Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Do you think the tube dealer matters?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by bluesholyman, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Current production tubes are far less source-critical than NOS tubes, where testing and grading are necessary.

    That being said, most of the better online sellers that also sell NOS tubes stand behind ALL products far better than typical guitar stores, which often give you only a "curb warranty".

    I've also found online sellers to be less expensive, even with shipping fees.

  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Stopping by from the penny pinching thread.

    I buy from the worst possible dealers to ensure I get the lowest prices on NOS tubes.
    Grimy boxes dragged out of Grandpas basement is what I'm looking for.
    The duds balance out the overall experience.

    I grew up poor and prefer to buy cheap old broken stuff on the chance it might be better quality.
    That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
    Staypuft1652 likes this.

  3. ocduff

    ocduff TDPRI Member

    Nov 17, 2003
    My experience with buying new production "factory matched" Tung Sol tubes is that they weren't burnt in before matching so after burn in they were 9ma apart. Worthless.

    My experience buying from a company like Mojotone who ignores factory matching and burns them in and matches them (not to mention stands behind bad tubes) has been good. They are tubes that Bias up in normal ranges with no adjustment to amp needed.

    That said, a bulk of new power tubes I get are microphonic or have audible internal rattles right out of the box. Probably 1-5 tubes, Shuguang and JJ.

    My experience buying new production discounted "matched" tubes on eBay is that they are not burnt in either and are often high or low biasing - meaning adjustments need to be made to amp to get the amp to bias normally. So, not such a deal, as these often drift apart.

    My experience buying "NOS" or used unknown on eBay is that it is a crapshoot - but prices per tube are not always more than new production. I have a tester - sometimes tubes are good, sometimes they aren't, but mostly they are good and if I have enough of a certain type I can match them up and they are certainly not microphonic and don't drift. BUT there are good sellers and bad.

    Some tubes like the old Tung Sol 5881 loses punch and volume and gain when worn down even 15%. But some tubes like the GE 6V6GT can be worn down 30% or more and show no audible difference from new.

    My best experiences with a particular model of new power tube as far as reliability and no frills good tone is the Sovtek 6L6WXT, which is rebranded for Electro Harmonix and perhaps others like Groove Tubes.

    It's a no frills, bold, bright and balanced power tube and it's design has been around since the 1980's I believe. It's found in most new production amps calling for 6L6GC and I think that says something.

    With pre-amp tubes I like the sound of JJ, but 1 in 10 is bad. Electro-Harmonix (Sovtek) and bright and robust. Tung Sol 12ax7 is good too and has some grainy faint thing going on.

    Just my experiences for what it's worth.

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