Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special -- Want to Hear some Love and Hate

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by angelo, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. angelo

    angelo Member

    Feb 8, 2002
    far west chicago
    I have one. Like it in the livingroom.

    After 20 years on stage, I find myself 40 and haven't played a gig in 3 years. What are you gigging guys finding on these?

    I am sitting in in a few weeks. Will likely bring my trusty '95 Mark IV but am REALLY intrigued with the Special for this. What are strengths and/or pitfalls???

    I feel like such a rookie!;)
  2. guitarlix

    guitarlix Member

    Oct 12, 2002
    Absolutely fantastic tone (both clean and overdrive). Walks all over many past Mesa amps (I used to own a Mark IIC+)

    However, like many other Mesas, the tone controls are terrible and are very limited in range. Overall, I wish it had a little more high end and was a little less compressed and of course, had better tone controls.
    buddaman71 likes this.
  3. lespauldude

    lespauldude Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    St.Louis,Mo. USA
    I have owned a bunch of different Mesa's and the Lonestar Special is an outstanding amp. It covers alot of ground, and is a loud 30 watts. I have gigged with it several times, and it has been very reliable.Great amp.
  4. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    The Class A Mesa Lonestar is the only Mesa I've ever played that felt like it had soul. Not a lot of soul, like an old Blackface, or a Matchless, but a fair amount of soul.

    It has a pretty good feel and base tone. It's the Class A amp for Mesa lovers really, as it still has a bit of that "Mesa" sound. I love the power switches on it.

    I don't know what the stock speakers are, but I wonder how it would sound with a Celestion Blue.

    Anyways, I think it's pricey, but my favorite Mesa amp. Of course, for nearly $2k, I might look at something a little more boutique like a Savage, but you get the idea.
  5. jamminoutloud1

    jamminoutloud1 Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2005
    I don't want to be the odd man out here, but I did not care for the one I had. I sold it on Ebay after 3 months of really trying to bond with it. First of all, I did not want to buy a Mesa amp, but it sounded great when I played it in the store with a strat. When I took it home and played gigs with my 335 Heritage it sounded sterile, dry, and I just could not get along with the reverb on any setting.
    Again, if your playing with a strat, you might actually love it. It just did not get along well with my guitar. I have a feeling if you mess with the drive channel long enough and get that natural break up kind of sound, you might find something you can like.
    BADHAK and strike3 like this.
  6. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    The Jewel of the Rockies
    I have not owned one.

    I have played several of them in different circumstances. I found one that I almost plunked down the cash for it on the spot. Even at low volumes it just made me tingle.

    The others had more of a (good word from the last poster) sterile feel to it. Couldn't seem to get it right at any volume.

    As far as Mesa's go, this one in my opinion is far and away their best product. But sadly, I find it follows the Mesa tradition of 'gotta work to find great tones in here'. They exist, in spades, but I guess I don't think you should have to work that hard.

  7. big mike

    big mike Administrator Staff Member

    Oct 31, 2003

    I had this same experience.
  8. Layne-o

    Layne-o Silver Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    I tour with one and depend on it daily when I bring my own backline. It's built tough, has the chime of a Vox, and takes pedals well. I'd give it a go, especially in the 5W setting!

    Jamie_Mitchell likes this.
  9. tdu

    tdu Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Ontario, Canada
    I loved the sound of it when I tried it out, but I sure wouldn't want to be lugging it around :) . It's a beast.
  10. SuperReverb2

    SuperReverb2 Member

    Jan 15, 2002
    I owned an original Mesa Boogie Lone Star 2 x 12 for almost a year, and finally sold it after trying DESPERATELY to get some decent sounds out of the overdrive channel. The cleans were "OK", but as stated earlier, tweaking ones amp to get some decent tones shouldn't become a second job. LOT'S of good tones available, just takes you forever to find them, and once you do, the tone controls seem to be maxed one way or the other with little or no room for any final tweaking.
    I have played the 4 x 10 version of the Lone Star Special, (Black Shadow 10's on the bottom, and Jensen reissue 10's on the top) and this was one GREAT sounding amp. I found I could dial in great sounding cleans, as well as some decent OD tones with the tone controls pretty much straight up, which left me lot's of room for tweaking my tones with different guitars. (a far cry from the original LS) As with my LS 2 x 12, the 4 x 10 Lone Star Special weighed in at about 4 tons, (92 lbs I believe) and even with the supplied caster it was a back breaker. The Lone Star Special 1 x 12 (seen one, haven't played through it) has a much smaller cabinet than the original LS 1 x 12. (both the 1 x 12 and the 2 x 12 cabinets were the same size in the original LS) One of the things I liked about the original 1 x 12 LS was that is sounded BIG for a 1 x 12. Not sure how the samller cabinet size (think Peavey Classic 30 size 1 x 12) effects the tone/sound stage presence, but I can't help thinking that the Lone Star Special 1 x 12 might not have the same projection as the original LS 1 x 12.

    IMHO :)
  11. sws1

    sws1 Member

    Aug 19, 2002
    East of the west
    Who's that guy from Danger Danger? Now a solo guy. Andy Timmons I think.

    He plays a Lone Star and a Stiletto. I saw a live clip of him on HDNet and I thought his sound was awesome. And his playing... amazing.
  12. jpage

    jpage Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    New England
    I had a LSClassic and sold it because it was just voiced too dark to cut enough with humbuckers. Sounded great with singles though...
  13. Green Pro Am

    Green Pro Am Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    San Francisco
    Timmons is the guy. I have seen him quite a few times live here in Dallas, and he gets great tone out of the regular Lone Star. I notice he usually hits his with a Tube Screamer or some other type of OD pedal. With his chops and style, any amp will sound great.

    I had a Lone Star Classic and had pretty good results using a Fulldrive on the dirty channel.
  14. myles111

    myles111 Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    Los Angeles CA

    I cannot do the "hate" part ..... but the Lonestar series (6L6 or EL84) may be the most versitile amps that Mesa has come out with in a long time ... maybe even over their history.

    The tend to be reliable on tour and I think that they are terrific amps with a lot of value for the money paid for them.
  15. lgehrig4

    lgehrig4 Silver Supporting Member

    Jul 18, 2005
    Let me revive this thread, but I am curious about about this amp.
    The original poster was asking about the "Special". For the guys who repplied, were you also refering to the Special? I ask because I've heard that there is a big difference between this and the older model and it sounds like most are not distinguishing between the two.

  16. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

    Aug 14, 2006
    Monterey, CA
    Agree big time ... :AOK
  17. Miles

    Miles Member

    Aug 14, 2006
    I adore both Lonestars and prefer the new classic. But the special is not far behind. I would take the special over the recent /13 and Bad Cat I tried. Granted there are different tones in each, but I prefer the special. Mesa had to really work on persuading me, but they've done it with the Lonestar. I like a husk dark voice with my tele and 335 for OD, which a bold yet jangly clean. A great amp...both of them that is. Mesa really takes a shalacking on this board and part of me thinks it's tweakability, part of me thinks it's bitterness for their much more expensive amps being eclipsed. Who knows? I do know that the lonestar is fabulous and I'd take it as well as the Roadster over any boutique offering. I can't seem to fall for the stiletto, to thin and raspy.
    buddaman71 likes this.
  18. pjrhd28

    pjrhd28 Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2004
    I have both.

    If you can ever A/B them next to each other, its night and day. LSC- 6L6, big, dark, full, HUGE, SRV, tons of headroom. Great with humbuckers or single coils.

    LSS- light; airy; jangly; whispy. Tough with humbuckers with any dirt dialed in (good clean) but magic with single coils. I LOVE the way it compresses when you really dig into the strings. 5 watt clean is the best soft, airy, mellow clean I've ever heard.

    Tons of flexibility with both but more importantly, a lot of times I'll use one of mine without the footswitch using just channel 1. Max out the wattage, dial in the gain you want, and its pretty much a single channel plug and play tone machine.

    One other thing on the complexity- the factory provided presets are spot on.

    If you're looking for a 6L6 based channel switcher, I think the LSC has gotto be on the short list. SAme with the LSS if you're looking for EL-84 sparkle.

    Great, great amps.
    Suave Eddie likes this.
  19. sfarnell

    sfarnell Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    No. SF Bay Area, California
    I've owned a few Mesa's including the LSS and the Lonestar Classic. I sold the LSS and kept the classic.

    I liked the LSS but did not love it. It does not have the organic sounding od and has a synthetic sound to me.

    It's a good amp, but not a great amp.
  20. tdarian

    tdarian Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2006
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I've had no trouble finding great tones in a new LSS 1-12. I do not use many of the features this amp has, such as the Drive (an extra preamp stage for added gain in ch 2), or the "thick/thicker" settings on ch 2. I've also set the amp to "hard bypass" which takes the effects loop out and eliminates the solo and global master volume functions. Seemed to tighten things up in a subtle but good way. So I use it pretty stripped down for a Mesa, as a clean channel amp and a 2nd channel set for more gain of the bluesy type.

    No issues with humbuckers, in fact I auditioned the amp with a PRS Modern Eagle. Switching to a strat requires some knob twiddling, but not too much.

    I also tried the new LSC with the 10/50/100 power settings. Loved that amp too, but the Lonestar won me over and followed me home. The LSC beats the LSS in the clean headroom area, but there was really something majical going on with the LSS 1-12 and it is certainly loud enough for my meager needs.

    It is a big sounding 1-12, and great tones are achievable at various volume levels, unlike my Z MAZ 18, which seems to come into it's own better when rev'd up to wife ticking off levels.

    If you try a LSS, try both the 4 ohm output as typically connected at the factory and the 8 ohm extension output. You will hear a difference, and according to the owners manual you will squeeze out an extra 5 watts (up from 30 to 35). It will change the feel of the amp, making it more "immediate" and harder sounding to my ears. I'm using the 4 ohm out.

    I don't have any prior Mesa experience to speak of, but this is a pretty darn good amp in my opinion.

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