The purpose of this thread is to collaboratively summarize and illustrate the pertinent details of the now-infamous Reeder Mod, and will be updated as new or corrected info arises. Suggestions, questions and additional feedback welcome! The huge original thread includes both helpful information and circular debate as to the merits and theoretical viability of the mod itself. If you have not made this change to your Lone Star, or have nothing helpful to add, please keep comments positive or at least terribly funny. The merits have been debated into the ground already. It works! It kicks butt, in fact!
Charles Reeder's originating idea and thread, which currently contains 321 posts, is here:
LSC/LSS owners; are you happy with channel2? Want to fix it?
BASIC MOD DESCRIPTION: Switch the pots for Channel 2's Gain and Master controls.
EFFECT: Brightens and clarifies the Lone Star's Drive channel. Brings Channel 2 closer to being a true clone of Channel 1. The end result is a Drive channel that duplicates the chime and clear transparency of the Clean channel with Drive disengaged; and maintains this character along with the full cascading drive capability for higher gain tones when the Drive is engaged.
ADDITIONAL PLUSES: The mod is invisible, easily reversible, and requires no extra parts. Benefits all Lone Star models to date. Thick and Thicker modes seem to have more effect. Both lower and higher gain settings have been heard to improve.
SKILLS NEEDED: Basic soldering competency; ability to take great care while tinkering in close proximity to high-voltage capacitors.
YOU SHOULD TRY THE MOD IF: You feel your Lone Star's Drive channel lacks clarity and definition; Channel 2 sounds muffled, muddy, too dark, too mid-rangey or simply incongruous with Channel 1; or you wish you had the essential character of the clean tone as the basis for your lead/drive tone.
YOU SHOULD NOT DO THE MOD IF: You are perfectly happy with your Lone Star's fat, throaty drive channel as-is.
HOW THE MOD WORKS
There's been quite a lot of debate about this, and I invite the more electrically savvy folks to weigh in (I am not one of these). We do know that Mesa instructs in the DR manual that you can switch the Presence pot in one channel for the same part in another, and this will clone that channel (reference needed here), so the notion of cloning or nearly cloning a channel with a pot swap is sanctioned and advocated by Mesa.
I'll give this a try though. The differences between the two pots (Gain in Ch2 comes as part #591047 and Master is part #581739) is limited to their respective tapers. So in theory we should be able to account for where these tapers -- the values at certain points along their sweep -- line up between Ch1 and 2, and get the same sound, albeit with drastically different-looking settings for Gain and Master.
While this is true in theory, practically speaking there still seems to be a hitch. It could be that the rate of change in the Gain control is not fine enough in places where those of us who haven't bonded with Ch2 stock want to set it; it could simply boil down to usability.ja22y wrote:Both pots are 1M but the tapers are different. Pot 1 (ch1 gain) rate of change is less than pot 2( ch2 gain) between 8:00 (min) to 2:00; but its rate of change is more between 2:00 to 4:00 (max). So for the same visual setting, you get more gain on ch2 at low setting and ch1 'catches up' with ch 2 at high setting. Theoretically, if you mark the points where both pots have the same resistance ( master pots also) you should be able to dial-in the same tone. Also if you max either the master or gain pots, you would elliminate its affect and allow you to play around with one set of pot so you can hear the difference. Hope it makes sense.
So swapping the pots appears to bring the two channels back into the same basic functional place, in terms of how the gain and masters play with the tone stack at usable settings. It doesn't seem like it would make such a huge difference... but it does, tremendously.
HOW TO DO THE MOD
SAFETY NOTE: If you are at all uncomfortable with electronics, soldering, or taking care around extremely hazardous electronic components, DO NOT DO THIS YOURSELF, HAVE A PRO DO IT FOR YOU. Please take the time to understand the safety requirements when opening and working with the insides of tube amps. Especially: Do not touch the blue cylindrical capacitors. Even when the amp is unplugged, they likely will contain enough static charge to cause you serious, deadly harm if touched and allowed to dump all that energy into you.
The instructions below assume:
- You understand the important safety precautions.
- You know about the LS' 5th screw, threaded up through the underside of the amp, which is for grounding and vibration dampening.
- You know how to remove the amp chassis from the cabinet, taking care to place it on a steady and well-lit work surface; and you have done this.
1. Use a small flathead screwdriver to loosen and remove the knobs and plastic washers from the Gain and Master controls of both channels. Loosen and remove the short hex nuts around the threaded collars in front of the Ch1 controls. The pots should now be sitting in their holes in the chassis, loosely.
2. Push the Gain and Master pots for Channel 1 back into the amp, still connected but out of the way. You need to do this in order to access the controls for Channel 2.
3. Look down at the Gain and Master pots for Ch2 as they sit in the chassis. Notice that they each have 3 wires, one connected to each terminal on the pot. In order to remember which wire is connected to which terminal, mark them with a sharpie: 1 dot for the leftmost, 2 dots for the center, and 3 dots for the right. Also, you may want to mark one or both pots so you can remember which is going where (or you can refer to the manual's component guide).
4. Unsolder the wires connected to the Ch2 Gain & Master pots, and push them back and up.
5. Loosen and remove the hex nuts from the pots. Pushing the pots straight into the amp in some cases will cause them to abut against the PC board; I had to tilt mine up and wiggle them a bit before I could get them out, there's not much room in there.
6. Switch the pots' positions, insert them into their new holes, and reattach the hex nuts. Do not over-tighten the hex nuts.
7. Re-solder the 1-2-3 connections on each of the pots.
8. Re-affix the Ch1 controls, reattach knobs, reassemble amp + cab, and don't forget your AC and speaker connections.
Many users have expressed dissatisfaction with the Lone Star's stock Drive channel. The complaints vary:
AfterI have had difficulty in accepting the sound of ch 2. Upon switching from ch 1 to ch 2 the sound characteristics change dramatically and in a 3 piece band, it's noticable. The bottom falls out and the mids soar. I prefer a more smooth transition and so does the ears of the audience. It's more professional and less garage.
I couldn't get the bass to sound right on channel-2 either...if I turned it up 'everything' got 'mushy'...if I turned it down the sound was 'dead' or flat...and lacked 'punch'. The mids had too much prominence.
IMO the way ch 2 is set up from the factory is like a cheap tube screamer clone.
I like to set up ch 2 just a little hairier than ch 1 and only use the gain for this but there still seems to be some compression or something there that I don't like. As far as the drive/thick/thicker goes, there's nothing there for me.
Sound(s) very compressed and lifeless with one of those quilted moving company blankets over it...
The positive results have been described variously too:
Some users have performed the mod and reversed it back to the original configuration, deciding that they liked the stock setup better.Let me tell you; when you add the 'drive' and/or the 'thick/thicker' to channel-2 now it just takes off like a bird and sings! It actually gets more distortion and sustain (if you want it)...
...kick in the drive to about 11:00 with the gain at 1:00 and BAM! , Angus meets Eddie, Bitchin stuff. Then I pegged the drive and WOW! A silky, thick growl from a power chord sustaining with symetric smoothness. After that I backed off to a 10:00 drive and 1:00 gain with cloned EQ to obtain a really nice OD that straddles the line for a touch sensitive edgy-drive.
Everything just seems clearer. Glassier, woodier, more real and alive. And now I get that same addictive feeling from Channel 2 that I always got from Channel 1.
Getting results as described. Pretty much a ch 1 clone but when you add gain or drive, the compression or darkness isn't there. You still get all the 3D spank, sparkle and chime if you want it only with the amount of gain, grit, balls that you choose.
Holy S@#t!!!!!!! I did the Reeder Mod today and it's amazing how open and lush it makes channel two with the drive engaged. The distortion is very articulate.
The mod has changed the way the gain and drive stages interact with each other, and so all previous ideas about settings need to be scrapped and re-discovered, but now, instead of ch2 having a basic sound I was unhappy with and trying to find a solution, I am starting with a basic sound that I LOVE (ie ch1) and adding extra grit etc.
WarranteeA(n)... effect of this mod appears to be slightly thin sound with effects pedals that I currently use...
I lost the subtle grind that was so pleasant to listen to and found my self reaching for more and more gain to acheive the same effect. Unfortunately by the time I found the same feel in the guitar the tone was nowhere close to usable for me.
The other thing the mid-range does is give you a different overdrive sound when the drive is engaged and again I know some people think it's too midrangey but I personally think it sounds thicker and has more depth.
I reversed back and like the muddier edge to channel II un-modded
thirstypirate verified that the mod would not automatically invalidate the warrantee.
I took a few pictures while doing the mod; here are some of them, with some comments:thirstypirate wrote: I just got finished talking with Chris at Mesa about the Reeder Mod and got some significant information for anyone, like myself, who was concerned about voiding the warranty as well as those who doubt the validity of the mod itself.
Firstly, he had never heard of the mod before and after I explained to him some of the details and tone characteristics that you guys have posted here he said that he needed to check out the part numbers of the pots. After doing so he agreed completely that switching those two pots would produce a true clone of Channel 1.
He then told me that doing the mod would not void the warranty as long as the soldering job was clean and no damage was incurred while doing it.
http://forum.grailtone.com/viewtopic.ph ... 09#p179109
Thanks to plan-x, thirstypirate, ja22y, BobL, Monsta-Tone, sbalderrama and all the other players who put so much thought and energy into this idea.
And a big thanks to Charles Reeder for his fearlessly innovative spirit!
EDIT: I just added an update/comment. As a member of the Owners of Both Lone Star Models Club I can attest to the finding, having just modded my LSS, that both the LSC and the LSS benefit equally from the Reeder mods.