Warehouse full of tubes??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by bluesdoc, Aug 29, 2005.


  1. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    One of my best friend's wife's sister's husband is an old guy who retired from 40 yrs in the TV repair biz. Owned his own store, and never threw anything out. He's in his 80s now and my buddy's wife says he's got a warehouse full of tubes that he's too obsessive about to unload (but might give some away if asked). He's figuring they might 'come in handy'. I gave her a wishlist of tubes that she'll send to her sister and see what shakes down. Question - what are the odds that someone in the TV/radio repair biz from the 50s or 60s has any tubes that we treasure??

    Bluestrat? John P? anyone?

    jon
     
  2. Randy

    Randy Member

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    Every time I go through a small town I keep my eyes open for an old time radio / TV repair shop hoping I'll find an 80 year old guy with a stash of tubes in the back. I did find one once, only to find out he had sold them all to someone a few weeks prior. I'm sure they're out there.
     
  3. SQUAREHEAD

    SQUAREHEAD Supporting Member

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    I spent a FULL DAY going thru a similar find...
    The only thing I found was that there are THOUSANDS of different types of tubes out there.
    I only found two 6L6's and six american 12AX7's that whole day.
    But, give it a shot!!
     
  4. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    That's what I'm expecting. Not much chance of a pile of RCA blackplates in matched quads......... :rolleyes:

    jon
     
  5. jockman

    jockman Member

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    I got a large box of valves from an old neighbour, not 1 single valve for guitar amps, so I took them to a guy who fixes radios etc, and he gave me 4 old unused Mullard EL34's, 4 Mullard ECC83, and 7 various RCA's 12ax7's.
    Good deal I think.

    Jon
     
  6. Roccaforte Amps

    Roccaforte Amps Member

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    12AX7,12AT7,12AU7, 5V4,5Y3,5U4,6l6GC,6V6GT, 807, and a few others are comon numbers used in TV servicing.
     
  7. tedwoods

    tedwoods Member

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    I'm "hunting" for tubes ever since I was a kid(many,many years ago...)
    My biggest find was a warehouse full of tubes and other electronic parts,discarded by the Army.
    There,I had found tons of pre-amp tubes and rectifiers that can last me a lifetime,anything from 12AX7's to 5687's and 5Y3's to 5AR4's,but no power tubes whatsoever.
    I can certainly share the excitment of coming face to face with these precious pieces of History.It's like what archaeologists must feel like when they unearth something lost for centuries only that they stuff it in a museum while we get to have fun!!!

    Ted
     
  8. dave s

    dave s Member

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    I went through two large chest of drawers units in a girlfriend's basement about 5 years ago. She bought her grandpa's house and all its contents when he passed away.

    After going through about 1000 tubes, I was able to scrape out 4 blackplate RCA 6L6s and all the rca, sylvania 12ax and at tubes you could shake a stick at.

    None of those coveted Mullard type diamonds in the rough.

    Best of luck finding some 'gems' in your lot.

    dave
     
  9. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    That's encouraging, Doug. What's an 807?

    Ted, when there was a military base closure around here about 9 or so years ago, there were tons of preamp AND power tubes that got liberated. However, most were picked up and pieced out by guitar stores for a fair price. I bought about 800 bucks worth at the time. Already been through half of that stash......... :rolleyes:

    jon
     
  10. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Many years ago I once bought a car-load of tubes from a guy like that - an ex-TV and radio guy who had them all in his loft. I don't know how many, but in the low few thousands I think. He wanted £100 for the lot. He wasn't interested any more, and wouldn't split them, or even really let me look through them first - I think he just though they were so much junk and I was a crazy kid who would take them away for him.

    I went through them when I got home and found about a hundred guitar-amp tubes, but even then mostly less-useful types (a lot of 12AU7s in particular, ECL82s and 86s, that sort of thing, including quite a lot of Mullards) a few 6V6s, EL84s (no Mullards) and a sprinkling of other types. I then sold the rest to another vintage TV and radio repairer! He was a hard bargainer and would only give me £50, but I figured that was still a fair deal for the ones I did get.

    But yes, there are an absolutely huge number of tube types out there, and only a small minority are really useful for guitar amps.


    Then there's the time I went through airport security with about a hundred tubes in my hand luggage (I'd bought them from a guitar shop that was closing down while on holiday) and nearly caused a major alert :). Pre-9-11, but when they asked me to explain what was on the screen - you don't see the glass at all, just the metal structure - before they opened my bag, they did rather look like what you imagine some vital components of a nuclear weapon to look like if you've seen a few James Bond movies ;).
     
  11. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Great story, John.

    I remember as a kid in the late 50s/early 60s, when the 'hi-fi' or TV was fritzing out, we'd pull the tubes and go down to the 'drugstore' that had a tube tester and check them out. I remember there were A LOT of tubes listed on the machine. Ah, the good ole' days, huh........ :rolleyes:

    The one with the tuning 'eye' was always a favorite :)

    jon
     
  12. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    I delivered to a retired TV repair man who told me he had a large box of tubes I could have. Out of the 225 tubes in the box, I dug out 14 common to guitar amp circuts. A few were nos and a few were pulls. If you find an rca box with a ge 12ax7 in it, you can almost be certain it's a pull.
     
  13. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    mY experience is the same as lots of other posts above mine. My friend had a huge batch and I found some TungSols 5881's, some decent Rectifiers and many 12au7's and at7's.. Only few good others. They have those type of tube sales in most areas' newspapers I've found , and 99.x% seem to be non-guitar-related when it comes to the old tube radio and tv guys

    ERIC
     
  14. Igneous

    Igneous Supporting Member

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    OOOH my favorite topic!!!

    Ive discovered a few old oscilliscopes that people just want out of wherever they keep them. Little did they know about the precious jems inside!!!

    The last one had a hundred friggin' ecc88s or whatever.

    Amperex, tungsol, a few telefunkens(one red tipped) and some ge's

    but it did have 4 telefunken 12at7's (perfect) , 3 perfect GE 12ax7's 2 rca 12ax7's and one with no label--oh wait- It looks familiar, yes it has to be mullard from what I can tell when I compare it with my other blackburns. however, this tube is shot!!! Damn! Oh well.


    Happy hunting. I think I love tone variation more than dealing with being in a band.


    Cheers-Ig:dude
     
  15. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    I am here as you are here as you are me and we are
    Same experience here. I recently got a list of a few hundred tubes from a friend who was cleaning out his Dad's stash (from his long-term TV repair career). There were 2 guitar amp tubes in the lot (one power tube, one rectifier tube). I was pleased to be able to buy them at a fair price, but it was no treasure chest.
     
  16. Igneous

    Igneous Supporting Member

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    I think that army surplus must be where its at, right? I mean both NASA and the government used tubes -pretty much depended
    on them until transistors.b Thats why JAN are so solid.

    Anyone know where to buy old army junk???
     
  17. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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  18. Sean

    Sean Member

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    I've found that the JAN stuff is getting really scarce. Last time I retubed (in May) the price of JAN 12ax7's was WAY up- it went from $16 per tube up to $32. I found one place looking for $49 per JAN 12ax7. That is too much for me. I do have an "emergency" stash, but that will run out for me eventually. What will happen then (for me, anyway) I don't know. I really enjoy the NOS stuff (and do hear a large difference in a Fender amp), but the prices are getting crazy
     
  19. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    It's not that the tube components are in a vacuum as the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear detonation travels right through tubes but that the components are hardier. It doesn't take much of an energy field to scramble a memory chip's storage ability. Tubes are just big and stable compared to the micro environment of computer parts. Of course, tubes themselves will not do what a P4 will do, but for simple control systems, tube systems are far more resistant to the EMF pulse. If it comes to that, we're all in pretty deep doodoo :rolleyes:

    jon
     
  20. psychodave

    psychodave Senior Member

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    Dang...

    I just bought 10 JAN GE 12AX7's new in the box and in sleeves for $125....thats $12.50 a tube :D
     

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