Mesa tubes - typical life span?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Southpole, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. Southpole

    Southpole Tele-Holic

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    Not sure if this is just me, but I seem to wear through Mesa branded tubes more quickly than in the past. I use 6L6GCs and EL84s in Mesa amps. Anyone else had this experience? What are the best alternatives for Mesa amps?
     
  2. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    JJs for EL84s but that's what Mesa tubes are. You should get a year minimum regular gigs and rehearsal
     
  3. Southpole

    Southpole Tele-Holic

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    Definitely not getting a year minimum. Five / ten years ago probably yes. Might have to experiment with non Mesa brands to see if it’s any different.
     
  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe it's worth checking your bias circuit resistors. They may have drifted causing higher current draw.
     
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  5. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    There's no such thing as a "MESA tube".
    They are rebranded tubes by various manufacturers ( in most cases Svetlana, JJ,SOVTEK or Shuguang )

    This.
     
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  6. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Mesa screen their tubes thoroughly
     
  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    are these tubes going into Mesa amps? plus one on knowing bias numbers...especially if tube wear is excessive.
     
  8. Rowdyman

    Rowdyman Tele-Meister

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    Mesa tubes are screened and 'matched'.

    I used to just call them in CA and they would send them directly to me for about $10.00 per.

    A number of years ago they stopped sending them directly, and simultaneously started to sell them through a local music-store chain. (Long&Mcquade)
    The price jumped ~ 300% at that time.....
    It's over 60 bucks for a pair of EL84s now. Scandalous!

    And you are right,, they don't last long,,,,,, RM
     
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  9. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The only Mesa branded tubes I've had were in a '67 Gibson GA-5T which was a dedicated daily practice amp for a couple of years. I installed those tubes and 3 years later sold the amp....same tubes. No gigs with it, but played 2 hours a day nearly every day with it.

    I would seriously check your bias to see if they are running too high.
     
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  10. Southpole

    Southpole Tele-Holic

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    Thanks all. Checking bias circuit resistors is a bit out of my league. Might be time to talk to an amp tech!
     
  11. trxx

    trxx Tele-Holic

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    An amp tech recently told me that older Mesa tubes were a good quality / performance value that he recommended as standard replacements and that newer Mesa tubes, not so much. I'm not sure what changed over the years. Probably who manufactured the old Mesa branded tubes vs. the various manufacturers of today. Maybe someone here knows something about that. Any way, he also told me that he generally recommends JJ as standard replacement tubes these days.
     
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  12. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    mine are doing very well in the lil monster....got it this way....liked it so much..left em in...amp is never off the dimed setting..just the right volume for everything 3203e.jpg
     
  13. slider313

    slider313 Tele-Afflicted

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    Mesa tubes, like other "tube distributors" are made by one of the three factories still making tubes today. JJ (Slovak Republic), New Sensor/Reflector Corp (Saratov Russia), Shuguang (China). Some folks believe Mesa, Groove Tube, TAD, Ruby, etc. have tubes made to their specifications but, AFAIK, these companies just test and screen the tubes for shorts and imperfections; then match them up into pairs. What you're paying extra for is their time and warranty.
     
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  14. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

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    Ive always had great and long lasting results with Mesa STR 6L6s. Put em in a Bandmaster Reverb some while back, and they are still beasts
     
  15. slider313

    slider313 Tele-Afflicted

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    Back in the 1970's and early 1980's the Mesa 6L6GC STR was simply a Philips 6L6GC-STR that Mesa would test and sort into matched pairs. They were one of the best 6L6GC tube types ever made. I believe the STR 387 was the standard single getter GC where the STR 415 was actually a dual getter 7581A.
     
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  16. Southpole

    Southpole Tele-Holic

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    Seem to recall that there are a variety of STR numbers for 6L6GCs.

    Starting to wonder if it is a bit like ink cartridges for printers, over time you pay more for the cartridges than the printer.

    I’m not a pro or even semi pro so my amps have an easy life. But somehow I’ve managed to wear through a pair of EL84s in about 4 months. Previously they would last much much longer. Either this amp is dodgy or tube quality has declined.

    I like to have spares on hand so some time may pass between buying spares and using them, so I can’t make use of the guarantee. Will buy some new ones today.
     
  17. Lakeabilene

    Lakeabilene TDPRI Member

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    If you can't tell the difference, by all means just put some cheap JJ's in there, they will probably last forever because you will play some other amp that sounds better because it doesn't have JJ's.
     
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  18. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    Some people "believe" that GT and TAD have tubes made to their specs because they do have SOME tubes made by Shuguang to their proprietary specs. Yes, the rest of the tubes they sell are just stock current manufacture tubes that they test and rate using their system.
    Al
     
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  19. slider313

    slider313 Tele-Afflicted

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    Do you know which tube designs are proprietary to GT or TAD? Do you have any photos as I would like see the physical difference between the stock Shuguang 6L6 and its TAD counterpart.
     
  20. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    The only Mesa or Groove Tubes tubes I'd buy would be the old ones from when they were still relabling US and western European tubes. That ended years ago and the chances of finding those still new in the box are pretty slim. Maybe in some backwater mom and pop place, like there's a lot of those left!
    Today just buy from a good vender that tests the tubes, stands behind them and doesn't try to sell hog wash and crap in fancy boxes.
    Most of them can sell you tubes that'll work in with Mesa's fixed bias set up.
    Oh wait, do I mean there's no magic in Mesa's bias system? Yes there's no magic in that system.
    The magic is in the marketing. :)
    Absolutely a brilliant move from a marketing prospective.
     
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