#1
I have a Valveking, and I typically run the preamp extremely hard by using very hot pickups and boost pedals to get more gain out of the preamp. Now I haven't replaced my tubes in about 2-2 1/2 years, I know they aren't gona go, but I'm a bit of a tone freak, and I know that my preamp tubes are taking a lot of wear.

I'm sure this question applies to other tone freaks, and I didn't find an answer using the search bar.

What is the best time to replace your preamp tubes? When they start sounding a bit muddy? Or when they are just about to go? (around 5 years of use)
#3
It´s hard to say, but as long as they are still working and none are microphonic I would´nt worry about them, they can last quite a long time, now the power tubes are a different story tho and need to be changed to maintain the tone you desire. I think you´ll hear the difference in tone when the power amp tubes start to go.
#4
theyre like strings depends on how much you play
you dont replace strings when they are so rusty they break when you strum do you?
replace them when they start to sound dull
#6
You'll notice strange noises, volume drops, and a degredation in gain, when the preamp tubes need to be replaced. I replace mine every two years. YMMV. Also, the last batch of Ruby branded preamp tubes I bought were amazing and inexpensive. I think they were made by Shuguang. No need to spend a lot on them.
#7
Quote by ethan_hanus
I do play alot, and I've noticed that my tone is starting to get a bit muddy and dull, especially on the cleans, the highs are there, but don't sound quite right, they don't sound as good as they did about a month ago.

I'd replace all your tubes at the same time. It's just easier, albeit not cheaper, to do it like that.
#8
Quote by Flash Nightmare
I'd replace all your tubes at the same time. It's just easier, albeit not cheaper, to do it like that.



Yeah, I would love to replace them all at the same time, can't afford it now, I can afford 3 preamp tubes though, but I got to save up for a new tremlo, I bent mine trying to replace rusty trem screws, the new one's were 8 thousandths of an inch smaller, sucks.
#9
The phase inverter tends to wear out first. A lot of people will change that every time they swap power tubes. It's worth having a good balanced preamp tube handy to use as a test valve. If you aren't sure if you need new valves just swap it into each position in turn and see how it sounds. If the PI is what's making the difference just swap it out. If it's one of the others I will usually change them all.
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#10
Quote by Flash Nightmare
You'll notice strange noises, volume drops, and a degredation in gain, when the preamp tubes need to be replaced. I replace mine every two years. YMMV. Also, the last batch of Ruby branded preamp tubes I bought were amazing and inexpensive. I think they were made by Shuguang. No need to spend a lot on them.

I´ve used Ruby tubes myself, and will agree for what they cost they are pretty good.
#11
Quote by ethan_hanus
Yeah, I would love to replace them all at the same time, can't afford it now, I can afford 3 preamp tubes though, but I got to save up for a new tremlo, I bent mine trying to replace rusty trem screws, the new one's were 8 thousandths of an inch smaller, sucks.

That does suck.

Try to wait till you can at least afford to replace ALL the preamp tubes at the same time. Mixing and matching old and new tubes can, and usually will, get you into trouble down the road, and probably more sooner than later. Trust me, I talk from experience here. How many preamp tubes are in the Vavleking anyway 4 or 5? You're almost there.
#12
Quote by Flash Nightmare
That does suck.

Try to wait till you can at least afford to replace ALL the preamp tubes at the same time. Mixing and matching old and new tubes can, and usually will, get you into trouble down the road, and probably more sooner than later. Trust me, I talk from experience here. How many preamp tubes are in the Vavleking anyway 4 or 5? You're almost there.


3 preamp tubes and 2 power tubes.
#13
Quote by ethan_hanus
3 preamp tubes and 2 power tubes.

Your golden then, change those three and it SHOULD sound a lot better. Tone comes from preamps and not so much power tubes anyway. For the most part, power tubes either work, or they don't.
#14
Quote by Flash Nightmare
Tone comes from preamps and not so much power tubes anyway. For the most part, power tubes either work, or they don't.



wrong. Power tubes add a lot to the mix as well.
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Amp:
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#15
Quote by JLT73
wrong. Power tubes add a lot to the mix as well.

No they don't. Unless you're talking about different power tubes like a switch from 6L6's to EL34's, then yeah, you're going to *hear* a difference, other than that +/- negligible. Truth.
#16
Quote by Flash Nightmare
No they don't. Unless you're talking about different power tubes like a switch from 6L6's to EL34's, then yeah, you're going to *hear* a difference, other than that +/- negligible. Truth.


u are wrong.
Jumping on dat gear sig train.
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#17
Quote by Flash Nightmare
No they don't. Unless you're talking about different power tubes like a switch from 6L6's to EL34's, then yeah, you're going to *hear* a difference, other than that +/- negligible. Truth.


wrong yet again.

don't post anything unless you have some knowledge.
My Gear
Guitars:
-Gibson Les Paul Tribute (Bare Knuckle Nailbombs)
-Ibanez "lawsuit" Les Paul (Seymour Duncan Pegasus and Sentinent)
-Ibanez S470 (Dimarzio D-sonic and Humbucker from Hell)
-PRS SE Custom (Guitarforce Black Diamond and Lord of the Blues)

Amp:
Marshall TSL100
EVH 5150III EL-34 50w
Marshall 1960a cab

Effects:
Dunlop 535q wah
Boss Super Chorus
Bogner Uberschall
Ibanez DE7 Delay
Electro-Harmonix Power Booster
Fender PT100 Pedal Tuner

Strings:
Ernie Ball Skinny Top/Heavy Bottom 10-52
#18
Quote by JLT73
wrong yet again.

don't post anything unless you have some knowledge.

Ok, so let me get this straight, you think there's this ginormous difference in POWERtube tone? How long have you been playing and changing tubes? I'm assuming, not very long. Powertubes are powertubes. The only vary in design and quality, NOT tone. You post back after you figure this out.

I'll bet you buy cryo tubes too.
#19
wtf are you talking about?

do you know what the difference between hard and soft tubes are? Ever heard of higher gain tubes? or gold pin tubes?
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Last edited by handbanana at Aug 8, 2010,
#20
Another question to ask is, what brand of preamp tubes are recommended? I'm curious in part because it looks like I may need to replace the 12AX7's in my Mesa.
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#21
Quote by EvilAngel93
Another question to ask is, what brand of preamp tubes are recommended? I'm curious in part because it looks like I may need to replace the 12AX7's in my Mesa.


It varies from amp to amp. Different tubes respond differently with different amps. Something that sounds crap in one amp can sound great in another, because all amps have differing characteristics.
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#22
The great thing about preamp tubes is they're generally cheap and they take longer to burn out than power tubes, so you can have loads of them lying around to try different combinations.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#23
I would look at JJ, EHX, Svetlana, or Sovtek LPS's(not the other Sovtek 12ax7, forget what they're called though). It really depends on how much you wanna spend. The JJ's and Sovteks will probably be on the cheaper side, whereas the EHX and Svetlana's might be a bit pricier. I'm happy with the jj's in my 5150 though, and didn't pay too much for them. But their are plenty of other decent companies you could look at, sylvania, etc. etc. etc.....

Personally I would stay away from Ruby, Groove Tubes, and Mesa's. From what i understand GT's and Mesa's are all pretty much just rebranded tubes anyway.
Quote by alm0st a skat3r
yeah i remember when i had a good conscience. now i dont give a ****

xxx
smoke weed, drink 40's, **** titties
#24
You forgot Tung Sol (arguably one of the best NP tubes), Shuguang, and Mullard.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.
#25
check out the tubes thread, it has reviews on pretty much everything said here
Quote by alm0st a skat3r
yeah i remember when i had a good conscience. now i dont give a ****

xxx
smoke weed, drink 40's, **** titties
#26
Quote by Flash Nightmare
Ok, so let me get this straight, you think there's this ginormous difference in POWERtube tone? How long have you been playing and changing tubes? I'm assuming, not very long. Powertubes are powertubes. The only vary in design and quality, NOT tone. You post back after you figure this out.

I'll bet you buy cryo tubes too.


Oh god.
"In modern music, a lot of people are really stuck on the example, asif it were the idea. It takes millions of examples to articulate an idea, so don't get stuck on the f*cking example." - Joshua Homme, 2008.
#27
Quote by Flash Nightmare
Your golden then, change those three and it SHOULD sound a lot better. Tone comes from preamps and not so much power tubes anyway. For the most part, power tubes either work, or they don't.

When I put a pair of old British NOS 6L6s in my Abbey (they look like rebranded Mullards but I'm not sure - United Electron) it made it sound better than it ever has and I've owned it for about 20 years. The previous valves were Sovteks and the difference in tone was remarkable, truly remarkable.
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#28
If those preamp tubes are still stock, then your tone is gonna sound so much better when you replace them.
Not saying you have to replace them now, but if you throw a sovtek LPS in V3, a Mullard (or Penta) in V2, and a TAD 7025 in V1, your tone will be NOTICEABLY less muddy.
Mmmmm, new tubes!

I had 3 JJ's stock in mine. You probably do too. Dark tubes + dark amp = MUDDY MESS!
Change those bad-boys up whenever you run into money.
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#29
Quote by Flash Nightmare
Ok, so let me get this straight, you think there's this ginormous difference in POWERtube tone? How long have you been playing and changing tubes? I'm assuming, not very long. Powertubes are powertubes. The only vary in design and quality, NOT tone. You post back after you figure this out.

I'll bet you buy cryo tubes too.


Been playing for over a decade. Changing tubes for nearly the same amount of time.

So you are telling my an EH EL34 is going to sound the same as a JJ EL34? or even insert anything tube in there. There is a big difference between power tubes. They pretty much all have different characteristics.

I am guessing you are another dumb ass that reads something on the internet and takes it as that's the way it is, without having shit for experience.

So once again, STFU until you actually have knowledge on a subject, dumb ass.
My Gear
Guitars:
-Gibson Les Paul Tribute (Bare Knuckle Nailbombs)
-Ibanez "lawsuit" Les Paul (Seymour Duncan Pegasus and Sentinent)
-Ibanez S470 (Dimarzio D-sonic and Humbucker from Hell)
-PRS SE Custom (Guitarforce Black Diamond and Lord of the Blues)

Amp:
Marshall TSL100
EVH 5150III EL-34 50w
Marshall 1960a cab

Effects:
Dunlop 535q wah
Boss Super Chorus
Bogner Uberschall
Ibanez DE7 Delay
Electro-Harmonix Power Booster
Fender PT100 Pedal Tuner

Strings:
Ernie Ball Skinny Top/Heavy Bottom 10-52
#30
Quote by Faux~Affliction
If those preamp tubes are still stock, then your tone is gonna sound so much better when you replace them.
Not saying you have to replace them now, but if you throw a sovtek LPS in V3, a Mullard (or Penta) in V2, and a TAD 7025 in V1, your tone will be NOTICEABLY less muddy.
Mmmmm, new tubes!

I had 3 JJ's stock in mine. You probably do too. Dark tubes + dark amp = MUDDY MESS!
Change those bad-boys up whenever you run into money.


I replaced the tubes the first 3 months I had it, cause the power tubes completely fried, so I replaced all the tubes with these:

Preamp: V1-JJ 12AX7
V2-JJ 12AX7
V3-Sovtek 12AX7LPS

Poweramp: Mesa 6L6's(All I could find at GC)

My amp is actually kinda bright due to the BKP Painkiller pickup I'm using, so I have to keep the amp dark to level things out, every note rings out extremely clearly with full gain, boost switch engaged too, but like I said, the highs sound odd, like, they are compressed.

I'm thinking if I do replace tubes again, I'll put a JJ 12AX7 in v1, a TAD 12AX7 in V2, and a Sovtek 12AX7LPS in V3, and I'd buy TAD 6L6GC power tubes.

And all this arguing about power amp tubes affecting tone, are not thinking about it right. Power tubes have an effect on your tone, but not as much as your preamp does when it comes to distortion. The more distortion, the more the preamp works, untill you add alot of volume, then the power amp has an effect. Both play a big part in tone from what I understand.
#31
Quote by ethan_hanus
And all this arguing about power amp tubes affecting tone, are not thinking about it right. Power tubes have an effect on your tone, but not as much as your preamp does when it comes to distortion. The more distortion, the more the preamp works, untill you add alot of volume, then the power amp has an effect. Both play a big part in tone from what I understand.

Surely that depends on how you use your amp? Some of us actually crank our amps to get power valve distortion. Not everybody is hooked on preamp driven chugga chugga.

Edit. Sorry, I misread. That's what you are saying.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at Aug 9, 2010,
#32
Quote by Cathbard
Surely that depends on how you use your amp? Some of us actually crank our amps to get power valve distortion. Not everybody is hooked on preamp driven chugga chugga.

Edit. Sorry, I misread. That's what you are saying.


That's ok man, I'm in the metal stage of my life, I'm young, so I like more preamp distortion, and pulling a lot of gain out of a VK is rather hard, being geared towards rock and not metal.

I could get more gain from it by cranking it, but then the crappy Emenice stock speaker couldn't take it and it would get muddy. I typically practice and play live with the volume around 2-3 so I'm getting a little bit of power tube drive.
#33
Quote by Cathbard
Surely that depends on how you use your amp? Some of us actually crank our amps to get power valve distortion. Not everybody is hooked on preamp driven chugga chugga.

Edit. Sorry, I misread. That's what you are saying.

Agreed on the power section making a difference.

I can hear a huge difference between JJ EL34, Tung Sol EL34 and SED =C= EL34
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.