Maury's Music is known for Martin & Blueridge acoustics (and for good reason) but Maury plays electric guitar too. On any given night, more than half the time he's onstage he's playing his Fender Strat or a Reverend guitar - and although his guitar of choice might sometimes change, his amp is always Mesa/Boogie. We honestly feel that Boogies are the Martin Guitars of tube amps. One of the most popular series is the fabled Mesa/Boogie Rectifier series of handmade amplifiers from Petaluma, California.
Mesa/Boogie guitar amps can generally be divided into 4 series. The Mark series, The Lonestar series, The Express Series and the Rectifiers. While they all posess that overal Mesa tone and feel, each series has a characteristic that separates it from the others, especially when it comes to overdrive and gainier tones. The Rectifier isn't the oldest, but it certainly has the baddest attitude.
What IS the Rectifier sound?
The Rectifier is most famously known as the backbone behind early 90's metal. There's a signature buzzsaw quality about the Rectifiers that just isn't at all polite. It's an immediate, nasty, cut-through-the-mix tone that handles an aggressive style very well. That said, it is not a one-trick pony. Carefully dialing down the gain can cop some very sweet rock tones. For every heavy metal/hard rock anthem that you aim for, there's a Black Crowes tune hiding in there as well - and even some fat, clean funk.
Where have I heard this before?
You're and individual, and probably searching for your own signature sound, and that's the right idea. But somewhere along the way, someone else's tone & playing has no doubt inspired you. If you're wondering if you're already a fan of the Mesa/Boogie rectifier - maybe you are. Some classic artists who employ the Recto tone are listed here, and the wide variety shouldn't come as a surprise. Mesas are very versatile amplifiers.
James Hetfield & Kirk Hammet - Metallica
Peter Stroud- Sheryl Crow
Dave Grohl - Foo Fighters
Jerry Flowers - Keith Urban
Ben Mauro - Lionel Richie
Adam Levine - Maroon 5
Tim Reynolds - Dave Matthews Band
Which Rectfifer is right for me?
Now you want a Rectifier - but which one? Well, more than one will likely work for you, but here's where it pays to be practical. Years ago everyone may have wanted the biggest & loudest, and for some players that might still apply. But there's a trend happening where many manufacturers are finding ways to give us big tone in small packages, and Mesa/Boogie is no exception.
I play lots of small bars & restaurants, so I don't need more than 25 watts... and even on occasion when I am on a big stage in a hall that holds 2000, the FOH engineers won't allow me to turn my 100-watt Lonestar up where I want it. 50-100 watts is a nice thing to have, especially if you like a ton of clean headroom. Heck, you can even go all the way to 150 watts with the Triple Rec! But you should know: most of the great tones in a tube amp come from the power tubes - not the preamp tubes. Turning the master volume up on a 25-watt tube amp sounds more musical and dynamic than riding the output of a 100-watter down low. If you can get the output section to breathe- that's where the sweet spot is. Unless you're playing festivals, any 25-watt Mesa will do great for you. I wouldn't be surprised if you switch down to 5 watts and find even more appropriate levels, especially for bedroom level woodshedding.
If you're counting on playing mostly at home, the Mini Rectifier 25 is a great choice. If you prefer a combo, the Recto-Verb 25 is the same great tone, with reverb. I'd suggest going up to the Dual Rectifier if you're a working musician and you want to be sure you won't run out of clean headroom onstage. The Mini Rec and ROV 25 have ample output on the drive channel, but on some very loud stages, you might get some unwanted clip from the clean channel. Some drummers leave us no choice but to bring 50+ watts. #notyourfault
In summary, when it come to choosing the right Mesa/Boogie, the Rectifier series is an almost obvoius choice for hard rock & metal tones. Dialing the gain backwards can cop some really authentic "roots rock" and you should surely resist the idea that this is just for aggressive styles ... it's far more versatile than that.
But that's just my opinion. What do YOU think of the Rectifiers? Post your comments below.