Tube types and generally specific sounds and tones

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Fineblend, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. Fineblend

    Fineblend Member

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    As an up and coming player, the guitar world just explodes with information and having come across the wake of tube amplification it's mind boggling how a simple capacitor of a different material can effect the most sensible ears!

    But as the title says, I'm much more interested in the first step of tube amp tone and that is the tube So if I may, list all the tubes I've come across through research and have you the experts fill in the blanks.

    What I have found: 6L6, 6V6, EL34, 6550, KT88, EL84, 7027's

    Now I do know that many fall into the same family of tubes like the KT88 and the 6550 but there must be a reason amp builders and guitarits alike choose one over the other. Really trying to get a picture of tone here and a thread for others to have a resource for themselves to help decide.
     
  2. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    Just use the amps associated with them.

    EL34 - Marshall Plexi, JCMs, DSLs, Jubilees
    6L6 - 40 Watts or better Fenders
    6V6 - 20 Watts or less Fenders
    6550 - I think Zakk Wylde uses these in his JCM 800s
    KT88 - Big Powerful Clean
    EL84 - Vox some small (40 Watts or Less) Marshalls
     
  3. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Oh sure, and you just lay back while we do all the work? :jo ;)

    Not trying to give the newbie a runaround - welcome to the board, by the way.

    I'd like to help you on this, but power tube choice is such a vast question that it is difficult to begin. The first thing I'd recommend is to try searching for this very type of thread. The topic seems to come up every couple of months, and I know it has been covered before.

    Unless you're messing with something like a Univalve, the amp design will greatly limit your choice of power tubes. And not all amps of one power tube type will behave the same (not all EL84 amps sound like a Vox).

    I understand the place you're coming from in asking this question. But perhaps you can distill a more specific question after reading some related, older threads?

    - Thom
     
  4. kctx2

    kctx2 Member

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    Hey BBQLS1,

    Your comparison/explanation is great !!!
    It is very refreshing to read a direct and to-the-point answer to a question. The original poster (and many others) can now have a better idea of the sounds without endless web searches.:AOK :AOK :AOK
    Good job!

    Keith
     
  5. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    There IS no direct and to the point answer to such a subjective topic.

    Generalizations are all that can, rationally, be provided.
     
  6. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    +1:)
     
  7. Fineblend

    Fineblend Member

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    Oh boy, I've been causing some turmoil here and with my other thread (Trio/CAE preamps).

    I'm only looking for general tone ideas, honestly not the usual sounds like a Fender Blackface from 65' with this and that capacitor and it was made on a blue moon, just general explaination i.e. I read that 6550's were used by SRV and Jimi to achieve more headroom and better bass response, and more recently through (extensive research of marshall related threads) that what makes a EL34 great is the smooth breakup as you increase the volume and the higher it gets the more compression.

    So if it is at all possible avoid comparing amps, I have not heard all the amps under then sun and thats why I ask why those tubes give them that specific and unique tone color.

    Thanks!
     
  8. kctx2

    kctx2 Member

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    The replys are VERY correct, there is no direct and to the point answer to such a subjective topic. My point is, BBQLS1 gave at least some idea for comparison, in a short answer. Better said, at least gave some clue in answer to the question. Doesn't have to be completely accurate, but a generalization is better than spending hours on searches that still end up with subjective answers.

    Keith
     
  9. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    The amps the tubes are used in have as much or more affect on the tone than the type of power tubes.
     
  10. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    +1 on that Blue Strat!
    I play a Plexi w/ 6L6GC's, and even though it would normaly take EL-34's, the PLEXI circuit itself combined with the 6L6GC's causes the power tubes to sound much different from a regular 6L6 application and tone.
    They sound great by the way.................

    Take care,
    Mass
     

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