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Pedals with tubes and vibrations

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by embellisher, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I just bought a Black Finger, the newer version with two tubes.

    I have used it at home for two weeks, and absolutely fell in love with it.

    I took it to rehearsal for the first time last night, and after a couple of songs, it started making a crackly static kind of sound.

    We practice at my drummers house, and it is an old pier and beam with wood floors, so there were a lot of vibrations going on.

    I wiggled the tubes and got the noise to stop for a while, but then it came back.

    The question I have is whether this is being caused by the vibrations coming through the floor to my pedalboard, if this is normal for a pedal with a tube/tubes in it, and if there is anything I can do to keep it from happening.

    I love this pedal, but can't use it on a gig if this is going to be a problem. Most of the venues that we play have large wooden stages, which transmit vibrations as effectively as my drummers floor. And the problem will probably be worse, considering that our stage volume is louder than our rehearsal volume, and I move around a lot more when I am playing live than I do at rehearsal.
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi Jeff, there's several things you can do to address vibrations in tube pedals. One is, it's likely that the tube isn't sitting in the socket tightly enough. You can "very gently" use a pair of needle nose pliers to bend the pins on the tube slightly outwards, "just a little", to get a tighter insertion. Chances are good that'll take care of it. Be very careful with the pliers, and try to bend the pins "in the middle" instead of near the glass.

    If you still have problems, check the tensioning on the tube sockets. You can take a medium sized sewing needle and insert it into each socket pin, one at a time, "outside" the metal part (ie between the metal and the plastic), to bend the metal part inwards a little. This will tend to tighten up the "socket" side of the equation. Again, be very careful, and very gentle.

    If dust is a problem, you can use an air gun followed by a little bit of "contact cleaner" (I use DeOxit, made by Caig, which you can get at tubesandmore.com or any of a dozen other online parts supply places, it works a lot better than the cheap stuff they sell at Fry's). After you spray the contact cleaner into the socket pins, let the socket sit for maybe five to ten seconds, and then insert and re-insert the tube maybe five times or so. Before the final replacement, make sure the socket is nice and dry.

    A combination of those three approaches should work for you. If not, the only other option would probably be to replace the tube sockets. That would mean they're really cheap sockets, which is entirely understandable. If you go to an electronics surplus store, you can usually find a variety of socket styles, and at least one of them should be a very close match for what's inside your unit.