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Lifespan of good power tubes?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by telewacked, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. telewacked

    telewacked Tele-Holic

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    I pulled out an old receipt last night and realized I've been playing the same set of Visseaux 6V6's in my SFDR since 1990.
    I've played about 30 4+ hour gigs a year plus weekly / bi-weekly rehearsals that whole time.
    I'm thinking it might be time for a re-tube, however the amp still sounds strong to me, and I don't want to blow the money if I'm not going to get an improved tone for it.
    Any thoughts on how to check this out or what the "standard" time is for replacements?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I replace my power tubes, and get a bias, once a year. Even when I don't think it needs it, I do it anyway, because I am consistently amazed by how much better it sounds when I get it back. Now, it sounds like I play alot more often than you, so your tubes will probably last longer, but I think 14 years is a bit much. I do a little over 200 dates a year, plus some rehearsals and sessions, so my tubes get ALOT of cook-time.

    Change them, you'll hear a difference.


    Jake
     
  3. telewacked

    telewacked Tele-Holic

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    oops...thats 2000, not 1990..

    Thanks Jake...I mis-typed when I wrote my question..it's been 4 years on the tubes, not 14...
    It sounds like I may be able to benefit from a change.


    cheers..
     
  4. cg73cmc

    cg73cmc Tele-Holic

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    What he said ...

    I agree with Jake -- replace tubes regularly. I'm an old Electronic's Technician (one of the last of the "tube" era) - and new tubes with fresh biasing do make a difference.

    I have a Blues Jr. and between me and my son, it's cranked about 3 hours every day. Unfortunately, the BJ has fixed bias -- and it's HOT -- so those little tubes are cooking away at themselves every moment the red light is glowing. Someday I'll do the adjustable bias mod on it when I get around to it.

    Also, have fun with "retubing" when you do it. You don't have to use the same kind of tubes -- and substituting different kinds of tubes can change your tone in a pleasant way. For instance, I have 7025 in the 12AX7 V1 slot of my BJ -- which gives the amp a more 60ish Fender sound.

    I have whole box of unused tubes, cause I just play with them, swapping them in and out of the amp, until I get the sound I like. Fun stuff for an old electronics weenie like me.

    Go to the GROOVE TUBES website and check it out -- loads of information on tubes. I buy all my tubes from them too. They've really helped me out alot.
     
  5. TwinReverb

    TwinReverb Tele-Meister

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    cg73cmc

    Have you ever tried a 5751 in the V1 position? I have one in my Pro jr. Gives a very nice three dimensional sound...
     
  6. jazzguitar

    jazzguitar Tele-Afflicted

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    Sometimes tubes last surprisingly long. Even if you replace them now, don't toss them! Maybe you can have them tested on a proper tube tester. I get a few years out of a set of power tubes, but I don't gig once a week.
     
  7. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    Take anything you read on the Groove Tubes site with a grain of salt. Pittman is a well known hypemeister and BS artist. GT is well known for misinformation.

    Don't pay double for the same exact tubes you can get elsewhere, it's all hype and BS.

    If you need 6V6s, call Bob at Eurotubes and get a pair of the new JJs.
     
  8. cg73cmc

    cg73cmc Tele-Holic

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    Can you back that statement up?

    Tremo wrote:

    Very serious allegation and personal attack I'd say. Do you have any specifics to back such an accusation up? I don't even know who "Pittman" is -- I deal with Myles Rose in their Special Applications Group and I trust him. He has given me great advice.

    But if you make an accusation in public about someone being a "BS Artist" -- for everyone to read -- you're besmirching the reputation of that individual and I think you ought to offer some proof and specifics about why you're making the allegation. I think that you OWE that to the guy you're trashing don't you?

    We've talked about this before in another forum haven't we Tremo?

    PS: I have nothing to do with GT (Myles is the only guy I know there and I've never met him face to face). I also like the folks at KCANOSTUBES.COM. Eurotubes, I can't speak for -- but if you say they're good too I'm sure they are.

    Again, remember, All You Need Is Love Man.
     
  9. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    If you know anything about Groove Tubes...and deal with them directly...I can't fathom not knowing who Aspen Pittman is, since he founded the company and is featured...by name...in much of their marketing literature.

    The point is - "Groove Tubes" is a company, not a product. As far as tubes go, they have a process, not a product, and that process has been widely discussed as more "smoke and mirrors" than anything else. You *will* pay more for the same tubes you can get elsewhere - Groove Tubes claims it's their "process" and the supposed fact that they weed out a lot of rejects. Many techs feel the added cost is simply a way of paying for their expensive marketing.

    I have to say Tremo and I firmly agree - there's a lot of hype about Groove Tubes, and I've had no better luck with them than with buying cheapo Sovteks from New Sensor. Same stuff.
     
  10. cg73cmc

    cg73cmc Tele-Holic

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    Pittman is a guy ...

    An opinion can be held about GT and it can be valid -- but when you single out one guy and call him a "BS Artist" (let's face it -- are you condoning name calling Silverface?) then that is a personal attack that I can't agree with unless it's backed up with specifics.

    I stand on that opinion and respect yours -- but respectfully disagree with it. There need to be limits placed upon attacks in this kind of forum and I, for one, am willing to stand up for respect for the individual -- no matter who he is. Sorry you don't feel the same way.

    Now, as far as what you think about GT, it's YOUR opinion -- and your opinion only -- which means it's no more valid than mine or anyone elses.
     
  11. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    Oh jeez, I don't believe it.........

    Dood, where have you been for the past several years?

    All this has been discussed ad nauseum for a very very long time. This is very old news. Everybody who knows WTF they're doing knows very well about GT, Pittman, technical misinformation, marketing hype, BS, secret mystery mojo, relabeled tubes, stratospheric prices, "exclusive" designs that are not exclusive, etc..... on and on.

    If you want to get your feathers ruffled, that's your problem, not mine. If you want to patronize and endorse GT, that's also your business, more power to ya. But if you do it on a public forum, expect similar responses from those who know better.

    I invite you to the Tubes forum over on the Amp Workshop web page, you'll get a good education over there. Several threads involving GT.

    http://pub58.ezboard.com/bampworkshop
     
  12. cg73cmc

    cg73cmc Tele-Holic

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    Been right here ...

    All these years? I've been a member just shy of 3 months less than you.

    GT -- and others -- screen tubes -- there's no mystery in that or BS. They haven't misrepresented their product. They tell you exactly where the tubes are made and I challenge you to site where they have tried to indicate otherwise.

    As far as "screening" tubes goes -- I believe it is a valid service, since in my life I have personally seen A LOT of bad tubes come out of boxes. When someone, GT or anyone else says they get 50% rejects for this batch run of tubes or that one -- my experience tells me that is not such a far-fetched claim.

    Now, I'm not demanding that you take my opinion as the gospel here -- my opinion is no more valid than yours. However, when you single out an individual, by name, and call him a "BS Artist" -- that is problematic from my standpoint and think you have crossed the line of acceptable arguement. I have no problem with your opinion of GT, whatsoever. They provide a service that many, including myself are willing and able to pay for. This is obviously not true in your case and you are entitled to that -- you may even be right. But you could be wrong too.

    Again, no problem with your opinion on GT -- say whatever you want about them. The problem I have is with the personal attack and name calling. I don't think they should be tolerated here. I really could care less who disagrees with me on that point.
     
  13. cg73cmc

    cg73cmc Tele-Holic

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    Last ...

    Tremo wrote:

    Actually I did visit that board and found the following post from "Tremo" (this was just posted -- cut and pasted from that board) ...

    I assume that I'm the "n00b" that you're referring to. Tremo, can you make an articulate point anywhere without resorting to name calling?

    My point is made, and there is nothing else to be said from my end. I'm sorry I reacted strongly to what I perceived as a personal attack against someone else but I think a standard of conduct ought to be set on this board. I highly recommend that everyone check out the board that Tremo references above -- it's an anarchist board and personal attacks are thrown about with impunity there. That is why we should keep such attacks out of the TDPRI. Again, my humble opinion only -- everyone can make up their own minds. If it sounds as if I'm pontificating here or demanding that everyone adopt an ethical standard -- mine -- then I apologize. That is not my intention.
     
  14. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    Re: Last ...

    Anarchist? Hardly anarchy there. Actually it's rather calm, you make it sound like a huge flame war, which couldn't be further from reality. If you want anarchy, go to AGA on the usenet, now that's anarchy. OTOH, the Amp Workshop is perhaps the most open and uncensored board on the net for this stuff, with some of the most knowledgable and experienced techs for amp related issues. You can call a spade a spade, and that's why those guys hang there. You have a problem with free speech? Lots of good info there. Lots of myth and hype debunking. If something is good, it's so stated. If something is a POS, it's also plainly stated. Also, those in this industry who market their products with outlandish hype and BS, or bogus claims, are similarly identified. Guys who hack/butcher mod amps are identified, as are the guys who do great work. No beating around the bush. If you want STRAIGHT and direct technical info, that's the place to get it. If you ask a question there, you get an informed to-the-point answer, none of the guessing that goes on at some other boards. But maybe that level of directness isn't for everybody. I guess some people like certain subjects and opinions to be banned or soft-pedaled. For those, there's the FDP.

    Maybe you like to be a cheerleader for GT, that's certainly your right to do so. However, it's also you who seem to be raising the most stink over criticism of Pittman. I find it very puzzling how you can be so gung-ho on GT and yet not know who Pittman is. He's Mr. GT. It's his company. Regardless, if you're going to cheerlead for GT, you can expect to also see criticism of his pricing and advertising claims, and methods.

    Now I will give credit where credit is due. GT usually does a good job of screening out the duds. Pittman himself is one helluva marketer, he has been very effective and successful in promoting his products to the uninformed masses. But IMO, and also in the opinions of most informed techs, he does it with a LOT of hype and questionable claims. There's nothing special about his stuff that warrants the high prices. You can get the identical tubes from others for much less money, and GT is not the only remarketer out there who does a good job screening their tubes. Ruby Tubes also does a very good job, sells the same tubes as GT, for less money. Ditto for suppliers like Lord Valve, Ned Carlson, Uncle Spot, and Eurotubes, to name a few.

    I also encourage folks here to check out the AW, they might just like what they see. Whatever floats your boat.
     
  15. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Posting quotes from other boards...that have different policies...is really bad form IMO. A personal attack about a personal attack. Huh?

    Tremo says "BS"...I say "marketing hype". Same statement in a different package.

    GT *is* widely discussed...and after years of reading (and using/screening tubes) it looks to me as if serious guitar amp techs don't take them real seriously.

    Tremo may get a bit fired up about the GT subject, but he's certainly not alone in his opinions.
     
  16. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I hope I'm not fanning the flames here, but I don't think this point was really addressed, and it seems to be what started it all...

    Groove Tubes buys tubes, screens them, rates them, relabels them, and sells them to you at a huge markup. To many people, that's a pretty shady business practice.

    Any reputable seller of tubes will screen them to make sure that they're not selling bad merchandise, and TheTubeStore.com even rates the power tubes so you can buy a new set with the same rating and not have to re-bias. Many, many good tube sellers will give you lots of advice about tubes and all of the technical info you can devour soyou can get the tubes you need for the sound you want. Not only do they offer free education, but good prices on their tubes. Bob at Eurotubes is one example. Groove Tubes overcharges and charges for their knowledge, because that's what they put into their process.

    cg73cmc, I think that Tremo and Silverface started off, at least, trying to be helpful. The whole thing got off track pretty quickly, but I'm sure that it wasn't their original intent.
     
  17. Stan Martin

    Stan Martin Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    GT et al

    Frankly Tremo can make statements about Mr Pittman due to the fact the said person uses his name on everything. GT has always been over-hyped and over priced. relabeling Chinese(inferior) tubes etc.
    Tubes fail and GT tubes failure rate is no better than KCA ,New Sensor, The Tube Store. The big difference is you pay a lot for GT putting their silkscreening on the tubes.

    Silverface and Tremo know their stuff. As far as membership to this board. Those guys have been members long before the board change last year. That's what accounts for everyones "recent" membership.
     
  18. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Thanks Stan, but I don't claim to be an "expert" - even though Tremo and I don't always agree, he has miles more experience in this area than I do.

    But it's fact that GT is a successful marketing machine. Just look at their new "6L6GE" "American" tubes...which have some parts made here, but the tube itself is constructed in China. They don't tell you that in their marketing stuff...

    I don't often buy new tubes, having inherited a nice stash that will keep me for some time...but I have been satisfied with JJ's from Eurotubes and would have no qualms about dealing with Lord Valve, Uncle Ned, Mike at KCA, Uncle Spot and a few of the other respected suppliers. I'm not going to wander down to GC and buy a sleeve of GT's off the nice-looking counter display, though....
     
  19. Tim Swartz

    Tim Swartz Friend of Leo's

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    I am certainly not an advocate of paying double for the same tubes, which is often what you do when you buy GT, but in all fairness, when I service an amp with GT power tubes they are usually matched tighter than the less expensive varieties. Is it worth it? Not to me. But, if at the counter of Ray's Music Emporium, the GT labeled version of the Reflektor 6L6 is the same price as Ruby or EH version, I'm going to take the GT. FWIW, they do have exclusive US marketting rights on the Reflektor KT66s.
     
  20. Tremo

    Tremo Banned

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    Let's get back to the original question, shall we? A gent with a DR is looking for new tubes. So what shall we recommend, that sounds good, is reliable (don't have to worry about them blowing up at a gig and wiping out parts in the amp), and don't cost an arm and a leg.

    For the 6V6 requirement, he could spring the bucks for NOS, they're pretty much all well made, reliable and sound good, but they're pricey these days. Current production alternatives are the Sovtek/EH, the Chinese and the JJ. I am of the opinion that the JJ is the obvious choice because it is built much more solidly than either the Sovtek or Chinese, Bob is selling them at a good price, and they sound good. The EH has screen grid reliability issues, you pay your money and takes your chances. The older design Chinese tubes (the Chinese 6V6 has been around a long time) are somewhat notorious for having short lifespan and other issues.
     
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