Where do Tube Dealers get their NOS Tubes from?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Trotter, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Trotter

    Trotter Supporting Member

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    I've always been curious...

    discuss.
     
  2. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    It's generally top secret but I know a few individuals that have been lucky enough to find a retired TV repairman with quite a stash. More and more you see used tubes on the 'vintage' tube market.
     
  3. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Anywhere you can imagine (that makes sense).
     
  4. brian.robert

    brian.robert Supporting Member

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    I saw a large box (couple hundred) of tubes at a flee market for $50 that I still wish I would've bought. I didn't have any way to test them at the time though.
     
  5. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    In a typical large lot of random tubes about 5% are audio/guitar tubes and the rest have almost zero value. The percentage is continuing to diminish over time.
     
  6. brian.robert

    brian.robert Supporting Member

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    That makes me feel a little better. Is there any way to know on the spot, or is it just a crap shoot?
     
  7. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Check the numbers? Were these in individual boxes or loose?
     
  8. circusinthesky

    circusinthesky Member

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    I'd bet (though I could be wrong) that people are getting them from grey market "dealers" who source them from former Nato country stockpiles. When I see a picture of a hundred Brimar tubes, I think old Nato stock that was liberated by an enterprising warehouse guy in *vakia, or any of the former Baltic states. Same goes for East Germany, or any of the Soviet Block countries.
     
  9. brian.robert

    brian.robert Supporting Member

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    They were all loose. I've come across different lots though, and some have been in boxes. My wife likes to go antiquing a lot, and I tend to gravitate towards the old electronics.
     
  10. guitarcapo

    guitarcapo Senior Member

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    Visit junk yard.

    Rape old t.v. in landfill.

    Sell on Ebay for profit. (make sure to use the codeword "NOS' in the listing, people like that)
     
  11. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yah... Somehow I can't see mike or any of the other good reputation dealers scrounging flea markets for pulls... The military and government stores were mostly sold years ago, but I'm sure there are some pack rats holding on to bulk boxes of them. They'll probably pull them out in 5-10 years when all of the boomers decide to unload their vintage collections ; )
     
  12. Trotter

    Trotter Supporting Member

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    This is what I'm thinking too. I can't imagine tube dealers wasting their time hitting garage sales, thrift markets, etc trying to locate NOS tubes for their inventory. They have to be contacting private individuals with a large surplus somewhere in the world. How does one get in contact or even find these guys?

    There has to be some secrets to the trade...
     
  13. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Member

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    I have run an ad in a southern Iowa shopper newspaper for the last ten years and it turns up something every so often, enough to make it worth paying the fifteen bucks a month it costs. About seven years ago I was cleaning out some of this stuff out west of here and the guy says "Are you interested in transistor radios?" I say "sure." He brings out a Regency TR-1 in its original box and says "this was the first one around here." I say "How much do you want for it?" He says "Would fifteen bucks be too much?" I paid the man and didn't feel too bad about it since I was already buying about $600 worth of other stuff.

    What that does is get you known as a picker and that knowledge can end up in some strange places.
     
  14. smolder

    smolder Gold Supporting Member

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    Well in those places you would most likely not find any NOS, ANOS maybe, mostly just old tubes.
     
  15. psychodave

    psychodave Senior Member

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    I've always been more curious that when they find them how is it that they get so many ones that test "new" :rotflmao

    I've been lucky enough to find a lot of tubes way back in the early 1990's. Back then they were hard to find, but when you did find them, they would sell for cheap...and even then we passed up on them (D'oh). These days people run to eBay, find an expensive value then think they will get top dollar for their lot...:huh
     
  16. CaptainJake

    CaptainJake Member

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    A friend of mine brought over two crates full of tubes and I found 5 in over 200 that were applicable to my circuits, or circuits I've worked on. He says he's got about 800 more...not really that stoked to dig through em to be honest!

    edit: but I will say we scored a few mullard 12ax7s out of it
     
  17. 5E3

    5E3 Member

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    Do you remember that government warehouse at the end of the Indiana Jones movie?

    There is one entire section packed full of NOS tubes!

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Actually, unless they're found by and tested by "pickers" (guys who know about tubes and have years of contacts, but not about guitar amps, who have no desire to match tubes, test for microphonics or spend hours on the phone talking tone with customers, many of whom never buy anything) the percentage of "test as new" tubes is kinda low. So, there's risk, test time and rejects that all figure into the retail price.
     
  19. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Yeah, ALL guitar tubes too! :rotflmao
     
  20. slider313

    slider313 Silver Supporting Member

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    I had an old TV repairman give me a box of 330 tubes about 25 years ago. Many were NOS/NIB and others were pulls; an RCA stuffed in a Sylvania box. I wound up with 18 tubes that were compatable with guitar circuits.
     

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