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Mesa Boogie Bass 400+

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BearCave, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. BearCave

    BearCave Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    So this weekend I stop into my favorite local vintage music shop and spot a Mesa Boogie Bass 400+ for sale. I immediately ran over to check it out and it was mint. No scratches, never been mounted in a rack (no rack rash), just very clean. I talked to one of the sales guys there and they said they got it from one of their "regulars" that is a high-end collector. The previous owner bought it ten years ago and never gigged with it.....it was just used in his studio. After taking it for a short test run, I had to have it. It was just too good to pass up....it was in "like new" condition and I've always wanted one and they just dont show up for sale (especially in this condition) too often. I got it for a great price.

    Now, I plan on gigging with it and obviously want to put it in a rack case. I'm concerned with the fact that the fan for the amp is on the side as are the ventilation slots. I remember seeing a rack case years ago that had slats in it or something to that extent to accomodate the cooling system of this amp, but have been unable to find anything like what I remember seeing. Maybe it was a custom made case, I don't remember.

    Any suggestions or opinions on what to use for a rack case would be greatly appreciated. I can't wait to start rockin' with this head!

  2. I ran this head for years in a SKB rack. I ended up drilling several holes in the side of the case in the exact size and location of the fan.

    I no longer have the head, but I still have the SKB. I'd put up some pics for you but the rack is currently in storage.
  3. Nice grab! Awesome amp
  4. BearCave

    BearCave Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    I've been searching all over on the internet for something that was made specifcally for this head. I'm really surprised that there isn't anything out there that has some sort of venting made for this amp that ISN'T a shock-mount rack case.

  5. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I've ran mine in a 6-space CNB (SKB clone) rack for years without any modification to the rack. I ran the fan on its highest speed. I've run it relatively hard and under hot PAR cans. I never had a problem.

    I did drill holes into the side of my four-space rack for my SVT-II, though.
  6. gregbackstrom

    gregbackstrom Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    Tacoma, Washington
    If you're interested, I have an almost unused Mesa SUS-4 rack case with the telescoping handles and wheels that I would sell to you at a great price. This is Mesa's shockmount case that they made for this head.
  7. BearCave

    BearCave Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    I am interested. Please PM me and we can discuss further.
  8. BearCave

    BearCave Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    I sent an email earlier this week to Mesa Boogie to try to find out the actual age of this amp. I just received a reply from them that according to the serial number, the amp was shipped from the factory in August 2008! So that means that the amp is less than 5 years old! Woo hoo!

    That coupled with the fact that I got it for a killer price really makes me a happy camper!
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I'm pretty sure 08' was the last year these were made too.

    As for a rack, unfortunately a lot of rack mount heads suffer from having the vents on the side or top. You either need to leave an open space, drill some holes, or get a giant shock mount. It stinks.
  10. I keep mine in a 6 space rack. the 400+ occupies the bottom 4, there's a gap, and then my power conditioner.

    I've gigged with it many times and never had any issues, but I'd recommend leaving an open space above the amp at the very least.

    Also, here's a really old, crappy photo of it:


    I've thought about cutting some sheet metal down (the kind that has the holes drilled in it) to size because the gap bothered me at first. Now I don't really care, it works fine.

    Also: the rig is a beast and a pain in the back to move around, especially in a big rack with a power conditioner. If you're anything like me you'll start looking at guys with TH 500's and other micro amps with envy when it's load in/out time. the thing that keeps me coming back to it is that after nearly every gig I get "Man, that amp sounds great" from other bass players.

  11. BearCave

    BearCave Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    I know....I had the same problem when I used to have an Ampeg SVT-4PRO that was rackmounted. During summer gigs, I would use a clip-on fan on the back of the rack case to help keep it cool.
  12. Anyone else find it fishy that the shop owner said the original owner bought it 10 years ago but the amps barely 5 years old? Might be nothing, but sounds a little weird to me.

    Either way, if the amps in great shape, I'm sure you'll love it. I'd love to get my hands on one of these all tube Mesa amps.
  13. BearCave

    BearCave Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    I thought the same thing once I found out how old the amp really was. Either way, I think it's to my advantage. Either the guy at the store didn't really know what he was talking about or was trying to feed me a story.

    The amp just pounds with my Ampeg 810 and is cosmetically like new. :)

    And I got it for a great price!
  14. themacinator

    themacinator Always looking for the perfect gig

    Oct 8, 2009
    8,600 feet in the Colorado Rockies
    Endorsing Artist: Babicz FCH Hardware
  15. A great price makes the deal even better!

    Saw that you're looking for a new cab in your other thread too. I had an Ampeg 810 before my Mesa 412 and the 412 has everything the 810e had and more!

    Definitely check out the PH810 from Mesa if you can swing the $$ and don't mind the size. Haven't played one but if it's anything like their other cabs you'll be a really happy guy!
  16. mr.black


    Mar 4, 2008
    used to run mine like "JoeDaddio" never an issue. other than the F'n weight of this beast.
  17. j.kernodle


    Nov 23, 2008
    Charleston, SC
    I use mine in a 4 space gator case. with no special venting. maybe I'm asking for trouble.
  18. The key thing is to not have hot air re-entering the fan at the side.

    I think in a 4 space you are really asking for trouble. The air interchange is all out the back side by convection, not getting much help from the fan.
  19. BearCave

    BearCave Supporting Member

    May 13, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    So while I've been searching for a rack case for my 400+, I purchased the Mesa PH412 cab to go with it. I still have yet to find an appropriate rack case for the head though.

    I've been looking at this case...


    My concern with this case though is that I don't think it has rubber feet or anything of the like and setting it on top of the cab would make it move from the vibrations of the cab and possibly fall off mid show or something.

    I wish I could find Mesa's SUS4 4 space rack case.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks! :)
  20. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I had that case. It's not going to fall off of your cab, especially with a heavy tube head sitting in it.

    Just keep in mind that it's huge. Once you mount heavy equipment in it, it gets difficult to move around. Unless you really need/want a shock mount rack, I'd skip it. The only way I'd use one again is if I was doing some heavy touring and had random people moving my gear for me.

    This isn't coming from an out of shape old guy either. I had it when I was 6' 1" tall and 210lbs worth of Marine.