Upgrading the Lonestar Special?...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jamminoutloud1, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. jamminoutloud1

    jamminoutloud1 Supporting Member

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    Okay, well, I really love this amp very much...it's a 1x12 by the way.
    It's the best amp I've ever owned for sure...but as great as it is, I still feel like it could be enhanced soo much more.
    I'm not sure if I should replace the tubes, speakers, maybe get a special boost pedal, etc.
    Has anybody tweaked this amp out or had some added pedals to give it some more juice...
    Don't get me wrong, it's a very full sounding and toneful amp...I just figured why not take it to it's limits...I'm not sure, but I think I want to make it more dynamic too...
    All your help is much appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    I would like to know too. I'm thinking about the Lonestars these days.
     
  3. jamminoutloud1

    jamminoutloud1 Supporting Member

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  4. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    The single 12" set-up always left a bit to be desired IMO.

    Try running it through another speaker cab. I'm a big fan of 4X10s.

    Assuming the driver that came with the amp is rated for 8 ohms, you could also try adding a 2X10 extension cab loaded with two 16 ohm drivers wired @ 8 ohms.

    Good luck.
     
  5. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    I've never even tried one yet, although I plan on it.

    But, since many are saying the clean channel is similar to a Maverick (which I have used for many years) I would guess you can improve on the stock Mesa tubes. I started using either EH or JJ tubes from tubestore or Eurotubes and that was a big help, especially in reliability. In my Maverick it seemed the JJs warmed up the sound and the EH were a little brighter. I have all JJs right now and I'm going to try EHs again. I suspect eventually I'm going to use EH preamp tubes and JJ EL-84s. Others might have some more adventurous tube ideas (NOS etc..)
     
  6. jamminoutloud1

    jamminoutloud1 Supporting Member

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    Thanks so much...I think 4 EL84 JJ's would defintly help improve things...
    What speaker for the 1x12 would be great??
     
  7. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    IMO more is better for speakers. a good 1/12 extension for combo amps (or 1/15, 4/10, 4/12, etc.) helps everything. Try a 4/12 to check the potential for upgrading.

    If you are really lucky you will say to yourself that it is just not worth it! :D
     
  8. rastaman

    rastaman Member

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    Might want to ask Red Planet about them. He had one bite the dust from cranking it.
     
  9. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    For $1,600 an amp ought to be as good as it can get right out of the box.
     
  10. pedalcr8z

    pedalcr8z Supporting Member

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    LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!!! I've played over 40 years, own one and feel it is unquestionably the very best sounding small low powered combo in the business. Don't be yanking tubes and replacing speakers .......simply add a Mesa "Classic 1x12 ext cabinet".........you can even match the color of your particular amp..........retail $399.

    I use either a PRS McCarty w/McCarty pickups or a
    Fender Eric Johnson Strat and both sound glorious through this amp especially in the 5 watt single ended mode......no need for pedals as you can simply use ch 2 for VERY creamy break up. When I need to bash my head with the ultimate headroom clean amp I use a Fender 40th
    Anniversary Twin Reverb.
    It drive me crazy when I read about someone ripping the guts out of an amplifier to "improve" the sound and I'm not referring to simply swapping tubes.........I'm referring to the mod of the minute geeks that also use 10 pedals and totally ruin the signature of the original design which in this case would be a sin. If you want a "different" sound, simply buy a different amp ........plain and simple!


    :dude
     
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  11. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    nice first post.

    :dude :dude
     
  12. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Different is always interesting. I actually think that the head version with a 2x10 might be where I end up.

    And from a historical point of view: how do you think it would have turned out if nobody ever did amp mods? Would Mesa/Boogie even exist?
     
  13. NOVA70

    NOVA70 Supporting Member

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    I've owned one of these for a couple of months and I must say it's a great amp. I did change several preamp tubes with NOS but did not really notice any difference so I put back the original ones. I did change the EL34 to JJ's and this seemed to improve it some. A little less brittle. Most recently I changed the speaker. I did not like the sound of the Celestion 90 especially on Channel 2. I replaced it with a Weber Blue Dog Ceramic. This made a great difference IMO. This speaker works very well with EL84 amps. I also tried a Wizzard but prefer the Weber.
    I hope this helps.
     
  14. jamminoutloud1

    jamminoutloud1 Supporting Member

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    Thanks so much for all of the help...can you tell me how much better the amp sounded when you replaced them with JJ's?
    And can you use some different adjectives other than brittle, so I can try to understand how big of a difference it made...and any other ideas?
     
  15. pedalcr8z

    pedalcr8z Supporting Member

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    Never stated "Don't yank tubes"..........said "other than swapping tubes" which I feel is certainly a reasonable upgrade. I'm talking about the geek squad folks that want to change a Fender into a Mesa.....if you want a Mesa sound , buy one or vice versa. I've heard Dr. Z amps end up sounding like Peaveys when too many mods end up totally changing the signature of the amp which hopefully is why one bought the amp to begin with.
     
  16. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    I agree 100%!

    You just dropped a pile of money on it--play it and be happy.

    When the tubes wear out replace them. In the mean time, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    Ya dig?

    Tip: a quality guitar cable is a good investment and makes a big difference tone-wise. If you just play at home try a 15' George L's.
     
  17. jamminoutloud1

    jamminoutloud1 Supporting Member

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    .
    If it were just that easy....I always have something to complain and try to improve upon, no matter how great an amp is.
    I don't mind adding on a few more hundred dollars if it will improve the tone, even if it's 10 to 15%.
     
  18. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I like to think Randall Smith knows what he's doing.
     
  19. deeval

    deeval Supporting Member

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    I only Know of the Lone Star specials have EL-84 and Not EL-34,s
    What is it some new Change?:D
     
  20. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't own a Mesa Lonestar nor do I want to but I would recommend looking at the pre-amp and power tubes to determine what you have before you change anything. Mesa probably uses either Sovtek or JJ tesla tubes anyway so buying new EH's or JJ's could be a waste of money. All that Mesa does is check the bulk tubes before they use them and then rebrand them with their name on it. If the EL-84's are Sovteks changing them JJ's will make a nice difference. If the pre-amp tubes are Sovtek 12ax7 WA's then changing them out will make a huge difference.

    Any changes to an amp can make a big difference, if it didn't I don't think there would be much demand for old Mullards and Telefunken tubes. Personally out of the new stuff I have seen I would recommend the JJ's for gain but can be a bit undefined in the lows, the EH's for tight bass and brightness, and the Shungnang's overall for balanced sound with gain.
     

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