help with '95 Matchless chieftain issues/tubes

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Spauley88, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Spauley88

    Spauley88 Member

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    Hey everybody! I recently noticed that my chieftain was producing some grainy, harsh distortion sounds when I would play at a lower master volume and a higher gain/volume on my amp. It is almost like a buzzing, boss esque gain (not the smooth overdrive it usually produces). When I would play with a cleaner setting it wasn't noticeable unless I would pick at certain frets or strings like certain frequencies and a more agressive attack made it buzz. I have tried it with multiple guitars and it produces the same result albeit a little more pronounced with the humuckers in my LP vs my strat.

    I have read that most of the time when something is wrong with a tube amp the most likely culprit is the tubes. Does this sound like a tube issue to any of you TGP experts out there? If so, do you think it is a preamp or power amp tube issue? I love playing and searching for great tones, but I am not the best at gear diagnostics, lol.

    If it is a tube issue I was going to go ahead and replace the two power tubes and 5 preamp tubes. I am pretty set on the JJ El34s for the power section, but I don't know what to do with the pre's. A lot of people say that it is beneficial to mix and match the preamp tubes. I like having the grit of the matchless and the fact that it breaks up earlier than most. However, I do love the clean tone as well so I don't think I would want anything that will inhibit me from reaching some semi clean sound. Do you all have suggestions for placement of tubes in the preamp section (i.e. v1,v2,v3, etc.) for this type of amp?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions or input as I am fairly puzzled on what to do.
     
  2. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    Tubes would be my first thought. I'd start with the preamp tubes first. Start with the 12AX7s. Sub a known good one into each tube position, one by one. If the problem goes away at a certain tube - you found it! Next - power tubes. EL34s. I doubt the rectifier is causing the problem.

    For tone - what brand of tubes are in your amp now?

    (I'm at Matchless guy, BTW)
     
  3. Spauley88

    Spauley88 Member

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    thanks... I am pretty sure the preamp tubes are JJs as well. I really love the tone so it may be a good idea to just get the same ones. However, I hear a lot of people talking about optimizing your tone through mixing brands of preamp tubes at certain positions. I was curious if anyone had ever tried this on a chieftain or similar amp and what results were produced by different brands of tubes.
     
  4. dorianadams

    dorianadams Member

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  5. ScioBro

    ScioBro Supporting Member

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    How far down is the master set?

    I know you don't want the amp too loud but try
    at diff. master settings to see if it is coming from a way low
    master vol. setting. It can happen
     
  6. jwilliams

    jwilliams Member

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    I've got a '96 Chieftain 1x12. It doesn't sound like a tube issue to me. It sounds like you're playing a big iron amp at bedroom volumes and expecting to get rich, full tones. Not gonna happen.
     
  7. Spauley88

    Spauley88 Member

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    Thanks for the info on the tubes dorianadams.

    The master is not set that low... like during the daytime I will crank it fairly hard like around 10 or 11 oclock. with the volume at about the same. I know what you mean about low master settings, but this is something that has just recently changed. It doesn't sound the same as it used to, and it definitely is lacking in clarity when it comes to the overdrive. I just bought some new JJ matched el34 power tubes which I am going to change out to see if it helps. Apparently these amps eat power tubes, and I have had the amp since last May so its probably time for a change anyway.

    I'll let you all know if it helps because it really is an amazing amp when it is fully functional. Thanks for the responses.
     
  8. barrym

    barrym Member

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    After a few days of great tone my Chieftain combo just started to make some big noises even at low volumes, so big that I'm afraid they can damage the speaker.
    I'm ordering new tubes hoping that the GT Tubes inside are the issue, but I don't know, change all of them or just the power tubes?
    Any help?
     
  9. Rupe

    Rupe Member

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    Chieftains eat power tubes like no other amp that I've ever used...I would tend to look at those before preamp tubes. High volume/low master settings sound like garbage no matter how new your tubes are though...this amp simply doesn't do respectable quiet dirty tones.
     
  10. barrym

    barrym Member

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    I know, I mean that the noise occurs even at no volume.
     
  11. ArchtopAnimal

    ArchtopAnimal Member

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    Did you get this sorted ?
     
  12. Blindjoedeath

    Blindjoedeath Member

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    I had mine recapped and retubed. It's never sounded better. It's true, this amp is hard on tubes. I have Mullards in there this time. Chieftains are great amps.
     
  13. Clean Channel

    Clean Channel Member

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    Amen to that.
     

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