Retube kits for Blues Junior? Experiences?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by LiteAsh, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. LiteAsh

    LiteAsh Tele-Meister

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  2. Coop47

    Coop47 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can't speak to the specific kits on that page, but I've had good luck with Eurotubes in general if that helps.
     
  3. LiteAsh

    LiteAsh Tele-Meister

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    Good to know. Thanks.
     
  4. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

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    Low Gain Blues Option: ECC81 in V1. This is a 12AT7. Lower gain than a 12AX7 yes, but not as musical or circuit compatible as a 12AY7 (even lower gain) or 5751 (between AY and AX). You might like it. It won't hurt the amp. Balanced triodes in the PI. That doesn't add any value to me. LTP is unbalanced already (plate resistors 91k, 100k) and resistors are =/- 10% anyhow. It's not gonna matter.

    SRV option is a 5751 in V1. So a little lower gain, circuit compatible with 12AX7. You can achieve the same effect by turning the volume down. But this may give you more sweep to dial in your tone, especially if the last 1/4 turn is dirt to more dirt.

    Tweed Option is a 12AY7 in V1, so lowest gain. See above.

    Max Headroom Option: Replace V1 and V2 with 12AT7. A 12AT7 is a driver tube. It's not ideal in a preamp gain stage, but might sound fine. If it adds any headroom, it's because the 12AT7 is biased colder than the 12AX7 (the whole circuit compatibility thing).

    High Gain Option: Assuming their testing is rigorous, you are assured to get tubes on the high end of the 12Ax7 gain spectrum (100).

    Gold Pin: I didn't even look at it because gold on the pins is a gimmick. I suppose they might be more careful/attentive while making in the factory, so maybe you get a higher quality tube. But we don't punish preamp tubes like we do power tubes, so this really isn't a value add for me, either.

    I'd do the SRV or Tweed option because it's always nice to have 12AX7 circuit compatible tubes with lower gain for swapping around in preamps. Throw in another ECC83 (12ax7) just so you have it. Best use in that amp for a 12AT7, IMHO is in the V3 (Phase Inverter). So might as well get one of those too.

    So your order:

    1. SRV Option Kit
    2. One ECC83S (12AX7)
    3. One ECC81 (12AT7)
    4. One 12AY7

    Then you can cover nearly all the ground those kits offer and use your ears to decide what you like best.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
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  5. LiteAsh

    LiteAsh Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. I will order exactly what you said.
     
  6. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    I have had very good luck with Eurotubes. JJ's sound good in this amp. I usually get the standard kit ... no issues. Sounds good to my ears (What's left of 'em). This little freak of nature will burn through tubes like a lit cigarette. IMO if you try to clean it up with lower gain preamp tubes you kind of miss the point of the amp. Different strokes though.
     
  7. LiteAsh

    LiteAsh Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Henry, I'm satisfied with standard tubes for sure...I just want to try something new, and all "non standard kit" tubes can be used in my other amps if I dont like their sound from BJ
     
  8. johnnyha

    johnnyha Tele-Afflicted

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    JJ makes great power tubes. For preamp tubes Electro Harmonix might be a better choice. I agree with everything from the Commodore's assessment I don't think that Blues Jr was made for 12AT7s or 12AY7s.
     
  9. Syrinx

    Syrinx Tele-Meister

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    As fear as the retube "kits" go- Have not tried them. But have used Eurotubes for years for the amps I use JJs in- and Bob has always asked how I wanted the amp to sound and delivered exactly that in his selections.
     
  10. gtrguru

    gtrguru Friend of Leo's

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    I used JJ tunes for years. Never had a problem. Never needed to replace a tube. Sounded way better than the original tubes
     
  11. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    A few things -

    Often re-tube "kits" are overpriced and you can do much better buying individual tubes.

    Kits also give you no way to voice the amp the way you want.

    "Kits" use generalized descriptions that may be completely different than what you may expect, and may not be the best choice depending on how the amp is voiced (especially if it's had any mods, and even more if it' a little older and never been serviced). You are relying on the opinion of a person who may not have the same tonal perceptions or goals you do.

    Volume levels and types of venues you play significantly change how a specific "group" of tubes may work together.

    Most importantly, it's a huge marketing smokescreen selling "kits". That implies you need to replace ALL your tubes, which is VERY rare. Normally, good preamp tubes can last for decades (example - GE's and RCA's in 60's and 70's Fenders are usually working fine 40-50 years later, and although Soviet's old wafer base 5881 wasn't even an audio tube, it's built like a tank and most early ones - 20 - 30 years old - are working great and still matched.).

    S0 - with kits the sellers are basically trying to get more of your money necessarily in MOST cases. Unless you have microphonic, dark or light sounding, or unusually weak preamp tubes you replace this not tweak your sound - NOT out of necessity. Power tubes, OTOH, are a judgement call. Some last for decades, some for hours (especially in fixed bias amps that are run very hot).

    And rectifier tubes need to be replaced if the wrong one is in place, by a tech to change the plate voltage and biasing, or if they get broken. The percentage of rectifiers that out-and-out fail is so low it's ridiculous. And they don't get "weak" unless they're defective. A rectifier is a type of vacuum diode and doesn't "wear out".
     
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  12. DaveKS

    DaveKS Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Why on earth would you ship JJ tubes from half way around the world when their pretty much made in your backyard in Slovakia?

    As far preamp tubes for a Fender, JJ ecc83 would be last choice for preamp tubes, now the el84 JJ are very good. But your amp will sound better with a Svetlana 12ax7 in v1 and some TAD 7025wa for other 2 preamp slots.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  13. LiteAsh

    LiteAsh Tele-Meister

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    Thanks DaveKS, I will try with Svetlana 12ax7 and TAD 7025wa.

    http://www.jjtubes.eu/ ? If you know better place for buy JJ tubes in Slovakia, or other "backyard" country please let me know. Better place mean reasonable shipping costs or at least willing to deliver in my country at all...
     
  14. DaveKS

    DaveKS Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I have no idea who the tube venders are in that part of the world. I'd think any music store or amp tech in that area of world would have access to JJ tubes. Maybe I'm way of base here.
     
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