We asked MESA Artist Jamie Humphries to create a series of videos showcasing the versatility of our Fillmore Series of amplifiers. We've nicknamed Jamie "The Chameleon" as he has the ability to seamlessly transition between styles of music, craft songs in specific genres, and share his approach to putting them together. In these videos, he'll take the Fillmore 50 from Clean to Grind, play the Blues, Country, Classic and Hard Rock. Following each playthrough, Jamie discusses settings and exactly how he achieved the tones he’s getting from the Fillmore 50, dissecting the key sections.
Part One – Clean to Grind
In this first video, Jamie runs through a John Mayer, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson inspired funk/fusion track he has written to showcase a range of clean tones available from the Fillmore 50, from clean on through to grind. The verse features a John Mayer inspired riff, that uses a tight focused clean tone performed with pick and fingers for a percussive snappy tone. In contrast, the chorus includes some rich Vai-esque style chords and Hendrix inspired double stops. For the middle section, Jamie looked to Eric Johnson for inspiration with some open voiced triads performed with a brighter clean tone showcasing the Fillmore’s lush rich reverb. The solo was inspired by blues and fusion style lines and makes use of a slightly pushed tone adding a slight “bite” to the tone. For the outro, a tight funk rhythm part performed with a mildly scooped, rich clean tone.
Part Two – Blues Infused
Here Jamie runs through a slow blues piece he has written inspired by such artists as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Gales, Joe Bonamassa, and Richie Kotzen, showcasing a wide variety of tones available from the Fillmore 50 combo.
This track uses pushed clean tone to fully driven gain and everything in between but specifically focuses in on using a single coil loaded guitar for classic blues style tones. The intro includes a Hendrix inspired figure using double stops and chord embellishments with a mild overdrive tone. This section demonstrates the clarity and definition of the Fillmore 50 when playing intricate rhythm parts with overdrive. In contrast to the intro, the verse drops down in dynamics and features a mildly pushed clean tone, again using the neck single coil. This tone is rich and full-bodied, with a “bloom” to the tone of each note of the melody, helped by the Fillmore’s lush spring reverb. This delicate tone really reaches to the subtle nuances of the player, as well as the slightest change to the guitar's controls; a very organic/musical tone. The pre-chorus sees the gain and midrange being increased, and with the guitar switched to the middle single coil, adds bite and definition to each note. This tone was inspired by the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Even with the increased gain, you can hear the attack of each note, with plenty of sustain on held notes. The chorus lifts up further both dynamically, and with the choice of chords for the progression. Here we have more gain added, but with the midrange cut slightly, and the use of the neck single-coil, the melody sits back slightly, giving a rich soulful tone; great for sustained notes and runs alike. The outro solo includes a very driven tone but shows how the definition of the note remains intact, even when the amp is pushed hard. This section uses the bridge single-coil, with the midrange pushed, and plenty of reverb, for that old school bluesy midrange “honk”.
Part Three – Country
For this video Jamie takes us to Nashville with an up-tempo country style track he has written inspired by such artists as Brad Paisley, Brent Mason and Keith Urban, showcasing a wide variety of tones available from the Fillmore 50 combo. This track uses pristine clean, as well as pushed clean and driven country lead tones, but specifically focuses in on using the bridge single coil of a vintage Fender Telecaster. This track shows how the Fillmore will achieve authentic vibrant country cleans, to rich full-bodied modern country lead tones, with such an iconic guitar that’s so widely associated with Country players.
The main riff includes a Brad Paisley inspired part based around a hybrid picking figure that uses a pushed clean tone. This had a little grit to the clean tone, the amp was set to half power with the gain pushed, so even though the clean channel is being used the amp would break up slightly depending on how hard the guitar is played. This tone has an upper-mid “honk” rather than a bright tone, but at the same time, the tone has weight and depth thanks to the perfectly voiced Fillmore bass controls. This tone really brings the guitar alive, with rich low end, perfectly positioned mid-range, and a top end “sheen” that’s not brittle or piercing. This tone should appeal to the traditional country guitarist, rich in tone and dynamic and responsive to the player's individual touch.
The second verse demonstrates how well the Fillmore 50 performs when dealing in a pristine clean tone, which is a workhorse tone for many country players. This time the amp was set to full power, with the gain lowered demonstrating the extent of the Fillmore 50’s clean headroom. Once again the tone is full-bodied and rich, with a pronounced upper mid-range. While using the bridge pickup of the Tele the classic country “twang” has been achieved, yet the Fillmore 50’s nicely voiced treble and presence controls refrain from sounding harsh and add a top-end that sits perfectly in the track. The tone has been enhanced with the rich, warm swell of the Fillmore 50’s spring reverb, great for those cascading open string licks and pedal steel style bends.
The third tone utilizes the “Drive” switch, producing a Brad Paisley slightly driven country tone. While still retaining the upper mid “honk” and classic country “twang” this tone has weight to it, and with a mild amount of gain the intricate country open string licks and lines are pronounced, jumping out of the mix, while held notes and string bends are rich in sustain. This is a great tone for adding a slight “edge” to your sound, introducing plenty of fire and excitement to a country solo.
The final tone features a more modern country/rock inspired tone similar to what you may hear on a Keith Urban track. Still on the “Drive” setting and on half power, the gain has been pushed, with the mid and treble pulled back. Even with the bridge pickup of the Tele, the sound is incredibly rich, with plenty of pick attack on the front end of the note. Although the gain is pushed up high, there is separation between the notes, which is apparent during the opening descending lick performed against an open top string. With the treble backed off of this slightly darker lead tone the character of the Tele is still retained, producing a very inspiring and musical lead tone for the modern country/rock guitarist.
Part Four – Classic Rock
In this video Jamie Humphries runs through a 70’s inspired Classic Rock style track inspired by such artists as Cry of Love, The Black Crowes, The Rolling Stone, Led Zeppelin as well as other bands from this genre, showcasing a wide variety of tones available from the Fillmore 50 combo. This track focuses on driven tones using both the “Drive” and “Hi” modes on the two channels. Several different guitars have been used showcasing both humbucker and single coil driven tones, as well as open G tuning, 12 string, and slide parts. This track perfectly showcases how versatile the Fillmore is within a classic rock context, producing mildly driven, to higher gain tones.
The main riff is in open G tuning reminiscent of the Black Crowes and the Rolling Stones. This tone uses a single coil setting on the guitar, with a mild overdrive that produces both punch as well as allowing the characteristics of the open tuning to be heard, with the notes of the open-tuned chords and riffs remaining audible and clean. Although this tone required clarity and top-end presence, the bass control of the Fillmore 50 adds weight and depth to the tone, while the mid-range control helps the tone find its space in the mix.
The second tone uses the same settings as the first tone but utilizes a humbucker pickup selection as opposed to the single-coil heard in the opening section of the track. Once again this section makes use of the open G tuning and serves as a great comparison of how a tone will react to the thicker higher output of the humbucker. From a music standpoint, the idea was to also sonically lift this section of the song without dramatically changing the tone. You can hear the amp being pushed slightly harder producing more gain, yet there is clarity in the chord voicing’s, with separation between the notes.
The third tone makes use of a 12 string electric guitar in open G tuning and has a firm nod towards Led Zeppelin guitar legend Jimmy Page. This tone required less gain, due to the nature of the 12 string, as well as pulling out some mid-range to enable the tone to sit in the mix. The bass was pulled back slightly while the treble and presence were mildly pushed to produced a “jangly” scooped tone. The bridge humbucker was used to allow some mild break up, but with the lower gain setting it’s possible to see how well-voiced the gain control sweep is, achieving mildly pushed tones with ease.
Tone four was back to the open G guitar for some slide licks that can be heard at various points in the track, loosely referencing the style of Joe Walsh. For this tone the guitar was using two single-coil pickups running in series, performing with either pick or fingers depending on the section. Set to the “Drive” mode the gain was pushed up but not saturated, giving plenty of sustain, while the bass was pulled back and the mid-range, treble, and presence were pushed. The reverb was also increased helping the notes blend together with an organic ambie nce.
Tone five, the final tone, and it was time for some good old classic British inspired gain for the main solo. A standard tuned guitar with low output pickups was used for the solo, with the Fillmore set to the “Hi” mode for increased gain and punch. The gain was pushed quite high for the solo, for plenty of sustain, aiding bends, and fluid lines. The treble and mid were pulled back while the bass was pushed to give a thick woody lead tone. The presence was pushed slightly for some “sheen” to the tone, while the reverb was pulled back to keep the lead tone direct and focused. While this is a thick gain soaked sound you can really hear the tone of the guitar, with the perfectly voiced gain and EQ controls producing clarity, punch, and dynamics.
Part Five – Hard Rock
In the final video, Jamie runs through an 80’s style Hard Rock track inspired by Edward Van Halen, showcasing medium to high gain tones available from the Fillmore 50 combo. This track focuses on higher gain using both the “Drive” and “Hi” modes on the two channels. This track was recorded and performed on an early 90’s Music Man EVH signature model, with medium output custom EVH DiMarzio pickup’s, for that classic “Brown Sound”. This track also showcases how the Fillmore 50 handles pedals and features an MXR EVH Flanger and Phaser.
The first tone is our main driven rhythm tone that is featured throughout this performance. This tone has a thick, tight low end, for plenty of thump, with the mid-range boosted to achieve that familiar mid-boost heard in Eddie’s legendary tone. The treble and presence are pushed to achieve some top-end bite, helping this thick tone cut through in the mix. The DRIVE mode is being used in this tone. The EVH Flanger is also used on occasions with this first tone.
The second tone features a similar EQ setting to our first tone, with the bass rolled off slightly, and also features a slightly lower gain setting. This tone is used during the verse, for a tight palm-muted “Van Halen 1” inspired chord arpeggio riff, referencing the classic Eddie tone.
Our third tone can be heard during the “post solo” break down, which features atmospheric “topped” harmonic chords. This tone has the gain backed off, for a slightly pushed tone, with the reverb dialed in for some ambience. The bass was rolled off while the mid was pushed to aid the performance of tapped harmonics. This tone was also used for a second “recorded” guitar part using the EVH Phase 90.
The fourth tone uses the “HI” mode, with the gain fully pushed for a smooth yet aggressive distortion, ideal for flowing legato and tapping lines, as well as tapped harmonics. The bass is dialed in to produce a rich low end, while the mid and presence were pushed to allow the tone to cut through the mix. Although the gain is fully pushed, the sound remains dynamic and defined. The EVH Phase 90 was used during the first half of the main solo and during the outro licks.
The Fillmore Family of Amplifiers
A Fillmore™ is not just another Boogie®… it’s a different strand of Boogie DNA. with the molecules that make up this soulful sounding series a revisiting of MESA's earliest roots. At the heart and soul of a Fillmore, you'll discover our most expressive gain ever presented in a simple 2 Channel, 3-Mode platform, served up in traditional combo and head formats along with a series of vintage-tuned Fillmore enclosures that feature a higher, tighter Bass response perfectly suited for to these amplifiers' tones.
While the Fillmore™ amplifiers share the same preamp, controls, and speakers, these amps differ in power tube types or the number of power tubes available to use and, cabinet sizes. With each amp you can easily dial the gain to taste between the three modes to deliver a wide range of authentic vintage-inspired Tones from sparkling cleans, subtle clip and drive, singing and sustaining single note solo sounds, and classic crunch and grinding rock rhythm gain.
The Fillmore™ 25 is the smaller and more compact of the family. It employs a pair of 6V6 power tubes for an amazing threshold of clip and classic 6V6 grit and growl. The Fillmore 25 Combo is housed in the classic Boogie 1x12 combo-sized cabinet, which offers a bit of an upper midrange bump that cuts through a mix in gigging situations.
Despite using the same Celestion Custom 90 speaker, the Fillmore™ 50 with its slightly larger size, pair of 6L6 power tubes, and larger transformers offers more low-end width and a bit more punch, than its smaller sibling. For many players this amp sits right in the pocket, providing the perfect amount of headroom for the venues they play with its 50/25-Watt Global Power Switch.
The Fillmore™ 100 reminds us what truly huge Tone is all about and offers even more. More Power Tubes (four 6L6s) and even more iron in its larger transformers provide more dynamic nuance, more exciting snap in the perfect frequencies, a gorgeous attack envelope, increased dimensional width, headroom, and better tracking of low frequencies. And, it is still housed within cabinets the same size as the Fillmore 50. The Fillmore 100’s Power Reduction Switch provides HALF and LOW Power settings to ensure you’ll always be able to match your power curve to preamp sound style or venue. This amp excels not just anywhere it's lower power siblings fit, but anywhere big magic is desired.
The Fillmore Family of amplifiers offers players a wide variety of tones in easy to use, fun to gig formats that'll provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Please visit our product listings for more information or contact us with any questions you may have.