Any love for the Lonestar Special?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by vendo, May 22, 2006.


  1. vendo

    vendo Member

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    I have a Traynor Custom Valve 50 that I'm finding is too loud for my needs right now. I'm looking for a bluesy amp I can push at home and studio levels.

    The Lonestar Special looks intriguing and appears to have tons of tone options and power levels too. I don't see alot of discussion about them though. Anyone have one? Care to share your thoughts on it? There isn't a Mesa dealer within 4 hours of me so I really have only had a few minutes with one about a year ago.

    I'd like to gather some info about it before the summer when I head off to trade in my Traynor for something more practical. (And yes, I've read the owner's manual at least 5 times...)

    Thanks!
     
  2. brianf

    brianf Member

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    I have one. I have had it for about 6 months. a 1 x 12 combo. It gets lots of home use but must be miked if you are gigging to a 50+ person type of club.

    At the clean 30 watt setting there is not as much headroom as you would think. You think of a 4 x el84 vox being earbleed loud before it breaks up. No so with the LSS It crunches up much sooner.

    The 5 watt setting is a blast.

    This amp likes single coils better than buckers for sure.

    I would buy another if I had to. The ultimate home amp.

    brianf
     
  3. slotools

    slotools Supporting Member

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    I auditioned one at a music store- thought it was OK, I purchased a dead mint preowned LS special 1x12- H-A-T-E-D IT! I could not gig with it-
    if you want el 84 goodness cheap, buy a ac30cc, or for a little more, a bad cat, or my current fave,the amazing tophat club Royale with master volume, or that cool tophat 16 and get a great 2x12 cab. For 1699.99 the Lonestar speacial is not cheap either.
     
  4. vendo

    vendo Member

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    Have either of you guys compared it to a Univalve? That one seems to at least off the same tube complement and ability to dial down the wattage...
     
  5. stump

    stump Member

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    I have the Univalve and think it's great. You'll need an adaptor to run an EL84 in it. You can run most power and preamp tubes in it and can get a variety of sounds. At 15 watts it is loud. The attenuator in it works ok, but I find that using lower wattage output tubes or external attenuator sounds better. It takes pedals real well too. If you decide to get one Dave at Avatar Speakers has great prices on them.
     
  6. brianf

    brianf Member

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    Never tried a Univalve.

    I bought mine because I'm a Boogie nut. Bought 3 new ones last year alone.
    Roadking Head with recto 2 x 12 cab. Widebody Mark IV with Bubinga cab and I needed a low wattage amp so bought the Lonestar Special. Not everyones cup of tea.

    brianf
     
  7. Gear91

    Gear91 Supporting Member

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    I have tried (and owned) too many amps. I tried the lonestar and was not that impressed.
     
  8. pjrhd28

    pjrhd28 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a Vibro King, a 1 x 12 LSS, a Victoria Victorilux, and a Roadking head with the Boogie 2 x 12 3/4 cab.

    The V-lux and the Vibro King both need a pedal (Ibanez TS) based on the places I play; they just won't start to break up at low enough volumes. They are, IMHO, "two trick ponies". Great Clean, and one good overdriven tone, generated with the pedal. I'm considering an attenuator for the Vicky because none of the amps I own can replicate that break up and I really like it.

    I don't take the RK out much (but I should); channels 1 and 2 are truly amazing.

    Why all this info? Because if I could have only one amp (for the money) , it would be the LSS.

    Seperate reverb for each channel (along with the two different kinds of reverb), two completely different tones out of the two channels, and that slick solo function. Recently, I've been using just channel one without the footswitch and its perfect with a Les Paul- set the gain at about 1:00 and you're basically "plug and play".

    The clean headroom pointed out by brianf might be an issue; my experience is that it will not stay totally clean at the same volumes as my Vicky or the VK; but its close enough and I rarely need that level of perfectly clean headroom.

    They ain't cheap but I don't think their unreasonable in terms of competing products; based on E-bay, they seem to hold their values fairly well.
     
  9. brianf

    brianf Member

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    I forgot to add that. Mesa is not known for great reverb but the LSS does the job nicely. You can almost get that Fender Surf sound out of it.

    brianf
     
  10. brianf

    brianf Member

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    Now that is a guitar amp!!!!!


    brianf
     
  11. PlexiFuzz

    PlexiFuzz I know karate. Voodoo, too.

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    The LSS (1 x 12 combo) is my primary amp. I can't speak to gigging volumes or the associated headroom, but for my purposes (at-home playing and jamming with friends) it is perfect. I auditioned---either in music stores or through buying on approval---many, many amps before settling on the LSS. For me, it was the perfect fit.

    I can get anything from clean jazz tones to edge of breakup blues and roots rock tones, all the way to AC/DC or Cult (Electric album) level crunch. I've heard that some folks find Channel 2 muddy and unusable, but that has not been my experience. I find the amp to pair well with my JV Strat, my R8 Les Paul, and when I stick a Tonebone Hot British in front of it, it kills with my Hot Rod Flame Charvel.

    Oh, and I should add (though it might undermine my credibility a bit) that I just snagged a Digitech GNX3000 that I've been running through the effects loop and it sounds great with the LSS.

    BAN
     
  12. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    I wanted to love it based on the specs I had read, but I couldn't get into the sound of it. Then again, not many amps come across in a music store with a guitar off the wall.

    For the EL84 thing that I was after I ended up with a used Tophat Club Royale and that was a much cooler amp with a great functional master volume.
     
  13. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    I've gigged with the 100 watt version and test driven the newer EL84 equipped version at the guitar shop. Nice amps!

    If I didn't already have a Mesa Blue Angel (which you might want to look into -- and no mine isn't for sale ;) ) I'd buy a Lone Star Special.
     
  14. pjrhd28

    pjrhd28 Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks brianf. It is amazing--but it has more clean headroom than I was hoping for; I was hoping it would break up sooner (that's why I use the pedal).

    The cleans are oustanding- the bass response is much, much better than the VK.

    I also didn't realize just how "dirty" it gets when its wide open; its very ZZ Top once the volume gets past 10 or so (it goes to 12).
     
  15. brianf

    brianf Member

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    Part of the reason is when people try these out they tend to start off with the suggested Mesa Sample Settings.

    All the LSS samples have the treble below 12:00 oclock. These amps need the treble in the 1:00 to 3:00 position.


    brianf
     
  16. vendo

    vendo Member

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    That's interesting because that's my plan for my next amp. I've had it with pedals for tone chasing. PODs and the GNX seem to be the way to go for me. My tastes are too diverse to own just a handful of pedals. Will the LSS do metal with the GNX? Tried a metal pedal with it? Once in a while I like to fool around with some palm muted death metal. I know this is not what the LSS is made for...
     
  17. PlexiFuzz

    PlexiFuzz I know karate. Voodoo, too.

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    Agreed on the treble above 1:00.

    Not to hijack the thread, but regarding the GNX, I think it's great for certain applications. I haven't given up on my pedals, but the GNX is a lot of fun. I run it straight into the effects return and I think it sounds phenomenal---best amps sims I've heard. I'm also planning on spending a lot of time recording with it. It comes with some decent recording software that I'm just getting into. I'm not the biggest death metal player, but I get some really nice heavy palm muted distortions with the GNX through the LSS.

    BAN
     
  18. vendo

    vendo Member

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    That sounds like what I'm looking to do. I still have a few fave pedals that I'll always have but the GNX is quite the powerful unit. I'll have to decide between that and a PODXT Live but as it stands, the drum tracks, and Learn a Lick function are bonuses. I'm glad to hear it sounds good throught the LSS. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
     
  19. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    They're completely different. There's no comparison at all. Different design, different features, different tubes. Not even close.
     
  20. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I spent about an hour in a music store with a Lonestar Special. I wanted to like it but just couldn't. It's easily loud enough for band use. Even the 5 watt setting was pretty loud. It's clean sound and just breaking up sounds were good. If you're looking for that just on the edge of breaking up blues sound, they're a decent, but expensive choice. I found the distortion really lacking. It sounded distorted, but in a bad, raspy way. If you only want low gain sounds they're okay. For higher gain, look at the Mesa F series instead. Their cleans are just as good and the distortion is much better.
     

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