Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special/Classic - opinions?

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imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533
Hello all,

Any particularly strong opinions on these?  Reliability?

I play jazzy/bluesy/rock and fancy something new.  I'd definitely be looking at pre-owned and wondered if the models changed much over the years?

Thanks!
My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • rossyamaharossyamaha Frets: 1547
    Used a classic for the last 6 years with no problems at all. It’s done everything from restaurants and bars to theatres and big festivals. I’ve played almost every concievable style of music with it and it’s performed flawlessly. Cracking amps. Heavy but awesome. I prefer the drive channel on the older 50/ 100 version but went for the newer one for venue versatility. 

    I play guitar and take photos of stuff. I also like beans on toast.

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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533
    Thanks, @rossyamaha - the new model is still over ten years old, isn't it?
    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • rossyamaharossyamaha Frets: 1547
    Not sure. Certainly not a new amp but they’re rock solid so you shouldn’t have a problem. 

    I play guitar and take photos of stuff. I also like beans on toast.

    Twitter  |  Instagram  |  YouTube  |  Facebook  |  Website

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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533
    I wonder how many @ICBM sees on a regular basis?
    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • hasslehamhassleham Frets: 249
    I loved mine. Only sold it because it was too nice to chuck in the back of my car with the PA and everything else. I was constantly worried about scuffing it up.
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  • I've had the 1x12 Classic, the 2x12 Classic and the Short Head Classic. My favourite was the short head mainly down to how compact and light it was compared to how heavy the combos are.

    I used all versions exclusively with pedals as I found the drive channel sounded muddy and congested, probably due to the fact I couldn't get them up loud enough to where the drive channel would open up a bit.

    The clean channel is one of the best I've heard on any amp and they take pedals as well as any amp I've heard as well.

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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533
    Thanks, @kennedydream1980 - I predominantly want it for cleans, although would quite like to have a drive channel at hand.

    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • exocetexocet Frets: 515
    Classic and Special are very different amps due to EL84 v 6L6 output stage. I had a Classic Head. Lovely amp, exceptional build quality and great Fender style tones. 

    Downside is the weight.

    The Combos appear s/h fairly frequently and are very good value but they weigh as much as a dwarf star.



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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31153
    I wonder how many @ICBM sees on a regular basis?
    Regular - none.

    There's one Special I've seen more than once, once for a broken reverb unit and once to do the mod (I forget the online name) which involves swapping the gain and volume pots on the dirty channel to make it sound like the clean channel. That's it...

    They're very well-made and reliable, like most Mesa amps. Personally I prefer the sound of the Classic to the Special, but it does weigh quite a lot more! And the Special is not exactly light.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533
    Any thoughts on a good price? The one I’m looking at is quite old. 
    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • exocetexocet Frets: 515
    I sold my 100w Head for £950 last year. It was in pristine condition and was no more than 3 years old.

    You often see the 1x12 and 2x12 combos hanging around at £850.

    I've never seen one for less than £750.
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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533
    Thanks, @exocet - sadly can't see any that cheap at the moment, and the one I've lined up is a wee bit more :(
    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • exocetexocet Frets: 515
    There were quite a few around last year which had a bearing on the price point of my amp. I agree looking now, I can only see a combo on EBay for £1100. They won't get that much for it....famous last words!
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  • exocet said:
    There were quite a few around last year which had a bearing on the price point of my amp. I agree looking now, I can only see a combo on EBay for £1100. They won't get that much for it....famous last words!
    There’s two at that price and they won’t sell. 
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  • lonestarlonestar Frets: 1742
    Proud owner of the Lonestar classic head. Amazing amp. 

    Everyone should own one.
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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533
    @lonestar ;

    Ever tried the Special combo?
    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • lonestarlonestar Frets: 1742
    @lonestar ;

    Ever tried the Special combo?
    No mate, I wanted the 6L6 model. The special, from what ive heard, is amazing too. 

    Itll do everything from crystalline cleans to rock, the whole time retaining that big fat tone it’s known for. 


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  • camfcamf Frets: 678
    I've had the Special, which was a decent amp, but I think the Classic is a far superior creature. If I had the chance, I'd definitely try and get a Classic. But I wouldn't buy a Special again. It sounded okay, but not great.  
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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533
    @camf I think I need to cool my jets for now. Buying blind has burned me too many times!
    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • AidanspaghettiAidanspaghetti Frets: 501
    edited June 4
    Fwiw you will ALWAYS sell a Lonestar. It might hang around for a short time but they always sell. Buy it and enjoy it, you never know ,it could be your soulmate!
    Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life
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  • MoltisantiMoltisanti Frets: 918
    i had one for a while, it was very reliable and the clean sound was fantastic. I prefer a more Marshally drive and a simpler setup but if you like these sorts of amps the Lonestar is hard to beat. 
    Look how long it's stayed as a production model for Mesa compared to a lot that have come and gone over the years.

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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533

    So tempted...

    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • stonevibestonevibe Frets: 2876
    I've got the 2x12 combo version of the Special and its a pretty versatile amp. Nice cleans and drive tones, but the reverb on them tends to go for some reason.

    Had two new reverb trays in my one in the last 11 years, but the distributor covered it both times.
    How much does it weigh? & Does it play like butter?

    You can now read my insane guitar ramblings daily here http://www.gearnews.com
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  • So tempted...


    Speaking from experience and knowing some of the amps you have owned in the past, I honestly don't think you will get on with the drive channel.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31153
    stonevibe said:
    I've got the 2x12 combo version of the Special and its a pretty versatile amp. Nice cleans and drive tones, but the reverb on them tends to go for some reason.
    Because modern Accutronics reverb tanks are shit.

    Fender has stopped using them and switched to Ruby because they had far too many warranty failures.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 18147
    edited June 4
    I have a Special - the clean channel is great - and as long as you don’t want very high levels of gain - so is the drive channel.

    New they are upwards of £2500 - which is too much - though even a Princeton is over £1000 now. Mesa build-quality is pretty much bullet-proof, so buying used is pretty risk-free.

    I have a small Music Man which is an ideal ‘grab and go’ option - so I probably will move the LSS on at some point - but only because I can’t justify having two amps, rather than any dissatisfaction with it.
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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533

    So tempted...


    Speaking from experience and knowing some of the amps you have owned in the past, I honestly don't think you will get on with the drive channel.
    @kennedydream1980 and I know each other's quite ludicrous habit of gear-rolling, so he knows as much about my tastes as anybody.  I.e. that I live to dream and I'm never happy ;)  Anyway, I got a 1 x 12 Lonestar Special and...

    I like it.  A lot.  The clean is great and the wattage switching very effective.  The drive channel also sounds good, albeit with some tweaking.  I think the second channel will take me more time to settle with but hopefully get there.  It's a mile easier to dial in than the Mark V: 25. which I just couldn't get away with.

    One question for any owners: I'm running a Fractal FX8 in the loop via 4-cable method.  Should the loop dial be at 12 o'clock or full?  With the loop and engaged and nothing connected, the amp got louder as I turned it up.  Forgive my ignorance!

    @ICBM ever done the mod the switch master/gain to reduce 'muddiness'?
    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31153
    @ICBM ever done the mod the switch master/gain to reduce 'muddiness'?
    Yes, several of them. It works perfectly. I have no idea why Mesa made it the wrong way round - it has to have been a deliberate decision since the pots are intentionally different tapers.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • StefBStefB Frets: 404

    I had a 1x12 Special combo for a short while.  It was only a short while though as I found it arguably the blandest sounding and least inspiring amp I'd ever played through.

    I desperately wanted to like it, and all Mesas I've tried, but have yet to find one I really like, apart from the Electra-Dyne which are either prohibitively heavy, crushingly loud without an attenuator, or both.

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  • imalrightjackimalrightjack Frets: 533
    ICBM said:
    @ICBM ever done the mod the switch master/gain to reduce 'muddiness'?
    Yes, several of them. It works perfectly. I have no idea why Mesa made it the wrong way round - it has to have been a deliberate decision since the pots are intentionally different tapers.
    @ICBM one for the experts, I imagine?
    My band, No Soap No Radio.

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