#1
I bought a used tube amp a month or two ago, and its my first tube amp so I have no experience with normal tube maintenance. I've been using it at band practice for the past few weeks and it seems that every practice I have to turn my amp up just a little bit more. I never really noticed until yesterday, but I used to practice with the volume at 2, now I have it on 5. When I bought the amp, 5 was extremely loud and nowhere near as quiet as it is now. What confuses me is that there is no tone loss at all, its just quieter.

I don't know how to check tubes or anything like that. But from my research it sounds like I have dirty tube sockets. So my main question is, can I pull a tube from it's socket and check for dirt or build up in the tube socket without needing to bias the tubes afterward? The amp is not self biasing, and it uses 4 6L6 tubes in case you were wondering. Does anyone have any tips??
Gear:
-Mesa Dual Rectifier (3 Channel) with KT88 and KT66 Tubes
-Peavey 6505+
-Roland JC120
-Ibanez Tone Blaster TBX150H
-Mesa 4x12 Straight Cab
-Marshall 1960BV
-Gibson Les Paul Custom
-Gibson Flying V
-Line 6 M13
#2
Quote by xXBansheeXx
I bought a used tube amp a month or two ago, and its my first tube amp so I have no experience with normal tube maintenance. I've been using it at band practice for the past few weeks and it seems that every practice I have to turn my amp up just a little bit more. I never really noticed until yesterday, but I used to practice with the volume at 2, now I have it on 5. When I bought the amp, 5 was extremely loud and nowhere near as quiet as it is now. What confuses me is that there is no tone loss at all, its just quieter.

I don't know how to check tubes or anything like that. But from my research it sounds like I have dirty tube sockets. So my main question is, can I pull a tube from it's socket and check for dirt or build up in the tube socket without needing to bias the tubes afterward? The amp is not self biasing, and it uses 4 6L6 tubes in case you were wondering. Does anyone have any tips??

You can remove and replace the tubes with no issues. If it is dirty sockets, which I doubt because that would mean they're getting dirtier at an incredibly fast rate, then you can take each tube out and spray the pins with contact cleaner then push it in and out a few times to clean both the pins and the socket.

I would say this is more likely to be dying tubes or hearing loss.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#3
Yeah, I would figure that the tubes were going bad, but I read a list of dying tube signs and none of them fit. I kept reading that there would be muddy or a loss of highs and lows, sometimes crackling and/or popping, other strange sounds, etc. My amp sounds perfectly fine, its just getting quieter. I can admit that I know nothing about tube amps, so I'm open for any ideas, but honestly, for the price of replacing the tubes in this amp, I could just buy another amp. (It's a Crate, and its not worth the money). So I will do anything and everything EXCEPT buy new tubes or take it to a professional, because I'd rather use this as an excuse to buy another amp than drop $200 into it. Haha!
Gear:
-Mesa Dual Rectifier (3 Channel) with KT88 and KT66 Tubes
-Peavey 6505+
-Roland JC120
-Ibanez Tone Blaster TBX150H
-Mesa 4x12 Straight Cab
-Marshall 1960BV
-Gibson Les Paul Custom
-Gibson Flying V
-Line 6 M13
#5
Quote by xXBansheeXx
Yeah, I would figure that the tubes were going bad, but I read a list of dying tube signs and none of them fit. I kept reading that there would be muddy or a loss of highs and lows, sometimes crackling and/or popping, other strange sounds, etc. My amp sounds perfectly fine, its just getting quieter. I can admit that I know nothing about tube amps, so I'm open for any ideas, but honestly, for the price of replacing the tubes in this amp, I could just buy another amp. (It's a Crate, and its not worth the money). So I will do anything and everything EXCEPT buy new tubes or take it to a professional, because I'd rather use this as an excuse to buy another amp than drop $200 into it. Haha!

If you bought it with severly worn out tubes than 90% of the symptoms would already be present before the volume loss. So the loss of highs and lows may be what you consider 'normal.' Just a thought.

Which Crate is it? 4 6L6s and a couple preamp tubes will be around $80 total, so i doubt you'll get a new amp for that. Now if it needs biased on the other hand you may be right.
Quote by Cathbard
Quote by Raijouta
Unless its electronic drums.

BURN THE WITCH!!!!!
#6
I'm including a professional biasing and the cost of tubes. That would run me ball-park $200. The amp is a Blue Voodoo and it sounds identical to the other BV's I've played, this one is just quiet. I can buy a used one for around $200, but better yet, I could sell this one for $100, and then I can put that $300 towards a better amp.

I think it might be the power source at the practice place too. We run a PA, 2 half stacks, a bass amp, 2 pedalboards, a rack, and a portable air conditioner between 3 outlets and when it gets hot outside we start tripping the circuit breaker. Not to mention there are several lights and a refrigerator in there. I'm not an electrician, but that sounds like a bad situation to me. I am however, the only person in the band with this problem, but I'm also the only person running a tube amp. Coincidence, maybe? But I'm not leaving anything out of the equation.
Gear:
-Mesa Dual Rectifier (3 Channel) with KT88 and KT66 Tubes
-Peavey 6505+
-Roland JC120
-Ibanez Tone Blaster TBX150H
-Mesa 4x12 Straight Cab
-Marshall 1960BV
-Gibson Les Paul Custom
-Gibson Flying V
-Line 6 M13
Last edited by xXBansheeXx at May 6, 2011,