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Does this look like "NOS" to you?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by maxvintage, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    59
    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    I recently bought some very expensive preamp tubes from a well know dealer. They were advertised very clearly as "NOS in nice original boxes. 1950s/60s."

    They arrived with the printed labels in one case worn completely off and in the other badly worn, and with what looks to me like clear evidence of heat on the pins.


    One of the NOS tubes in question:

    IMG_2080.jpg


    And in this picture, and actually almost new tube, with the "NOS" tube visible in the upper left corner


    IMG_2082.jpg



    So it looks very clearly to me that this is a used tube, and a pretty heavily used tube. I've bought NOS tubes before and they have been what is I understand NOS to mean, "new old stock, unused."

    The dealer claims the labels are worn off in handling and testing. He offered me a refund, and I plan to return these ASAP.

    But this looks like BS to me. Am I missing something here?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
    nojazzhere likes this.
  2. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Holic

    965
    Sep 21, 2017
    Georgia
    We are talking about fragile paint from the 60s but I have never bought an nos tube that ugly.
     
  3. voskarp

    voskarp Tele-Meister

    222
    Feb 12, 2017
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Ooo... they are "reliced"...
     
  4. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    59
    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    Yes I was pretty angry when I opened the box
     
  5. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

    Feb 26, 2017
    UK
    Agree with everything said here, esp what 'nos' means
     
    nojazzhere likes this.
  6. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    The first tube pictured is not like any NOS tube I've ever purchased. It's appearance alone would make me doubt that. How does it test?
     
  7. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    59
    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA

    I have not tested it--I'm returning it for a refund, although I now have doubts about this dealer's honesty. It might test fine, but in that case it should be sold as "ANOS."
     
    soulman969 likes this.
  8. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    Can't say I blame you max. I'd do the same. Sure looks like a used tube to me too.
     
  9. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    66
    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    At least the dealer is making good with a refund...could have argued with you.
     
  10. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Mar 17, 2003
    Spring City, Pa
    Your tubes are used.
    That's why the pins look like that.
    Tube people suck.
    They have wantonly changed the meaning of NOS, which means NEW OLD STOCK.
    Not "Tests as new on my crappy TV tube tester."
    Now, if you want NOS, you have to get NIB (New in Box).
    There are some scrupulous old timers, but when you buy NOS tubes, you actually have to ask if new actually means new, or if they are some new kind of old new.
    Alternative facts at work.
    My old tube guy sells me USA made pulls...they look like yours, but I think I pay about
    $3 for a 12A-7
     
    Wildcard_35, toomuch, Jim Dep and 2 others like this.
  11. Ira7

    Ira7 Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    62
    Jan 8, 2008
    Coral Springs, FL
    Lesson learned for all of us. Seems simple, but we all forget at times:

    Get photo before buying anything.
     
  12. mherrcat

    mherrcat Tele-Holic

    552
    Dec 12, 2013
    California
    Depends on the seller. I don't think the things you describe necessarily mean the tube is not NOS or "used."
     
  13. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    958
    Aug 19, 2015
    Richmond Va
    When tubes are manufactured, the glass around the pin base is heated to the glass's melting point by torches to seal the glass around the pins. This heating does cause discoloration of the metal pins in some cases. Some pins get a plating before the tube is boxed while others do not. Some vintage NOS tubes have more pin discoloration than others. Keep in mind also that preamp tubes rarely run hot enough to discolor the pins. You can usually touch a preamp tube during operation without burning yourself. Not saying that these may not be used though. It can be hard to tell in some cases.
     
    schmee, bill in kc, Wally and 2 others like this.
  14. mherrcat

    mherrcat Tele-Holic

    552
    Dec 12, 2013
    California
    LOL! I was going to write all this myself, then said, "Nah..."

    Thanks!
     
    dan40 likes this.
  15. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    59
    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA

    Yeah I know all this. I mean thank you for going to the effort, but I have a big shoebox full of all sorts of tubes, OS,NOS, new Russian and Chinese and Slovak; half new pulled out of amps bought used: lower gain 12ax7 types, the whole rich tapestry.

    And yes I’ve burned my fingers swappingvtubes in and out. Perhaps it is not visible on the photos, but none of the tubes display the particular discoloration and heat patterns these do.

    What they DO look a lot like isvthe big box of hundreds of random used tubes a neighbor gave me a few years ago, very very few of which turned out to be usable in guitar amps. They have the same look of hard use
     
    Piggy Stu likes this.
  16. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    schmee likes this.
  17. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    This is what's wrong with tubes, tube sellers, and tube buyers. They're all using meaningless terms, and they get horked off when those meaningless terms turn out to be meaningless.

    Tubes that have been around for fifty or sixty years often have worn markings, even if they've never been out of their boxes. Boxes wear just from riding around in a vehicle in a tube caddy or moved around on shelves. Pins get discolored from corrosion, they were often discolored when the tubes were brand new.

    If the tubes test good and perform as expected none of the cosmetics mean a thing. If you're not happy with them, return them, the seller has already agreed to that.

    Tube sellers are used to this kind of thing. It's hard to know if they're if they're patient souls, or just nuts.
     
    Paulie Walnuts and mherrcat like this.
  18. Paulie Walnuts

    Paulie Walnuts Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    121
    Apr 15, 2017
    Pennsylvania
    If you don't mind my opinion on the matter and knowing tubes quite well I'd respectfully say you probably jumped the gun and returned some tubes that would have likely sounded great in your amp. Certainly better than the new EHX tubes you pictured for comparison. I have to agree with the other members above and say I saw nothing about those tubes or pins that concern me. I greatly prefer the term nos testing. Only untouched factory sealed should be called true NOS. Only a few manufacturers used a paint formula that stood the test of time. Missing or rubbed off labels is not uncommon. The pins looked absolutely fine. That's just how they looked from manufacturing and let's not forget sitting around for 50 years of oxidation too. Comparing to the new tubes on market is a waste of time as they have very little in common with materials used. A better judgement of tube use is looking close at pins for scratching that shows going in and out of sockets. And that's only a guess at best. If the testing numbers are right and in spec for a new tube than they were very likely NOS tubes as seller stated. Tubes were also sold in bulk egg like crates and not individual boxes also so keep that in mind for future. You can certainly find 50 year old tubes with perfect labels but they will command a premium price and still might not be the best choice for your amp. For example telefunken labels were very notoriously fragile and it hard to find ones still intact but there are lots of unused examples where they rubbed off and are exceptional tubes still. But without knowing you'd look at them and think they were old used junk. Food for thought for the future is all. Best of luck on next purchase as nice tubes can turn a great amp to an amazing amp
     
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  19. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    59
    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA

    Could be. I was unable to get a photo that showed what I was talking about. I have some NOS preamp tubes with discolored pins, the kind of discoloration that comes from sitting on a shelf. These were different. I have an ANOS version of the same tube bought from the same seller with a very different pattern of discoloration. I have an old examp,e of the same tube I got in a cardboard box full of used discards that also looks very different.

    Bottom line is for 75 bucks a tube I want confidence in what I’m getting. I think that’s reasonable. I no longer trust the NOS market. Could be I’m wrong to distrust it, but I’m sticking to new production.

    But even there, who knows? There’s a line of high end “boutique” Chinese tubes that get raves from audio geeks called “psavane”. Their story is Psvane are a group of audiophiles who use the facilities at the Shuguang factory to produce what they claim are much better 12ax7s. 75 bucks for 2 Chinese preamp tubes. Who knows if the6 are different or just repackaged Shuguang tubes?
     
  20. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    I had a fellow cal me last week look8ng for an EZ81 rectifier, a Tube for which I have never had anyone call for. I told him I remembered seeing one is a stash of tubes I recently acquired. I found it and called him back. It was NOS/NIB and had the paint almost entirely worn off just from shifting in it’s box for what....four or five decades.
     
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