Mesa mark 3 no stripe?

journeyman73

Active member
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.

i always thought he used a black stripe/no stripe - at least on the WS recordings, since those were done 85-86?
 

Meeotch

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.
Thanks for that info. Bummer to hear your thoughts about the green stripe compared to the IV. I love my IVB but am super intrigued by the III. There's a green stripe local to me with the R2 mod and cap job by Mike B, but it's in an ugly aftermarket headshell and he's asking $2k. I just don't know if these will get any cheaper!
 

Holy-diver

Active member
Thanks for that info. Bummer to hear your thoughts about the green stripe compared to the IV. I love my IVB but am super intrigued by the III. There's a green stripe local to me with the R2 mod and cap job by Mike B, but it's in an ugly aftermarket headshell and he's asking $2k. I just don't know if these will get any cheaper!
Tbh I think they have to go back down a bit at some point but I could be wrong. Also my opinion on the green is probably the weakest out of all the mark iiis I owned I only ever had 2 greens. I had it at the same time as a mark iv a and it was pretty damn similar in regards to the response and low end. The green is not quite as smooth as the iv; it still has a bit of the hair that the mark iii always has. I always liked the mark iii as a sort of one channel amp with varying levels of gain for your channel whereas the mark iv has a clearly defined clean channel and lead channel. Never cared much for R2 on the iv
 

Wizard of Ozz

Well-known member
Tbh I think they have to go back down a bit at some point but I could be wrong. Also my opinion on the green is probably the weakest out of all the mark iiis I owned I only ever had 2 greens. I had it at the same time as a mark iv a and it was pretty damn similar in regards to the response and low end. The green is not quite as smooth as the iv; it still has a bit of the hair that the mark iii always has. I always liked the mark iii as a sort of one channel amp with varying levels of gain for your channel whereas the mark iv has a clearly defined clean channel and lead channel. Never cared much for R2 on the iv


Yeah... I'm going to have to strongly disagree with you there. The Green and Blue are my favorites of the bunch. I have 3 Greens and 4 Blues right now. Along with several original MKIIC++ HRGs & DRGs. Sold both of my MKIVs here on this forum about 2 years ago after comparing them side by side. The MKIV A/B is darker, smoother, more compressed, and smaller sounding. The Green cuts way better, stands out better, and simply sounds bigger/more massive. The MKIV sounds like a bad AxeFx sim of the Green.

And prices are not going anywhere but up. This is just not with amps... same with guitars, pedals, any sort of gear... gas, auto parts, real estate, pretty much everything is going up, up, up. I won't comment on as to the obvious why.
 

Holy-diver

Active member
Yeah... I'm going to have to strongly disagree with you there. The Green and Blue are my favorites of the bunch. I have 3 Greens and 4 Blues right now. Along with several original MKIIC++ HRGs & DRGs. Sold both of my MKIVs here on this forum about 2 years ago after comparing them side by side. The MKIV A/B is darker, smoother, more compressed, and smaller sounding. The Green cuts way better, stands out better, and simply sounds bigger/more massive. The MKIV sounds like a bad AxeFx sim of the Green.

And prices are not going anywhere but up. This is just not with amps... same with guitars, pedals, any sort of gear... gas, auto parts, real estate, pretty much everything is going up, up, up. I won't comment on as to the obvious why.
I agree with it being darker smoother and more compressed, that’s pretty much what I was describing. I didn’t find the mark iva to sound small next to the green though, all my other gear being used to test it being the same.

As for the price thing you may very well be right, the real final value of gear will probably continue to rise and I can’t really see the old marks going back down to anywhere near where they once were. Those were the golden years to try several of every mark amp haha
 

braintheory

Well-known member
Yeah... I'm going to have to strongly disagree with you there. The Green and Blue are my favorites of the bunch. I have 3 Greens and 4 Blues right now. Along with several original MKIIC++ HRGs & DRGs. Sold both of my MKIVs here on this forum about 2 years ago after comparing them side by side. The MKIV A/B is darker, smoother, more compressed, and smaller sounding. The Green cuts way better, stands out better, and simply sounds bigger/more massive. The MKIV sounds like a bad AxeFx sim of the Green.

And prices are not going anywhere but up. This is just not with amps... same with guitars, pedals, any sort of gear... gas, auto parts, real estate, pretty much everything is going up, up, up. I won't comment on as to the obvious why.
Agreed, the IV’s sound good, but I’d easily take a III or IIC+ any day. The Green Stripe I used to have sounded great, one of the better III’s I’ve tried. Not sure why they tend to be less popular than other stripes. I bought it for $800 in 2011 and couldn’t sell it in 2015, so I traded it ultimately. Should’ve kept with the demand for it now. They used to be severely underrated, but now everyone seems to know they’re great. About time... Only took like 30 years for others to figure out
 

Wizard of Ozz

Well-known member
I agree with it being darker smoother and more compressed, that’s pretty much what I was describing. I didn’t find the mark iva to sound small next to the green though, all my other gear being used to test it being the same.

As for the price thing you may very well be right, the real final value of gear will probably continue to rise and I can’t really see the old marks going back down to anywhere near where they once were. Those were the golden years to try several of every mark amp haha


Yep. I pretty much tie all 3 of these descriptors together: darker, smoother, more compressed, less open/smaller sounding. It's like turning up the gain on an amp... or continuing to add multiple od or distortion pedals in front of a clean amp... the more distorted/processed or compressed the signal becomes... the less open and smaller sounding the amp gets. Some amps handle it better than others... but the MKIII Green vs MKIV was a stark difference to me.
 

Holy-diver

Active member
Yep. I pretty much tie all 3 of these descriptors together: darker, smoother, more compressed, less open/smaller sounding. It's like turning up the gain on an amp... or continuing to add multiple od or distortion pedals in front of a clean amp... the more distorted/processed or compressed the signal becomes... the less open and smaller sounding the amp gets. Some amps handle it better than others... but the MKIII Green vs MKIV was a stark difference to me.
I can pretty much agree with that. The more open, raw, brighter nature of the green vs the iv does have a lot of better qualities, but I also quite like the iv. Ultimately I prefer the older revisions of the mark iii to either of them anyways
 

Beyond Black

Well-known member
IMO the current Mark prices are closer to their actual worth, than when they were half the price. These are killer, vintage amps, with killer iron, that will destroy 90% of the new amps out there. Why should an old JMP or JCM800 command the prices they do, and these old Mesas shouldn’t? I’ll put these old beasts up against ANYTHING. The growl, harmonic content, feel, tone, percussiveness, and versatility of these amps is as good as anything, ever.
 

fretout

Member
Well, I’d have to say no. Yes, the Blue Stripes are the most pissed off of any of the stripes, but I wouldn’t describe them as harsh unless you’re running the presence super high.

Personally, i have 2 Blue Stripes: a Coliseum and a Simulclass. I run my treble on my Blue Stripe really high, since any setting after around 8, the treble starts to add grit to the tone. So, I typically run my treble around 8.25 or 9.5, so that I can fine tune the “grit” of the gain (if that makes sense). One other interesting trick you can try is to run the treble (or presence) at 0, and use the other controls to dial in a thick tone. It actually sounds surprisingly usable.

it would only get ice-picky if the Presence was run over 7.5. Then I could see the treble getting overly harsh, but you wouldn’t run it that high anyway, since it makes the tone have less balls.
 
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Holy-diver

Active member
Well, I’d have to say no. Yes, the Blue Stripes are the most pissed off of any of the stripes, but I wouldn’t describe them as harsh unless you’re running the presence super high.

Personally, i have 2 Blue Stripes: a Coliseum and a Simulclass. I run my treble on my Blue Stripe really high, since any setting after around 8, the treble starts to add grit to the tone. So, I typically run my treble around 8.25 or 9.5, so that I can fine tune the “grit” of the gain (if that makes sense). One other interesting trick you can try is to run the treble (or presence) at 0, and use the other controls to dial in a thick tone. It actually sounds surprisingly usable.

it would only get ice-picky if the Presence was run over 7.5. Then I could see the treble getting overly harsh, but you wouldn’t run it that high anyway, since it makes the tone have less balls.
My experience is anything over 3 with the presence is ice pick city, with other settings being close to what you described
 

fretout

Member
i always thought he used a black stripe/no stripe - at least on the WS recordings, since those were done 85-86?
Edit: I’m speaking straight from memory, so you may want to research Skyes rig, but I specifically remember his rig with Blue Stripe Coliseums. Keep in mind, the Blue Stripes existed in 1987, and I remember a few late 1986 examples, but I don’t have my pics readily available. There were also two different serial number “types” on the Coliseums. Most started with a “K”, while others followed the standard numerical serial numbers. I can remember what each meant though.

Now, if he had Coliseums prior to 1986, they would have to be another revision.

If I can find some time, I’ll see if I can track down the pics I had.
 

fretout

Member
My experience is anything over 3 with the presence is ice pick city, with other settings being close to what you described
Hahaha...ice pick city is not a fun place to be! I wonder if your presence pot was replaced at some point? Thankfully, I can run my pots in a more usable range, but I don’t goose them.
 

journeyman73

Active member
Edit: I’m speaking straight from memory, so you may want to research Skyes rig, but I specifically remember his rig with Blue Stripe Coliseums. Keep in mind, the Blue Stripes existed in 1987, and I remember a few late 1986 examples, but I don’t have my pics readily available. There were also two different serial number “types” on the Coliseums. Most started with a “K”, while others followed the standard numerical serial numbers. I can remember what each meant though.

Now, if he had Coliseums prior to 1986, they would have to be another revision.

If I can find some time, I’ll see if I can track down the pics I had.

i think ‘Drew’ posted on the forum that they were Black Stripe Coliseums, at least that’s what my recollection is
 

Holy-diver

Active member
Hahaha...ice pick city is not a fun place to be! I wonder if your presence pot was replaced at some point? Thankfully, I can run my pots in a more usable range, but I don’t goose them.
Maybe it’s just my ears but I haven’t run any of my mark iii over 5 on the presence, and the blue stripe probably had the most outrageous presence out of all of them. Maybe it’s my geq settings or I’m just tone deaf 😂
 

anomaly

Well-known member
Yeah... I'm going to have to strongly disagree with you there. The Green and Blue are my favorites of the bunch. I have 3 Greens and 4 Blues right now. Along with several original MKIIC++ HRGs & DRGs. Sold both of my MKIVs here on this forum about 2 years ago after comparing them side by side. The MKIV A/B is darker, smoother, more compressed, and smaller sounding. The Green cuts way better, stands out better, and simply sounds bigger/more massive. The MKIV sounds like a bad AxeFx sim of the Green.

And prices are not going anywhere but up. This is just not with amps... same with guitars, pedals, any sort of gear... gas, auto parts, real estate, pretty much everything is going up, up, up. I won't comment on as to the obvious why.
I disagree about the comparisons of the IV and III. I had a Mark III red stripe for years and while it was a great amp, there were frequencies in it that bothered me and caused ear fatigue, it was basically a bit harsh at band volumes. My Mark IVb on the other hand, while inherently a little darker has a more usable range on the presence control and can be dialed in nice and biting while not getting harsh at all. It's just a much better sounding amp to me, especially at band volumes. With the presence pushed it's a huge sounding amp, it does not sound small compared to the III's at all. Records way better too.
 

Holy-diver

Active member
IMO the current Mark prices are closer to their actual worth, than when they were half the price. These are killer, vintage amps, with killer iron, that will destroy 90% of the new amps out there. Why should an old JMP or JCM800 command the prices they do, and these old Mesas shouldn’t? I’ll put these old beasts up against ANYTHING. The growl, harmonic content, feel, tone, percussiveness, and versatility of these amps is as good as anything, ever.
This is also true
I disagree about the comparisons of the IV and III. I had a Mark III red stripe for years and while it was a great amp, there were frequencies in it that bothered me and caused ear fatigue, it was basically a bit harsh at band volumes. My Mark IVb on the other hand, while inherently a little darker has a more usable range on the presence control and can be dialed in nice and biting while not getting harsh at all. It's just a much better sounding amp to me, especially at band volumes. With the presence pushed it's a huge sounding amp, it does not sound small compared to the III's at all. Records way better too.
that’s kinda the difference I found with the iv, the presence on the iii is totally out of control while the smoother iv it’s actually a more usable control. The darker and smoother voice definitely is a bit more friendly, I dont know if I really think it’s better or worse but I want to get a ivb as one of my next amps
 

glassjaw7

Active member
The problem is that people are going fucking crazy atm with Marks and most Boogies. Not saying they're not worth it because they're well built and versatile. I just think it's a combination of pandemic, Gibson buyout, and partly due to some really good demos surfacing over the past year (Leon Todd, Blake Mansfield who makes everything sound amazing with a Suhr RL, haha, etc) with more people trying to get swiss-army amps that sound great at low volume. I remember saying a decade ago that a Mark was already basically the ideal "lunchbox" amp when that whole craze came around.

I had a love/hate relationship with my IV the entire 11 years I had it but when it was love, it was LOVE. Great amp. Like any other amps they have their quirks but there's something about the tightness and response of the Mark that is just so fun to play. I recently traded my IV for a Tremoverb which I'm loving. It sounds absolutely massive but definitely needs a boost unlike the Mark.

I'm not sure if these prices are here to stay or it's temporary because of people trying to hoard due to the above reasons I mentioned but I'd like to snag another one someday. At 2000+...eh, not so sure it's worth it. A year ago you could buy a mint IV for 1100 or so and that III the OP is looking at would've been 700-800. I honestly think that when people start playing out again they will be a little less in demand and the prices will go back down a bit. I guess we'll see. :)
 

rstites

Active member
IMO the current Mark prices are closer to their actual worth, than when they were half the price. These are killer, vintage amps, with killer iron, that will destroy 90% of the new amps out there. Why should an old JMP or JCM800 command the prices they do, and these old Mesas shouldn’t? I’ll put these old beasts up against ANYTHING. The growl, harmonic content, feel, tone, percussiveness, and versatility of these amps is as good as anything, ever.

They're closer to their value. Prices of older Mesas will go up after the sale of the company. Plus, those of us who grew up when the MkIII's were at their prime are now at the age to afford to such toys and enjoy them......and are at the earnings level to afford to pay silly prices for them - maybe not everyone but enough of us.
 
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