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What preamp tubes do you use in Fender Deluxe?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by theprofessor, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Hi everyone,

    I am writing --out of curiosity-- to see what sorts of preamp tubes folks use in their Fender Deluxe or Deluxe Reverb amps. Please list the valve slot, what you use there, and why you like it (or what you don't like about it). And since it's TDPRI, let's all presuppose that we're playing telecasters through them :)

    Mine is a 65 DRRI (which I realize is not the same as those of you who have vintage Deluxes from the Golden Age, but nonetheless...)

    v. 1: (1st gain stage for channel 1): vacant - I don't use the normal channel, and I like the extra gain the vacant spot lends to channel 2.
    v. 2: (1st gain stage for ch. 2): Tungsram ECC83/12AX7 - I really like these tubes. They sound very "direct" to me (I'm not exactly sure what that means or how best to describe it) and are good in the mids and bass, while the treble is not harsh.
    v. 3: (reverb driver): Mullard ECC81/12AT7 - makes the reverb sound great, just like this tube is supposed to
    v. 4: (2nd gain stage for channel 2 and reverb recovery): RFT ECC83/12AX7 - thickens the tone of the amp a bit and darkens it a bit as well, thus taking out any harshness; the overdrive on these tubes is fantastic--sort of Marshall-like smooth.
    v. 5: (tremolo): JJECC83 - just to run the tremolo, even though I don't use the tremolo on the amp; I think that my Voodoo Labs 4-knob tremolo pedal is better.
    v. 6: (phase inverter): Mullard CV4024 - this tube is fantastic. Gives the whole thing a great vibe and attitude.

    Anybody interested in sharing? I'm always curious to see if I can get anything more out of my amp. I don't want to miss anything!
     
    Opaltone likes this.

  2. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    United States
    In my 5E3 clone I have an Electroharmonix 12AY7 in V1, a modern Tung-Sol 12AX7 in V2 and I don't remember what 6V6's I have in there. I'm thinking there new Tung-Sols but I'm not sure.
     

  3. Darkness

    Darkness Tele-Holic

    Age:
    49
    908
    Apr 7, 2016
    Stygian Gulf
    Lil Dawg D-Lux

    V1: GE 12AX7A or EH 12Y7
    V2: GE 12AX7A

    RAYTHEON 6V6's
     

  4. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    I have no idea what preamp tubes are in any of my amps. I do know they're mostly either the old USA or European made tubes that either were in them or got pulled out of stuff like free organs.
    Think I've got a few new manufacturer tubes like JJs in a couple too.
    Honestly from one good tube to the next I really don't notice much difference.
     
    3-Chord-Genius, moosie and codamedia like this.

  5. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2012
    Rocky Mount, NC
    V1, V4. V5 Groove Tube 12AX7A, ,
    V2 Telefunken 12 AX7A
    V3 GT 12AT7A
    V6 E-H 12AU7
    V7 and V8 E-H 6V6s

    V1 was also a Telefunken but went bad after nearly 50 years. I had a pairt of Reflektor/TungSol 6V6s which crapped out. I like the 12AU7 as phase invertor because I can open the amp up more for a fatter tone as my gigs are not particularly loud
     

  6. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Then how do you know they're "good"? That doesn't make much sense. I suggest doing some tube swapping with high quality tubes - if you don't hear any difference your amp may beed service, or you may need to make some adjustments in your playing and lighten up your pick dynamics.

    Differences can be subtle or significant - but they are most certainly there.

    And FWIW I use a Philips 5751 in V2 of my '67 DR.
     

  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Actually, taken literally it makes a lot of sense to me. If "good" means "functioning in spec" then to me the tone differences are subtle in most cases. That said, I like TAD 7025a. The seem less prone to noise, microphonics, rattling and failure than other 12ax7s, though my sample size is limited. I swear they also make amps a little "sweeter" (particularly in V1) but that might be confirmation bias at work.

    Power tubes? I don't much care. JJ 6v6s seem louder to me than other 6v6s. Sometimes that's a good thing; most times bad. I may be all wet there, but I really feel like the increase and amp's output noticeably over other comparable tubes. I do like Tung-Sol 6v6 and especially El84s. Again, not because of tone mysticism, but because they have been less prone to microphonics, rattling and failure than others I've tried.
     

  8. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    If you read my post, the problem buying tubes on eBay is that "good" is usually meaningless, as the sellers (with extremely rare exceptions) have no clue of a tube is operating in spec or not!

    And if you take 4 type of 6V6 tubes that HAVE been tested and matched - say 2 pairs of new ones (that are not just the same tubes relabeled) and 2 different NOS (say RCA's and Sylvanias) they all will have different frequency response, different bias points, handle plate voltage differently and often vary significantly in output and headroom.

    IF they all sound the same to you I'd suggest changing tube suppliers and buying GOOD tubes. In an amp like a Deluxe Reverb the difference between "good" EH 6V6's and god NOS RCA's is dramatic and easy to hear...plus they will also change in how you control the amp (i.e. where you set it in a specific venue at the top of headroom, and how it will be pushed into saturation...and the saturated tone is where extreme differences are apparent).
     

  9. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    Yes by "good" I ment a "good tube" working like new.
    My amps are serviced and I know a thing or two about picking dynamics.
    Really don't get a "Holy crap" moment going from one 12ax7 to the next that's all.

    Yeah "good" from an eBay seller is probably as worthless as "checked over by a tech and given a clean bill of health". :)
     
    King Fan and tele_player like this.

  10. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    IME the tweed Deluxe and the DR may be two different amps, sonically. If you own both, you may also be looking to make them *more* different, whereas if you only own one (say the DR) you may want some pushier, raw-er tweed-ish tone.

    Prof, have you tried this tube as a reverb driver? It may, if possible, take out even more splash and slosh than the nice Mullard you list.

    Finally, a lot depends on your tone targets. I want some amps to sound bluesier, or rawer, and others to sound more refined, hi-fi, lush, or pulled together. If -- a big if -- you think tubes make a difference, trying different NOS tubes at least in the first slot can be a lot of fun.

    With more and more tube slots, of course, the number of variables and interactions gets difficult.
     

  11. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Thanks for your reply. Yes, I would indeed like to have a CV4024 for the reverb driver, but since they are fairly expensive, I've elected to put that one in the PI and use much more economically priced Mullards in v 3. If I ever have a surplus, though, I'll definitely plan to fill both v 3 and v 6 with Mullard CV4024's.

    I agree with you that a tweed Deluxe and a Deluxe Reverb are two different animals. And it is great fun to swap NOS tubes in and out of v 1 as I have them available.

    p.s. I do think that tubes make a significant difference. How big a difference depends on the ears, I suppose.
     
    King Fan likes this.

  12. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    You might try a 12au7 for the reverb driver. I use those in all my Fenders. Maybe because when I drag home old organs I end up with buckets full of them. :)
     
    telemnemonics likes this.

  13. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN

  14. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    +1 Bobby. Not expensive for the same reason. :) Turns the reverb knob into a dial instead of a switch marked None...Some...Wax yer board dude!

    FWIW I found an RCA blackplate 5814 or 14A (ruggedized or milspec AU7) sounded even nicer.
     

  15. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Cool. Thanks. I'll keep a lookout for these. Thanks for the tip on 5814 / 14A version as well.
     

  16. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Beside the fact that 12AU7's are easy for you to come by or cheap, is there an advantage to using them instead of a 12AT7? Do the 12AU7's have a particularly hot sound because they are being tortured in that slot?
     

  17. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    King Fan summed it up nicely. The 12au7s have lower gain that the 12at7s. And of course they're cheap.
     

  18. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City

  19. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Random tube swapping for gain reasons is a VERY bad idea.

    If you don't have some kind of background in electronics and know your power transformer's capabilities (and the current draw of ALL the tubes in your amp)you can't just swap tubes around as I think is implied by posting the chart in the previous post. Take it to a qualified tech for guidance (and expect to pay a nominal fee - it would only be fair).

    You HAVE to be knowledgable of current draw to swap preamp tubes (or any tubes!). For example, 12AT7's draw over twice the current of 12AX7's. If the amp is running right on the edge of maximum current draw and you decide to lower gain by using a 12AT7 in place of a 12AX7 it's possible to overheat and blow your PT and/or cause other problems.

    I'm not going to list each tube with high current draw because you need to know how to locate the data, know/understand the transformer specs and calculate TOTAL draw of all tubes before making substitutions.

    I WILL say that subbing a 5751 for a 12AX7 is fine, as it's the most-common gain-lowering tube. Beyond that, you really need to know what you're doing.
     
    JD0x0 likes this.

  20. Ripradiant

    Ripradiant Tele-Holic

    907
    Jul 31, 2014
    Alberta Canada
    I have a very simple approach: I buy and use whatever the spec'd tube is for the slot. I don't buy used "vintage" tubes, or outrageously priced "NOS" tubes - only new from whatever manufacturer and the best price I can get it for.
     
    gentlyweeping likes this.

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