Mesa Boogie V-Twin


Once upon a time I got myself one of these monsters, possibly for the look, as it was covered in thick diamond plate, and looks like it can withstand a drop from the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

What made me keep it was the sound. As a devotee to the cleans that only a Roland JC-120 could deliver at the time, I was, because of some bad transformer experience, not a tube amp guy, and to this day I'll testify to the JC's reliability and durability.

I did feel like I should have a proper blues sound.

Not that I played blues. Never did. Maybe a classic rock sounding tone? I suppose so. In any event, I got this beautiful pedal, plugged it into the JC, and watched my jaw hit the floor.

I wasn't sure what to expect from it, as I've only used a few other pedals that were distortion, and I don't think I realized that what I had wasn't a distortion pedal, but a preamp.

The clean, with the JC gave it an astounding presence, something of which I hadn't heard previously on my rig.

I could switch this out with the bypass to get the super, almost sterile clean of the JC instantly.

Then there was the blue channel. I call it the blue channel because it's a blue LED, and I suppose it's the medium gain channel. My favorite of all the settings on this pedal. It picks up where the clean leaves off, with just a touch more of an almost Stevie Ray wailing lead, searing tone without loss of Tone. Amazing!

The red channel is what I came to find out is the classic Mesa power soaked channel. It's my least used ever feature, as that was just not my bag, baby, but if you have a hankering for that sound, it delivers in spades.

Did I mention that I recorded with it? Yep, had a band in the late 80's to the mid 90s and we did an EP. I used the V-twin directly into the board, using the monitors when feedback was called for. We loved the sound it put out.


Eventually, I came around to tube amps again, and this sits on my shelf more and more, but it's a fantastic pedal, and I might have to keep this one a bit longer.


Here's an example of how it sounds directly into the board with a 1964 Firebird (Gibson) , some pointy guitar with a floating trem in it, and my Franken-Rally in the end parts.


Man, 'at'ere's a BOATLOAD of gain. Whoosh. Love the sonic apocalypse at the end!

A classic pedal. Should I buy it from you?


It's up for trade, at least in part, for a certain Persian Sand colored guitar!


I bought one new, I still have the manual kicking around. There were a few versions made, mine had a screw pot on the bottom under a plate where you could adjust the clean gain or have it toggle between blues and high gain.

It was my sound for a few years, that into a Super Reverb. Off->Blues->High Gain.

I bought it from Gordon Price/Mother’s Music, which wasn’t my preferred store at the time. I was determined that it shouldn’t colour the clean sound in any way, and it wasn’t true-bypass, so I sat there in the store with my amp, switching the cable from the pedal, off, to my amp for about half an hour until I was satisfied it was transparent.

It is one of only a few distortions where you can, at full gain, hear the difference between a 9, a 7b9 and a 7#9.

My only quibble is that it has what I consider the Mesa-Boogie sound, the high and lows are rolled off, and no amount of EQing will get them back.

I have wished I had kept the V-Twin when my guitar teacher was looking to practice with headphones, it would have been perfect for him, although that never really worked for me without reverb. I have a Torpedo CAB-M these days that would pair with it nicely.

As with the JC-120, a pedal like that really does a lot for old clean solid-state amps. I’ve heard a Peavey 200 [Standard maybe?] sound fantastic.

I got zapped a few times, concrete floor, poor wiring, stocking feet. I think the solution was to make sure the pedal was on the same circuit as the amp, or maybe it was to spin the transformer around, or maybe it was the zap switch [but I think that was gone from my amp already]. I couldn’t bring myself to touch the pedal, the very brave bass player had to try it first.

There’s one available on the local Facebook group. I’m not on Facebook.


Yeah, hammerhands, that's exactly why I stayed off the red channel.

It reminded me of Larry Carlton on Steely Dan's records, and I was far far away from that.


It's up for trade, at least in part, for a certain Persian Sand colored guitar!

Well...that ain't hapnin' right now!


It's up for trade, at least in part, for a certain Persian Sand colored guitar!

Well...that ain't hapnin' right now!

– Proteus

I'm a patient man, in some respects...


I wanted one of these really bad a long time ago. Didn’t have the scratch so just built one.

All analog point to point construction. Two tubes, four gain stages, true bypass, full BF tone stack and a toroid power supply. Makes a Strat sound like a LP on steroids.

I still want one of those Mesa V twins though.


That's way cool, Powdog!

How's that sound?


For tube preamp/overdrive pedals my fave (I still have one) is the Badcat Two-tone. It's pretty much a Matchless Hotbox with true bypass and a "clean channel" and a bigger power transformer, so it has better headroom. Two 12ax7s running at true amp voltages give you a clear, full beautiful tube overdrive. It does the clean to dirty thing brilliantly. I keep bass and treble at around 9.00 to let the mids through and get one of the best Gretsch OD tones... I used to run it via a delay pedal into a Super Reverb as my gigging sound. I would still use it if needed.

It's less coloured than the Mesa and does the low-gain thing better, plus runs off mains voltage. Probably not as good for really high gain stuff but that's not what I do anyway. I run gain at around 9.00 also. Plus it keeps your low end tighter which is great for a Gretsch. It's basically a Vox top-boost preamp in a box - but I think it sounds better than a Vox.

Register Sign in to join the conversation