Do you think it's safe to buy Preamp tubes off eBay from Europe

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by tommyd, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. tommyd

    tommyd Member

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    Hey guys. I need a good ef86 for my dr z rt66, want to get the NOS Tesla EF806S, noticed I can get two for 50.00 on eBay, mostly all sellers from Europe, vrs one tube for 50.00 from the common sellers most of us use here. Am I being foolish here, not much recourse if the tubes turn out bad but 1/2 price, any advice? Thanks.
     
  2. eddy999

    eddy999 Member

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    The way I see it is that you never know what old tubes are going to be like until they arrive and you test them yourself. Doesn't matter whether they have come from a local or international source, most tubes I buy are sold as seen with no return. It's always a gamble unless you pay more from a higher end dealer who is willing to return and refund if you aren't happy.
     
  3. jackio

    jackio Member

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    Eddy. In the UK. You sell tubes?
     
  4. eddy999

    eddy999 Member

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    Yes i'm in the UK but no, I don't sell tubes - I just buy them occaisionally for myself.
     
  5. Promit

    Promit Member

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    I ordered a pair of NOS Matushita 12AX7s from some ebay seller overseas. Both arrived in working condition; one died quickly. Other one seems fine. For the price I made out decently but not amazingly.
     
  6. lang.murphy

    lang.murphy Member

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    I wouldn't buy tubes from ebay. Read the sticky at the top of this forum... buy from one of those peeps. I learned the hard way, on ebay, by overpaying for some used EL84's that were noisier than all get out when I stuck them in my Vox amp.
     
  7. DaveKS

    DaveKS Member

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    Check their feedback, see how many deals they've done, check their return policy. eBay is a crapshoot for sure.

    I've bought some RFT from some of the European sellers, haven't got burnt.... Yet. But I would never buy from one unless they have excellent feedback. Especially with ef86 which are very microphonic prone tubes to begin with.
     
  8. Dan40

    Dan40 Supporting Member

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    I have purchased over one hundred preamp and power amp tubes from Ebay, and out of all of those purchases I have had only two truly defective tubes. You need to do your homework though so you can identify different manufacturers and not rely solely on the tube label as many sellers can be dishonest or truly don't know what they are selling. I have gotten some great deals on Mullard tubes simply because they were labeled with another brand name. That being said, it's always a gamble buying tubes from Ebay, and unless they offer a good return policy and you have done your homework ahead of time it can be risky.
     
  9. tommyd

    tommyd Member

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    Thanks for all the good advice, seems like everybody has had a range of good and bad experiences.
     
  10. ac/dcfan87

    ac/dcfan87 Member

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    I've done it numerous occasions with no issues at all. Actually it was better experience than the one occasion I bought from KCA.
     
  11. StratStringSlinger

    StratStringSlinger Supporting Member

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    I think in this case it would be a high risk. One eBay is riskier then a well established tube dealer. Two EF86's are super finicky anyways. You might get a good one but I would risk too much money or have high expectations.
     
  12. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    I bought most of my vintage tubes off ebay and haven't had any problems.
     
  13. JPF

    JPF Member

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    Idunnodemyurofolkcanbetricky
     
  14. guitarpedaladdict

    guitarpedaladdict Supporting Member

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    After 5 or 6 years it has been about 50/50. These days I generally don't, but here are two things you can look for in photos - missing a lot of getter flash - don't buy. Black burned looking glass around pins - don't buy. Oh, one more, know what the tubes you are buying are supposed to look like to avoid imposters :)

    I've had some big scores, but also some junk.
     
  15. gmann

    gmann Member

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    The amt of money you'll save vs. piece of mind. I say buy fm a known reputable dealer.
     
  16. DaveKS

    DaveKS Member

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    For ef86 I'd say this is good advice for sure.
     
  17. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    The more educated you are as a buyer, the better deals you can get.

    You need to be able to properly i.d. the tube yourself, despite what the painted label says. Then evaluate testing results, or pass if no testing is mentioned. Then review the seller feedback. Finally, the price must be low enough to compel into the gamble of bidding. Bonus if you have your own tube tester that you're familiar with.

    Using those principles, I've only had a very small percentage of problems from hundreds of purchases. And I do recommend it - especially for preamp tubes.

    - Thom
     

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