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#1 2013-01-03 15:48:07

Baldguitardude
El Modarino
From: Las Vegas
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 1207
Website

Tube Amp - What happens next?

A few months ago I purchased this little volume control that sits in my effects loop and allows me to drive the bajeezus out of my Deville 410's power tubes. I pull the volume back off in the effects loop and - WHALA! - smoking hot guitar tone without all the neigborhood complaints.

I've played this Deville (a very loud amp IMO) since college. Because of the fact that I've never had a power soak on it, the volume knob has never seen anything past 2.5. With my new upgrade it's singing along at 8-9 ish.

I'm noticing a really profound decrease in tube life. Before the power soak I would get years out of a set of power tubes. I noticed three weeks ago that it's about time to re-tube, which I last did in mid 2012. I suspect this is normal when driving tubes hard.

It's pretty amazing how much the sound of the guitar is changing as the tubes blow out. It went from slightly microphonic and feedback prone to very saturated. Now I'm starting to lose treble.

Wondering if anyone else has ridden tubes all the way out - what can I expect next? System failure? More fun with altered sounds?

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#2 2013-01-03 19:04:34

jerome.oneil
Moderator
From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3026
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Re: Tube Amp - What happens next?

Tubes are cheap.  It's labor that costs.   I'm guessing you've got 12AX7s in the preamp, and they run about $20 new.   I don't know what would happen if you run it all the way out, but I would expect "not much."   A tube is just a great big transistor that passes current according to an input voltage, so it's not as if you will blow something up or hurt anything on the other side of the amp or input circuits.  If it goes all the way out, all it means is that no current will reach the other side.  It will essentially be "off" or in standby mode.  And since we are talking about the pre-amp tubes, those are something you could replace yourself if you were inclined.  They generally don't need biasing, although if you are driving them to crazy levels they might.

I recently bought a Kustom V50 and it is also obnoxiously loud.  I don't have to drive the tubes to get it to painful levels, and I'm fortunate that my practice spaces are pretty noise complaint safe.    I would like to overdrive it for stages where the amp is running through the PA, though, so I can turn it down and still get that "loud sound."  One of the benefits of this amp is that you can re-tube the power side and not have to re-bias anything, so it's something I can do at home on my bench.

You might hold out for time travel or worm-holes to another dimension or something, though.   Anything is possible.


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#3 2013-01-03 20:32:13

Baldguitardude
El Modarino
From: Las Vegas
Registered: 2010-12-09
Posts: 1207
Website

Re: Tube Amp - What happens next?

I was more asking what will happen sonically....I have a fantastic amp dude who works downstairs from my rehearsal space, so a re-tube with biasing is just a stairwell away...just curious as to what I'll hear as these babies continue to age.

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