#1
My Kustom 72' Coupe guitar amp needs a new set of preamp tubes. The factory set are stock EH 12AX7 (3 of them.) Was looking for some advice: Are these good tubes to stay with, or should I be using some other brand and/or model 12AX7's? I play all kinds of music, from clean standards and pop to blues, classic rock and modern hard rock. I like the grit and bite I get from the stock tubes, but I'm no expert in this area. Any and all help would be appreciated!

Thanks!
#2
The New Mullard 12ax7 is has the highest gain
JJ ecc83 are nice, but a bit darker tone
Tung Sol 12ax7 are known to be a bit brighter

I like experimenting with different tubes and tube combos. The differences aren't huge, but they are deff noticeable.
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#3
I like old GE 12ax7, rca is good too but a lil pricier and I prefer GE. JJs are always solid.

As Robb said, they each have their own flavor without altering the overall tone too much. Just buy a bunch of different tubes and try 'em all
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#4
^ yeah I have a few old tubes that sound amazing and I only use them when I record or play a big show (I know leave me alone ), but I have found new tubes that sound very good in my amps. and I always use a mix of tubes
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#5
I usually just pick up JJs from Eurotubes. There's more than one 12AX7/ECC83 tube available from them, and Bob can usually point out which is likely to do what, and he *will* answer emails. This might make for interesting reading: https://www.eurotubes.com/cart/index.php?page=tube_desc&destination=user_area

Electro-Harmonix is just a branding company -- they don't actually produce their own tubes, but buy them branded from folks like New Sensor, which in turn sources them from various factories.
#6
Everyone seems to like JJ but I did not like the voice they gave my amp at all, heavily overdriven and muddy. (All JJ 2 6l6, 4 12ax7's) I switched back to sovtek 5881 power tubes, 3 ruby (rebrand I know) and 1 JJ 12ax7. I'm getting a nice tone, nothing amazing, but I don't have any pedals or particularly like my bridge pickup. Very subject to change
#7
Thanks, all, for your input . . . My problem is that I really can't afford the costs of buying lots of different tubes and trying different combinations. I need to find one set under general consensus if I can that will do the job. Quality is always a concern, as is cost, However, what I am looking for is something that will help me to dial in good blues/classic rock sound and will clean up for my straight tunes gigs. Although I really like the idea of the high gain tubes - a sound I am sorely lacking - I recently purchased an Empress Multidrive to help with that.

Question: Those Mullard 12ax7 that Robbgnarly mentioned . . . will those clean up if I turn the gain stage down?

Thanks again . . . Marty
#8
Quote by MrShowbiz999
Thanks, all, for your input . . . My problem is that I really can't afford the costs of buying lots of different tubes and trying different combinations. I need to find one set under general consensus if I can that will do the job. Quality is always a concern, as is cost, However, what I am looking for is something that will help me to dial in good blues/classic rock sound and will clean up for my straight tunes gigs. Although I really like the idea of the high gain tubes - a sound I am sorely lacking - I recently purchased an Empress Multidrive to help with that.

Question: Those Mullard 12ax7 that Robbgnarly mentioned . . . will those clean up if I turn the gain stage down?

Thanks again . . . Marty

Yes they will

I have a Mullard 12ax7 in V1 of my JCM2000, JJ Ecc83 in V2/V3 and a Sovtek 12ax7LPS in the PI.
The8 cleans 8are really good and the crunch and high-gain sound really nice.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#9
Tube differences are way more subtle than you're making them out to be. They are not going to drastically change the sound of your amp. Just very minor nuances.

That said, EHX tubes are terrible, haha. JJ is always a safe choice.

If you want to experiment more, I like the Tungsol reissue. The Mullard is also a good tube.
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#10
I know you guys have alot more experience than I do, but I just want to reiterate the fact that when I changed my tubes, the tone was way worse than before (new tubes were all JJ). I switched back to my older ones and I think it sounds better. If you don't mind listening to my crappy playing, I can try to make a clip if you want.
#11
Quote by JGM258
I know you guys have alot more experience than I do, but I just want to reiterate the fact that when I changed my tubes, the tone was way worse than before (new tubes were all JJ). I switched back to my older ones and I think it sounds better. If you don't mind listening to my crappy playing, I can try to make a clip if you want.

you were using Ruby tubes right? They only rebrand tube, not make them. Chances are they are rebranded JJ 12ax7. That said, ruby does test their tube, so you will have a better chance of getting a good tube from them over a vendor like MF/GC or your local music store.

But I also have used tubes that don't fit certain amps I have tried them in. Remember tone is a very subjective subject.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#12
Quote by JGM258
I know you guys have alot more experience than I do, but I just want to reiterate the fact that when I changed my tubes, the tone was way worse than before (new tubes were all JJ). I switched back to my older ones and I think it sounds better. If you don't mind listening to my crappy playing, I can try to make a clip if you want.


If you list the codes that are on the Rubys, we should be able to tell you what they actually are.


Most Rubys are JJs, as far as I know, but they might be something else. In what way did the JJs make your tone worse? That can help us tell you if something else might give you better results.

Also, as frustrating as it is, it is possible to get dud tubes new. Where did you buy them from? My preferred shop is http://www.dougstubes.com/
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X