how often do you replace pre-amp tubes?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by xshawnxearthx, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    just wondering.

    havent done so in a few years and now i'm getting this wierd noise when i used my E string to -play the E and F notes.
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I generally replace preamp tubes every year. That's just me though, it's probably completely unnecessary, unless you're using your amp "a lot" like I do. I like to keep them fresh, and fresh-sounding. The difficulty with that approach, is that replacing a preamp tube tends to change your sound a little, perhaps in ever-so-subtle ways, but one tube is never like another (at least that's been my experience). The chances of getting two tubes from the same manufacturer to sound "identical" are practically nil. The question is, "does the difference matter"? In my view, I'd rather have "reliability" (ie new tubes), than risk a preamp tube going bad in the middle of a gig. I've used all kinds of tubes, modern production tubes like JJ's (which I really like), and vintage tubes like Telefunkens and so on. I have a whole big box of old Telefunkens that probably work fine, but they're out of my rig 'cause they're just "old". The number one criterion in my book is "reliability". Sound is second to that. Most people won't even notice subtle changes in sound, but they'll sure notice when your rig dies in the middle of a gig. :)
  3. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    yeah so its safe to say i should replace them if i have not in a few years. i dont know. its wierd. when i first got my new p-bass in oct, it sounded sweet. now all of the suddens its not sounding so sweet, and i think its the tubes. hopefully.
  4. Unless your amp quits passing sound, you should NEVER need to swap a preamp tube if it's of decent quality.
  5. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    Yep, it IS unnecessary

    Doesn't'll know when you need several years or more.

    That just about never happens.....unless you drop the thing down stairs. They "go bad" slowly, losing gain very slowly over a long time.
    Sometimes they may get gassy very slowly if rough handling cracks a seal a tiny bit.

    If they work at sound check, they'll last the night as well as any other part of your amp.

    MMMMMMMmmmmmm.....wanna sell all those "old" Telefunkens? Going cheap, of course, cuz they're "old and bad" now. :D
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I change them if they start getting microphonic or otherwise malfunction.

    I have some ancient tube gear with the factory preamp tubes....30-40 years old :cool: