F-30 review by Mesa Boogie

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (9 votes)
Mesa Boogie: F-30

Sound — 8
This amp sounds very good. The clean channel is clear and bright (though without the sparkling cleans on my Fender Super), and the distortion is powerful and thick. Without the 'contour' switch pressed down, it gives a decent Vintage-sounding overdrive that switches to a warm, bassy, tubey distortion as the gain knob goes past about 12'o clock. The contour switch gives it a great feel for modern rock and classic heavy metal. I wouldn't call the distortion 'brutal', but I'm sure that's nothing an EQ pedal wouldn't fix. The reverb is just alright, but it gets the job done. The guitars that see the most play through this puppy are my Fender mexi strat (which helps bring out the best in the clean tones) and my Les Paul (gives great body to the distortion). I play all styles of music, and as long as you're not looking for a brutal death metal distortion, this amp can get a good sound.

Overall Impression — 9
I play everything from folk to metal, and this amp is good for all of it. It's small and stripped down, but it can handle everything well. If I had any complaints, they would be that the clean channel isn't sparkling and brilliant (Fender has spoiled me), but they're still good sounding. If this were stolen, I'd definitely get another one if I could find it (they're discontinued, unfortunately). All in all, a great amp, especially in comparison with other smaller tube combos around the $500 range.

Reliability & Durability — 9
It's a tube amp, so its always good to have a backup. Mesa's are built like rocks, and I havent had this one too long, but its been around for a while already and doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. the only complaint I have is that on mine, the plastic on the handle is wearing off, but that's nothing a little scotch tape wont fix.

Features — 8
This amp was made in the early 2000s, I don't know the exact year. It's a pretty simple affair: 2 channels with 3-band eq (with a 'contour' switch on the Drive channel that scoops the mids nicely), FX out/return, recording out, headphone jack, power and standby switch. 30 loud tube watts fill rooms easily when playing out, but also works well at bedroom volume. It's nothing fancy, but everything you need to plug in and play.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    is this amp good for jam practices?
    great for jamming out, unless you jam in an arena.
    Is this a good amp for playing metal - mostly thrash, death ect.? Any recommendations for an amp?
    I'm a metal player and have owned one of these for several years. Incredible little combo. At 30 watts, this thing blows away my friend's 100 watt solid state Ibanez full stack. Also has the full array of versatile sounds akin to the Dual Rectifier I also own. I've had jazz guitar players compliment on how good this amp sounds. I've also had elitist metal guitarists tell me they were prepared to steal it from me. I've turned down many offers to sell this amp. I'll never part with it. Covers the death/thrash metal I play better than any combo I've ever heard and covers everything along the way.
    I own one of these and love it so much I've just tracked down an F100 combo for gigging (even though everyone tells me they could strip wallpaper they're so loud). People say that the distortion sounds a bit fuzzy or farty but my tip for all the F30 owners out there is to knock the bass way back on the drive channel and then listen to the gorgeous crucnh this beast will give you! Cleans are to die for - sold a Fender Pro Reverb I also had simply because I fell in love with the ability to have pre amp gain in a clean channel.
    Love my MESA F30. Band plays classic rock, southern rock, blues and country. This amp cranks out awesome TONE !!! Simple controls and foot switch, easy to carry from gig to gig. I've owned many high end Fender amps, Which are great, but never felt as much love as this amp gives me.
    im in the f30 club , and lovin it , i like the cab on this , not so much on the upgrade 5/25 , and 5,25 plus , however the plus has tube reverb , v30 and of coarse the graph . has any f30 owners thought of putting a celestion classic lead 80 in .?