How often do you change Tubes?


I'm using a Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb RI and I'm curious to see how often BF Fender users re-tube. I bought this amp 8 months ago and I'm not sure how long it sat on the shelf at GC. Any recommendation on when to re-tube? Also when I do re-tube, I should have it biased correctly, right?

Let me know what you other BF users are doing.



Senior Member
I don't change them until they blow, or I notice a drastic reduction in tone quality.

I've had good luck with tubes.

When I was gigging heavily, I found myself changing power tubes almost yearly, preamp tubes I could get a bit more life out of.

With NOS, I haven't retubed in several years, although I no longer play out as much.

I've owned a few blackface amps, and bought them all with the original tubes, and they were still going strong.

Sean French

Silver Supporting Member
Depends on the tube and how often the amp is played etc.
Current production tubes will need to be changed more often than NOS in most cases.
If the amp starts to sound dull etc then it' time for a tube change.


With good NOS tubes, every few years, with the current stuff every few months. Of course I am exaggerating but the good old stuff lasts so much longer and it also depends on the type of tube. Rectifier tubes seem to last forever, current EL84s don't generally last very long. I always get all my tubes checked with very good test equipment whenever I get a new amp. After that, if I don't hear any problems I don't worry about it. I wonder how many good or great tubes have been thrown away because someone just felt it was about time to change them. Having an extra set of tubes is always a good idea anyway and whenever you suspect a problem, just try swapping out the tubes one at a time.


Platinum Supporting Member
For me its power tubes 1-3 years and preamp tubes 2-6 years. I have an old hickok tube checker to help. I have only had a handful of tubes actually go bad. I do have 5 amps, so none really get picked on with use....

This is a subject that is always hard, its like changing strings. Sometimes you know they are bad (dead), but what do you do when they are a bit worn.....

Blue Strat

Whenever the spares that you ALWAYs have on hand, and swap in periodically to check the condition of the tubes in your amp, sound better than the ones in your amp, it's time to change tubes.

There's absolutely no better way of knowing when to change.

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