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Steven Lister

upgrade to best tubes in Valve Jr. v3 - JJ's, Mullard/GT, EHs or ....?

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I have had my Jr v.3 head about two months and love it, but want to reduce some of the brittleness of the higher volume/gain settings. What I want is that John Lee Hooker singing but deep thump like tone (think "Boom Boom", etc.) Forums all say a tube change is where it's at. I play a LP and a strat through a 1 or 2x12 with a Keeley BD-2 and POD..., so I have some great tonal variations just not the Hooker thing I'm after.

 

I'm Particularly interested in any help from other v.3 owners out there who are going stock plus new/upgrade tubes and can give me a brand comparision kind of advice. Thanks a million.

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Try a 5751 preamp tube. They're a good bit smoother when distorted than the average 12ax7, but they still have lots of gain and are easy to overdrive with pedals. Some, like the NOS Sylvania GB-5751, are brighter, too. Modern 5751's are reported to be good, too. JJ makes one of the better modern production 12ax7s. Sovtek 12ax7LPS is one of my favorites for low noise. Rumors floating around the web are saying the Tung Sol reissue 12ax7 is supposed to be really sweet, and even better than the New Sensor's Mullard reissue 12ax7. As to which is better? Only your ears can tell you that, so enjoy the tone quest.

 

As far as el84's go, stick with JJ's. They're cheep and the general consensus is that they sound really good for a modern production tube. From my own experience with them, I'd say buy a few. They are much warmer, smoother, and all around generally better sounding than Sovtek and Chinese el84's, but JJ's are also known for the occasional dud right out of the box. Don't even think of wasting an expensive NOS power tube in there because the stock VJr is biased too hot. The power supply is also too hot on the tube's plate; so they eat power tubes, which may be a big part of the high end raspiness in the distortion you're hearing now. And like I said... buy a few JJ el84's. Your amp's gonna chew through your supply pretty quick.

 

Gil...

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And like I said... buy a few JJ el84's. Your amp's gonna chew through your supply pretty quick.

 

Gil...

 

 

 

Hi gil,

 

not to hijack this thread, but what will a tube sound like right before its about to go? is it gradual or will it all of a sudden just sound terrible?

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They start the death march with a harshness that turns into a crackle later on. Sometimes you'll get a volume drop with that, especially with twin triode preamp tubes. Most often, tubes die slow like a car, and you don't realize how bad it's gotten until you get a tune up.

 

Gil...

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They start the death march with a harshness that turns into a crackle later on. Sometimes you'll get a volume drop with that' date=' especially with twin triode preamp tubes. Most often, tubes die slow like a car, and you don't realize how bad it's gotten until you get a tune up.

 

Gil...[/quote']

 

thanks! i will keep an ear out for that #-o

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Tubes are $10 EL84, $22.5 for a matched-balanced gold pin 12AX7 from Eurotubes. Pay a tech to rebias your amp for $40 or check out Tung's faq on rebiasing the VJ. Replace tubes every 6 months, do it every month if you're constantly performing at bars or spending 5 hours a day rocking out or otherwise making the thing work hard. (If you're performing at bars for pay, the $120 of EL84 and $270 of 12AX7 you'll run through in a year is nothing; I pay more a month in gas).

 

This is like oil changes. It costs you not much to do it often, why worry so much about it? If you're paying more a month for gas than you are a year to maintain something you're going to worry about that much, the simple answer is to maintain it more than enough.

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Replace tubes every 6 months, do it every month if you're constantly performing at bars or spending 5 hours a day rocking out or otherwise making the thing work hard.

 

If you have more money than you know what to do with, there's certainly nothing wrong with replacing both tubes every month, or every day, for that matter, but it's really not necessary. That 12AX7 should last 2-4 years, even with heavy use, and even then, it's much more likely to become noisy rather than "wearing out." You should be able to get pretty close to 6 months out of the output tube, even with heavy use.

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I've got a couple vintage tube amps - the one I use for my Avatar is a 1963 Ace Tone "Duetto" and I have a 1966 Multivox Model 45 - the Multivox still has ORIGINAL tubes in it that sound fine - the Ace Tone had ORIGINAL but I did retube it with "Doug's Tubes" recommendations (EH and Mullard).

 

Here's the Ace Tone - Almost MINT (except the leather strap rotted off) with Reverb and Tremelo and a tone "to die for"...

 

acetone6.jpg

 

acetone4.jpg

 

acetone5.jpg

 

apparently the Old Tubes lasted longer than the newer ones? This Baby sounded oh so sweet right from the Start... got it off Ebay for $280 - been offered $500 but NADA - it's only going to increase in Value...

 

Ace Tone was a Japanese Company that later started ROLAND. I have another old Roland from the 80's that "cooks" too - SS but beautiful "cleans" - just made for a Multi-Effects Pedal (I use a Korg AX5G with it.)

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I LOVE old tube amps! They're all so freaking cool looking! That's a beautiful amp, but I wouldn't gig it with that two prong cord. Replacing that with a 3 prong is essential, if you enjoy living.

 

I've got a few myself, and am constantly looking for basement bargains. A friend of mine has an absolutely gorgeous Airline...18 watts, I believe, in a 2x10 package, with reverb and tremolo...very nice.

 

They don't make tubes like they used to, that's for sure. Still, I've got a '66 pro reverb that I used live for about 15 years, and never ran above the upper edge of "2" (it's an incredibly loud amp, for 40 watts). I had tubes swapped out once in a while, just because, but when I finally brought the amp in for a chassis overhaul, I probably had 5 gigging years on the Sovtek 5881 tubes, and my tech tested them as almost new.

 

It all depends on how you use them, really. If your Ace Tone was run on "10" all the time, you'd have burned through those original tubes years ago, along with multiple replacements. Equally, if you gigged 2-5 nights per week with it, and ran it full out all the time, you'd probably go through NOS tubes every 1-1/2 - 2 years, and new production tubes about every 6 months.

 

When I was heavily using a modified '66 Bassman (2-3 nights per week, plus rehearsal time), I burned through a pair of JJ EL34Ls every 6 months, like clockwork. I got to where I'd start listening for changes just as I approached the 6 month point, and I could literally mark down the exact moment that one of the tubes started going gassy and collapsing.

 

Every amp is different, of course, and every player uses their amp differently, so there's really no definitive time line that suits all. It's a matter of getting familiar with whatever tubes you're using, working with a tech that has the gear and is willing to test tubes PROPERLY for you, and tracking how often and how hard you're playing the amp. In a short while, you can recognize when the output tubes aren't reacting the way they should.

 

As for preamp tubes, I generally pound the snot out of V1, because I use a 35 db mosfet boost for soloing, so I tend to have one of those go excessively microphonic in about 1-1/2 - 2 years. NOS would probably last 5 years there in my case, but would cost me 10x as much.

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Thank you CGIL for exactly the type of knowledgeable advice I was seeking. =D>

 

To the rest of you guys, your info may be interesting to somebody but YOU ARE WAY OFF MY TOPIC - WHAT GIVES? Come on now, if you want to start a topic thread to brag about this and that then do it, but hijacking mine is a low down....[-X

 

Can anyone else add some pertinent insight :-k -- it will surely be appreciated.

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Thank you CGIL for exactly the type of knowledgeable advice I was seeking. :-s

 

To the rest of you guys' date=' your info may be interesting to somebody but YOU ARE WAY OFF MY TOPIC - WHAT GIVES? Come on now, if you want to start a topic thread to brag about this and that then do it, but hijacking mine is a low down....[-X

 

Can anyone else add some pertinent insight :-k -- it will surely be appreciated.

 

here is some insight: check the rest of the threads on this forum. they all end this way. be happy your question got answered. :) :) :)

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Who me? Wud'I say? I'm always up for good tales of the tube like were posted here.

 

Hey, don't blame me for my blatherific regurgitations, lucid or otherwise. My brain cells died off years ago. It's just an autonomic reflex.

 

But as to the salty rim and bottom lime of it...

You fixed it. :-s

 

Gil...

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Who me? Wud'I say? I'm always up for good tales of the tube like were posted here.

 

Hey' date=' don't blame me for my blatherific regurgitations, lucid or otherwise. My brain cells died off years ago. It's just an autonomic reflex.

 

But as to the salty rim and bottom lime of it...

[b']You[/b] fixed it. :-s

 

Gil...

 

Oh... gil I was speaking to OP. hope you didnt think was barking at you [-X

 

I have actually learned quite a bit about some pretty cool stuff from all the tangents these posts go off into. in fact it was just such a hijacked thread in an HC forum which first brought the mighty valve junior to my attention in the first place! :-k/

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To the rest of you guys, your info may be interesting to somebody but YOU ARE WAY OFF MY TOPIC - WHAT GIVES?

Gil covered your question pretty thoroughly right off the bat. If your question hadn't been answered, I'd agree with you, but like I said, it was covered pretty succinctly. Personally, I've learned at least as much through off-target discussions in threads as I have through the main topic discussion. I can only speak for myself, but no harm was meant by discussing related issues that weren't precisely on target. The fact is, if your tubes are gassing out, or aren't up to snuff in some other way, the amp isn't going to sound right.

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Hey,

I was surfing here last week and got tubed. . .

IMG_0091.jpg

 

. . .then on the very next wave I got retubed.

 

I suggest getting tubed as often as possible.

 

. . .umm, what was the question again?

 

N

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I don't like your brittleness, either. John Lee Hooker had none.

I'm watching the rolling stones rock and roll circus.

Yoko Ono is going to sing.

Kill me.

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OKAY, okay enough already. I give. =; I'm a newbie and have now had my initiation on this forum. B)

 

Thank you again CGIL --

I am trying the Tung Sol reissue 12ax7 gold and JJ el84 combo first.

 

For future reference - how are you guys with no lives putting such cool (and totally tubular) photos on here anyway?

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Nah' date=' I was responding to Steven. Heights only make me dizzy, but pedestals freak me out. =;

 

Gil...

 

[/quote']

 

Me too! B)

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