I retubed my amp and this time found quite a difference

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Axe-Man, Apr 28, 2016.

  1. Axe-Man

    Axe-Man Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    I've retubed amps before and found hardly any difference; subtle stuff. Maybe a touch more high end or a tiny bit tighter on the bottom end or maybe a smidge more volume so I don't usually bother...but I'd recently noticed an amp I'd picked up SH had started to sound really flubby and had lost all its snap/punch/tightness. It was like it had become vintage in its response and it is a high gain Ironheart amp.

    So I ordered a full complement of tubes (2 matched JJ EL84's as they are robust and 2 JJ ECC83S and a Tung Sol 12AX7) to try out.

    I ended up replacing all the Ruby tubes in the amp and bang, the amp suddenly sounded killer again.

    It now even produces a great blues tone where before it didn't have enough sizzle and presence. Sounds funny that it could do metal but couldn't do the bluesy stuff but with the new glass, it now can do metal and blues. Notes sound fatter and sustain better with much better presence but the clarity doesn't come at the expense of brittleness.

    Really happy with the change and I'm glad it didn't have a subtle change like my previous experiences. I previously found that tubes 'seem' to last forever (years at least) so I don't retube often due to the cost and my prior tonal experience. EL84 tubes are dirt cheap which is a bonus so I'll make sure to do it whenever they start going off.
  2. Crowbar

    Crowbar Member

    Dec 14, 2008
    Bucks Co. PA
    Yeah man, tubes are like tires, the more worn out they are the more you notice the replacements.

    The first amp I re-tubed was an old one. It still had the original Ampeg branded tubes in it. The amp was noisy and dull. New tubes brought it back to loud and clear and quiet. All my re-tubing experiments since that one have been pretty boring.
  3. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Nov 25, 2005
    In The Basement
    I would have tried replacing them one at a time. You may have some in the old batch that are still OK. If the amp gets a lot of use and the power tubes were old, changing all of those first might be a good place to start. If you swapped out a preamp tube and found no difference that tube was probably good.

    In the end you may have ended up with all new tubes but you may have also had some reliable spares. Even if you decided to use all new tubes you could keep the reliable old ones as emergency backups.
    joeprs likes this.

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