F-30 review by Mesa Boogie

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (9 votes)
Mesa Boogie: F-30

Price paid: $ 580

Purchased from: Used

Sound — 10
I'm using a Jimmie Vaughan Tex-Mex strat into this amp. I'm running a Slash wah -> BBE Green Screamer -> Script Phase 90 in the front and a Carbon Copy -> MXR 10 band in the FX loop set at about 60% wet. I play mainly classic rock and blues which works perfectly for this amp. My only fault with this amp is that if any thing it has too much gain (going to try and solve that with a 12AT7 though). I have the gain at about 1/4 and that provides all the crunch I could ever want. There's definitely enough gain for metal, especially with the contour on (the contour Switch basically just adds more gain and boosts the bass and treble, I'm personally note a fan of scooping mids, but the contour works very well). The overdrive is amazing though. I can get an amazing crunch sound in the bridge position, and with the bridge + neck together and the tone rolled down I can get amazing Sanata like lead tone that just sounds better with the green screamer kicked on. For bluesy stuff I usually use the green screamer into the clean side and that works wonderfully. The clean channel took me a while to dial in, but I found that if you turn the mids way down this thing has somewhat Fender-esque cleans, maybe not as good Fender, but all around great cleans. Like all mesas this one can take a bit to dial in, but once you do it's amazing. I'd say this amp is suitable for anything from clean funky stuff to old school metal (maybe even modern metal with some high output pups and a boost).

Overall Impression — 10
I play classic rock and blues, and I dabble in metal and some funk. This amp can do all of these genres quite well. If this amp were lost I would either try to replace it with the same amp or look for another mesa as I have fallen in love with mesa OD. I compared this to a mesa express (this is that amps predecessor) and a Traynor YCV50 blue and of course the Hot Rod Deluxe I used to own. While trying out the Traynor one of the salemen showed me this used f-30, I tried it and fell in love. I really don't think you could ask for anymore in this amp as it's already packed with features. If you can find one of these used on Ebay it's a great deal.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This amp seems very sturdy and I think it will last a very long time. It was handmade in Petaluma California. When I got it the mid control on the Drive channel didn't work, but I took it to where I bought and their tech fixed it in a bout 15 mins while I waited. Other than that I have had zero problems (granted I haven't had it for long, but mesa's have a reputation for quality so I'm not worried, not to mention it's used so it's been around for a while anyways).

Features — 10
30 watt all tube combo. 4 12AX7s and 2 EL84s. 2 channels both with independent gain, treble, mid, bass, reverb, and master controls. Footswitchable contour mode for the gain channel, foot Switch also changes channel and turns reverb on/off (no indicator for the reverb though). 2 4ohm outs and 1 8ohm out. Headphone/line out jack. Speaker mute Switch. Parallel FX loop with wet/dry mix. This one came with a V30 which is not the original speaker. I use this mainly for fooling around by myself, though it's more than loud enough for to gig. Versatile amp, great cleans and amazing overdrive.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have one of these, it is fantastic. Love the tone more every time I play it. One thing to note is that, even though the amp is 30 watts (technically 22) I is very loud and needs to be turned up to sound best. A little trick for all mesa f-series owners: put a volume pedal or some sort of volume control in the FX loop, turn the mix knob all the way up, and turn the volume pedal all the way down. Then, you can turn up the master volume more, and drive the preamp tubes harder. Sounds much better. Not really attenuation, but it sounds almost as good and is a hell of a lot cheaper.