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Chance to buy a Mesa 400+ tomorrow ---- should I?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dave2, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. dave2


    Feb 10, 2007
    I have a chance tomorrow to buy a 2003 Mesa Boogie 400+ amp for $900 for sale in locally. I have not seen the amp yet but talked with the seller on the phone today. The seller says the 400+ is well used but in good shape and in a SKB 4 space case. He says the amp has been unused and living in a recording studio for the past year. This 400+ was serviced/re-tubed about 3 or 4 years ago ... so it will need new tubes in a year or two perhaps.

    My Eden WT550 is not sounding like I want (reasonable lows but lacking in upper range - the D and G strings) .... and since I loved my early 70's model SVT years ago..... I saw this Mesa for sale and I am thinking of going back to a tube head. This amp should rock!

    I play rock, blues, oldies soul/RnB, love reggae but don't play it much anymore, like funk a bit. I'm thinking this Mesa head would sound great with my Eden cabs or perhaps moving to Mesa cabs or others. Also I've been playing a Warwick Thumb 5 string, and sometimes an old Stingray 4 string.

    Any advice?? Should I get this head? Does it sound like a reasonable deal?

    And can I run 2 or more 8 ohm cabs from it - I only have 8 ohm cabinets.

    Any constructive input is appreciated. Thanks all.

  2. dave2


    Feb 10, 2007
    I forgot to ask... does anyone know how much it would cost to re-tube a 400+? There are a lot of tubes in this head. Do I need to have Mesa re-tube it or can any authorized electronics shop do it?

    I would appreciate any constructive feedback on this amp.

  3. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    you don't need mesa to retube it. IMO, any competent tech could do it.
  4. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    before you go out and buy all new tubes, i'd have the ones in it checked/tested. they can last aloooooong time in those amps since mesa doesn't really run them very hard.
  5. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    We took one round the world a couple of times with no problems It just would not die!.:bassist:
  6. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA

    The key to enjoying this fantastic amp is a having a competent tube tech - you won't have to spend a bunch of money with him but your amp needs to visit him about once every 1,000 hours of operation and get a quick once over to assure the 12 power tubes stay in the pocket - if you do this the power tubes will last for years. After checking the power tubes have him add a bias mod [this is simple to do] so you can dial the amp's power section into about 65% dissipation [medium warm] regardless of which power tubes get used in it and keep em in the pocket as they age. Have him also retension your tube sockets to assure a nice tight fit and look closely to assure they are clean with no carbon from arcing.

    Also clean out all the jacks especially the send/return jacks.

    Then you got to figure out the EQ... start at:

    Gain 3
    Treble 2
    Bass 2 [try it with and without the knob pulled]
    Mids 8
    Master 5 - then dial in to control total volume

    If the preamp tubes are junk [the amp comes new with "meh" pre tubes] go ahead and upgrade em when you get a chance - several reasonable new construction choices - I like JJ's and Tung Sols sorted for low noise. Consider buying a set of 4 nice new low noise 12ax7's but also pick up a new 12au7 to try in the V4 socket [far left from the front of the amp] this is worth a try as it makes the pre gain softer and lets you have a larger usable range, also the range of the EQ is a bit wider/more usable.

    Amp has taps for 2, 4 or 8 ohms - if you use a 2.7 ohm load [a 4 ohm + an 8 ohm cab] use the 4 ohm tap.

    Have fun!
  7. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Yes, you can use 1,2,3 or even 4 8 ohm cabs.
  8. joeyjoejoe


    Apr 12, 2010
    i'd like to pick one up one of these days i think.
  9. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    I had one of these for about a week. The sound is great, but the weight was something I didn't care to live with gigging multiple times a week - lugging it from my apartment to my car, to the gigs and back, etc.
  10. Tony Gray

    Tony Gray

    Mar 6, 2006
    The answer to your question, is , YES.

    If you like all tube bass tone, GET IT,

    end of story.
  11. Bass Junkie

    Bass Junkie

    Nov 3, 2009
    If it's your sound and you got to have it, go for it. Plan on $300+ everytime you retube it. You may not enjoy moving it around after having your Eden. There are many other amp choices that will get closer to the sound you want for less money and less weight. Check out the Carvin B2000, it's 2 ohm stable.

  12. mcr23


    Apr 15, 2010
    Yo ureally think a single 12AX7 driven preamp/class-D poweramp will sound like a all-tube MESA chocked full of 6L6s? :eyebrow:
  13. Joe Gress

    Joe Gress

    Dec 22, 2005
    Pueblo, CO
    Some people just don't understand.
  14. Bass Junkie

    Bass Junkie

    Nov 3, 2009
    Never said it would!! I said it would get closer to the sound he wants than what he is using now. Besides. I don't think the B2000 is Class D.
  15. Retubing isn't something that needs to be done often if the amp is treated properly and fully functional. My 1989 SVT-II has only been retubed once. :p
  16. Bass Junkie

    Bass Junkie

    Nov 3, 2009
    The seller said the amp has been well used, so figure at least one retube in the near future. Add $300+ to the price of the amp. Like I said initially, only buy it if it is the only amp that gives you what you want.
  17. I have one and I HIGHLY recommend it!
  18. dave2


    Feb 10, 2007
    Someone earlier mentioned the weight of a 400+. I forgot about the weight since Im used to lugging my 20lb Eden head. Are the 400+ heads about 45 lbs? I saw someone say they were about 1/2 of the SVT weight - which used to be 90lbs.

    I will check out this amp today at 6 pm. Thanks for all the info. Any more words of advice on how to dial in a good tone, etc? Or any negatives that i should be aware of?

    Thanks again.

  19. billhilly66


    Aug 25, 2007
    Plano, TX
    The Tube Store will sell you a set (twelvetet?) of JJ's for the 400+ for around $250 that you can just drop in. I had other issues with mine and took it to the Mesa authorized tech here in Dallas. He said the tube set I got was matched very well for the amp.
  20. strke-fender


    Feb 26, 2009
    I too recommend it.

    I love mine, I'd love a second.

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