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

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by pitbull45, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. pitbull45

    pitbull45 Member

    Messages:
    707
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    Northern NJ
    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?
     
  2. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    36,636
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Northern VA
    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.
     
    ChampReverb likes this.
  3. pitbull45

    pitbull45 Member

    Messages:
    707
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    Northern NJ
    Thanks Jon, good info
     
  4. Nathan

    Nathan Member

    Messages:
    682
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    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.
     
  5. pitbull45

    pitbull45 Member

    Messages:
    707
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    Northern NJ
    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.
     
  6. HHB

    HHB Member

    Messages:
    6,643
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2002
    Location:
    East Flat Rock NC
    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
     
  7. pesocaster

    pesocaster Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    Gig Harbor WA
    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
     
    ChampReverb likes this.
  8. Dana-L

    Dana-L Supporting Member

    Messages:
    540
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    Outer Portlandia
    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
     
  9. pesocaster

    pesocaster Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    Gig Harbor WA
    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!
     
  10. Dana-L

    Dana-L Supporting Member

    Messages:
    540
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    Outer Portlandia
    Thanks, Rob! You da man!

    -Dana
     
  11. 77fender

    77fender Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    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!!
     
  12. gitapik

    gitapik Member

    Messages:
    532
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Location:
    New York City
    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.
     
  13. mattoreg

    mattoreg Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Has anyone added a bias function to a real tube 901?
    Thanks!
     
  14. Hecube

    Hecube Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,810
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Location:
    Au nord du Big Bang
    Don't forget the Dean Markley Overlord (long discontinued) which was also designed by B.K. Butler and works along the same lines.
     
  15. mattoreg

    mattoreg Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010

    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.
     
  16. or bowling

    or bowling Member

    Messages:
    224
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    SoCal
    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...
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  17. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    21,973
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    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?
     
  18. mattoreg

    mattoreg Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    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.
     
  19. chervokas

    chervokas Member

    Messages:
    6,864
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    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.
     
  20. mattoreg

    mattoreg Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    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
     

Share This Page