Old valves worth the expense?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by vegie1, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. vegie1

    vegie1 Tele-Meister

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  2. theprofessor

    theprofessor Friend of Leo's

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    Different people will tell you different things. To me, the short answer is, yes. The longer answer is that old tubes aren't "magic." There are still bad kinds and good kinds and PLENTY of overpriced kinds. If you know what you're looking for and are patient, you can find good deals. I wouldn't go dropping loads of money on NOS tubes until you find some way to try to some out to see what you really like and what works in your amp and with your guitar. But the construction is generally much more durable in old tubes, so they will generally last longer. If the price difference between new ones and old ones is too great, however, and you don't notice that much difference in tone, then go with new ones. You can replace them easily enough when they crap out earlier than older, well-made tubes probably would.

    p.s. your avatar is age 7, according to the tdpri info. Your avatar is asking really advanced questions for a seven year old! :)
     
  3. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    IMHO - NO! Had a 64 Twin reverb revalved- the whole new set. Sounded Sh....r than before or maybe I fist don't like LJL valves as opposed to JV6s.
    Talk to lots of people and play lots of amps. -let your ears do the judging.
    E.G. I hate El- 34s and El-84s unless they're in a food /hand wired Marshall. JHHO
     
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  4. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    To me a definitely YES. A good buddy of mine had a few old power tubes for me to try in an amp of mine and bingo, struck it big time with a really old one. I doubt that there could be any guarantee, but worth the endeavor. When it wears out, I know exactly what to look for. They are not cheap, but changed a so so sound into a great sounding amp.
     
  5. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

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    IMHO. Yes.

    But only buy from a trusted seller, that also gives at least a 30 day Warranty. Don't buy from anyone who wont Guarantee their tubes. Especially expensive tubes. There is no reason for a trusted seller not to Warrant/Guarantee tubes.

    When I buy tubes. Even Preamp Tubes, that I can easily install myself.

    My friend is a known tech, so I have him put them in, and give me a receipt of service, so if anything goes wrong in those 30 days, the seller cant say I'm not a certified person to install tubes. That argument is gone. I had a pro install them, and have verifiable proof.

    I will then proceed to crank the amp/tubes for hours on end during the Warranty Period.

    IMHO, usually if they last the initial trial run, they will be a reliable tube.

    But I also know what I generally like in NOS tubes.

    Its hard to go wrong with Mullard I61/I63/50s Mullard Longplate 12ax7s. I also like/love them in Fender amps. I use Mullard 7025s in my 69 Dual Showman Rvb.
     
  6. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's a risk, because you could spend a lot of money for a NOS tube and not like the way it sounds when you install it (unless of course, your mind is tricked into liking it because of the amount of money spent), and good luck returning it. Sort of like pickups.
     
  7. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    IMHO if OLD ones work- don't change them . Newer ones sound sh....r.
     
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  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    For that money I've bought four or five great sounding vintage preamp tubes in the last couple of months.
    Some excellent '50s 6v6 and 6L6 pairs as well.
    If you know exactly what you want it makes some sense to buy from expensive sellers with guarantees.
    But if you're wondering what you might like, it's crazy to pay massively inflated prices without even knowing what you're buying or why.

    Regarding the value of vintage vs new production tubes, IMO it's very much worth the trouble to get tubes that were made to the highest standards.
    Todays tubes are just not as well made, don't last as long and don't sound as good.
    I generally pay less that the price of new production for NOS or ANOS vintage tubes, and the bad buys are so few that the price is still way better than lower quality new tubes.
    I almost never pay more than $20 shipped for near NOW testing 12ax7/ 5751.

    New "Mullards" are actually, what? Sovteks with Mullard printed on them? And an extra $15 added to the price?
     
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  9. Ripradiant

    Ripradiant Tele-Afflicted

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    Not worth it in my opinion For so called "vintage" ...ie -used -tubes. IMHO just another urban guitar player myth which helps people resell junk at inflated prices. Ever hear of the story: the emporeres new clothes!

    I
     
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  10. johnnyha

    johnnyha Tele-Afflicted

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    It is not a myth that a good NOS tube will last 5X longer than a new production tube and often sound better.
     
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  11. vegie1

    vegie1 Tele-Meister

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    Still can't change it. Lol
     
  12. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    The "will last 5X longer" part can be documented, I suppose (assuming somebody has actually tested this out); however, the "sound better" part is 100% subjective.
     
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  13. Ripradiant

    Ripradiant Tele-Afflicted

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    Would be interesting to see what documentation supports the assertion of facts. Beauty though, is in the eye of the beholder and if one likes it...then that's all that is needed. As noted above...that is the subjective aspect!

    I think one needs to keep in mind also that poster link shows used tubes! Not sure they are gonna last.

    To put it another way: I have old leather shoes that are completely broken in, have tons of patina, and they are totally comfortable. Would you buy them just because your neighbour says they are the best? And then, would you be outrageous sums on top of that?!
    Just a different perspective.

    The emperor thought his clothes were the best too.
     
  14. tele_player

    tele_player Tele-Meister

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    5x longer life is a popular thing to say, but I'm sure there is no documentation to support it.

    Nonetheless, many quality tubes from the 60s did seem to last a long time.

    Whatever, if you find NOS tubes which you like, buy as many as you can, it's not likely the price will go down. When I started getting picky about these things, 25 years ago, good US 6V6 or 6L6 were about $30 for well matched pairs. I hoarded some, but not nearly enough.
     
  15. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Buy NOS for quality / longevity. But don't buy for tone unless you have a very good idea of what you want, and even then are you sure you can hear it? Pay even more, to be certain?
     
  16. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Test 100%+ (Good starts at 65%)

    Tested on a B&K707 dynamic mutual conductance tester for shorts, gas, grid emission and strength.

    This is the biggest danger of the 'NOS' tube business, it's fraudulent. When you see this kind of stupidity just move on. You'll see a lot 'closely matched' tubes sold on the basis of tube tester measurements. Complete nonsense.
     
  17. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I tend to buy.....used-but-tested.... older 50's, 60's, and 70's values from vendors that I TRUST, and have done business with in the past.
    Last set of used tubes I bought, was a pair of RFT EL34s......$45/delivered.
    I do NOT have big bucks to spent on expensive NOS tubes.

    Steve
     
  18. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's

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    1st rule of modding:
    The more you pay the better it will sound.
    2nd rule of modding:
    About 6 months after the bill is paid, you realize it sounded better stock.
     
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The energy and money spent discussing and buying boutique bridges, titanium saddles, nitro finishes, and a multitude of hardware upgrades plus relic'ing, seems so much more popular than the basics of top quality tubes and good solid wood.

    Vintage mil spec tubes and the wood that makes up 95% of the guitar are the two most popular things to insist make no difference.
     
  20. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    For me, wood makes a difference. For sure.

    If I had lotsa bucks and patience to roll tubes and sift out the bad ones and listen for the good, maybe I'd say something like that about NOS tubes. But as it stands, the few older tubes I've bought NOS, or acquired in SF amps, just sound like normal tubes to me. But what do I know...
     
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