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No breakup - should I replace tube?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by project_c, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. project_c

    project_c

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    I have a Fender Bassman tv15 which has always been a lot more difficult to push into overdrive / breakup than it should be. I am only able to get any tube grit / breakup with active basses with the gain on full and the volume at around 4 - any less than this and there's no breakup to the signal at all.

    The amp sounds great but I love the mild grit it adds when pushed hard, and it seems like I'm having to push a bit too hard to get there - is this a sign that the tubes need replacing, or is it something else?
  2. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman

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    A lot of times the warm gooey breakup people associate with tube amps happens at the power stage of the amplifier. Since the TV15 features a solid state power amp, you won't be able to get the signature overdrive sound that a vintage Bassman would produce. I would expect that the tube preamp is more for a warm tone (in theory) than for overdrive.
  3. project_c

    project_c

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    thanks for the reply but check the Friedland review on youtube - he is able to push these amps to breakup without much effort.
  4. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    Try a new high gain preamp tube.
  5. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman

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    hmm you're right... perhaps it would be worth while to switch out the tube. There are a lot of different choices out there... maybe someone who also owns the amp and has played around with different tubes will chime in.
    Wish I could be of more help!
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

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    If the tube doesn't want to break up maybe you should try to work things out. There's obviously a lot going for your relationship if the tube is trying so hard not to let you go. Of course, it could turn into a fatal attraction kind of thing and nobody wants that. Good luck. Relationships can be hard.
  7. project_c

    project_c

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    hmm maybe I'm not driving her hard enough. :)
  8. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    Be sure the volume on the bass is wide open. Raise the pickups closer to the strings.
  9. project_c

    project_c

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    Thanks for the advice, the bass I'm using has a loud output so the issue isn't that the amp isn't getting enough from the bass. I was wondering if the lack of overdrive could be a sign of a dead / dying tube?
  10. B-string

    B-string Supporting Member

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    It is possible, tubes can and do go weak.
  11. mjac28

    mjac28 50th Anniversary Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964 Gold Supporting Member

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    I think you are hearing the mic clipping ? I had the dual ten worst amp I've ever heard I bought it based on that video Ed did and I returned it the same day. I think the only way you can do it is to get a tube preamp pedal like a Tube Works Blue Tube pedal they are inexpensive and really respond well to different tubes.
  12. BawanaRik

    BawanaRik Supporting Member

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    Get a pedal. Not all amps are designed to be over driven. A pedal is designed to be over driven.
  13. rodl2005

    rodl2005

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    +1 & many passive basses are louder than many active basses. My passive Telecaster bass has far higher output than any active bass I've ever used.
    But, I think that amp's really only designed for a mild overdrive, but if u can't get that, perhaps a higher gain tube-tho it's probly already got a 12ax7 in it, so you'd have to find a higher gain 12ax7 I s'pose.
    I know (Fender's) "Groove Tubes" have a numbering/colour code starting the gain "level". Maybe others, but, again, I know nuthink!
  14. hdracer

    hdracer Supporting Member

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    I would pull out the stock Groove Tube 12ax7 and drop in a good tube.
    One of my favorites that doesn't cost a fortune is the Electro-Harmonix 12AX7 Gold Pin. I have them in all my 12ax7 sockets.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Are you using the active input or something? I only played one of them once, but I remember it being pretty easy to get distortion out of it with a Precision.
  16. edfriedland

    edfriedland

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    I was able to get overdrive from the TV 15, but I was playing an active MM bass. It might be tougher with a passive instrument.
  17. project_c

    project_c

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    Nope - that's definitely the amp breaking up, not the mic. And in terms of tone, I searched for a long time for an amp I liked, and to my ears, these things sound excellent, so the problem is not that I dislike the amp at all. I actually love it a lot.

    No, using the correct input (input 1) for tube grit, and I do also have a Precision which has a very loud output, and I'm unable to get anything like distortion from it with this amp.

    Yeah, I get what you're saying, but this amp is in fact designed just for that gentle and mild tube drive, it's one of the reasons I got it.

    Thanks for chiming in, Ed - actually, in the section before that, the gentle tube distortion you get with the passive Jazz, gain all the way up, is something I am unable to get even with an active Jazz ('11 USA deluxe), unless I also have the volume almost maxed out on the amp too. That's why I was wondering about this.


    Thanks for this suggestion - it can't hurt to try it, at least. I have a suspicion that I might have a weak / dying tube, and that's what is behind this. I can push this amp into gentle overdive, but it has to be almost maxed out on both gain and volume to get there, even with active basses, and I just think it shouldn't be this difficult.

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