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Newbie gets a used Mesa Boogie Scout 12"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Halp!, Mar 3, 2008.


  1. Halp!

    Halp!

    Feb 5, 2008
    Hey guys! As stated in the title I, the newbie, won the combo off of ebay. Now the reason I started this was to ask all you godlike bassists as to what I should check for in the amp.

    The owner stated that it is 6 years old and the warranty is gone now (sadness). Not only that but he has mentioned that he replaced the old tubes with some other ones. I'm just wondering what should I look at to see that everything is a-okay and not damaged or wrong with the amp.

    Also I heard that there is a newer version of the Walkabout with new features as well as some report that Mesa's Walkabouts could potentially damage the speaker in select serial numbers. Can someone fill me in on these?

    I would appreciate anyone's advice whether you own the amp or not--even basic tips to ensure that the everything has a long lifetime.

    Thank you all! Perhaps your guidance will ease my ignorance for I can't stop thinking about the amp to come.
     
  2. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Congratulations..you have a very nice piece of gear..the Walkabout head is great and with the Scout cab..it produces some great tones for a small package...
    I have an early version that was part of the recall..there was some type of problem with the high frequencies that Mesa - through the authorized dealers, was correcting.. I had mine corrected and have never had a problem. You should call Mesa and inquire about this..for Mesa to send letters to the owners it must have been a serious problem.

    I would go through all the controlls to insure that thet are operating...
    You might want to purchase an Auralex Gamma stand for the passive radiator..

    good luck
     
  3. Halp!

    Halp!

    Feb 5, 2008
    Hm... I was wondering. Since I don't happen to have the warranty on the Scout, would Mesa still take it in?

    Oh, and about the Auralex Gamma stand. Does putting the combo on carpet really dampen the sound? If so how much is the stand and where can I get it?
     
  4. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    First, congrats. That is an awesome combo amp, maybe the best ever. As to the stand, GC sells On Stage Amp stands for about 40 bucks. Helps to have it up off the floor, and angled up toward your ears. It'll still sound awesome on the carpet, just less bass response. As to the tubes, don't worry, if the amp works, they're fine. Preamp tubes last a really long time, years. Whatever the problem was, I would suspect the previous owner had it fixed, or there would be obvious problems with it working, or sounding bad. I have a newer one, and aside from sometimes pushing it too hard with just the 12" spkr, it's in my top 2 all time favs. You could get a 4 ohm cab of some sort, down the road, and use the head with that, it's unbelievably loud when you use more speakers. Have fun with it, and let us know what you think after you've played with it a while.
     
  5. anyonefortennis

    anyonefortennis Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2005
    Lincoln, NE
    As years go by, these are known for getting dirt in jacks/pots (both input and loop). If any noise or intermitent sound, just get a little contact cleaner and voila.

    Congrats on a great amp. Enjoy!
     
  6. Halp!

    Halp!

    Feb 5, 2008
    Thanks for the tips guys. Do any of you know how to open the amp up and check the tubes and such? I kind of want to see which ones the original owner put in.
     
  7. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago
    I've had mine for about 9 months now, and I love it, so congrats. I haven't opened mine up, but I know some folks here have switched preamp tubes. There's a Walkabout megathread around here somewhere...
     
  8. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    There was an early batch of Walkabout heads that, in certain circumstances, would produce a loud feedback sort of sound. But this was only when running the amp very loud with extreme eq settings that hardly anyone in his right mind would ever use. I had one of these. At one time Mesa had the serial numbers of the amps so affected on their website and recommended sending it to them to update. Since I loved the sound of mine so much and didn't ever expect to ever duplicate the settings it would require to produce the "feedback", I didn't bother. In 3 years of steady use I never had a problem with this and I did drive the head pretty hard a few times when using it with a bigger, different cabinet, like a 4x10 (which it drives wonderfully, by the way).

    The only other minor problem I had was a dirty bass control pot that would cause the bottom end to drop out at a certain setting. This was an easy 5 minute fix with spray contact cleaner and while I was at it I did all the pots. I had to take the cover off the head to do it and it was simply a matter of undoing a few screws to get it apart. A teenage kid could do it.

    I never replaced the factory supplied tubes. It just sounded so good as it was I figured "why mess with a good thing?". I know a few have tried various other preamp tubes and reported improvements to their ears but I never had to. The amp still sounds as good today as when I bought it new.

    Some have reported the effects loop jacks get dirty causing the amp to cut out but I never experienced that problem, although I did have that happen on a GK amp one time. The whole time I've had nothing to do on this amp except for that dirty pot problem.

    I've used it on carpet many times and never had a problem with sound like some others have reported. The sound of any cabinet, not just those with a downward firing passive radiator, sounds different on carpet versus bare tile or wood. That's the only differences I've ever noticed. I wouldn't bother with any fancy and expensive isolating pad or mount it on a stand. I've never liked the sound of a cabinet removed from the floor anyhow and only have done it a couple times when playing on very flimsy portable stages where the floor would resonate like a drum on low notes.

    When you look inside the amp you can notice the quality and attention to detail which explains the somewhat higher price of the Mesa. Power wise, it's the biggest sounding 300 watt amp I've ever used and puts many other top brands to shame.

    I suggest getting the owners manual for it. You can learn a lot from it, although I found that there were a few points in it that didn't match up to my model. Also, Mesa has a somewhat annoying habit of using a lot of glowing advertising copy in it about the tone, rather than just sticking to the facts, but if you overlook that it is useful.

    I've run mine at 2 ohms with a 4 ohm extension cabinet (not Mesa) and at 2.67 ohms with an 8 ohm extension cabinet and even at very high volume it never strained or overheated. The fan is a bit loud when in a very quiet environment (like practicing alone in a small room at home) but has never bothered me enough to want to replace it with a quieter one like a few have done.

    This isn't an amp I'd recommend for someone who wants a thin, "hi fi" type sound or who plays metal or primarily slaps and pops. It's a big round sounding amp when everything is set at 12 on the bass, treble and midrange and with the semi parametric eq flat. The tone controls are very effective and the semi parametric can be very effective in tuning the sound to make up for deficiencies in bad rooms. With a bit of work balancing the input and output volumes you can get a very convincing tube amp sound, or go as clean as I've ever needed. All my basses have sounded great through it.

    I think you're going to love it.
     
  9. lowfreek

    lowfreek Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    Central New York
    Well, for a "noob", you made a helluva choice! You are going to love that combo. I have to agree with the above poster that wrote of its tube sound. It is LUSH, to say the least. But don't think the magic of that head stops with the combo. Try it with a bigger 4 ohm cab, like a 4x10, and you'll be blown away.
     
  10. Halp!

    Halp!

    Feb 5, 2008
    Haha thanks guys. I really appreciate your advice, opinions, and experiences. It really makes me so excited to give it a go. The amp is on its way and should be here in two days (Thursday).

    I was wondering though, do any of you guys know how to date the amp by serial number? Also, I heard that it comes in 4 Ohms and 8 Ohms. How does one figure out what it's at?

    Oh yeah! The reason I chose this combo was heavily influenced by you guys of TalkBass. I got to thank you all for that. I read your reviews and positive feedback and decided that this was the one. So, thanks to all you guys.
     
  11. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    The Walkabout Scout comes in 4 ohms standard. The 8 ohm is a special order, so you'll be most likely getting the 4 ohm. I don't know how to date it but if you call Mesa they are very helpful.
     
  12. Halp!

    Halp!

    Feb 5, 2008
    Haha... Wow guys it's been one hell of a weekend and there's still Saturday and Sunday! I went up to LA on Thursday afternoon and dormed with my buddies up in UCLA for a night with a friend. You may wonder why would a bratty kid from the OC go up to LA... well I happened to catch the flipping FOO FIGHTERS at the Forum! The show was crazy!!! And our night was better than the first!

    Not only did Taylor sing "Cold Day in the Sun"... but he did so with the legendary Chad Smith of the Chili Peppers! Everyone actually had a solo when introduced even Nate Mendel the bassist who NEVER does solos. He did a ripping disco bass solo that rocked the room. It even got more insane when Lemmy of Motorhead showed up to sing "Shake Your Blood"! There was a mini mosh going on down on the floor to Lemmy's booming voice and the wail of killer guitar licks. And then finally when the show "ended" we get footage backstage of Dave and Taylor. Dave puts up one index finger and asks, "One more?!". The crowd went nuts and roared louder when he kept adding fingers to the point where the Forum was going to shatter from the volume when Dave showed 5 fingers! And he did just that and did 5 MORE songs before we all called it a night.

    It was my first real rock show other than being no more than a foot away from the band at the Troubadour in January. After the hella good show I mellowed down and hung out with long time high school friends in their dorms and went out on a night into town.

    Finally here I am moments from getting back... But the tale does not end here. I am back with a Mesa Boogie Scout sitting at my door. My friend helps me lug it up to my room and without messing with the EQ. I hit an E.

    Now, perhaps having a starter kit Yamaha amp all this time has led me to believe any amp is amazing. But that E string... was simply bone rattlingly divine. I haven't even messed with the EQ and I think it's just so beautiful to spell out. That radiator is amazing and my room and the floor shakes on the lows. I'm sorry to cut out now guys, but I REALLY GOT TO PLAY SOME MORE RIGHT NOW.

    God bless you all. I hope you all had an amazing weekend like I did and more great days to come.

    - Vincent
     
  13. Aaahh... your bass-playing friends will be jealous!

    Crank that divine Mesa tone!
     
  14. 62bass:

    I find it pretty interesting that you've used your 4 ohm Walkabout Scout Combo with a 4 ohm extension cab.

    I bought the 4 ohm 12" Walkabout Scout Combo, and at the same time picked up a matching 4 ohm 12" Walkabout cab. Much to my dismay a few months later mesa Boogie put a warning in their new catalog (it's posted on-line now as well) that to use the extension cab without damaging the amp—both speakers—in the extension cab and in the combo must be 8 ohms. I called Mesa Boogie to see exactly what thee scoop was, and sure enough, they told me that I should not use my 4 ohm extension cab with the 4 ohm combo. They then referred me back to my local music store to solve the problem. The store amp tech agreed with Mesa Boogie (he said it might not blow right away, but the potential was there for the amp to blow at any time). Needless to say, it hasn't been resolved yet. I'm afraid to use the extension cab on a gig because the last thing I want to see is smoke pouring out of my beloved Walkabout followed by the sounds of silence.

    I'm considering asking Mesa Boogie to exchange my 4 ohm speaker in the extension cab for an 8 ohm, and I'll buy another 8 ohm that I can use to swap out of my combo when I want to use both the combo and extension cab.
     
  15. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Chicago
    If you check the Walkabout megathread (just go to advanced search at the top and type in "Walkabout"), you'll see that a number of people have run the Scout at 2 ohms on numerous occasions--even long gigs in the heat--with no issues. It's true that Mesa will not honor the warranty if something were to happen, but even Mesa has apparently (IIRC) said more than once in phone calls that 2-ohm usage is OK.
     
  16. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    yep, I'm one of those who did speak to Mesa about the 2ohm issue when I was buying my 4ohm Scout 15 extension cab. The word from them was that the Walkabout should be fine @ 2ohms but they suggested that I not run the master over 1/2 (straight up) in the 2ohm config. I can't imagine ever needing to do that. If you do, you probably need a more powerful amp to begin with.

    I have run mine @ 2ohms numerous times now with no problems what-so-ever. One of those times (more memorable due to the misery) was a 4 set, outdoor gig in 105 degree heat, and while the amp got warm, it never missed a beat. I've run my 4ohm (std) Walkabout standalone, @ 2.67 with an 8ohm PH 1x12, and @ 2ohms with the 4ohm Scout 15 and always had great sound and reliable operation.

    On some of the other points:

    I think with any amp that has an FX loop, the input/output jacks should be cleaned or capped if not used regularly to keep crud out of the contacts.

    I think Mesa is pretty conscientious about cust service and will do their best to take care of you even if your amp is out of warranty.

    Do try the mighty little Walkabout head with a larger cab, it does sound great. Someone here at TB has driven an 8x10 with it .. it is a very honest 300w and will push a lot of air thru the right cab.

    As far as the Passive Radiator goes, there has been much discussion about this, but the real scientific answer here is that the Passive Radiator is not a sound source, simply another type of cabinet tuning method like a port. So, as long as you do not block or restrict the movement of the Passive Radiator (which is just a specially weighted speaker cone without a coil/driver) you will not impact the sound. So, no need for a pad or a stand unless you want one.

    Congrats on the Walkabout grab, I'm sure you will enjoy it.
     
  17. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Depends on the problem. If there's a potential fire or shock hazard I'm thinking they'll fix it regardless of the warranty status. Few things breed bad press like personal injury lawsuits.
     
  18. 62bass

    62bass

    Apr 3, 2005
    I agree with the above posts regarding operating at 2 ohms. According to Mesa the amp is capable of about 500 watts at 2 ohms. I would think it more likely you'd blow a speaker from over excursion before you had a chance to melt the amp. That would be insanely loud. As I said, I've had no problems running at the lower impedance. The amp hasn't overheated and runs as cool as it ever did at 4 ohms. I doubt I'd ever get it up loud enough to cause any damage.

    But if you want to buy an 8 oihm speaker from Mesa and you'll feel safer, then, by all means do so. It doesn't hurt to have a spare anyhow.

    I've never felt any reason to use a Gamma pad and haven't had any problems with carpeted stages. It would take a pretty thick carpet to do anything to the sound I think. I don't see myself spending money for something I would rarely use, if ever.

    Anyhow, quit worrying and start enjoying your amp. It's the best little combo around.
     
  19. I'm wondering if anyone has ever had the opportunity to listen to both 8ohm and 4 ohm 12" Walkabout combos side by side to compare how they sound. My 4 ohm sounds AMAZING, but I've never (to my knowledge) even heard an 8 ohm version. Just curious.
     

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