This tale shows that the values, spirit, and mission of Mesa/Boogie were already in place before Randall Smith even settled on a name (he came up with “Mesa Engineering” on the fly when he filed the paperwork later). First, he already had a strong drive to innovate and an ability to see possibilities that others didn’t. Who in the world looks at Fender Princeton and thinks “I am going to turn this into a roaring monster that can tear somebody’s head off?” To some people, seeing things like that is a sign of madness, but, like Emily Dickinson said “Much Madness is divinest Sense.”
And Randall’s creations did sound divine, indeed! So much so that the Bay Area ran out of Princeton’s for him to mod. Now, modding a Princeton like that is no easy chore, but he was able to do it perfectly about a hundred times shows that the obsessive meticulousness that informs every aspect of the Mesa/Boogie manufacturing process today was already going strong back in 1969.
Most importantly, the story of Carlos’s impromptu concert gives insight into Mesa’s mission: to inspire joy in musicians and their audiences. Carlos wasn’t trying to put on a show–he just got lost in the Boogie, and his playing was so compelling that the audience followed him. From the very start, there was more to Mesa than circuits, tubes, and rectifiers. They are greater than the sum of their parts. Meticulousness and excellence in engineering give them their peerless build quality and consistency, but there is an artistic spirit that animates Mesa/Boogie’s innovative technology, and that is why Mesa/Boogie amplifiers bring musical delight to anyone who hears them. So, it’s no wonder that his amps helped define the sound of the seventies!
After Randall Smith ran out of Princetons to mod, he started building his own amps. His operation expanded, and he pulled a few more revolutionary ideas out of his sleeve like the first channel-switching amp and the Dual Rectifier design, both of which became backbones of American popular music. More than half a century after Randall played his fateful joke on Barry Melton, not much has changed at Mesa/Boogie. They still have that mad scientist drive to make their amps better and better, they still use only the finest components, and they still subject each piece of equipment to INSANE levels of testing before it gets the Mesa stamp of approval. Most importantly, the sound of a Mesa/Boogie amplifier still provokes unrestrained delight in musicians and their audiences alike.
The gear below exemplifies all of the qualities that have made Mesa/Boogie special over the last five decades, and we invite you to browse our selection to and find the sound that inspires you so you can experience the joyous noises that come forth when the spirit of art collides with technology in a vacuum tube.