Tubeworks diff between 901 Real Tube, 903 Blue Tube and 911 Tube Driver?

pitbull45

Member
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740
They all run 12ax7 what's the difference in tone and gain between the versions?

How well do they work as a crunch tone through a clean Fender?
 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
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42,099
I have the 901 Real Tube, my friend Vic has the 903 Blue Tube. The 901 is MUCH gainier. I actually prefer the 903 but I usually play clean or just at the edge of distortion. A hard rocker would likely prefer the 901.

What I have done, to tame the gain, is replace the stock 12AX7 with a 5963 (NOS JAN version of a 12AU7). Check the HC reviews, everyone who's done this raves over the improvement in tone.

The last thing I'll say about my 901 is that it's definitely not my #1 "go to" overdrive for most of my amps. However, for my Traynor YGM-3 that dislikes Tube Screamer-type pedals, the 901 is incredible.

It definitely has its own thang going.
 

Nathan

Member
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750
I can vouch for the 901 and 903 as well. They don't really do crunch into a Fender. They're tubey and pretty cool, but not Marshally for sure. The 903 is fantastic for blues actually (with stock tube!). The 901 sounded way better with a 12AU7 to my ears. Both don't have true bypass, which I can hear. Not the end of the world, but a little annoying. A bypass looper would solve that though.
 

pitbull45

Member
Messages
740
Thanks Nathan and Jon

I'm looking for pedal that can coax some early Marshal crunch (pre JCM 800 AC/DC, Thin Lizzy style) from a clean Fender.

The Ibanez Tube King and Tubeworks series had been recomended to me.

I'm definitely not looking for a Mesa liquid high gain tube sound.

From what your saying the tubeworks stuff (and Ibanez since it's a knock-off) isn't really what I'm looking for.
 

HHB

Member
Messages
6,641
you should ask this over at the Hamer board, a guy called Pesocaster used to work for Tubeworks as has details concerning all model, how Eric Johnson used his and just tons of TW knowledge in general

www.hamerfanclub.com
 

pesocaster

Member
Messages
140
Originally posted by HHB
you should ask this over at the Hamer board, a guy called Pesocaster used to work for Tubeworks as has details concerning all model, how Eric Johnson used his and just tons of TW knowledge in general

www.hamerfanclub.com
Thanks HBB .....


If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me... I was with Tube Works from 89 - 97..


The Tube Works pedals are as follows:

911 Tube Driver ... Reissue of the original Chandler unit good amount of gain....

910 Tube Driver ... 3-knob ... more on the fuzzy side tons of gain

901 Real Tube... Med + gain... think ZZ Top

903 Blue Tube ... think Tube Screamer

And TW actually made the Tube King TK-999 for Ibanez .... and truly I think this is the most versitile of the bunch... fantastic pedal....

Edited to add: pitbull45 I would recomend the Ibanez or the Real tube.... just reverse the gain and output (low gain High output.... that should get you there... Good luck


Oh crap.... I'm a Newbie..... Oh and Hamers Rule!!! hahaha
 

Dana-L

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
590
pesocaster said:
If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me... I was with Tube Works from 89 - 97..

The Tube Works pedals are as follows:

911 Tube Driver ... Reissue of the original Chandler unit good amount of gain....
910 Tube Driver ... 3-knob ... more on the fuzzy side tons of gain
901 Real Tube... Med + gain... think ZZ Top
903 Blue Tube ... think Tube Screamer

And TW actually made the Tube King TK-999 for Ibanez .... and truly I think this is the most versitile of the bunch... fantastic pedal....

Edited to add: pitbull45 I would recomend the Ibanez or the Real tube.... just reverse the gain and output (low gain High output.... that should get you there... Good luck

Oh crap.... I'm a Newbie..... Oh and Hamers Rule!!! hahaha
I just got a Real Tube 901 on eBay. I'm in the process of figgerin' it out and I've got some comments and questions.

It came with the original Tube Works labeled 12AX7 tube installed and for me the gain was so high as to be unusable. I replaced it with a NOS Sylvania 12AU7 and it made a huge difference in terms of bringing the gain down to usable levels.

Question: Is there any downside at all to using a 12AU7 in terms of damaging the circuitry, electrical safety, etc.?

While I had it apart, I took the opportunity to spray the potentiometers with a bit of Caig Calilube and it removed the scratchiness from all but the gain control (I suspect that another treatment with Deoxit or Calilube will fix it completely).

As a side note, there was recently some dialogue on this forum regarding Lentz guitars' suggestion that pots be set to zero when guitars are not in use. On my Real Tube pedal, every one of the pots was scratchy in the region where they were likely to be set during use. To me, this supports the Lentz suggestion.

My 901 pedal has the old style, 2-prong, non-polarized power cord (think lamp cord). The later versions had 3-prong, grounded cords.

Question: Is staying with the 2-prong cord unsafe?

Question: How would one go about installing a 3-prong cord?

Thank you all in advance for your help!

-Dana
 

pesocaster

Member
Messages
140
Question: Is there any downside at all to using a 12AU7 in terms of damaging the circuitry, electrical safety, etc.?

A: No, there's no problem running the 12AU7...

Question: Is staying with the 2-prong cord unsafe?

B: No, not unsafe.... the 3 prong was added for UL listing... a requirement...

Question: How would one go about installing a 3-prong cord?


A: Hook the green wire (3rd prong) to a 10 ohm 1W resistor then to the signal ground... this grounds to the chassis

As far as pot scratchiness.... another good product is BraKleen (brake cleaner found and most auto parts stores... leaves no lubricant or residue behind...)

Good luck!
 

Dana-L

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
590
pesocaster said:
Question: Is there any downside at all to using a 12AU7 in terms of damaging the circuitry, electrical safety, etc.?

A: No, there's no problem running the 12AU7...

Question: Is staying with the 2-prong cord unsafe?

B: No, not unsafe.... the 3 prong was added for UL listing... a requirement...

Question: How would one go about installing a 3-prong cord?


A: Hook the green wire (3rd prong) to a 10 ohm 1W resistor then to the signal ground... this grounds to the chassis

As far as pot scratchiness.... another good product is BraKleen (brake cleaner found and most auto parts stores... leaves no lubricant or residue behind...)

Good luck!
Thanks, Rob! You da man!

-Dana
 

77fender

Member
Messages
1
Hey pesocaster,

I have the 1986 black/yellow "real tube" (the ugly bubblebee one..haha).

Anyway, it has a very significant hum when use infront of my marshall tube amps. I shielded the inside (with cheap duct work tape, and it's a little better...but still not so usable). It's only there when the OD is on, not in bypass.

Does this sound very common? Is there a fix? Would an inners pic help?
It was modded for a vacuum switch, so some of the wiring may not be 100% original now is my guess.

btw, is there added compression in bypass?
It's definitely not 100% transparent right?

Thanks....

Thanks for your time!!
 

gitapik

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
851
I've got a 901. Great pedal. It's funny: I swapped the original Yugo AX7 (nice one, btw) for a military grade Telefunken AU7 that my audiophile brother gave me for Christmas. Expensive little sucker. I really like it for home or studio stuff. But when I play out, I've found that an old Sylvania AT7 that I picked up at a tag sale (3 of 'em actually) cuts through better. More edge. I really like it, a lot.
 

Hecube

Senior Member
Messages
2,806
Don't forget the Dean Markley Overlord (long discontinued) which was also designed by B.K. Butler and works along the same lines.
 

mattoreg

Member
Messages
27
Don't forget the Dean Markley Overlord (long discontinued) which was also designed by B.K. Butler and works along the same lines.

Yep, I've seen those, I think they are black and purple, marketed to the 80's metal dudes.



Anyone adding bias-ing knobs to these older styles? Mine is the black and yellow real tube.



Thanks.
 

or bowling

Member
Messages
222
i used my 901 with a great old GE 12AU7 into a Fender PRII for a couple years; set for light crunch, with stacked ODs in front of it, and a clean boost after it (for leads), worked really great.

I didn't dig it with the stock 12AX7 - trying different tubes worked for me.


Anyone try mods on these? I always wanted to try slightly different EQ voicing...
 
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drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
28,595
Since the tube is being used in cathode biased mode, adding a fixed bias resistor and biasing it is introducing a significant change. It would make tube swaps, which are very easy with the self-biasing character of cathode bias, much harder for little difference in tone (might get a little more gain out of it, but no one really wants MORE gain from their Tubedrivers). What would be fun would be to see how it worked if you changed the circuit to up the voltage to the 150-200v range that would actually have the tube contributing true triode mode, cathode biased distortion to the circuit?
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,839
Nice! Do you know how the biasing works on the 5 knob butler tube drivers?
http://www.butleraudio.com/tubedriver.php

From what I've read, the bias knob makes a huge difference sonically. This is why I cast the question out there; thinking about doing it to my older black and yellow real tube.
Have you tried swapping tube types? According to Butler's site the sonic effects of varying bias on a 12ax7 are similar to the sonic effects of swapping between the 12ax7 and a 12au7 or 12at7. Personally I much prefer a 12au7 to any other 12aXXX type in my 901 RT -- the tone is less hashy and there's a much more useful range of crunch available as I turn up the gain pot. Tube swapping might be a lot easier than punching out a hole for a bias pot and modding the circuit.
 

mattoreg

Member
Messages
27
Have you tried swapping tube types? According to Butler's site the sonic effects of varying bias on a 12ax7 are similar to the sonic effects of swapping between the 12ax7 and a 12au7 or 12at7. Personally I much prefer a 12au7 to any other 12aXXX type in my 901 RT -- the tone is less hashy and there's a much more useful range of crunch available as I turn up the gain pot. Tube swapping might be a lot easier than punching out a hole for a bias pot and modding the circuit.
So tonight I tried a 12AT7 and a 12AU7. Whoa! The 12AT7 sounds killer!! The 12AU7, well... not so much, it sounds just like the 12AX7... its and old tube, maybe something is wrong with it...

Anyway the old 12AT7 is killing it!!!

OK, so as much as I'm stoked at the moment, I know the pedal can be even better! and by looking at the guts there's got to be some mods out there.

Does anyone know of any mods for the black and yellow real tube?

Thanks,
Matt
 




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