1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Used tubes

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by JustABluesGuy, Apr 8, 2021.

Tags:
  1. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    There are some used tubes for sale near me. Any advice on about how much to pay for unknown and untested tubes?

    Are there any special tubes I should be looking for besides the obvious ones. It looks like there are a lot of them, so how much should I offer for a large quality of unknown tubes?
     
  2. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,024
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2018
    Location:
    out there somewhere
    Really depends on the person selling, if they are into amps, vintage electronics etc then they have more value, but a booth at a flea market a few years back the guy was just trying to unload the hoard and wasn't as interested in getting top dollar as in making a fair sale. Also depends alot on what tubes they are. But that being said there are people on here way more qualified to answer that question for you then me.
     
    uriah1 and JustABluesGuy like this.
  3. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    38,847
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Lubbock, TX
    If you do not recognize the tubes as tubes that have some sort of value for guitarists and/or audiophiles, they are worth very little to you. If you do recognize them, they are still not worth very much because they are used and unknown as to usefulness. If you don’t have even a basic emissions tube tester, you don’t know whether or not it would be safe to try one in an amp...after all, they are used and were removed from service for some reason, correct? If you do have an emissions tester, you can ascertain whether or not the tube will function safely in a circuit, but that type of tester will not establish anything else. Without a tester that tests at real voltage levels and yields usable information about the tube, one still doesn’t have much value even if the tubes are NOS/NIB tubes.
    So....how much to pay for used and untested tubes? Not much, in my world,if anything. I bought a couple of handfuls of NOS/NIB RCA tubes. I picked them out of a TV/radio repairman’s old stock...still in the wall rack in his shop. I paid good money for a few 6V6s, a 6K6, and a 12AZ7. I could have fairly offered the same amount for the entire rack of tubes, but I did not want to bother with the other tubes since I have a lot of such tubes already and don’t have much of a market for them. A box of used and unknown tubes?
    That would be hard to sell to me. It is amazing how much time such an assortment of tubes can take if one has a tester and KNOWS what tubes they are buying. So.....pennies per tube...if anything at all.
     
    stepvan and JustABluesGuy like this.
  4. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Thanks. This is an estate sale and it looks like someone who worked on electronics. There is a photo of one cigar box that has 6L6 and 6v6 written on it. It looks like there are some amps as well (chassis only)
     
    northernguitar and Wally like this.
  5. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Thanks Wally! I just hate to see them go to the dump, but a closet full of unusable, and unwanted tubes isn’t something I need, and my wife definitely wouldn’t appreciate it.

    Some of them look like NOS in box, and there are GE and Telphunken and Sylvania boxes.
     
    northernguitar likes this.
  6. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I suppose I will go look and see, but only buy known tubes that appear to be NOS and only if they are really cheap.
     
  7. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
  8. mikestearns

    mikestearns Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Age:
    36
    Posts:
    548
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2019
    Location:
    Hanover, PA
    You mileage may vary, I've had good luck with old tubes, and bad luck. I also have two boxes of them I bought when I first got into working on amps that are useless.
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.
  9. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Oops!
     
  10. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    38,847
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Lubbock, TX
    That could be an interesting sale, but I don’t see a lot of money there. Sometimes those boxes get interesting. A friend called me from an estate sale last summer to ask if I wanted a box of tubes. He knew nothing about them except there were what he thought were 6V6s in a box....a fair number of them...unknown quantity to him and therefore for me on the other end of a phone conversation. They wanted a bit of money, but I took a chance and said okay. The box was an original shipping box for 6V6s. It was full of UOS 6V6s and NOS RCA 6V6GTs....60/40 distribution used/nos. Bargain. They must have come from an industrial situation that need to have a large number of 6V6s on hand. All of the UOS tested as usable. All of the NOS/NIB were from the same production batch carrying the same codes. Those type of deals don’t happen very often.
     
  11. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,674
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    If you want to roll the dice, and if you have a little bit of gambling money, you might end up with some good tubes. But you might not. It’s really hard to tell what a tube is going to do in a circuit just by looking at it. In fact, it’s impossible. But if they look to be untouched and unmolested, I might be willing to throw a little bit of money at them in hopes of finding something good. But then the issue is really needing to test them for any kind of catastrophic failures before putting them in an amp. Without at least some kind of basic test, I’m not going to put them into service and risk blowing up parts. And that reminds me that I really need to get a hold of some kind of useful tester, just for this purpose. Basic tube tester results are not extraordinarily meaningful, but they can screen out some thing that will damage your amp.

    I would be very interested in any 6L6 GC tubes. Those are getting harder to come by.
     
    Wally and JustABluesGuy like this.
  12. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,210
    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Location:
    Canada
    Got a mess of motorized pots in a can there. I have a few also. Shame they do not know how to sell tubes, a shot of the numbers would be more useful. As it goes the standard set of tubes people use for guitar amps are easy enough to decide on. Any 'useful' tubes, even NOS is only useful if you are going to use them. Anybody want 30 12BK5's? Or 50 6AU6's?
     
    JustABluesGuy likes this.
  13. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,363
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    North of Toronto
    You wanna talk tubes? No love for the enamel urinal and bedpan? ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  14. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    There was a cigar box that had “audio tubes”, and 6V6 and 6L6 hand written on it, but the tubes were loose. Some of the boxes looked like the might be NOS, but they very likely saved old boxes.

    I’m guessing that they did mostly audio repair work. I saw a few weird chassis in the pics, but none looked like guitar amps. There were some obvious radio parts there as well.

    I’m going to pass.
     
    DesmoTele and northernguitar like this.
  15. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    They’re on my list too. I think there were some sweet Precious Moments figurines as well! LOL!
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
    theprofessor and northernguitar like this.
  16. DesmoTele

    DesmoTele TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    84
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2018
    Location:
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Someone bought the entire stash of tubes before I got there, but I bought a roll of copper tape for a buck and some other stuff for the grandson so I'm happy with the outcome.
     
    Telekarster and JustABluesGuy like this.
  17. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    What time did you get there?
     
    DesmoTele likes this.
  18. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,149
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Location:
    Earth
    Interesting to see a lot of NASA stuff there. Makes me wonder if someone wasn't part of the space program back in the day? Might explain all the electronic stuff...
     
    DesmoTele and JustABluesGuy like this.
  19. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    3,032
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    It’s quite likely. It’s near JSC. I actually bought my home from a retired NASA engineer. The whole neighborhood was originally build for NASA employees as I understand it.

    We’re literally 3 short blocks from the NASA property line.
     
    Telekarster likes this.
  20. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    14,714
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    It depends highly on what they are, not much $ untested though.
    Used tubes are fine, but if you dont know if they are just someone's trash then be careful. If they are some coveted tubes, like a vintage 5AR4 then maybe it's worth a gamble.

    I bought FIVE 5Y3 vintage rectifiers for $13 on Ebay. The seller said they all tested some level of good. They did when I tested them, 2 of 5 were maybe a bit marginal but all usable. For $13

    Wow some good stuff at that sale!
    Check and see if any of those old Suitcases fit your pedalboard! They usually go $4-$6
     
    JustABluesGuy and Telekarster like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.