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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Jun 2019 > AYNSLEY LISTER SIGNATURE


After five years of R&D, British blues guitarist Aynsley Lister’s quest for “my sound, in a box” has been fulfilled. We get the lowdown from Aynsley and Rift main man Chris Fantana and put the amp to the test…

Like many of the best things in life, it all began with lunch. Aynsley Lister has been a customer of Rift Amplification’s Chris Fantana for a number of years, bringing in various pieces of vintage gear for service and repair.

“We started talking about doing a signature amp over lunch one day and what that might look like, what tones it needed to capture,” Chris remembers. “Crucially, it needed to offer Aynsley the touch response and feel that he wanted, being one of the handful of guitarists who rarely, if at all, uses pedals.”

Initial inspiration for the circuit came from Bletchley, via Switzerland. “Aynsley found a very rare 1979 Marshall JMP 50-watt 2x12 combo, model 2144, in a music shop in Switzerland,” Chris reveals.

“The 2144 is unique in that it was one of only two Marshall amplifiers from that era to have onboard spring reverb, the other being the 100-watt head, model 2959.

“A few years later, he took it into Marshall for a service and the tech looked at it and proclaimed: ‘That’s not right, at all!’. It had, as he then discovered, been modified away from the original circuit in the past.

Incredibly, these modifications are not that well thought out, nor engineered in a particularly learned way. They were most likely done in a hurry to get the amp working again when it was on the road, using parts available at arm’s reach.

“I cannot imagine any circuit designer deliberately choosing to operate the circuit in this way, yet it works wonderfully. When asked if the amplifier should be returned to its factory specification, the answer was of course, no. A/B’d next to a stock 2144, the differences are immeasurable.

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