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Mesa/Boogie puts vintage U.S. tube amp tones back on the menu with new 20W California Tweed 6V6 2:20 lineup

Mesa/Boogie California Tweed 2:20
(Image credit: Mesa/Boogie )

Mesa/Boogie has expanded its California Tweed series with a 20-watt version of its super-popular single-channel tube amp. The California Tweed 6V6 2:20 is available as a 1x10 or 1x12 combo, or as an amp head. 

Like its larger 40-watt sibling, the 4:40, California Tweed 2:20 offers today’s player a genuine taste of 1950s Fender tweed amp tone, albeit a more practical one, with switchable power-scaling making it suitable for a host of playing situations, and a tube-buffered effects loop to painlessly incorporate your pedalboard.

Part of the appeal here is the simplicity of the design. The front panel houses dual inputs, with controls for treble, middle, bass, bass, presence and master volume, and a Multi-Watt switch that allows you to run that amp at full power, half power and at a single watt. 

Around the back you’ll find a dial for the tube-driven spring reverb alongside 8-ohm and 4-ohm speaker outputs, the effects loop, and a footswitch input for the reverb. Otherwise, it's a plug in and play amplifier, and, if it's anything like the 40-watt version, it is a gateway to some of the finest modern reproductions of tweed tone that money can buy.

There are a pair of 6V6 tubes in the power amp, with five 12AX7s and a 12AT7 in the preamp. This being a Mesa amp, there is some clever business going on under the hood; when you touch that Multi-Watt dial, the California Tweed 2:20 puts Mesa’s Duo-Class and Dyna-Watt technologies at work to offer players three distinct power levels and wiring options, and two operating classes from one dial. 

At 20-watts, the amp is running its 6V6 pairing as Class A/B pentode fixed bias. At 10-watts, the 6V6s are running Class A/B Triode fixed bias, while at 1-watt the amp is running as a single-ended Class A amp with one 6V6 in cathode bias mode. This isn’t a simple case of attenuation, but rest assured it's all very easy to use. Furthermore, it gives players options beyond output volume.

In each mode, the amp will respond and feel a little differently. That was part of the magic of the original California Tweed 4:40, which offered five different power modes. So think of it as a single-channel amp with three different characters. 

In the combos, that power is driving a 12” and 10” Alnico Blackbird speaker respectively. The cabinets constructed of marine grade baltic birch.

The California Tweed 6V6 2:20 is available now, with the 1x12 combo priced $2,099, the 1x10 $1,999, and the head $1,849. See Mesa/Boogie for more details.

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Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.