Just how "Fat" sounding is a Matchless Clubman?

Fireball XL5

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,904
check out this clip of David Grissom playing a Clubman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoTi-OI_NXI&feature=related

sounds pretty marshally to me, sounds great
That's a great clip. I agree, sounds Marshally - without sounding exactly like a Marshall. :) I've seen that vid before, but seeing that Grissom is such a monster player - I wasn't sure if other mere mortal players were able to coax similar tones from their Clubmans as well?? Thanks for posting though.

So even though the Clubman lacks a Midrange control, it sounds as though maximum midrange and fatness is best achieved by dialing the tone controls way back and pushing the power section hard as you would a non master amp. Is this how most of you guys are running your Clubmans?

Also, I plan on getting a matching ESD 2x12 to use with the amp. Are most of you running your Clubmans with Matchless cabs/speakers? I have a Bogner 4x12 with Greenbacks that I will use as well, but I'd really like to go with something smaller and open back to change things up. To my ears, open back cabs generally have more midrange response than closed back cabs so I'm thinking a Clubman > open back ESD 2x12 will yield a more open, midrange focused sound. Any thoughts?
 

Guinness Lad

Member
Messages
15,865
So even though the Clubman lacks a Midrange control, it sounds as though maximum midrange and fatness is best achieved by dialing the tone controls way back and pushing the power section hard as you would a non master amp. Is this how most of you guys are running your Clubmans?

Also, I plan on getting a matching ESD 2x12 to use with the amp. Are most of you running your Clubmans with Matchless cabs/speakers? I have a Bogner 4x12 with Greenbacks that I will use as well, but I'd really like to go with something smaller and open back to change things up. To my ears, open back cabs generally have more midrange response than closed back cabs so I'm thinking a Clubman > open back ESD 2x12 will yield a more open, midrange focused sound. Any thoughts?
Like I said before I generally keep the tone controls around the 10 o'clock position, any higher and the bass and treble are out of control. I guess in short it would make for more midrange.

I don't run the master full up because I don't like how the amp behaves, it gets too bloated sounding to me and the midrange doesn't seem as sweet.

I use a Avatar oval back 2x12 with Scumbacks and it sounds great. I also play with my fingers so I can deal with more brightness because it doesn't transfer through my playing.

Almost every gig the amp ends up being set like this - Treble 10, Bass, 9:30, brilliance 8:30, Gain 9:30 and volume around 11.
 

Madison

Member
Messages
7,262
Maybe not the best example, cause folks like to bust on Jimmie's strat/bridge tone, but most pics of the Clubman you'll find the knobs all kinda close to noon (JLV has the bass knob at a bit past). I agree with Harry, running the master wide open is kind of 'bloated', and it took me a few weeks to figure that out. The only knob I have trouble seeing at noon'ish is BRILLIANCE...that one needs to back down to 9:00 with my Tele & a G12H-30.

 

KarlH

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
957
Sampson's new Star amp, the Blues Star, is like a Bassman/JTM45 on steroids and has a boost section... look for clips on www.steelbender.com, if that site is still up.
 

rawkguitarist

Member
Messages
10,983
Fireball XL5, from your tonal descriptions of what you want out of an amp... you really should check out the TopHat Vanderbilt 33. Since guitars are a midrange instrument, they usually sound best with ample midrange. Since Brian Gerard from TopHat focus a lot on the midrange voicing of his amps, it's crazy how good they sound. I agree, you need Greenbacks for this tone too...

Matchless amps are amazing amps so I won't discourage you from getting the Clubman, but just want to offer a suggestion based one what it sounds like you want.
 

GAT

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,799
I've had two Clubman Reverbs, great cleaner tones. Not great (for me) for overdriven lead tones. The King Cobra is voiced different, very fat in the mids, tight bass, and a more rounded treble.
 

datguytim

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,761
I have to chime in: I'm a die-hard Marshall born & bred guy (27 or so years of it). My main amp for the past several years is a Matchless Clubman w/the ESD 2x12 cab. Paired with a Fulltone OCD - you CAN get the 'fat' sound you're looking for!

As others have stated: you MUST turn the Master volume up to at LEAST 12 noon. Getting the power section cooking is a big part of the magic. Secondly, the knobs don't operate the same way as Fenders or Marshalls: Anything above noon will provide a serious frequency boost that some people may not know how to handle.

I generally run the tone & Master volume around noon (a bit of wiggle room depending on the guitar & room/hall/theater/stadium). Sometimes I'll crank the master wide open - what a sound! The OCD sounds very natural (run the gain low) and un-pedal like.

The Clubman is a keeper for me. It excels at just about any style you could think of. Records amazingly well too.
 

blues junkie

Member
Messages
1,708
Hey guys, I just picked up a used 2001 Clubman and right now I'm totally bummed out. I can't have the treble past 9:00 & the brillance I can't have on at all the amp is sooooooooo bright and shrill it's horrible, and that's with a humbucker guitar. I'm sending it off to Phil at Matchless to take a look at it. Has ANyone had this problem before?

Thanks.
 

GAT

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
18,799
Hey guys, I just picked up a used 2001 Clubman and right now I'm totally bummed out. I can't have the treble past 9:00 & the brillance I can't have on at all the amp is sooooooooo bright and shrill it's horrible, and that's with a humbucker guitar. I'm sending it off to Phil at Matchless to take a look at it. Has ANyone had this problem before?

Thanks.
They are very bright, IMO. Most Matchless amps are, except the KC.
 

Madison

Member
Messages
7,262
Hey guys, I just picked up a used 2001 Clubman and right now I'm totally bummed out. I can't have the treble past 9:00 & the brillance I can't have on at all the amp is sooooooooo bright and shrill it's horrible, and that's with a humbucker guitar. I'm sending it off to Phil at Matchless to take a look at it. Has ANyone had this problem before?

Thanks.
It is a bright amp, if you don't like bright you won't like Matchless. Once Phil works on it, it actually could come back brighter than now, but it won't be shrill. Keep in mind the Clubman is hard on power tubes, and when they go, they go quick. I've never seen anything like it.

You've got to keep a spare pair of EL-34's close by. A good stout power tube for this amp is SED =C=...KCA has them. I'm finding the EF-86 is picky too. In mine, a Dario mini watt and Amperex Bugle Boy don't sound as good as the stock EH...go figure! But I put a Telefunken in V1 and it's excellent. I've also read where Phil mentions tube selection is critical with this amp for getting the most from it. When you get the amp back, that should be taken care of and then you'll know if it's the amp for you. Good luck!
 

vdoochild7

Member
Messages
640
Hey guys, I just picked up a used 2001 Clubman and right now I'm totally bummed out. I can't have the treble past 9:00 & the brillance I can't have on at all the amp is sooooooooo bright and shrill it's horrible, and that's with a humbucker guitar. I'm sending it off to Phil at Matchless to take a look at it. Has ANyone had this problem before?

Thanks.

TUBES TUBES TUBES. Quality tubes are a must for this amp. Sovteks sound awful with this amp. Try Winged C Svetlana EL34s, NOS EF86, JJ GZ34 (nos if you can afford it) and a high quality 12ax7 for V1. NOS Mullard 12ax7 for V1 results in a very "brown" sound. Telefunkens sound a bit more voxy. If you play the amp often, you will kill the power tubes and rectifier in 6-9 months. It runs VERY HOT. If you make the above mentioned changes, you will notice a drastic improvement. At that point you have some of best EL34 tones imaginable. When the tubes begin to crap out, it won't even sound like the same amp.
 

cfdude

Member
Messages
108
A Divided by 13 RSA23 is extremely close on the non click channel when paired with the right speakers. They both are kind of Marshall, Hiwatt, Vox kind of amps depending on how they are eq'd and the amount of gain supplied. Just another amp for audition. Try to play it through anything but greenbacks. NOS tubes help too. RFT tubes are really good to get rid of the shrill.
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
12,989
I saw the guy from Lucinda Williams band ( Doug Pettibone ?? )get some of the best live tones I've ever heard out of a matchless. I'm pretty sure it was the clubman...

Incredible fat, cutting tone.... Really one of the best live tones I've ever encountered....just beautiful.

The concert put Matchless on the map for me and I may own one one day because of it...
Oh yeah! Doug has been playing the Clubman for years. He's a great example of that tone, IMO. The Clubman can get PLENTY fat as long as you crank it!! Just like any amp - Matchless amps (I have a few) sound best cranked. The Clubman is the same - you gotta get that master cranked over noon, IMO, to get the best of it. The Matchless "interactive" EQ can leave a lot of folks feeling flat. But, with some tweaking, those fatter mids are there, IMO. Yes, the Clubman does have a BIG steely bottom and clear top end - but, if you set the controls right - you'll get the mids you want, and they only get bigger/fatter as you crank her up!

She takes pedals extermely well, IMO. I usually set the amp up for a overdriven rock tone and use a couple different pedals for a boost - an overdrive and treble booster for different tones. She's taken ever pedal I've thrown at her very well.

I hope that helps.
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
12,989
\\

The thing about Matchless amps that a lot of people don't get who are used to Marshalls, Fenders ect is that the tone controls are very interactive. Most importantly with the Clubman, you need to push the power section, set the brilliance at a quarter or less, and the tone gets VERY fat. I always have the master up all the way and more or less use it as a non-master volume amp. The OCD sounds fantastic with amp as well. Grissom, Page, Gibbons tones are all in there. Turning up the Brilliance a bit more and you can get some fantastic Hiwatt tones. I love my Clubman and would never thing of replacing it. Best EL34 amp of all time for me. However, for that really fat Duane Allman thing, Germinos are the way to go. The Clubman gets close, but not quite at syrupy, thick and smooth as the LV55. Down the road I will definitely be getting one of those bad boys.
Huge +1!!
 

Bo Faulkner

Member
Messages
3,825
To be fair there is a clip around somewhere with David Grissom into a POD ... he sounds just like he does into that clubman. It is real hard to form an opinion on gear when the player has such a unique sound.


That's a great clip. I agree, sounds Marshally - without sounding exactly like a Marshall. :) I've seen that vid before, but seeing that Grissom is such a monster player - I wasn't sure if other mere mortal players were able to coax similar tones from their Clubmans as well?? Thanks for posting though.

So even though the Clubman lacks a Midrange control, it sounds as though maximum midrange and fatness is best achieved by dialing the tone controls way back and pushing the power section hard as you would a non master amp. Is this how most of you guys are running your Clubmans?

Also, I plan on getting a matching ESD 2x12 to use with the amp. Are most of you running your Clubmans with Matchless cabs/speakers? I have a Bogner 4x12 with Greenbacks that I will use as well, but I'd really like to go with something smaller and open back to change things up. To my ears, open back cabs generally have more midrange response than closed back cabs so I'm thinking a Clubman > open back ESD 2x12 will yield a more open, midrange focused sound. Any thoughts?
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
12,989
Hey guys, I just picked up a used 2001 Clubman and right now I'm totally bummed out. I can't have the treble past 9:00 & the brillance I can't have on at all the amp is sooooooooo bright and shrill it's horrible, and that's with a humbucker guitar. I'm sending it off to Phil at Matchless to take a look at it. Has ANyone had this problem before?

Thanks.
Where is the master at? Matchless amps have a cross-feed/post phase inverter master volume. Post phase inverter MVs are typically very bright and "harsh" at bedroom or home volumes, IMO. Crank that master up to at least 10 oclock. Here are some setting that work VERY well for me with humbuckers:

Volume: 2 oclock
Bass: 10 oclock
Treble: 2 oclock
Brilliance: 11 oclock
Master: 10 oclock or higher

This gives a bright and punchy HB tone - but, not at all harsh, at least to my ears.

Volume: 2 oclock
Bass: 10 oclock
Treble: 10 oclock
Brilliance: noon
Master: 10 oclock or higher

This really brings out the mids, at least to my ear. The top end is softer.

One thing that I noticed with my Clubman that I don't notice with my other Matchless amps is that the Brilliance control doesn't really work until the Master is cranked to at least 10 oclock or higher. Then it REALLY works.

Matchless amps can't be dialed in like a Marshall or Fender with their interactive EQ. But, once you the get hang of it - it's all right there!!!
 

Guinness Lad

Member
Messages
15,865
I made a clip of three amps, in the demo section check it out. One of the amps is a Clubman, the other is a Carr Vincent and finally a Spitfire.
 

Samsun19

Member
Messages
1,196
Do any of you Clubman owners have a rare early, early original with the octal 6hs7 tube?

I had one for years and that was a Great amp.....

I'm going to ask Phil how many cats are still using the 6hs7? Pretty sure Cray and Vaughan were for a long time.

If it's a fat violin tone your after, try to find a RV1, or ask Phil to make you one, to use with your Clubman, or any amp for that matter..... Magic.

I had a RV1 that I ran with my Clubman through a Matchless 2x12. The RV1 would really thicken up the signal, and you could gain it up like a OD too...... That was one smoken rig, country sparkle spangle.... all the way to the classic 34 drive /with a twist. Also had a HotBox, talk about class A nirvana lol.

Put it this way, I had a the C-30/ SC30 at the same time... which everyone knows is a killer, But I preferred my Clubman.

One thing I want to add, these amps don't all sound the same...... but when there working right with healthy tubes, they always sound Good. If you play through a matchless thats sounds so so, it's in need of tubes or repair.
 

ruger9

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,262
What about the Bad Cat Cub II? It's EL84s, but that amp seems to have fat in spades. And, designed by the same guy that did the old Matchless (Sampson).
 




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