Mesa mark 3 no stripe?

LP Freak

Well-known member
Yep, the days of getting a III for even 1200 seem to be gone. 60w C+, guys are asking 4K which is what the original long head DRGs used to go for. Crazy.
It remains to be seen what prices will do when COVID starts to fade.
It’s definitely not the time to be buying
 

[ Donnie B. ]

Well-known member
It’s definitely not the time to be buying

I was willing to pay more than I had hoped because it was an SRG head, which are not too common,
it was really clean for an 87, and I'd just sold another piece for more than I anticipated.
Already zero regrets.
 

Chris6870

Well-known member
I remember a nice Mark III red stripe head going for 750 here a few years back.Still kick myself fir passing on it
 

fretout

Member
I love my No Stripe. I used to read how much lower the gain was on Black/No Stripe Mark IIIs and pretty much wrote them off for my needs...until I played a few. Yes, they have less gain than a Blue and even a Red Stripe, but they have plenty of gain for any genre you want to play. I certainly wouldn’t pass on one, or feel the need to mod it to Red/Blue specs.

As far as the differences between a No/Black Stripe/Dot and the other Mark IIIs, other than the gain differences, I’d say that the Black Stripe has a different feel to them. The Black Stripes I’ve played seem to be a little more touch sensitive and react more dynamically to the way you play, but it’s slight. It’s not really as dramatic as comparing a Mark to a Rectifier, but it was a difference.

Yeah, the used market is just straight up stupid right now. Has been for a year. It’ll be interesting to see what prices do when all the COVID upstarts start selling their gear off.
 

Emg77

Active member
I love my No Stripe. I used to read how much lower the gain was on Black/No Stripe Mark IIIs and pretty much wrote them off for my needs...until I played a few. Yes, they have less gain than a Blue and even a Red Stripe, but they have plenty of gain for any genre you want to play. I certainly wouldn’t pass on one, or feel the need to mod it to Red/Blue specs.

As far as the differences between a No/Black Stripe/Dot and the other Mark IIIs, other than the gain differences, I’d say that the Black Stripe has a different feel to them. The Black Stripes I’ve played seem to be a little more touch sensitive and react more dynamically to the way you play, but it’s slight. It’s not really as dramatic as comparing a Mark to a Rectifier, but it was a difference.

Yeah, the used market is just straight up stupid right now. Has been for a year. It’ll be interesting to see what prices do when all the COVID upstarts start selling their gear off.


Yeah I agree about the no stripe. I had it side by side with a blue stripe. I really liked the blue stripe too. But I preferred the no stripe. It just felt better under the fingers. Great amp.
 

[ Donnie B. ]

Well-known member
Read an interview with Mike B. where he said that all versions of the III could easily cover the same tonal ground.
You just had to tweak each version somewhat uniquely.
 

Racerxrated

Well-known member
Read an interview with Mike B. where he said that all versions of the III could easily cover the same tonal ground.
You just had to tweak each version somewhat uniquely.
I had a purple and a red stripe at the same time; both were Simul and loaded with STR 415s. The Red had more warm mids; I could not get the purple to match it. But the purple was more metal as I could not scoop the red to equal it. So there were enough differences between those two, that you couldn't quite match them up exactly. But not huge differences.
 

LP Freak

Well-known member
I had a purple and a red stripe at the same time; both were Simul and loaded with STR 415s. The Red had more warm mids; I could not get the purple to match it. But the purple was more metal as I could not scoop the red to equal it. So there were enough differences between those two, that you couldn't quite match them up exactly. But not huge differences.
I’m amazed you can remember in detail how amps you had years ago sounded. I can barely remember owning half of them. 😂
 
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Racerxrated

Well-known member
I’m amazed you can remember in detail how amps you had years ago sounded. I can barely remember owning half of them. 😂
Well, at that time I was trying Mark IIIs out for the first time, and hoping the Red would be the cat's ass since reading the interwebz opinion that it's the closest to a C+, which I hadn't yet tried...I didn't really care for either of the IIIs to be honest. They had this 'harshness' that I couldn't dial out..so I figured no go for the C+ since they were so expensive and most opinions were the IIIs were close to the C+. I wasn't gonna take the chance on spending 2-4K on C+ that may sound just a little better than a III.
But I got lucky on a 2C for 749 at a GC and loved it..WAY better in every way than either III I had.
 

fretout

Member
I had a purple and a red stripe at the same time; both were Simul and loaded with STR 415s. The Red had more warm mids; I could not get the purple to match it. But the purple was more metal as I could not scoop the red to equal it. So there were enough differences between those two, that you couldn't quite match them up exactly. But not huge differences.
The first III I ever played was a Purple Stripe, and I really regret not picking it up. The Lead Channel certainly sounded different...more dark, and missing some of the responsiveness of the No Stripe

Channel 2 was much, much lower gain than any of the other revisions I ever played, but the sweep on the gain was more tuned...like I could dial in any amount of grit I wanted. It would certainly shine in the mid-clip category.

After I demoed that Purple Stripe, the owner decided he wanted to keep it. And that led me to the Red Stripe / Blue Stripes that I love.

Pro tip: don’t play great when buying gear.
 

journeyman73

Active member
The first III I ever played was a Purple Stripe, and I really regret not picking it up. The Lead Channel certainly sounded different...more dark, and missing some of the responsiveness of the No Stripe

Channel 2 was much, much lower gain than any of the other revisions I ever played, but the sweep on the gain was more tuned...like I could dial in any amount of grit I wanted. It would certainly shine in the mid-clip category.

After I demoed that Purple Stripe, the owner decided he wanted to keep it. And that led me to the Red Stripe / Blue Stripes that I love.

Pro tip: don’t play great when buying gear.

do you think a purple could still nail Sykes-like tones?
 

fretout

Member
do you think a purple could still nail Sykes-like tones?
Stock? I personally think the lead channel would be in the ballpark, but I think a Purple would be a little less aggressive than Sykes tone.

If you’re trying to nail Sykes tone, you’d be better served using a Blue Stripe like he did, but you could pick up a Black/Purple/Red/Blue Stripe and have Mesa mod the Lead Channel to whichever revision you’d like. IIRC, it’s only a single cap, and these amps may benefit from a factory refresh (although my IIIs are still running strong).

The only reason I didn’t recommend the Green Stripe is because the Greens run in Pentode, whereas all the other Stripes run in Triode. Pentode is more “authoritative” or forward, while the Triode sounds sweeter. If you have a Mark IV, you can try changing this setting and see which you prefer best.
 

sahlomonic

Member
I had a stock Mark III black dot with 105 transformer and it flat out ripped. I still prefer my 2C++'s over it though.
Few years ago I had a black dot with the export transformers and R2 mod IIRC. My first experience with a Mark III, but loved how it sounded. Foolishly traded it for a Splawn Quickrod (which I loved), but traded that for an EVH 5153, then traded that for a Ceriatone 2204. Sheesh...
 
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Holy-diver

Active member
I started thinking the power section actually impacted the overall amp more than the preamp revision. I recently had a black dot with simul and the regular tranny and now have a black dot 100/60 with 105 and it is pretty obvious in response and overall tone that the 100 watt with 105 makes a bigger difference than comparing it with other stripes with simul. I have owned a boatload of mark iii and hrg or srg vs simul is by far the biggest factor, more so than coliseum vs regular even. The switch to 85w on the green stripe also changed the amp quite a bit but in a different way.
 

Meeotch

Active member
The switch to 85w on the green stripe also changed the amp quite a bit but in a different way.
Could you elaborate on this? I'm looking for either a blue or green stripe and tracking these down to compare in person would be quite a feat. I'm wanting the more aggressive voicing which leads me to these later revisions. Blue stripe seemed like the obvious choice, but on my Mark IV I prefer pentode so maybe green stripe is the ticket?
 

Holy-diver

Active member
Could you elaborate on this? I'm looking for either a blue or green stripe and tracking these down to compare in person would be quite a feat. I'm wanting the more aggressive voicing which leads me to these later revisions. Blue stripe seemed like the obvious choice, but on my Mark IV I prefer pentode so maybe green stripe is the ticket?
I think the aggression of the blue stripe comes from the harsh top end and extremely narrow window of usable presence. The power section is more of a response thing where the green is slightly more percussive than the simul 75w, but to be honest the green is kinda like a worse mark iv in my experience. The red and blue were my favorite revisions when I owned them and the blue is definitely really aggressive and crunchy, maybe a bit too much so for a lot of guys.
 

journeyman73

Active member
I think the aggression of the blue stripe comes from the harsh top end and extremely narrow window of usable presence. The power section is more of a response thing where the green is slightly more percussive than the simul 75w, but to be honest the green is kinda like a worse mark iv in my experience. The red and blue were my favorite revisions when I owned them and the blue is definitely really aggressive and crunchy, maybe a bit too much so for a lot of guys.

i heard the blue is bright as sh$t?
 

Holy-diver

Active member
i heard the blue is bright as sh$t?
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