Is it the 6L6s that give Fender's such great cleans?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by theatomicjeff, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. theatomicjeff

    theatomicjeff Member

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    Sorry for what must be a redundant topic but I'm a pretty much a novice about Fender amps. I've always been an EL34 guy. Is it the 6L6s that give Fender's such great cleans? Is the 6L6 tube pedal-friendly?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  2. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    The majority of Fender amps use 6L6 tubes, so no, it's not the 6V6's that give the famous Fender clean tone. It's the whole circuit, not just the power section.
     
  3. padavis

    padavis Supporting Member

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    I thought 6L6 and 6V6 tubes were key to big huge cleans until I got my Mesa Express 5:25. I also played on a couple JCM800s and man talk about a neat clean! Now, I think good cleans can be made with many different tube variations. I also now believe that a good reverb or some tweaking to a delay pedal and a touch of chorus is another key in making good cleans, even if reverb is used sparingly. I think tube friendliness towards pedals depend on others things but hopefully someone who really knows will reply to that part of your post.
     
  4. theatomicjeff

    theatomicjeff Member

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    Doh, I meant 6L6's. I'll try to edit the title.
     
  5. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    It worked but now my post looks stupid!! :roll

    I came back in here and thought I was losing my mind!
     
  6. theatomicjeff

    theatomicjeff Member

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    My apologies to gkoelling.
    Maybe someone can explain the difference between the 6L6 and 6V6?
     
  7. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    The main difference is the "L" and the "V". :)

    The 6L6 came first. The 6V6 was introduced as a lower power alternative and doesn't run as hot. The biggest difference I've found is that the 6L6 has more clean headroom whereas the 6V6 breaks up faster.
     
  8. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    It's the whole design, not just the poweramp, that gives Fender it's sound.

    6L6 is a 25 watt tube, 6V6 is a 12 watt tube.
     
  9. theatomicjeff

    theatomicjeff Member

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  10. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    As others have stated, it's not the output tubes that give Fenders (and most amps) their sound. All design alternatives contribute to an amp's personality, but the output tubes are probably less of a factor than you might think.
     
  11. theatomicjeff

    theatomicjeff Member

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    Thanks for the explanations.

    And Rick, I agree w/ya on the Foghat!
     
  12. hogy

    hogy Member

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    People sometimes don't realize that many of the worlds most famous classic tube HiFi amps use EL34s, and they are naturally all about the "clean" sound.
    Marantz 8B, Dynaco Stereo 70, all the great British amps such as the bigger Leaks, the Mullard/Williamson circuits, German Telefunken and Klangfilm HiFi amps, etc. pp.

    Don't think of EL34s as "distortion tubes".


    Hogy
     
  13. wyatt

    wyatt Member

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    The 6V6 also does not have the midrange "kink," that distinctive scooped midrange characteristic that was designed into the 6L6 and 6550.

    The 6V6 is a lot more like a low powered EL34 in tone and behavior than a 6L6.

    I originally though the 6L6 was a big component in Fender cleans, since midrange is the bane of clean headroom...they may contribute some, the bigger Fenders have a little more sparkle and shimmer than the smaller 6V6 amps, but overall, I think it's tone stack design. Fender has been successful in getting that distinctive Fender shimmer out of everything, including SS amps.

    Some of the guys here are right, the EL34 was original designed as a clean hi-fi tube, and a KT66 is heavenly in a Dyanco ST-70 -- "K"inkless "T"etrode 66, a 6L6 design without the scooped midrange; the 6550 version is the KT88.
     
  14. donbarzini

    donbarzini Member

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    The Suhr Badger 30 with a pair of EL34's provides me with some of the best clean tone I ever had.
     
  15. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    The relatively "low gain" preamp circuits of Fender amps have more to do with their sonic character than the type of power tubes used. Try a pair of EL34s in an appropriate Fender, with the appropriate mods done, and you'll see/hear.
     
  16. heavypick

    heavypick Member

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    I have to say, my $30 Fender Mini Deluxe toy practice amp still has that Fender sound. Fenders sound like Fenders.
     

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