I plan on swapping my tubes, but I've had so many different suggestions as to what would sound best.

Eurotubes suggestion was that I should go with a matched pair of JJ EL84 power tubes, and two standard ECC83S's in V1 & V2 with a balanced ECC83S in the phase inverter in V3.

Doug's Tubes recommended almost the complete opposite, here is his email...

"I'll take the chinese tubes over the JJ's anytime night or day. All JJ's are great if you love muddy inarticulate tone. We recommend the Mullard EL84's" (Eurotubes said the Mullard reissues were now made by Sovtek and sound nothing like a true Mullard) "and for the 3 x 12AX7's go with a Tung-Sol in V1, JJ ECC83 in V2 and a Sovtek LPS in V3. Balanced triodes for the phase inverter of a guitar amp is not necessary."

So, balance tube for PI is not necessary...but is it recommended??

I realize tone is completely subjective, but I'd like to get as close as possible to a Soldano SLO 100 sound as I can (without dropping $3500 on the actual head, of course).

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Last edited by kidfixer at Apr 15, 2012,
well the 20 is never going to sound like the slo...

i'd go with doug's tubes.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
Eurotubes suggestions are a joke because all they sell are JJs. It's like asking a bicycle salesman what kind of vehicle you should buy. Even if what you really need is a truck, he's going to sell you a bicycle every time.
The 50 and the 100 are SLO clones. The twenty is not. Sell it and get a 50.
I like JJs in the power section, but I would prefer Tung-Sols or Electro-Harmonix in the preamp. A balanced phase inverter is not necessary.

The SLO and JCA20 have some very different schematics. If you want to get a little more gain, the second triode isn't bypassed. If you get a 1mf capacitor across the cathode resistor, you'll get a little more grind out of it. If it's a larger capacitor like 10mf, it'll be a more even gain (not just high-end)
Quote by R45VT
The 50 and the 100 are SLO clones. The twenty is not. Sell it and get a 50.

YIKES...20w is too much for me as it is, let alone 50. I'm still learning guitar and my performances are limited to my game room playing for my kids. If I sell this thing, it will be for something like a Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18 that has a serial effects loop and a power soak option. I also like the sound of the Baron Snotwatt. A buddy of mine has one of those and it sounds WAY better than my JC...but its also three-times the cost of what I paid for my JC.

So, if a Soldano sound is out...how about just a "dirtier" sound? I really like 80's stuff (Scorpions, Ozzy, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, etc, etc) so that's the sound I'm going for. But I also like a bluesy crunch and sparkling clean tones as well. Should I just forego the tube swap and get an FX rack?
Last edited by kidfixer at Apr 15, 2012,
Go the Guitar Gear and Accessories and ask for suggestions. Lots of people would be able to suggest something within your budget that will work for you.
You can modify this amp to get more gain, but I don't know how confident you are with a soldering iron. There are a couple places that you can eek some more gain out. If you add a little switch on the front panel, but you can make it switchable back to stock.
Here's a Jet City owners opinion

You're not going to get a SLO sound from the 20, it's a different amp altogether (and has EL84's vs 6L6s). Still a good amp though!

Tubes.. I don't have anything that runs EL84s so I don't have much say there. But JJ's in the preamp sound great! I'd recommend a JJ longplate in V1 and/or one in the PI. A regular JJ would be fine in any spot though. If you're willing to spend a little extra cash for some vintage tubes I run a JG-5751 in V1 of my 100 with great results. Recently I started running a vintage Tung Sol 12ax7 and stuck the 5751 in the PI, it definitely gave a heavier sound for modern stuff. Personally I love it like this but might not work for 80s stuff.

EDIT: I've got a few legit RCA 7025's that I've rolled through the amp, they helped clear up and give more of a 3D sound to the normal channel on my 100. Which is what the JCA20 is based on, just with an EL84 power section. Your amp sounds best when the master is cranked by the way, around 5 is the sweet spot
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Last edited by Flux'D at Apr 17, 2012,