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

Why do chain guitar stores stock crap for tubes?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by bluesholyman, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    The big-wigs at Guitar Center have determined that there is not enough profit potential in stocking more than one or two common brands of vacuum tube. That's their business model.

    The answer is: Capitalism.
    WigWam and MilwMark like this.

  2. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

    For the same reason GC tells you they don't have such and such Les Paul in, but they can order it for you sight unseen, and you have to pay for said sight unseen guitar in full first.

    And why online businesses like Sweetwater thrive...they show pics and weights of exactly what you are gonna get.

    Or not...

  3. 24 track

    24 track Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    it could also be a condition of contract beween Fender and GC /Long & Mcquade and any one who is a licenced retailer for Fender . they all carry GT and Mesa tubes that are manufactured in China.

  4. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 20, 2011
    Englewood, CO
    My guess, as I kind of guessed at before, is that the chain stores see tubes as a convenience item. If you blow a tube or two even if you're not a gigging musician, and you don't have spares, you aren't gonna wait 2-5 days to get some shipped to you from Ebay or some other online source.

    If that's your only amp or your precious #1 and you have a gig you're gonna give in and truck on over to GC or Music123 or whatever other brick and mortar music store is nearby and pay their "gotcha" prices so you can get back in business. They aren't dumb when it comes to stocking essentials they can maximize profits on and neither is any other retailer.

    If you want get a good price on 9v batteries you don't buy them at the local super market either. But you can buy milk there for $2 a gallon if you're smart rather than waiting 'til you run out at 2:00 AM and have to pay $3.50 a gallon for it at the 7-11. The smarter we are as shoppers and the more prepared we are the less there is to complain about. ;)
    teletimetx likes this.

  5. sjruvolo

    sjruvolo Tele-Meister

    May 22, 2013
    New York
    IMHO...It's probably best to buy tubes from a specialist shop. They know what they are doing. It's also a good idea to keep a spare set (duet, quartet etc.) that match the rating, that are in your gigging amp so you don't have to worry so much about bias if a quick swap is required. GC is not the place for power tubes purchase.

  6. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    What are "good tubes" as opposed to "crap tubes"?

    Aside from "crap tube" sounding like part of the digestive system, the tube brand discussion is no different (and no more meaningful) than the Ford/Chevy discussion. And an old piece of equipment does not "deserve" old tubes; it's an inanimate object, it deserves nothing.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016

  7. robrob

    robrob Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    United States
    The stores know their employees would walk that sh*t right out of there. :eek:
    Fiesta Red, WigWam, dan40 and 2 others like this.

  8. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Holic

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    DING! DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!!!!!!

  9. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Holic

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    I think the original question was actually not the correct one, and I really wasn't expecting much response. My beef was that the closest store to me only stocks over-priced Groove Tubes, and even then, their stock is low. Historically, I have associated Groove Tubes with being just mediocre sounding tubes as after upgrading them to something else, my amps have always sounded better.

    As for the tube brand discussion being just like Ford/Chevy, I think if you are into tubes and how they really sound, then there is merit to the discussion.

    I can tell very noticeable differences between a JJ, Sovtek, Shuguang, etc tube being in V1 - I hear it. To me, that discussion is useful.

  10. johnnyha

    johnnyha Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 18, 2013
    Austin, TX
    Actually I just checked and at least online, GC offers JJ, Groove Tube, Sovtek, EH, Ruby, Tung Sol. Svetlana, Mullard, Mesa Boogie, and a few other brands. Honestly it never occurred to me to buy a tube at GC...

  11. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley

  12. MrCairo46

    MrCairo46 Friend of Leo's

    I think you label your self a real cork sniffer calling Groove Tubes "Crap". I remember reading the reviews in Guitar Player Magazine back in the late 1970's or 80's and everybody throwing out their stock Fender and Peavey tubes to "upgrade" to them. I think until some folks started finding stock piles of surplus Russian tubes , they may have been the only option unless you scavenged an old radio. Yes kids, there was talk that they would soon run out of tubes. Heck I still remember in High school that every self respecting TV shop or hardware store had tube testers free to use.
    Now quit calling hard working peoples stuff crap and GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!

    Curmudgeons forever ;-)
    bluesholyman likes this.

  13. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 21, 2015
    Groove tubes are, on the whole, very good.

  14. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 21, 2015
    Why don't they sell fingers?
    Jerry Lee likes this.

  15. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    Yeah I remember that as well. In fact I used to work in a tv repair shop, it was my first job, actually. I remember my dad driving me into town to apply for a few odd jobs when I was in high school, and we passed a small tv repair shop. I told him to stop there, and he shook his head saying they wouldn't hire me with no experience, but stopped anyway. I went in and talked to the old guy who owned it, and he hired me on the spot after asking me some tech questions. It was the first place we had stopped -- I still laugh about that with my dad.
    (I'm sure part of the reason he hired me was so I could carry tv sets around instead of him.)

  16. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Holic

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    They have these at Halloween...

  17. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Holic

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
    I'll proudly wear "Tube Sniffer" any day...but yeah, I guess I am sticking my nose in the air on this...

    I have known about and used JJs for almost 15 years. Just about every amp I have acquired I put JJs in, usually replacing the stock Groove Tubes, and the wine always tasted better after that...

    My perception of Groove Tubes is largely based on this experience, and I am guessing the "stock" tubes were not their best stuff, but were consistently matched, low noise, etc.

    I had some Ruby EL84s that were just awesome, sounded better to me than the JJs I put in that amp (Gibson GA15RVT, IIRC) and that opened my eyes a little bit.

    I need to start running some other current production tubes and round out my education a bit....

  18. Dan R

    Dan R Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charleston, SC
    I bought from another individual, but I had recent good luck on eBay. I got a pair of RCA Black Plate 6v6 tubes for about $35.00 shipped. Sounds too good to be true, but they can be had for reasonable prices. They sound great in my SFPR. Look around, it's worth it.
    24 track likes this.

  19. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Wonder if it's something to do with Fender's relationship to GT... and GC. Maybe a GT tube display comes as part of a standard minimum dealer amp order?

  20. flyswatter

    flyswatter Friend of Leo's

    Jan 12, 2013
    It's like when I buy tires for my car, about which I know and care almost nothing other than they make the car roll along the road without bursting. I walk into a garage and see "Goodyear" and, knowing the brand, say "those'll do." Now, I don't know, but there may be some afficionado of vintage or high performance automobiles with a fetish for some high end/ harder to find brand of tires saying on some car forum, "Gah!!! Why is it I only see Goodyears in all the local mechanics?"

    What he cares about tires is what most of us here on this forum care about tubes -- but the average laymen, vastly in the majority, has no idea of a difference.

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