#1
I have been playing on a solid state for years, and I want my next amp to be tube powered (not looking for advice on brands).

How much maintenance does, for example, an all tubes Marshall or Mesa/Boogie require. Lets say I play around 1-3 hours per day at many different volume ranges (if volume makes a difference). Also say that I won't be accidentally damaging tubes by moving a hot amp or anything.

How often do tubes need to be replaced, and what other costs are involved in upkeep?

Thanks
#2
Again, i don't want advice on which amp to buy, only advice on maintenance. I have been told by a number of better and much more experienced musicians than myself that tubes are a major pain in the @ss. As a new user who is fairly competent with electronics (i changed a lightbulb once), am I going to be looking at major costs?
Last edited by thrasher_s at Mar 23, 2008,
#3
If you're playing between 1 and 3 hours a day, it would probably be best to replace the power tubes once every year and the preamp tubes about once every 18 months. Preamp tubes usually last longer, but they subtly degrade over time and get darker sounding before they short.

You mentioned Marshall and Mesa/Boogie. Mesa/Boogie amps won't require a lot of maintenance other than just popping the tubes in an out of the amp. Mesa's don't have an adjustable bias pot inside the amp. Marshalls, on the other hand, do have adjustable bias pots. You will either have to take the amp to an amp tech to get it biased each time you change the power tubes or you can invest in a bias probe, like the Weber Bias Rite (www.webervst.com), and learn how to do it yourself.

Power tubes usually cost more than preamp tubes because they come in pairs. It mainly depends on what brand of power tubes you buy. You can check out tube prices at some of the following places:

www.dougstube.com
www.eurotubes.com
www.kcanostubes.com
www.tubedepot.com
www.thetubestore.com
www.tubeworld.com

Preamp tubes usually are about $10 a piece for current production tubes.

As far as the costs, it depends on how many tubes you're replacing and the amp. If I were to give you an estimate, I would say it would be about $100 each time you retube your amp, yet that doesn't include the cost of a tech biasing your amp if you're not able to do it yourself.

Hope this helped!
#4
Usually I replace everything at once but thats just me. I usually get about 14-16 months out of my tubes. If you buy an amp that needs to be rebiased pick up a bias probe and learn how to do it your self it will save 40-60 bucks everytime. Good luck a tube amp is a great invesment in your tonal future.
Tom Anderson Hollow Classic
72 thin line tele

Barber trifecta fuzz
Mi audio Crunch Box
Clyde Wah
Barber Burn Unit
Ocean efx Texas deuce
Boomerang chorus delay
Barber ltd


1971 Pro reverb
Fender acoustasonic
Fender super champ xd
#5
If you're using it for practice, you'll loose it in a fire or sell it before a tube swap is necessary. Even a full quad of powertubes for a Recto can be done for less than $75. (Preamp tubes don't need replaced as often)
#6
Thanks much guys.

So the consensus is that tube amps are worth the extra maintenance money and effort?
#7
Quote by thrasher_s
Thanks much guys.

So the consensus is that tube amps are worth the extra maintenance money and effort?


Yes.
Quote by Lunchbox362
This thread if fail in almost every way imaniganable.
#8
Yes
Tom Anderson Hollow Classic
72 thin line tele

Barber trifecta fuzz
Mi audio Crunch Box
Clyde Wah
Barber Burn Unit
Ocean efx Texas deuce
Boomerang chorus delay
Barber ltd


1971 Pro reverb
Fender acoustasonic
Fender super champ xd
#9
oh yeah and to rebias it yourself, which isn't very hard, you don't need to shell out for bias probes, a regular multimeter will work just fine.
make Industrial and/or experimental electronic music? Join my group!

Last.fm