F-100 Head review by Mesa Boogie

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (8 votes)
Mesa Boogie: F-100 Head

Purchased from: Ebay

Sound — 8
I use a squire strat, Gibson Explorer and a few 7 strings one with an invador in the bridge. I use very heavy strings(10-70 6 string 12-90 7 string) which might cause a little muddiness with distortion but a much smoother clean sound. I run the F-100 through both a Carvin Bass 810 and B-52 412. This amp was really hard to adjust to at first from using solid state. You can feel your playing, everything you do is picked up and heard through the amp very defined and clear (even with the gain at max). It has some hum, quite a bit as the volume gets high and it will put you in a feedback hell if your guitar isn't grounded properly. I would recommend a noise supressor, not necessarly for this amp but it's something everyone should have unless you play an amp with a noise gate. This amp is very straightfoward and isn't extremely versatile; extra bright clean, clean, distored channel (sounds like an older Marshall or a hotrodded overdriven Fender), or contour which sounds very intense but ranges from a bright AC/DC style distortion to an older Metallica (Ride the lightning ESP.). I was expecting to get a Dream Theater and more mondern tone but I haven't really found it yet. By adjusting the EQ and gain you get some variation in the distortion but it gets fairly muddy with high bass. At a practice volume the notes get blended together but don't really sustain much but when you raise the master volume the distorted channels become clearer and will give you a better "feel for the sound." The clean channel is by far what stands out. You could put it against a Roland Jazz Chorus and I would place my money on the F-100. It can get extremely loud without getting distorted. The gain knob on clean acts a little more like a volume knob which is really handy in situations where the extremely sensitive volume knob can be a hassel.

Overall Impression — 9
I play prog, thrash, death, and speed metal and this amp is an ok match. If someone stole it I'd replace it with the Carvin V3 or Mesa Nomad because of this amps lack of different tones and their ablilty to use EL-34's. My first impression was this thing gets loud. The volume knob sits on a fine line between too loud and too quiet. This amp is what I can think of as a Fender with more balls would sound like. It has a great clean and the distortion is great too if you like a sound simialar to Metallica's ride the ligtning. I usually run the MXR Dime Distortion with the gain at 1 and output at max and it improves the tone a lot because there is a lack in sustain. This is probably the most affordable new Mesa out there. It has a professional tone, its just not quite the tone I want all the time.

Reliability & Durability — 10
Its a Mesa Boogie. I would definately trust it on a gig, and I've never had any problems with it so far. It has fallen off of a 412 and had no problems other than I about had a heart attack.

Features — 8
I'm not sure exactly what year this amp was made in, I bought it used and have owned it for a little over a month. It didn't come with an instruction manual, and because of that I found the bright switch just a few days ago. My initial reaction when I opened the box was that it is much larger than normal heads, very deep and quite long, not as much on the tall side though. That being said, your gonna want to measure the top of your cabinet to make sure the head will fit perfectly. It has a very basic, simple and foolproof layout. The F-100 features a 100/60 watt switch (louder than 200 watt flextone II, 150 II's, and Marshall TSL by far), 3 channel footswitch, FX loop, 1/4 output, 4 ohm and 8 ohm speaker outputs, and 2 sets of knobs (clean and distorted). The distorted channel has a "contour" channel which adds much more scoop and balls and takes it from the blackface Fender to a rectifier sound. The biggest complaint with this amp I have is that the volume knob is extremely sensitive, I'm not joking when I say 1mm is the differece between I can't hear you and turn that damn thing down. This amp is fixed bias and only uses 6L6 power tubes which disappointed me because I prefer the warmth and a little more distortion EL-34's provide, and it's a feature I would definatley like to have; along with a bold/spongy sound option.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    These amps are simple and straightfoward. They're also the most affordable out of Mesa's lineup. Definitely worth checking out.
    Good review and everything man, but you hit me with a peeve that I've been seeing a lot lately. You're reviewing a Mesa Boogie product, contriversally the best amp company in the world, used by professionals across all genres. Do you have to bring up your Squire Strat in the review? What's the point? I have a Sammick strat and I don't go on about it when I review at Harmony Central..
    This was my first review, i've only been a member since yesterday, i figured i'd include the equiptment i use to give you and understanding of what i have to work with.
    I should also add i paid $750 for it on Ebay which saved me about $350-$400 from getting it brand new. i dont know why the price paid doesn't include that.
    ya i rented a combo 2x12 once and the volume knob was really toutchy, i didnt really like the distorted channel, either, lots of feedback and buzz. I'm buyin a dual rectifier!!!
    really? i heard that its not as good as the dual, not as powerful just what i was told
    really? i heard that it wasnt as powerful as the dual rec. thats just what i heard, i havent played the single yet
    Well, the 100 watt dual rectifier, it should have a 50/100 or 60/100 wattage switch. Its gonna cost more (easily $300 more) and thats about it. The difference in volume from the 60/100 watt mode is barely noticible. There is a tone difference, it does sound a little bit more ballsy on distorted mode with 100 watts, but clean, it sounds better on 60 watts with the gain knob cranked up a bit more (adding warmth). I'm 100% sure i'm gonna sell this amp for either a Line 6 HD-147 (don't give me your line 6 bashing BS, i love that amp) or a Carvin V3(the boutique amp killer)
    I put the price, it just didn't post it. You can get them for $750+ used or $1,200 + tax new.