With tubes the main thing that affects life span is how well the vacuum is pulled on them while constructed. If a complete vacuum tube is pulled then there is no life forms present that can corrode the elements. So the only thing that can break the structure down is the actual process of working and the result of the heat that is given off in the process. That process by itself, even given daily use, takes longer than most of us have time. Especially in an application like audio amplification, but amp design will play a factor on their life as well. This is the same concept with transistors and why they last a lifetime, or why LED’s on your stereo never burn out. If you talk to people that were alive coming out of the depression they will tell you how light bulbs could not be bought at the convenient store like they are today. The power company was the only place that you could get them. So if your light bulb burned out in the kitchen you had to call them and they came out to replace it. The reason being is it was a rarity for them to fail so there was no need to make them readily available. These people will also tell you light bulbs most always lasted the life of the house. It was the same with Vacuum tubes, especially the JAN ( Joint Army Navy ) tubes because they did not want them failing in combat. Some of these tubes and light bulbs back then would fail early due to natural error that can occur, or from them just getting bang around causing a small break in the vacuum.
Now pulling a complete vacuum is a lengthy and costly process, so eventually people started to find ways to compromise. So eventually people found that point where you could pull the vacuum just good enough to have the product function properly. Then of course they found out that people had to buy more of them in their life since they did not last so long. So maybe the money making light went off and then it just became more greedy. So tube manufacturers today could make their products last a near lifetime, except for the occasional mishap, if they wanted to but where is the money in that. Sell the average guitar player maybe 4 tubes in their career.
With the old vintage tubes and the JAN stamped ones, you still run a gamble that they could fail on you. The odds are more in your favor though. So there is the chance you could spend $200 on a pair of tubes and never buy another again. I know with a lot of people I know this is more of the reason they seek out NOS tubes, not the hype that they sound so much better that you hear so much of. They know that even if they do fail, that more than likely they would have had to buy at least 2 sets of a modern tube anyway. So in that sense it works out the same money wise. A good many of them, including myself still have those same tubes 5 plus years down the road. I still buy new tubes like the Tung Sol Reissues, or JJ’s, for the amps that just get played around the house or taken to jams. They get played nowhere near the extent of my main amp, yet I have replaced all of those tubes a handful of times. I really never get much more than a year or two out of them.
Here are some links to how tubes work that you might find interesting.
Just bought this one. The price was right! This one has no end trim rails but I have a buddy that can fabricate them. I just need to get the detail on how to attach them.
Mikemc you will have to get a video of it put up when it arrives. I will be interested in having a listen to it. That was one of the first models I think he put out. I know when I first heard of him, and looked at what he had at the time, everything was in an unusual cabinet or speaker configuration. Looking forward to hearing a report on it.
I have looked into the Vero amps that were mentioned earlier when the discussion started. I have talked to some friends, and have read a couple of reviews on them from people I believe to be trusty ( Vintage Guitar and Guitar Player Magazines ) and they have all said the same things. All talked about how good the amp sounded, and pulled off the old school tones, but all complained about the amps getting microphonic and the finishes not lasting. The finishes they were saying would check from sitting, and were not as sturdy as tolex or lacquered tweed so they were damaged very easily being carted around. That kind of put me on the fence about them. Functionality and tone are always most important to me, but at the same time if I drop $2,000 on an amp it should withstand the rigors of gigging. Especially when you think amps by builders like Dr.Z, and the Tweed Replicas by Victoria, that will fall in the same category power/feature wise can be had for less.
Just picked up this beauty too. I’m in amp buying mode. Trying to buy deals so that if I don’t want to keep them they can be easily turned over for what I paid. I never flip for a profit. It’s hard enough just to break even in this market.
Sam Ash has a deal where if you use their credit on a first purchase, it’s Zero % interest if paid off in 18 months. I’m not a credit user normally. This was too good to pass up. Yes, I looked into the Vero amps and just felt they were overpriced for what they are. Their top line stuff is amazing to look at. Regarding the Vintage 47 amp above, I’ll try and get back with a review of the amp. I need to get up to speed on posting Youtube vids though. I contacted David about fabricating the end trim which is missing. He wrote back right away and said 1/4 aluminum roundstock is used. He had another suggestion that I go to a hobby store a get 1/4″ clear acrylic rod and cut bend them to shape in my oven, cut them to size and slip them into the pre-drilled holes. There are red LEDs on each end tier and he said it looks pretty cool when they shine thru the acrylic. Pretty gimmicky. Art deco to the max.
I have played that Epiphone Zephyr a few times. One of the guys that always does a booth when we have our vintage shows and has one as a tester amp. It is cool. Can get pretty raunchy when pushed, but I find it very nice for breaking up swing tone that everyone digs so much. I think it has the perfect break up at volume point for gigs like that. I do not remember the name of the amp Whit Smith plays live with Hot Club of Cowtown but this Zephyr is very similar to that amp. I think you will dig it. Definitely have to get some clips up of that.
The Sam Ash link for the Electar Zephyr amplifier died. Is there only a timed edit feature for posts on the forum? I’d like to delete the link and the edit option is gone. I’ve been all over the internet trying to find a schematic for a ’42 Electar and can’t seem to locate one. Anyone have one tucked away somewhere lol?Mike
Hey boys, been MIA on ya for a week. Happy to be back home. Those vintage 47 amps are very cool. My buddy Jon Atkinson, is sellin a lot of Kim Wilson’s collection on ebay. Mike if you are looking for some cool stuff check him out. I played a victoria 1×15 not sure the model in chicago. My friend Dave Downer brought it down cool amp! The speaker felt a little to efficient for me but the amp smoked ass.
Here’s a kevin nelson deluxe for sale. It be hard to find a better amp for the money.
My student tom from colorado owns that one. I played it while I was in Denver sounds good. Not as loud as mine though. Still a good sounding amp
That’s me in the video with the Vintage 47 amp (excuse the playing). It’s the V47 version of 51-53 Supro Spectator, though with a 10″ ceramic speaker instead of the original 8″ field coil speaker (though he is apparently working on sourcing field coil speakers for future models). Someone asked about what was between the guitar and the amp. In the video, my 1950 ES-150 was going into a Danelectro “Transparent OD” pedal but with no gain added and the volume at unity. It has a tone control and I got it only to sometimes slightly brighten the tone (though I don’t remember if it was engaged in the video or not). Then it goes into a Vintage 47 Clean Boost pedal so I can push the tubes without the cops showing up (i.e., a loud 5 watts) and finally into a Boss Fender ’63 Reverb pedal.
I wholeheartedly recommend them. That Spectator with a leather cover cost me under $700 (a far cry from the $2300 for the Moonshine). Between my ES-150, Epi Broadway, Epi Sheraton, and Squier Tele, I can get early swing tones, 40s and 50s T-Bone, Chicago tones, early BB King, and with my Epi Swingster and a delay pedal a really classic rockabilly tone. With the ES-150 it does excellent Danny Cedrone, Jimmy Rogers, and Pee Wee Crayton-type sounds. To non-obsessives like me (and the rest of you, I imagine), the amp might seem like a one-trick pony, but each of those tones above is its own distinct “trick” in my book.
Hey mhattem, you mention quite a few guitars and with them you cover a lot of sounds. Do you use this amp for everything? Is it that versatile? I thought it would have a very good but distinct sound, limiting what you might do with it.
Grez, I understand that perception. You’re not going to get modern rock, country, or metal tones out of it, for sure. But notice that pretty much all of those tones I mentioned are from the period of the original model of the amp. Within that time period of late 40s to mid-50s, there are a number of different tones you can get out of it depending mostly on your guitar/pickups (and also on your willingness to use a few pedals like the transparent OD or delay pedal for rockabilly). And admittedly when I say “different” I mean what others might see as very small difference or none at all (e.g., the difference between early T-Bone and, say, Danny Cedrone). Unless you only or primarily play the kind of music from that period, then, you’re right, it’s probably not going to be your only amp.
Hi guys. I’m new to this forum, so firstly, Hello.
I’m in the market for a new amp (I think) I currently own a fender hot rod Sevilla which I’m not too impressed by and a blues Jr. Which needs some work. I found a used bass man 59 reissued or a fair price, but I’m not sure if it will provide the tone I’m looking for. I have been checking out the quilter aviator Amps online and everyone seems to love them. I was just wondering about your opinions on both these amps.
Also, maybe I’ll just try to put some new life into my blues Jr. Never had it serviced or the tubes replaced in maybe 14 years. Is there any way to mod it to get a nice day breaking up vintage sound?
I hope I’m not asking strange questions. Your opinions would be appreciated.
Hey!!!! Welcome aboard. Here are a couple of my opinions. I do like Blues Junior amps. I used one on the road with Candye Kane years ago. I loved it. It was modded by a guy called BillM. Sadly I think he passed away but I’m positive folks replicate his mods. I have a a couple quilters and I use the 8″ aviator almost always. Very suprising how natural and organic they sound. They are loud, reliable, and sound good. The reissue bassmans are fine . I have a tweed bandmaster and their is something about 10’s I don’t particularly care for, but that is me and not a judgment on the tone. I think bassmans do sound good. Hope this helps out a little.
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