As moody and high-maintenance as they can be, we looove tube amps, old and new. We’ve gotten in 60 year old amps whose original tubes still sound great (if you like a little crackle with your drive), and like-new amps whose tubes already need replacement. A bit of it is just luck– some are going to hold up better than others– but if you wish to maintain your beautiful tones, a little bit of attention and maintenance can take you a long way. Treat it like a small animal! No feeding or clean-up required. Here are some tips from our techs:
- Don’t leave it in a car, whether it’s hot or cold out. (Also a proactive theft preventative.)
- Don’t leave it next to your radiator. Or in your fridge?
- Don’t take it directly into the heat from your ice cold house, condensation can occur. And even though you melted everyone’s face off, it’s not the best idea to take it right outside into a blizzard either – make it the last thing you take off the stage to give the tubes a chance to cool down.
- If you’re blowing tubes continuously, replacing them is not necessarily the answer– there is likely a deeper problem that needs to be addressed.
- Much like a puppy, try to avoid dropping your precious vintage tube amp. And not just off tall buildings– don’t drop it from two inches high, either. Please.
- And on that note: wheels on a combo amp are a dangerous convenience. Unless you’re wheeling your pride and joy on only the smoothest of freshy-Zambonied ice rinks, the slight ripples in the floor result in major quaking (and possible damage) in the upper components.
Don’t get overwhelmed– you and your tube amp can have a long, loving relationship without too much trouble. And once you find that tone you really love, how could you not strive to maintain it?
Any questions? Give us a call! We’re here to help.