I’ve always been a sucker for a nice, lush, clean Class A tone. If you know the lineage of this company, there is nothing else like a Matchless amp. This little number packs a very loud 15 watts Class A into a single 12” combo…in plain terms it’s enough to go against a drummer in a Roots Rock, Country, Blues type of setting. This is by no means my usual choice in amp. My earliest experience with this amp was in a session. I was looking for a certain sparkle that I just wasn’t getting out of the Line 6 Pod that I had dialed up. After some deliberating over the various amps at the studio, I jumped on the Matchless Lightning. By plugging in an old Keeley modded SD1 Super Overdrive with a Roland Space Echo, I set the amp on a very mild break-up sound and I was able to just nail the “Radiohead-like” tone that the track was looking for. Very rarely do the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up for an amp that doesn’t roar like a harpy going to war. When we listened back to the track, the magic that poured out of the monitors made the engineer, producer and myself just grin in silence.
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The Lightning 15 Reverb 112 is equipped with a very basic set of controls. The key to this tone machine is its open-ended design. It just loves pedals and responds well to processing done outside of the amp itself. From the cabinet design, to the custom transformer and electronics and all way to the primo tolex and appointments, this amp not only sounds like a million bucks, but it’s well dressed and has a classiness all to itself.
- Mike McAvan
* 15 watts
* One channel
* Volume, Interactive Bass, Treble, Reverb and Master Volume controls
* 2 x EL84 power tubes
* 3 x 12AX7 preamp tubes
* 1 x 5AR4 Rectifier tube
* Dual inputs
* Celestion G12H 1 x12″ speaker