywood tomorrow and get started...
     
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The plans do look reasonable.
     
  5. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Go for it I planned to do the same when I had mine but just decided to take a trade for a 2nd 400+

    It's a much more polite sounding amp compared to the 400+

    I say go for it, you can even buy the correct mesa / boogie logo off ebay.
     
  6. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    +1- go for it. I've considered doing exactly the same thing with my Buster 210 wedge combo. I still might someday, but for now, it's a stay at home amp.
     
  7. paganjack

    paganjack

    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, it's on. I got a board of 23/32" plywood today, and ordered some blue tolex and blackface style grill cloth! It's going to take a while to finish, but I am going to go trace my pieces on the board and possibly start sawing! Pics to follow as it gets closer.
     
  8. paganjack

    paganjack

    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    So I did the cutting, filing, gluing, nailing...and Tolex installation. I had taken some other photos along the way, but my cell phone and my computer aren't talking to each other, so I can't upload them. I just painted the grill cloth/ faceplate holder and the internal area of the cabinet (btw there is still blue masking tape in there). It was my first time ever applying tolex, so it's not perfect, but it'll do. I'm going go get some corner protectors, so that should hide my bad splices. I got some rubber feet for it already, and I am going to cannibalize a handle, so I just need to mount the amp in it and install those last couple things and I'll be done (as long as it fits!:ninja:).

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    Hopefully Tuesday I will get my remaining parts and give it a go!
     
  9. koobie

    koobie

    Jul 11, 2007
    Portland OR
    Your project sounds like a great idea, those Buster combos are crazy heavy. I dig the blue tolex, too. Are you going to do a matching cab?
     
  10. paganjack

    paganjack

    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    No plans for a matching cab just yet. My practice for the night just got canceled, so I may be able to finish this today!
     
  11. origami

    origami

    Jun 26, 2005
    Big D TEXAS
    i owned a buster 15" combo briefy. it was a heavy sucker with that EV 15" speaker.

    I too thought of taking the head out of it and using it with other cabs.

    I got as far as actually building a wood chasis for it, and then gave up and sold the combo. i'm not the best carpenter.

    good luck.
     
  12. paganjack

    paganjack

    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, ALMOST finished. :hyper:
    I need to get a back grill goin' on, but I want a metal mesh a la Ampeg, and I haven't found material like that yet. I somehow lost my V1 preamp tube in the move (it went microphonic and lost all output ...?) but I have a small 12ax7 library so I found a good one and got it working again. Mounting the amp inside the new chassis was the only part where I hit a snag, other than that everything went pretty smoothly.
     

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