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Really Old Tubes!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author Really Old Tubes!
Muff Wiggler
Thanks to some excellent advice from Charlie at Vacuum Tube Valley, I just received some really nice vintage tubes for my amp. They are wonderful, I could go on and on about increased highs and lows and blah blah and even if you don't believe me (you should!) you gotta believe that these tubes are SO QUIET compared to the modern crap i'm used to - like night and day. I cannot hear my reverb tube at ALL any more.

Those brown boxes, as marked, were packed in 1954. They each contain a NOS Bendix 6V6

Charlie marks the year and manufacturer (often different from the label printed on the tube and box) on the tube boxes.

Here's the top view, in case you get really horny from tube box porn. I don't really, so now let's look at some actual tubes.

Some views of the famous Bendix "Red Bank" 5992 (6V6) tube.

Here's my rectifier tube, a 1960's Mullard GZ34/5AR4 type. It's branded "Sonotone" but these were made by Mullard.

Finally, here's an old 12DW7 tube, which my amp uses for reverb drive and recovery. I've tried a new JJ, and a 1980's JAN/Phillips - this old GE tube is SILENT, whereas both the others were quiet but audible....

anyway some cool old tubes, hope you dig the pics!

By the way, I definately recommend Vacuum Tube Valley, and Charlie was awesome to deal with, I got a couple more tubes to order and I'll be going back to him for sure.
Cool post 8)
I'm sure your amazing amp now sounds *AMAZING* :shock: exclamation :idea:

I tried to recommend an instructor to check out VTV for tubes for a 50 watt marshall type clone amp he recently built, but he insisted on his JJ's, before I could finish my sentence meh

Why would he possible want to try something else??? meh meh
"My JJ's sound great and I dont feel like I need to spend anymore money than I have to."

Enjoy your new amp, I'm looking forward to hearing all the amazing things you will do with it.
do you use your amp with a REAMP and mic for your modular?
Muff Wiggler
no - only for playing guitar, and i've found, theremin

i use monitor speakers with my modular
Muff Wiggler
the flourescence from these Bendix tubes is unbelievable - just gorgeous, reminds me of the northern lights we often see this time of year up north here. I tried to get some good pics, but they don't even come close to doing justice to what these things look like in action...

Ok, I have a question... what causes that blue fluorescence?

A long time ago I heard someone say with great confidence that it is from air leaking into the vacuum of the tube. That didn't really make sense to me since that meant air was rushing in there and in a few weeks the thing should be bright blue...or just not work at all cause there's no longer a vacuum in the tube. This was in a guitar store after all though...

The only thing that made sense was I do notice that the older my tubes get, the more blue glow that I notice.

So what's it from?
Muff Wiggler
Blue glow is GOOD - it's a sign of a good hard vacuum (and other things). Better quality tubes tend to have more blue glow.

It's pink glow between the plates that is bad - a sign of air getting into the tube. The pink is caused by oxygen and nitrogen molecules being ionized. This is BAD. Your tube can blow, the amp's current can run out....bad

(thanks Eric Barbour for my lesson on all this stuff, by the way)

also see here:
Rad. Either I heard backwards, or the guy was retarded.

I'm glad to be properly informed now!

As payment for this wealth of information, I give you a "glow shot" of my amp that I did a few years ago.

There certainly seems to be a healthy dose of pink glow in there though :(
Muff Wiggler
if you look at my pics - the same pink is there.

I don't think it's the oxygen pink. My cathode heaters are distinctly ORANGE (as they should be) when viewed with my eye. When I take a photo, this orange mixes a bit with the blue to create what appears to be a pinkish haze. I see the same in your pic.

I don't think this is the feared pink glow. I think it's just your normal color from the heaters.

I'm not an expert though.

GREAT PIC by the way!!! WOW!!! I assume those are 6L6's? That thing must be LOUD. Well, it's a Mesa, of course it is...
Yeah, all 6L6, the three rectifiers didn't quite fit in the shot can see the slight glow of blue of one of them on the right side of the frame.

It's definitely loud, but most Dual Rectifiers are actually louder than it is. It seems to start to fully saturate around 12 oclock on the master volume (although, this is with the dirty channel...i don't think I ever checked with the clean).

Lately, I've only played the clean channel with various pedals (soda meiser is the main distortion now) and I really like the clean channel. Sounds very much like a Fender twin.

The clean channel is very loud much that it's actually very difficult to get a decent practice's either too quiet or too loud.

I've had this amp for almost 10 years now; I don't want to sell it, but I'm getting closer and closer to getting some kind of small tube amp. *Maybe* even try and make one myself. Maybe.
Great pix Muff. and Thanks for the pointer to Vacuum Tube Valley, I wasn't aware of those guys. I gotta get a pic of the tube army I put together for the SuperBaby. It only needs one pre, power, and rectifier tube, so you can mix and match at will without having to shell out for matched pairs. With the 28 assorted tubes I have here, that's...uh...756 possible combinations :shock:

Right now: Telefunken 12AT7 into reissue Tung Sol 5881 with a squishy NOS Jan-Philips 5y3GT rectifier.

The Superbaby is like a tube tone test factory. I'm trying to swap only one at a time and live with it for a few sessions before giving in to the urge to change it up again. Haven't found a "bad" sound yet, although some of them break up earlier than I like.

Muff Wiggler
just a quick update to further promote Vacuum Tube Valley, and Charlie's Services

After three weeks of joy, I've developed a filament rattle in one of these tubes.

These are very old tubes - over 50 years old. They are also very expensive tubes - one could buy a complete amplifier for less than the cost of this single tube that just went bad.

Anyway, Charlie immediately offered to replace the tube at no cost to me. In a very gracious and friendly fashion as well. He's an awesome guy to deal with.

This man stands behind his products and services.

Imagine getting a very expensive NOS tube on eBay, that was fine when you received it, and then developed a rattle over subsequent weeks. Do you think you would have any luck getting help from the seller?

As if you couldn't tell, I really strongly support Charlie and Vacuum Tube Valley. This is where you guys should get your tubes. If you don't know what to get, or want suggestions, or ideas on how different tubes will sound in your amp, or want the best tubes for a certain fixed amount of money - Charlie will give you excellent advice.
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