Amp tubes, dudes

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Heya,

So I think my amp tubes have reached the end of their useful, active lives. I've never really gone through this process before, so in addition to taking some time to grieve, I need to find some new ones to replace them.

So, uh, like, where do I look? What's good? I've got a Fender Hot Rod DeVille, and I've just used whatever the factory tubes are up to this point...but doing some brief reconnaisance I see there's a big, beautiful world out there, with six million brands and twenty million types of tubes. If it's any help, the ones that are burned out (well, I think they're burned out anyway - they don't get hot or light up when the amp's turned on, and it's quiet and sounds like total shit) are Fender/Sovtek 5881/6L6WGC P/N 039214.

I am really, really not a gearhead, so assistance would be very much appreciated. Guitarwise, I use a Jazzmaster and a Jaguar, and like a crisp, crunchy bright sound with a lot of power behind it.

ZR (teenagequiet), Monday, 28 November 2005 17:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

JJ 6L6 power tubes are pretty good, it really tightened up my 5150 combo's sound and tempered down the graininess.

The guy at Eurotubes is supposed to be pretty good at putting together matched sets based on what you are wanting out of the amp. I've got friends that have had luck re-tubing a couple of Marshalls and a Peavey Classic 30 based on their suggestions.

earlnash, Monday, 28 November 2005 17:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

You might want to bring the tubes in to a reputable repair shop and have them run a tube check on them - the problem could be elsewhere...how long have the tubes been in the amp?

John Justen (johnjusten), Monday, 28 November 2005 18:58 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Since I bought it, which was about...hm...four years ago now?

ZR (teenagequiet), Monday, 28 November 2005 19:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Could still be good. The problem here is that you really can't assume that a bad tube is going to behave in a certain way because they're not like light bulbs. Lots of things can create the problem you're having. It's probably a 60% chance it's the tubes, but I would pay the $8 to 12 dollars a full tube check will set you back and see what you really need (BTW, check the preamp tubes as well, you never know what you might find...)

John Justen (johnjusten), Monday, 28 November 2005 19:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

OK, thanks for the advice - I'll get the whole package checked out then. For what it's worth, though, all the preamp tubes light up like clockwork.

ZR (teenagequiet), Monday, 28 November 2005 19:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i like www.thetubestore.com - they have good reviews, good FAQ and newbie info, and have good prices on lots of good tubes.

also, if you have a fender deville and it IS the tubes, which it could certainly be after 4 years, it's probably only the preamp tubes that need replacing. which is good news because they're cheaper. Tat amp is LOUD and chances are you havent been cranking it enough to really wear the power tubes.

for preamp tubes in that amp i recommend sovtek LPS's they sound nice and crisp. also, on the tubestore website, they'll tell you which tubes you'll want to replace with the best sounding tubes, and which ones could matter less what you replaced them with. check it out.

AaronK (AaronK), Monday, 28 November 2005 20:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Thanks a ton for that site - it's pretty damn informative. I do play pretty loud, though, so I'm still gonna go ahead and have a general diagnostic done on the thing.

ZR (teenagequiet), Monday, 28 November 2005 21:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

nine years pass...

I am dumb about amps. Can I get the tubes switched out in my Hot Rod Deluxe to make it break up at a lower volume? You have to crank that thing up way too loud to get it to distort. I'm not looking for a really crunchy sound, just a little bit of grit.

Immediate Follower (NA), Monday, 27 July 2015 17:25 (three years ago) Permalink

Or do I want to use a boost or overdrive pedal? Or rob a bank so I can afford the amazing Morgan amp I played through at the guitar store yesterday?

Immediate Follower (NA), Monday, 27 July 2015 17:26 (three years ago) Permalink

Eh there are tube tricks but honestly you are better off going with either a boost to push it into clipping earlier, or an OD you like.

a strawman stuffed with their collection of 12 cds (jjjusten), Tuesday, 28 July 2015 16:14 (three years ago) Permalink

Cool. I tried the Xotic EP Booster the other day, seems pretty nice.

Immediate Follower (NA), Tuesday, 28 July 2015 16:22 (three years ago) Permalink

Ep booster is based on the preamp in the echoplex - not a bad thing, but def has some tonal changes. For pure more louder style boost I dig the Catalinbread Super Chili Picoso, and on the $80 budget side that BBE Boosta Grande is pretty cool as well (also a shoutout to the Heavy Electronics Ascend). if you want to throw down some cash and have some controllable tonal changes, check the Greenhouse Middleman, which I love, and the Dr. Scientist Cleanness, which is all time amazing.

a strawman stuffed with their collection of 12 cds (jjjusten), Tuesday, 28 July 2015 22:07 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

I've never used these myself but know of their existence as these converters to use 6V6 or EL84 tubes in a 6L6 or EL34 amp, lowering wattage and headroom before distortion.

http://www.yellowjacketstc.com/

I think an overdrive and a boost is a good combo. If you can find two pedals that work with your amp, you can get the classic 3 channel (clean, distortion & solo boost) setup. Most common overdrive probably being the Ibanez Tubescreamer and the nigh on a million permutations and then you got your clean boost variants usually based on various different 'chip sets'. Most common are your old style 'treble boost' based on a Germanium chip or others based on some 'jfet/mosfet' chip design. There are thousands of permutations.

earlnash, Monday, 17 August 2015 23:33 (three years ago) Permalink


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