Matchless Lightning Opinions?

RJLII

Member
Messages
10,284
I'm thinking about a playmate for my Carr Rambler. Something small and easy to carry that has a big voice and will complement the Rambler. I stumbled across the Matchless Lightning Reverb in a 2x10 format and am intrigued. A whole different kind of voice than the Rambler.

Anyone played one? Your impressions?
 

Guinness Lad

Member
Messages
15,865
Search it, many people think it's a holy grail type amp. I have a SC30 which the Lightning is kind of like but with a lot more horsepower. Never really used a Lightning much, I did have a Spitfire though and that was killer.
 

alguit

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,838
I own a 1x12 Lightning. LOVES single-coil guitars, can do stellar cleans, any level of grind and morphs into a FAT tone beyond belief. The interactive tone controls give it quite a bit of flexibility.

It's pickier with OD pedals that any other amp I have, but with the amp, a boost pedal and a Way Huge Pork Loin, I can get any tone I need.
 

smolder

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,331
mine's a clone with 6v6 instead of el's but three knob and we're blasting.
 

alguit

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,838
I own a 1x12 Lightning. LOVES single-coil guitars, QUOTE]

So a P90 Les Paul might work out well?
Sure; I have a Reverend Slingshot Custom, three P90-style pickups, a nice, raunchy sound.

Take a look at the Audley Freed/Matchless Lightning clips on Youtube-at one point, he uses a P90-equipped guitar, if I recall correctly.

-Alan
 

BLacktocomm

Member
Messages
837
I was in my first year of college the first time I played a lightning, I was poor and had no car, I was walking home from where I played the amp and and saw a nice Mercedes driving. Never before in my life had jumping in front of a car to earn gas money been a more viable option. That amp almost tempted me to dive into moving traffic. I am about 6 years older and wiser now, I like the Nighthawk a little more now, but the Lightning has a special spot in my heart.
 

Pax

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,544
I have a Lightening 2x10 and just love it. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the clean circuit of the SC30. As was posted, it works exceptionally well with single coils, but I would add that it works just as well with HBs. It’s very simple and straightforward. I just can’t get a bad tone out of it. It is a bit unforgiving in the sense that it will reveal how sloppy you may be as a player, which motivates me to become better. As for pedals, it’s probably a little picky, but I’ve used a DGTM, a Maxon tubescreamer, and a Timmy with fine results. No FX loop, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for my reverb and delay pedals. To me, it’s not an amp meant for heavy OD so I wouldn’t go in expecting that. Also, mine is not light. Can’t remember the weight but it is a little on the heavy side.
 

alguit

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,838
I have a Lightening 2x10 and just love it. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the clean circuit of the SC30. As was posted, it works exceptionally well with single coils, but I would add that it works just as well with HBs. It’s very simple and straightforward. I just can’t get a bad tone out of it. It is a bit unforgiving in the sense that it will reveal how sloppy you may be as a player, which motivates me to become better. As for pedals, it’s probably a little picky, but I’ve used a DGTM, a Maxon tubescreamer, and a Timmy with fine results. No FX loop, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for my reverb and delay pedals. To me, it’s not an amp meant for heavy OD so I wouldn’t go in expecting that. Also, mine is not light. Can’t remember the weight but it is a little on the heavy side.
A friend picked up mine once and said, "Light-ning? They should call it Heavy-ning!" A stupid joke, yes, but he was right-it ain't light!
 

Echoes

Senior Member
Messages
6,220
I'm thinking about a playmate for my Carr Rambler. Something small and easy to carry that has a big voice and will complement the Rambler. I stumbled across the Matchless Lightning Reverb in a 2x10 format and am intrigued. A whole different kind of voice than the Rambler.

Anyone played one? Your impressions?
I gigged a 2x10 Lightning for 2 years...finest sounding rig on the planet...takes pedals really well and isn't near as heavy as those posting here claim...not much heavier than your Carr amp.
 
Messages
2,606
Ive owned a Head, and now have a 112 reverb combo, Its not super heavy, but definately heavier than a Deluxe reverb, or a HRDX. Excellent sounding amp, the cleans are not quite Twin Reverb cleans, more of a clean with little hair, more midrange, but the OD is killer.
 

fromdecay

Member
Messages
300
Haven't played a lightning with reverb myself (own a non-reverb), but personally I think it has enough depth/swirl/3dness/life/etc. to sound great without it. Also, seems the Matchless reverb isn't well regarded, and tends to get mixed reviews leaning towards thumbs down from TGPrs.
 

shark_bite

Member
Messages
5,189
Ok I guess this makes me the nay-sayer of the bunch, but BLAH.

When I was on the hunt for something along those lines, I tried a few Lightnings since TGP told me I should. It was ok but not great. My findings:
A) not much headroom for real life gig situations with a hard-hitting drummer
B) heavy as hell (2 speakers, reverb, and gigantic transformers)
C) it just didn't really blow me away.

Now... what did I end up with? The Lightning suggestions weren't THAT far off the mark - but I got the next step in the evolution of that design, which was the Bad Cat Cub IIR. MUCH better amp, if you ask me. I played them side by side, and it was abundantly clear that the Cub was the amp I preferred. It was like having a Lightning and a Spitfire in one amp, plus better reverb. Downside, it was still WAY heavy. I much prefer my Goodsell Super 17, which sounds better and weighs about half as much.
 

Pax

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,544
Ok I guess this makes me the nay-sayer of the bunch, but BLAH.

When I was on the hunt for something along those lines, I tried a few Lightnings since TGP told me I should. It was ok but not great. My findings:
A) not much headroom for real life gig situations with a hard-hitting drummer
B) heavy as hell (2 speakers, reverb, and gigantic transformers)
C) it just didn't really blow me away.

Now... what did I end up with? The Lightning suggestions weren't THAT far off the mark - but I got the next step in the evolution of that design, which was the Bad Cat Cub IIR. MUCH better amp, if you ask me. I played them side by side, and it was abundantly clear that the Cub was the amp I preferred. It was like having a Lightning and a Spitfire in one amp, plus better reverb. Downside, it was still WAY heavy. I much prefer my Goodsell Super 17, which sounds better and weighs about half as much.
I'd partly agree with A, but the amp is loud and seems to carry cleans better than most...and the cleans are so nice. Still, it is a 15W amp so it is going to breakup.
As for B, see above.
Regarding C, to each his own. Like I said, I love mine, but YMMV. The Bad Cat is good and I've heard nothing but great things about Goodsell. These are all great amps and I find it hard to be negative about any of them, but I'll gladly stick with my Lightning.
 

zhivago

Member
Messages
1,267
can I ask you guys,

how distorted does the Lightning get?

I've played one before, but was using pedals for drive...the clean sounds were heartbreakingly amazing!

I'm thinking of getting a lightning so I can ditch my overdrive pedals, basically...I already have an attenuator that I could also use with it...

can I get a good lead sound, that I can then take down with my volume controls?

I'm not into metal or anything, but I do like playing the odd old ZZ Top tune here and there


I play a 54 RI Les Paul Custom with the alnico staple pickup in the neck and the P90 on the bridge, by the way :)
 

stoob0t

Member
Messages
463
I also went down the 2x10 Bad Cat Cub IIR route...

I was left a little bit underwhelmed by the Lightning - I'm not really sure why - but when I tried a Cub IIR against it side by side, the Bad Cat just seemed to speak to me more. Either way, the Lightning is still an absolutely killer amp! IMO every guitarist should have at least one 15 watt EL84 amp
 




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