View Full Version : Got myself a Matchless Chieftain - Review

07-17-2007, 01:48 PM
Well this is a head and my first impression was, wow this amp is heavy!

Then it sat for a week because my mom was visiting, then I finally get to fire it up but discover a bad Rectifier tube and I blow up the fuse with no spare!
I finally got out there and got a new fuse (4). Weird, I have a spare Rectifier tube for every type plus copper caps, and I have spare 6L6, EL34, EL84, 6V6 and loads of 12AX7s but ... no fuses LOL!

Well fired it up finally today and I must say I experienced a whole new sound!
I don't know what the Matchless Chieftain is modeled after, but the cleans are unlike the Fender clean, they are very pleasant with a high end chime/sparkle to it. Not as 'full bodied' as the Fender sound I am used. It does have a very full and deep lucious reverb, but you still notice that these cleans are unlike the ones from a Fender. Very nice cleans but with a Tele they get dangerously close to being too bright at times.
With the Master it is fun to turn up the Volume and kick down the master and just drive it. Very nice overdriven sounds, very straight forward and compact sounding in overdrive (lower volumes) I can tell it can get very loud. Again very non Fenderish in sound.

This is one awesome amp overall, great complement to the Chandler in sounds, although if I had to pick, the Chandler would win out with the Fender sound and the weight! Oh my goodness is this thing heavy and it is just a head! Glad I have my Tonetools / Scumback cab because it isn't an overly bright cab, so they match up well I think to bring in a good balance.

I've always been looking to try a Matchless and I feel very satisfied and happy with finally being able to do so.

07-17-2007, 01:50 PM
Thanks for the review!

07-17-2007, 02:16 PM
Oh a picture.

I don't know what to say, only tried it with one guitar .. for a shortened time.
Great amp for sure, but since I'm not used to hearing these sounds ... it's hard to compare or put my finger on good descriptions.

Last Nerve
07-17-2007, 02:18 PM
You just get that from the Emporium?
Nice amp!

07-17-2007, 02:37 PM
It took me a couple of tries to understand Matchless. It wasn't like anything else I had ever played. In fact, the first tmie I played a Matchless I hated it. I'm not sure what the model was.

Years later I bought a DC30 (later converted to headshell HC30) after a friend recommended I get one to get those chimey, semi-compressed cleans you were describing. It's really an amazing product line.

07-17-2007, 02:42 PM
Thanks indeed from the emporium.
Guy from Idaho is a great guy to deal with , big thumbs up, awesome packing too!

07-17-2007, 02:45 PM
Congrats on the new amp!

07-17-2007, 04:11 PM
You want heavy? My Chieftain was a 4x10 combo! Backbreaking tone :)

07-17-2007, 04:55 PM
I have found with my chieftain that the more you crank the master the thicker it gets. I leave my master wide open and use a hot plate to save me and my neighbors' hearing.

07-17-2007, 04:59 PM
Great amp! I was eyeballing that one myself! Congrats. Enjoy!

07-17-2007, 06:50 PM
So I would like to know - who likes the Matchless DC or Chief cleans so much that they would use it for Jazz or R&B?

I always question whether or not I could get those sounds with that amp. My experiences say no.

Don't count Scofield, I am thinking more jazz in the Wes sense.

07-17-2007, 07:38 PM
I owned the 2x12 combo version. I did LOVE the amp. IMHO it was a Sampson take on a Marshall. With his own twists of course. I wish the
OCD pedal had been out or the BB Exotic Preamp pedal when I owned

I really did dig the amp but when I owned it I was really into the much
heavier sounds.

mad dog
07-17-2007, 07:55 PM
I don't know about jazz, but the Chieftan seems to get every other sound I'm looking for. I play through the 2x12 combos almost weekly at Ultrasound. The UG30 is another favorite over there, but when I have the choice it's always the Chieftan. Beautiful clean sounds. And you're right, different than Fender clean. Would love to own that amp, but 85 pounds is a bit much for the old dog.

07-17-2007, 08:18 PM
I do see how the master full open thickens up the sound a lot more but I've had bad experiences with Hotplates so far just sucking tone when trying to stay clean.
I'll open it up on a day nobody is home :D
Suitable for jazz .. I don't play Jazz but it sounds like a very versatile amp to me.
and eh as far as weight .. my Holland Brentwood 2x12 came in at 80 lbs .. and that was the best clean tone I ever had but not practical (weight and volume)