Ghia comparisons

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Boogie92801, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. Boogie92801

    Boogie92801 Member

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    I have been searching for a low(er) wattage head.

    Last night I played a matchless lightning for about four hours. It took me a bit to find some sweet spots on the eq but eventually it gave up some incredible tone with my LP and my Strat. It had to be pretty loud to really appreciate it but I was pleasantly rewarded.

    How does the Ghia compare? I don't really want as much head room as the Lightning (I have fenders for that), but it want tight bass and definition not flab or mud.

    How does the Ghia compare to an 18 watter, a Lightning or a tweed deluxe? Volume and head room wise?
     
  2. Boogie92801

    Boogie92801 Member

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    :confused: bump?:(

    As many Ghia lovers as there are here I thought you guys would set me stright.
     
  3. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    The problem is that you have to find someone who's played all three.

    I've played a Tweed Deluxe, heard a Lightning, but never played one and have never even seen a Ghia in the flesh. I've been around a bit too.

    Best, Pete.
     
  4. raz

    raz Member

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    Well, I was waiting for the really expert guys to kick in. But here's how I see it:

    If by '18 Watter' you mean a clone of the Marshall 1974/Watkins Dominator: My GDS is an 18 Watt clone and it seems to be considerably louder. The 18 Watt also has the four inputs each of which are a bit different and offer more variety than the Ghia.

    Neither the 18W nor the Ghia get much flabby in the bottom. In fact, with my Z-Best 2x12 the Ghia's bottom end is Solid with a capital 'S'. Not what I'd call tight, but far from flabby or farty. Call it voluptuous.

    As for headroom, neither of these are big headroom amps. They're meant to slip into sweet breakup without blowing out your windows. That doesn't mean they're quiet. It just means they get into saturation before they get to brain-melting volume. The Ghia gets to singing about 11:00 on the dial. At 2:00 she's snarling like a woman scorned (a damned sexy woman though).

    The 18Watt is more responsive to how you stroke it. I set mine with volume and tone pointing straight up. From there I can get it to purr if I touch it gently, and scream if I dig in. I've never owned an amp that did that kind of thing better than the GDS. And the GDS sounds nicer slamming chords.

    The Ghia has a sweeter tone, overall, than the 18W, but it is a bit harsher in the high end. I don't notice the harshness with the band, but by itself it's definitely there. A friend of mine with good ears and more electronics knowledge than I says he hears a triangle wave in the high end. He just flat hates the Ghia. I don't, but I hear what he's referring to.

    The 18Watt is a ballsier amp, throatier, more aggressive. The 18W has that Marshallesque midrange voice, but it is unequivocally NOT a low-watt Plexi or JCM. It's a different animal.

    I've played Tweed Deluxes but never lived with one. The Ghia is the more tweed-like amp overall. Both will snarl in a very tweedlike way if they're cranked wide open. But all things considered, the 18 Watt owes more to Vox than Fenders of any kind.

    I like the GDS better and use it more, but the Ghia is so damned cute that I haven't been able to give it up.

    Both are superb amps, and the Ghia is a spectacular value, dollar for dollar and pound for pound.

    That's my take, anyway.

    Sorry, haven't used a lightning.

    R
    A
    Z
     
  5. Boogie92801

    Boogie92801 Member

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    That very helpfull Raz. Thanks:D

    There has to be some Lighting fans here.
     
  6. donnyrocker

    donnyrocker Member

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    I just sold my 112 Lightning for the AC30CCH (oops) and spare change in my savings account for upcoming nuptials. Since the AC30CCH had to be returned to the dealer due to its poor manufacturing quality, that cash is going toward a Ghia tomorrow that I played through an hour yesterday. (I've played other Ghias, but this will be my first purchase.)

    All of my comparisons are to my personal holy grail, the Top Hat Club Royale 212. The first time I heard & played through a Ghia, it was the best amp I had ever heard & played through--until, moments later, I played the Club Royale.

    While the Matchless has its name cache and tres cool lit-up control panel--I'd mentioned on several occasions, "If you think 4 knobs are cool, you should check out the Carmen Gia's 2!"--the Ghia tone seems friendlier. Cranked, the Matchless did have some glorious moments; its an excellent amplifier (and nearly as big as the CR212), loud (but musical, not for loud's sake), but the tone came off icy on occasion. My typical gig settings were Volume 9:00, Bass 10:00, Treble 1:00, Master wide open (crunch via a Barber BU)l; I adjusted the treble depending on the guitar I used. The Bass and Treble controls are quite musical, interactive and have a lot of range. I acquired the Matchless out of curiosity through a trade for my additional CR 212 and, for me, that was a mistake.

    The Ghia is closer to the CR in warmth and tone, but I have found that, in general, Top Hat amps have an "it" factor for me that Dr Z amps lack... but the Ghia's are an exception. The Matchless was a slightly different animal, and I did gig with it more often (keeping that CR nice!), but it was HEAVY for a 112, 2 EL84 amp. AND, for some whacky reason, I could not take the speaker out to save my life!

    Speaking of Speaker outs, the Lightning (at least mine) does NOT have an external speaker jack, per se, where you can play through the combo AND a cab. I believe the Ghia CAN do this (still doing my homework...).

    I hope this helps!
     
  7. STLBlues

    STLBlues Member

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    I'm in the market for an 18 watter... what is a GDS?


     
  8. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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  9. Boogie92801

    Boogie92801 Member

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    It is funny that I re-read this post after months of living with a Lightning. The lightning is not a clean as I first thought but that is a good thing. The lightning when adjusted correctly can be very clean and can sound gloriuos at lower volumes too. It has become my most played amp and I am a huge fan.

    The ghias that I played would lack head room now.
     

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