It's not just us


Here’s another group of die hard tweakers who are rarely satisfied for long. I love guitars, and guitar amplifiers especially. Guitar amplifiers use simple circuits which have changed little in the last 60+ years. Most of the variations are in the preamp stages; the power stages are virtually the same as they were in the distant past. Many of the power sections were pulled straight out of the RCA tube manual and tweaked by Leo Fender using feedback he got from musicians. Many others used Leo’s circuits as the basis for their own variationt creations. The best thing is that they are tube amplifiers and a real joy to work on. They are very sturdy and the end goal is lots of sweet, creamy even order harmonic distortion.

Although this sound is an anathema for audiophiles, we share a certain love for torturing ourselves over nuances in the sound. I picked a few items to share based on their similarity to tweaks that we are obsessed with. Sound familiar?


I too am a tube roller in another life. And it’s true I am never done, the only reason to keep going is the ever changing of the sound of the music you have come to know. To me it is really cool to change tubes and get an immediate gratification the moment I out my headphones on.

wglenn said: Here's another group of die hard tweakers who are rarely satisfied for long.

That's for certain.

Are you also into tweaking and custom manufacturing of pick-ups and other physical characteristics of the guitar. The guitar nerds I know put at least as much work into the guitars as the amps.

As an aside, I find amusing that many new amps look like they were made in the late 1950's and 1960's - replete with silver threads on the grill cloth, etc.

And people claim classical musicians are stuck in a rut. :)


Funny no just the tubes . But I do think that pretty much all that can be done has with tube amps. So all of it must be from some place already drawn up. I do think that Hybrids are fairly new, and PSU are newer than the rest. But this is just my conjecture and as I am most likely be proven wrong shortly. Lol.

But unlike many other aspects of this hobby / passion type addiction there is a immediate and absolute change in the sound. Even rectifier tubes makes a change . This is why I do buy into the power regeneration from ps audio. I never thought the rectifier tube wound make I difference but as usual I was wrong AGAIN…


My theory is that rectifier tubes sound different because the voltage sag varies for the different tube types. This can either soften or sharpen the sound, and can impact bass response/slam.


Well as I do not claim to know why, but by shape , brand , and type you can have an idea as to what the change may be. Now there are companies making new tubes and copying old stock . And some are really good and other not as good as original or even close to the sound style. And you cannot go by price either as there are those who drive up prices by just spreading wrong full rumors of how they sound. In most cases it is not needed to spend ridicules money to get a very small return . I will ask some others as to there theory why, but regarding yours for there to be a sag the tube should be under a heavy load , but this change is immediate and does not change at changeling volumes . For me I thought he had more to do with the structure and materials used .


Sorry for the wait guys. December is very busy for me. The demand for salt is very high during the holidays and our mine runs around the clock… I’m having trouble doing quotes on my phone so bear with me.

I don’t fiddle with the pickups other than to replace them with ones that I prefer. Electric guitarists are in general a little crazy about their axes. Woods, electronics, strings all make a difference in the tone (timbre) of the instrument. The electric guitar is a very very expressive instrument and much of the “sound” that people are looking for is in the fingers of the artist and is elusive to the average neanderthal player, such as myself.

Elk is dead-on on the tube rectifier and different types are “harder” or “softer.” These tend to soften the attack of the note, relative to SS rectification, and they provide a type of expansion as the voltage restores its self, sustaining the note. The best example that I can think of demonstrating the sound of a tube rectified amp pushed hard is “Funk 49” by The James Gang. Joe Walsh’s sound just drips with tubieness. The guitar is a telecaster. Tube selection for guitar amps is quite different than for HiFi. We want distortion and tubes are selected that allow us to go from clean to dirty at a spot that we like. For some that is at subtle volumes, like Mark Knopfler. Others push their amps into distortion at blistering volumes; think Angus Young. There are many ways to add distortion, like with pedals that go before the amp. Surprisingly, John Scofield uses a Rat distortion pedal, favored by hair metal bands of the 80’s!



It is amazing how a really good player can ride the edge of clean v. distorted and invoke distortion for expressive effect.

wglenn said: . . . much of the “sound” that people are looking for is in the fingers of the artist and is elusive to the average neanderthal player . . .

This is always true. I constantly amazed how good an excellent player of any instrument can sound, regardless of the instrument. In a way, it is a bit annoying. :slight_smile:




You sound like a frustrated musician . I’m sure if I heard you play I would say you are good. But I do get your point though , you are a part time musician I’m guessing and this is part of how you feel. There are indivuals that are just better then the most others in every thing we do they stand out. I know this cause I am not one but can see who does have it. In this forum I am kinda the court gesture and maybe once in a while I actually have a good point. Now maybe I’m not that bad but it is how I perceive my self. I’m sure you are above what you think you are too. But for you to admit it and see who is, this alone makes you pretty good and not afraid to admit it. Also the tube changes you look for are massive compared what I’m looking for.

So defiantly different applications .


Very different criteria for guitar amp tubes. It comes down to juggling the amount of gain that one wants prior to distortion. Electric guitar is all about distortion, even clean jazz tones have a significant amount of distortion compared to our super-clean HiFi amps. It is the nature of the amplifiers used and the way that they are pushed into clipping.

Frustrated musician? Yes. I never committed to the countless hours of practice that are needed to become proficient in an instrument. I do enjoy many aspects of the guitar, particularly the electronics. Many of us who don’t play well dote on the gear. :smiley:


Lol yes I am sure . That’s like me claiming to be a audiophile witch I am not . I will only commit so far into it But not enough to master it. I think if you can play at all you are a musician , I was only trying to add to your expressing of your frustrations. I am also sure you enjoy playing too just for yourself. I have many things I enjoy all to a point only . The only hobby I really try at is keeping my family secure , well , and making money to provide a good life style. The car racing was fun , the RC heli flying is fun and all the other RC stuff. This audio thing is not just fun it gives me a justification while doing it.


Check this out , this a gent I got know in England . He and his band are pro,s and make a living at this. They are pretty good , better than a wedding band , but wow how hard it must be.


I do like them, especially the singer. She has great presence and looks like she might have done some musical theater. Not your average performer.

I love that bus. Theirs is a couple of years younger than the one that I had and I miss it a great deal. I can’t fully explain my attraction to the VW bus. I’m sure some of it is nostalgia but there is a certain funky appeal that they have. They are horrible to drive and are deadly in a frontal collision but I would love to own one again.


No do not own one again like I do not race anymore. I owned a mg midget , not now I own a mini convertible with the cooper works now. I firmly believe that we do what we do as it happens and to go back is just bad karma . I use race motor cycles imp done ! I’m oldish . I did drive one of those vans with a contractor I was working for when I was just a teen heheehe boy pick a figure to keep to get back to that again. But is you really want one enjoy.