Matchless Clubman

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by MGuts, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. MGuts

    MGuts Member

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    I've been looking at the British side of things this time around for my next amp and was really getting into Germinos, but I realized that I really would not feel comfortable buying an amp for that kind of money without getting to play it first. I know a lot of people do it, but I'm in college and I don't want to be throwing around that kind of money at this point in my life.

    My local shop though is a Matchless dealer, and I've never really tried them. I'm going to pick up my guitar tomorrow (had Lollar Blackfaces put in) and am hoping they have a Clubman in stock. From what I've read online, that looks like the one I would like.

    Do you guys dig the reverb on those? I saw the non-reverb version is a little bit cheaper. Also, has anybody ever played/heard those Blackface pickups through a Clubman? I really like Robert Cray and his super clean tone. Can that be expected from the Clubman?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  2. Madison

    Madison Member

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    I got a Clubman reverb not too long ago, crazy good amp...I mean REALLY great! The verb is okay, adds just enough, but it's not like a Fender. The Lightning for some reason has a better reverb, but putting that aside the Clubman is the shizzle. Try it out and you'll see.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. heybulldog

    heybulldog Member

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    When I bought my Clubman in 94 I was a Marshall guy all the way, and through a 1936 2x12" I could get it to sounda a lot like my JCM 800 4104 combo. Over the years I bought a Matchless es 410 and started playing more cleanly. With HB PUs and a Les Paul the clean sound always has a sweet candy coating of distortion kinda of wrapped around the note. With my 62 Strat, the sound is cleaner and a lot like RC's. The Clubman is very touch senitive, more than any other MV amp I've played. You need to play the amp to get the best sounds, and I think that's a cool thing. You can't bash away with HB PUPS and expect it to be clean, but if you vary your touch you can get huge clean tones that just hang in the air. Good luck!
     
  4. heybulldog

    heybulldog Member

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    Madison, I dig the 112 cab! I've been thinking about downsizing to a and ESD (212) but maybe a 112 would make more sense. how do you like it?
     
  5. Madison

    Madison Member

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    Quite honestly it was a no brainer. I began by using every amp and cabinet in the house, run through the Clubman. My Lightning with the 'special' G12H-30 was head and shoulders better sounding than anything. I called Eddie Burman @ Indoor Storm and he found an ESS w/ G12H-30 ready to ship immediately, so I jumped on it.

    Plugging into it was even better than going into the Lighting, probably because it's a fairly large box for a 1x12. A friend came and demo'd them all and came to the same conclusion...to maximize the Matchless experience you have to have the ESD or ESS cabinet, it really makes a big difference. This guy gigs 3-4 times a week and was impressed enough to go home that night and bought a Clubman reverb and is now looking for the ESS cab.

    It's not cheap by any means but the sound and build quality makes it worth it in the end.:AOK
     
  6. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Just get the non-reverb model you wont miss it at all. The amp has a huge full tone that does normally what people try to make most of their amps sound like. It just gushes harmonic complexity and raw grit that overwhelms the senses leaving one thoroughly satisfied, just like good sex. Get a nice 2x12 and I seriously doubt you could get a better tone, maybe different, but not better.

    It works great with pretty much any dirt pedal I have used. The effects loop also seems to work well and what I do is run a analog delay into the loop. I only run the delay through the loop and leave the pedal on top of the amp. It has a lot of low end and can get pretty gritty quickly but it will be loud, my ears are still ringing. :eek:

    The #2 input is not as loud and the midrange isn't as strong so this input works well with humbuckers (I believe this the same thing Matchless says). I modded mine by changing the bias resistors from 270 ohm 10 watt values to 330 ohm 10 watt. I spoke to Phil about this beforehand and this was his recommendation. What this does is help keep the tubes running cooler. From what I can tell it has worked because I'm on the same set of tubes from last summer and it still sounds and behaves the same.
     
  7. MGuts

    MGuts Member

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    Thanks for the comments everyone. From what you've all said, it sounds like I should really like this amp.

    Are the cabs you guys are talking about, those ES ones, hard to come by? They differ from the regular Matchless cabs I imagine?

    Would you guys recommend a 2x12 cab or 4X10? I've either had 4X12 half stacks when I was younger or the 1X12 amp that I have right now. I'm not real sure how the 2x12 and 4x10 would differ in sound.

    Harry- Does having that delay in the loop make up for the reverb or you really don't miss it at all? I just realized that the Germino's I was looking at didn't have reverb either, so I'm thinking (and hoping) I'll be fine without it.

    What color tolex do you all have? I dig the pic. that Madison put up. That's what my dealer has in stock. I would've automatically gone with black like that, but I saw youtube clip a while back that had that amp in maroon. It looked nice, but I think black is a classic and always will be so why mess with it....just thought I'd ask anyway.
     
  8. Maven

    Maven Supporting Member

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    I'll have to agree with Harry about the reverb on the Clubman. I recently bought a new Clubman Reverb as well and I do love it but if you can get the non-reverb for a bit less I would do that. The reason is the reverb in the Clubman is very subtle. Not like Fender reverb at all. You probably won't miss it because the beauty of this amp is the pure tone coming out of it. I use a WIldwood 10 Fender 65 strat and I love it with the Clubman. To me the amp really shines with beautiful clean tones when you get the master up past 12, but be warned, it will be a loud mofo at that setting! Still, I also like it it with the volume at 11 oclock and the master down lower, it still gives you great cleans but fat and oh so glorious! You really can get so many great tones out of it. Huge cleans, nice & dynamic edge of breakup and chunky JTM like goodness when pushed. One thing I love about this amp with a strat: Your strat will still sound like a strat but FAT!! This is the first time I've really enjoyed the tone of the bridge pickup on my strat. I'm sure it would sound great with humbuckers but I don't miss them at all. To me this is a great Strat/Tele rig. I love this amp and like Harry said, loves any dirt pedal you put in front of it. I've used the Timmy, Eternity, COT 50, Zen and Honey Bee and they've all worked very well with this amp. I'm a bit curious about the Matchless cabs with this amp as well but right now I'm using a Port City OS 1x12" with a Scumback H75 speaker and getting fantastic results. Another thing you need to know, the amp definitely responds well to the right tubes, especially the EF86 preamp tube. That tube can be a bit finicky and the amp comes stock with a new EH with I found to be not so great. I started getting alot of noise with it after about a week. Find yourself a good NOS Ef86 and you'll be good to go. I'm using a NOS Telsa (not JJ) right now and it's working pefectly. I've also got a couple of NOS Telefunken EF86's on hand just in case. I've also heard good things about the Dario Miniwatt that Mike at KCA has. Oh yeah, I like the black Tolex as well, Classy!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  9. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm not a reverb fan, the delay in the loop just adds depth which can be a cool thing. 75% of the time though I go without it.

    For speaker cabinets I really like my Avatar 2x12 oval back. Pretty much any speaker i put in there sounds great. I agree with Maven about the H75 in a 1x12, great sound. Right now I have a Avatar 1x12 with a H75 LHDC in the other cab I use a M75 and a H75. It's all really, really, good.
     
  10. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    93 Clubman 35 owner here. Hands down one of my favorite amps off all time, and favorite Matchless amps. Just the right mix of Marshall like grunt, Vox chime, and that signature Matchless tone. Wonderful amp for many styles of music.
     
  11. Madison

    Madison Member

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    One thing with this amp is that the tubes (other than power tubes) are difficult to replace. There is very little room and the pre amp tubes are way in the back in hard to reach places. I put in a Dario miniwatt last night, which means you have to remove a power tube and PI tube to get to the EF 86.

    Once fired up I heard a loud pop and there was very little volume. Suspecting the Dario went, I pulled them all back out only to discover it was the PI. I think I read this should be changed whenever replacing the power tubes, which I did last week. The amp with the new PI is back good and strong again. Tonight I'll take another stab at trying to get the Dario in. Also I'm having trouble getting the pre amp tubes seated...it takes a lot of fumbling around before it'll go in. Not trying to complain too much, but I've never had any trouble dealing with tubes before and have done it hundreds of times. Since the amp is so awesome I'll give this a pass!

    I'd have no problem at all with a non verb Clubman, as it sounds wonderful dry. A verb or delay in the loop would be an easy fix.

    YMMV, but the 1x12 is enormously loud and lightweight. They are real hard to find, but I prefer them to 2x12 cabinets.
     
  12. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I don't find the tubes hard to replace at all, just reach in and take them out. Before reducing the plate current I would burn my hands just being near the power tubes, now it's not so bad.
     
  13. MGuts

    MGuts Member

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    When I picked up my guitar tonight, I plugged it into a Clubman Reverb through a Matchless 1x12 cabinet, and was astounded. I've never heard an amp with a sound like that. Even though it was through just a 1x12, it sounded as big and as wide as the wall. I would be getting a 2x12 cabinet if I get it, so I can only imagine it would sound that much bigger. I had it pretty low on the volume, and I still could tell that the thing had some bass response, too. Again, with the 2x12, I bet it would be even better. I had the reverb set really low just to give it a little bit, and it sounded good. That Clubman was the only one in stock, so I guess I'm going to get the Reverb model. I actually kind of liked it with a little on compared to all the way off. I also played with the Master and got some nice crunch happening. I bet it will sound good with it turned up.

    All in all, like I said, I really haven't heard an amp with such a complex and sweet sound like that. I'm waiting to sell a few things, but when they go, I'll be going directly to that store and getting that amp.

    Thanks for the advice about it. You guys were right.
     
  14. Maven

    Maven Supporting Member

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    As far as the tube thing change goes, I can see what Madison is saying. The preamp tubes are a little tricky to get to but I actually replaced both the EF86 and the V2 12Ax7 without taking any of the other tubes out..Getting to the preamp tubes in my old D*mble style amp (I won't name the builder) were much more difficult so I guess it's all relative. In that amp you basically have to take the chasis out of the headbox to make the change which I found to be a major PITA.
     

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