#1
I was just wondering, when i get my first tube amp, how long do they last and what can go wrong, i mean like, can it ever just "die" or is it just a bunch of little things you have to maintain... like tubes, etc.?
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#2
Well, tubes do eventually need replacement. But they don't generally go out like for instance, a light bulb, (although they can), you'll more likely notice at some point or another that the tone isn't as good as it was, and that means it's time for new tubes. Generally tubes will last several years with light use, or about a year with heavy gigging.

Anything can fail, but the same is true of SS as well. Higher quality components will last longer of course.
#3
oh, so how long will the AMP alone last, not tubes, or cabinets, just the head, how long will that last me?
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#5
A long time.

Unless it's a Bugera, in which case, 20 minutes. On a good day.

I kid, I kid.

30 minutes
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#7
Quote by timi_hendrix
A long time.

Unless it's a Bugera, in which case, 20 minutes. On a good day.

I kid, I kid.

30 minutes


lol the one i tested was DOA
So 20-30 minutes might be a stretch...

And most tube amps last an extremely long time if you take care of them and know the rules of owning one...
#8
Amp heads that are treated rite with neccessary tube replacement can last longer then you.

But you will want a new one before that.
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#9
tube amps also are much easier to fix than SS amps.
when an SS amp breaks, you just get a new one most of the time.
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#10
A properly built tube amp with modern components should last for decades. In some instances, tubes that have many years of use on them can still kick ass (they don't make em like they used to).

If you treat your amp right (warm it up, use the proper cabinet impedence, don't throw it down stairs, etc.) then it will last for decades. Eventually some components like the electrolytic power caps will eventually go bad, but this would be more than 10-15 years down the road at least. Modern components should have a longer lifespan than certain vintage components like old carbon comp resistors and paper caps (which often still work just fine for operation in many old amps).

You might see a blown fuse at some point, but other than that the amp should survive. If not, tube amps are usually highly serviceable (depending on how they were built/components)
#11
huh... for some reason-i don't know where i got this from-, but i thought they only lasted a short number of years.

I'll definately be taking good care of mine.

Thanks everybody!
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#12
Quote by TheBax
huh... for some reason-i don't know where i got this from-, but i thought they only lasted a short number of years.

I'll definately be taking good care of mine.

Thanks everybody!


What you heard was TUBES last a short number of years not TUBE AMPS last a short number of years...
#14
I had a 63 ampeg that still worked with the original speaker. So you the amp its self will last a long time not to say you might have to replace a pot or something along the way.
#15
It depends on the quality of the build. The electrolytic capacitors in the amp will need replaced every 6 to 10 years and carbon comp resistors start to wander in value as the age so if your amp starts to get really loud and buzzy 30 years after you buy it then that could be a problem. Tube sockets need cleaned every 40 or 50 years, and pots tend to get scratchy after 30 to 50 years depending on how much you use the controles. With the good hand wired tube amps thats about all that tends to go wrong. So when you can get new tube amps built to vintage specs you actually get an amp that won't need anything done for about 10 years (if you use it a lot) and the real maintinace doesn't start for another 30 years. After 30 or 40 years your amp will probably need some to be checked over closley and had the leaking caps bad resistors and scratchy pots replaced but then you are going to be consistantly swaping a part hear and a part there for the rest of the amps life.

Most modern production amps use flow solder and circuit boards. This gives poor solder joint and with most amps you end up having issues broken solder joints after a few years. The cheap tube amps will also have copper traces within the board start to lift, break, or burn up.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at May 21, 2008,
#16
Quote by CorduroyEW
Most modern production amps use flow solder and circuit boards. This gives poor solder joint and with most amps you end up having issues broken solder joints after a few years. The cheap tube amps will also have copper traces within the board start to lift, break, or burn up.


Don't forget about RoHS. The solder used for that can start growing tin whiskers within years, which can cause catastrophic shorts.

I'd say 10-15 years for electrolytics. It depends on their quality (mainly on how well they handle heat).
Last edited by mr_hankey at May 21, 2008,
#17
^The main thing that kills electrolytics is lack of use. They start to crystalize after a year or 2 if they aren't being used and after 5 or 6 years of inconsistant use they can become so crystalized that they don't work at all. If you use them all the time then they last much longer.

Not all the RoHS solder is created equal. I was really worried when I found out I was going to have to use silver solder instead of lead but I then talked to Tim Mills who said that he has been using it from the beginning because the silver gives you better tone and he has never had a problem with it. The silver solder with low melting points does tend to give you realy poor connections that go bad after a couple years but the stuff with high melting points works very well. You can't use the high melting point stuff on printed boards which why the new mass produced amp are having so many issues but thats a problem with all amps, not just tube amps.
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#18
i've been using mine for a couple of years and i'm still alive...
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#19
My Classic 50 is 15 years old and going strong! The amp I'm buying on Sunday is 21 years old. You still see 60s Fenders and Marshalls selling all the time. Basically, if it's well built using good parts, it will last.
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