The Bass Strategy Eight:88 is the next step in the Mesa all-tube bass amp bloodline. Vastly improved tone, features, dial-ability, portability, packaging and control over the entire spectrum make the Strategy – and its little brother the Bass Prodigy Four:88 – an iconic step forward in bass amplification. With an all-new tube preamp, a 5-position rotary voice selector, the 9-band graphic equalizer, patented Multi-Watt 3-way selectable power, footswitchable solo and voice control (footswitch sold separately), a rear tuner output, and an all new, high output power section utilizing eight KT-88s – the Strategy is the big horsepower, big venue tube bass amp for the new millennium.
49 Pounds of Shapeable KT-88 Power
Custom-designed and handcrafted exclusively in Petaluma, California, the Bass Strategy weighs in at only 49 pounds, similar to Triple Rec head. Compact for a full size amp, dimensions for the metal chassis head are 7 7/16 inches in height, 18 7/8 inches in width and a depth of 13 3/16 inches.
Power in the Bass Strategy Eight:88 originates from an all tube power amp and preamp featuring 8 KT-88 power tubes & 3x12AX7 preamp tubes. It’s important to note that tube amps sound as loud as solid state amps rated at several times their power (wattage) rating. Plug in and compare – Amazing power, unmatched fat, enveloping tone and inspiring feel.
Tube Preamp with Powerful EQ Options
The Bass Strategy Eight:88 begins with bright, normal and active input select choices feeding an all-new tube preamp that borrows subsections from the Carbine hybrid architecture.
This preamp design allows increased control over a broad spectrum of frequencies and incorporates active bass and treble controls with increased shaping power, while retaining the sweet, musical blend of our traditional passive mid control. In addition to these we’ve included a reworked-for-tubes version of the Carbine's 5-position rotary voice feature that allows notching or enhancement of specific midrange regions in addition to bass and treble frequency boosting. The voice feature puts you instantly in iconic stylistic realms by providing the most musical bass guitar EQ curves as presets – from elastic, mid-scooped thumbing to articulate, mid-flat finger-style, to the classic metallic, scooped American pick sound – all with the simple twist of a knob. The ability to jump right to these classic “curves” makes re-voicing on the fly in performance situations a snap. It is also footswitchable (footswitch sold separately) and adds immensely to the Strategy’s versatility.
Once you’ve dialed-in a sound style with the tone controls and voice feature, the Strategy’s 9-band graphic equalizer is included for accurate fine-tuning. This inductor-based circuit is a tried and true, yet expanded carry-over from the Bass 400+, and has been an integral part of both our guitar and bass amplifiers for well over 40 years. The EQ is controlled by a mini toggle on the front panel and allows you to bring it on-line manually or via the EQ button on the optional Strategy footswitch or any tip-to-ground latching switch that is plugged into the EQ external switch jack located on the rear panel.
Ultimate Power Control with Multi-Watt
Control over the tone would be incomplete (at least in our minds) without control over the power as well. So the Strategy gives you three choices as to how to utilize the power section. As wattage ratings are often misleading and irrelevant to volume when it comes to describing tube power, the Strategy offers full, half and low power settings on the Multi-Watt switch.
Each of these choices has a distinct tonal color and persona, with full delivering the maximum punch, authority and headroom. Half can deliver some valuable and surprising mid to lower power applications for tube-driven bass while still offering plenty of volume for a lot of live situations. Low opens up many stylistic possibilities in the recording domain and may also work for some lower volume gigs. An important collection of vintage-inspired sounds await you here in half and low power, ranging from round and warm, to edgy, to clipped and growling – depending how you dish it out from the master. And best of all, all the sounds in half and low beg to be recorded.
A Mute/Play/Silent Record switch allows convenient front panel muting for instrument changes, silent tuning or recording, or any time where signal muting is needed. An Auto-Mute circuit is fitted to the speaker jacks to protect the transformer and power tubes if no speaker cable is connected (caution: this does NOT detect speaker load) and is indicated by the same front panel LED triggered by the mini-toggle Mute/Play/Silent Record switch (Red LED on = mute). The Silent Record setting allows you to safely mute the signal at the power amp and use the Strategy’s preamp (including processing in the effects loop) to record using the D.I. output without the need for a speaker cabinet.
The rear panel D.I. output signal can be derived from either pre (your instrument) or post (the entire preamp) with the front panel D.I. Switch. The D.I. output signal strength is controlled by the front panel D.I. level located at the far right side of the chassis next to the Solo control. The Strategy's D.I. output provides a standard XLR interface to mixing consoles for both live and recording environments.
Setting the Bias Is Fast & Easy - No Tech Required
This is a Mesa first – a pair of two position Set Bias switches and adjacent recessed trim pots reside on the rear tube deck labeled Operate and Set Bias . The Set-Bias position allows you to check and set the correct bias yourself, quickly and easily, when replacing power tubes. There’s no need to take the amp to a technician, as this bias method is completely user-serviceable!
- Wattage: Multi-Watt 465, 250 or 125 Tube-Watts (Selectable)
- Power Amp Type: Class A/B Tube Power - 8xKT88 Power Tubes
- Preamp: Vacuum Tube Preamp w/ 3x Mesa 12AX7
- EQ / Dynamics Control: Active Bass & Treble, Passive Mid, 5-Position Active Voice Switch and 9-Band Graphic EQ
- Footswitchable Functions: Voice, Graphic EQ, Solo, Mute FX Loop (Footswitch Sold Separately)
- Weight: 49 Lbs.
- Dimensions: 7 7/16" H x 18 7/8" W x 13 3/16" D
- Convection or Fan Cooling: Fan Cooled
- Instrument Input Options: 1x 1/4
- Preamp Details: All-Tube Preamp featuring Gain, Active Bass, Passive Mid, Active Treble, 5-Position Active Voice Switch, Assignable or Bypassable 9-Band Graphic EQ & Master Volume (See "Footswitch" in the Accessories Section for additional options to control Voice & 9-Band EQ and other features)
- Effects Loop: Fully Buffered FX Loop
- Solo Level Control: Footswitchable Solo Control - REQUIRES OPTIONAL FOOTSWITCH, SOLD SEPARATELY (See "Footswitch" in the Accessories Section for more information)
- Direct Line Output (DI): Balanced XLR Line Output with Pre/Post Switch, Level Control (front panel) & Ground Lift (back panel)
- Tuner Output / Mute: Tuner Output (back panel) with Play/Mute Switch (front panel) - See "Footswitch" in the Accessories Section for additional options
- External Switching: Jack Options External Switching Jacks for Voice, EQ, Solo, Tuner Mute & FX Loop
- Speaker Outputs: 5x 1/4
- Slave Output: Yes with Level Control