endearment to the vacuum tube began in 1969 when I plugged in
my Gibson SG into a newly acquired Silvertone guitar amp. (the
one that held the head in back of the cabinet.) After the first
few warm, smooth tones that emanated from those twin 12"
Jensens I was hooked for life on tube power. My affair with tube
amps continued with Super Reverbs, Bandmasters, Tremoluxes, Twins,
Supros, Valcos, Ampegs, Marshalls, Gretches, & Voxes. Most
of these amps are still in regular service at Seagrape Studios
today. We also have a pair of Macintosh MC-60s that even make
NS-10s sound good.
Over the years I've picked up a few tips that can help your
tube gear provide hours of trouble free use:
1. Proper Ventilation. Orient
tube gear in a manner that promotes airflow. Consider adding Whisper
fans etc.. The fan rig on my '64 Marshall 100w is set to pull
air across the EL-34 power tubes. These tubes last much longer
than in our unfanned Marshalls.
2 Keep Tube Amps Clean. Tubes
perform best when they are free of dust etc.. Try not to touch
tubes with your hands if possible. Wipe them with a soft damp
cloth instead. Fans add to the dust problem, so devise a air filter
3. Test Or Replace Power Tubes Yearly.
If your gear gets regular use it's cheaper to replace power
tubes in pairs than expensive transformers, which could go south
when the power tubes fail. At Seagrape, we have a tube tester
to verify tube condition. If you can't find a tester, change
power tubes and save the old ones for spares until you locate
a tester. Pre-amp tubes (12AX7 etc..) generally last quite a long
time so don't worry about these unless a specific problem
4. Contact Clean Tube Pins And Sockets With Cramolin R2 &
B5. Do this twice a year.
You won't believe the difference! Follow Cramolin instructions
carefully. To obtain Cramolin products contact John Burch at 708-833-4294.
5. Allow New Tubes 2 Hours To Burn-In.
Let unit idle before you "get on it".
6. Replace Faulty Tube Sockets.
Check for cracked and loose sockets. Also check hold down tangs
that keep tubes snug in their sockets under vibration or in upside-down
For tubes and supplies contact Richardson
Electronics at 1-800-348-5580.