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First Look: Mesa/Boogie Mark VII

Mesa Boogie Mark VII Demo | First Look

Mesa Boogie’s latest Mark-series dares to do it all—from switchable 6L6 and EL34 power sections to 3-channels that span sparking clean and flat-out filthy.


From humble beginnings to worldwide recognition, MESA/Boogie has remained the original boutique Home of Tone, hand-crafting amplifiers of uncompromising quality from the world’s finest materials in California, USA. Founder Randall Smith instilled basic principles into MESA such as passion, drive, integrity, and excellence, and his insistence on making the best amplifiers has guided half a century of breakthrough innovations, elevating the amplifier into an instrument in its own right--one with the power to shape and create musical genres. MESA/Boogie is proud to announce the new MARK VII series, available now at authorized MESA/Boogie dealers and on www.mesaboogie.com.

The MARK VII is the Magnum Opus, the flagship of Randall Smith’s 50+ year career in one visionary amp design. The new MARK VII takes the knowledge, history, innovation, and performance and distills it into the simplest, most versatile, and smallest 90-watt Mark Series amplifier, ever. The 3 Channel, 9 Mode Preamp, coupled with our legendary Simul-Class Power section that offers three distinct characters across its three wattage ranges, creates a new MARK icon in terms of adaptability, soulful tube tone, and magic feel that will serve any discerning player.

The long-awaited “Simul-Seven,” aka the new MARK VII, leapfrogs its predecessor, the Mark Five, and the secret Mark Six prototype to arrive at the most power-packed Boogie Mark model ever created in terms of tone, flexibility, compact design and interfacing. The MARK VII is a do it all tone machine that delivers legendary Mark performance and adds two new sounds, the throwback yet infamous Mark IIB and a new modern high-gain mode full of character and attitude, aptly named MARK VII.

The MARK VII offers discerning players analog, all-tube sound, soul and feel in a smaller more compact, yet more comprehensive package. With a focus on perfecting icons, bringing back beloved classics, and introducing new realms of modern high gain, all while improving the interface and the performance across all mediums, the MARK VII offers inspiration and freedom across all musical styles. The MESA/Boogie MARK VII is now available in Head, 1x12 Combo, and Rackmount Head formats.

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While Annie Clark was named the 26th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone in 2023, she couldn’t care less about impressing an athletic stamp on either her sound or her image.


Photo by Alex Da Corte

On her eighth studio release, the electroacoustic art-rock guitarist and producer animates an extension of the strange and singular voice she’s been honing since her debut in 2007.

“Did you grow up Unitarian?” Annie Clark asks me. We’re sitting in a control room at Electric Lady Studios in New York’s West Village, and I’ve just explained my personal belief system to her, to see if Clark, aka St. Vincent, might relate and return the favor. After all, does she not possess a kind of sainthood worth inquiring about?

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Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.

$699

Martin 0-X2E
martinguitar.com

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Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

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Mdou Moctar has led his Tuareg crew around the world, but their hometown performances in Agadez, Niger, last year were their most treasured.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

On the Tuareg band’s Funeral for Justice, they light a fiery, mournful pyre of razor-sharp desert-blues riffs and political calls to arms.

Mdou Moctar, the performing moniker of Tuareg guitar icon Mahamadou “Mdou” Souleymane, has played some pretty big gigs. Alongside guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, and bassist Mikey Coltun, Moctar has led his band’s kinetic blend of rock, psych, and Tuareg cultural traditions like assouf and takamba to Newport Folk Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival, and, just this past April, to the luxe fields of Indio, California, for Coachella. Off-kilter indie-rock darlings Parquet Courts brought them across the United States in 2022, after which they hit Europe for a run of headline dates.

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How do you capture what is so special about Bill Frisell’s guitar playing in one episode? Is it his melodies, his unique chord voicings, his rhythmic concept, his revolutionary approach to pedals and sounds…? It’s all of that and much more.

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