NOS versus new production tubes

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:23 am

øøøøøøø wrote:"V1" or "valve 1" is the very first tube/valve in the amp that signal hits. In your case, it is furthest from the rectifier tube-- on the opposite side of the chassis. It might be a 12AX7 in your particular amp-- in the original 5E3 Tweed Deluxe it was a 12AY7.

This tube has special importance because, since it's so early in the chain, its character has major influence-- every subsequent stage of the amp is amplifying that tube's character, in addition to your guitar signal. I hope that makes sense.

Can't wait to hear what your reaction is to trying out some nice tubes in your amp.

ahhh, I see :)

I'm looking forward to this too...I'll update this thread sometime in February, realistically :)
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:34 am

hey guys, one thing I forgot to ask is...

where to buy from?

there are a couple of online seller I see:

https://www.kcanostubes.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

and

http://www.thetubeshop.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

the tube shop seems to be cheaper than KCA...any opinions on either of the sellers?

then there's ebay I guess...but is that advisable?

:)
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:16 am

I have purchased from KCA and can vouch for them. Never bought from the tube shop but I'm sure they're fine. There are others as well.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:29 am

have you ever bought on ebay, Brad?

is it worth the risk?
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by Mr. Peabody » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:23 am

Depending on your speaker, you should measure how much room you have for the Marconi 6v6s. I believe I had to pass on some because I put a 50 watt speaker in my 5E3. The magnet protruded too far for the Marconis.
Although do you have an oversized cab? That might help.

Anyways...measure twice, buy once. Couldn't hurt.

I've bought from KCA as well and was happy.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:26 am

thanks for the tip :)

I do have an oversized cab...in fact, I have the Bassman-size one, so it can't get any bigger! Plus only the one 12" Celestion Gold, so I should be ok 8)
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:18 am

I've bought from eBay. For things like preamp tubes, I don't worry too much. If it says NOS, I'd like a compelling reason to believe it's so. If it's used/tested, the risk is generally small enough, and failures of those small tubes are seldom.

For output tubes, I won't buy on eBay unless the following is listed in the auction:

At minimum, plate current specifications on a calibrated tube tester, and also the make and model (and a note like "recently calibrated") of tube tester. Anything less than that isn't enough for me to go on.

Preferably, transconductance figures will be included, as well.

It's kind of a "gut feeling" thing. It tends to be pretty obvious whether the tubes have been tested adequately or not, and whether the seller knows what he is talking about. The ones who publish good data, in my experience, tend to be straight-shooters. I've yet to get a tube from a complete, comprehensive listing that wasn't what it was supposed to be (knock on wood). But on eBay there's always some element of "caveat emptor."

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by sookwinder » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:24 am

I have bought all of my NOS/NOB/USED vintage valves from Ebay (easily 100+ valves)

I have only had one dud (an RCA 6V6GT) which only cost me $9 plus shipping of $8 , so it wasn't really any form of kick in the guts. And since I now have my own valve tester, I feel I have done quite well for myself over the past 3 or 4 years.

Brad's advice is spot, but I would also like to add the "get a bargain" methodology. I'll use the following pic of my 6V6 stash as an instruction tool:
Image

There various types of sellers of valves on ebay:
(a) The person who goes to estate sales and buys some old (dead electrical/TV repair man) guy's stash of valves. Then sticks them on ebay without any info or testing.. usually just a single pic. Or someone who finds old (NOS/used) in their parents/grandfathers whatever attic. this is where bargains can be found. you need to keep a watch of ebay. I keep clear of any auctions from these sort of people where they say the valve is used AND there is no box that looks like it is correct for the valve.
However if there is a photo or two which shows the box in good (even if it's dented) condition and shows the valve and the printing on the valve is perfect (not rubbed off) then this is worth looking at . Remember it is always a risk, but as I said I have only had one dud in greater than 100. If the pins look shiney without gouge marks, if the glass looks really tranparant, there isn't "burn" marks on the inside of the glass... then these are all good signs. This is how I bought that box of 4 GE 6V6GTs in the sleave.... ended up being something like $15 each. I also bought many of the single GE 6V6s and RCA 6V6s that way.... just someone with no knowledge who has found a genuine NOS 60s valve somewhere in original box and then stuck it up on ebay for a ridiculously low price.

(b) Similar to (a) but they have some knowledge of the demand for certain valves and usually put the price way too high. Often these people have "fallen over" a stash of valves and to them it's a gold mine just waiting for them. I bypass these.

(c) Then there are the sellers who have a stash of valve and have test equipment (as described by Brad) .. these people put valves up on ebay all the time... hundreds of valves... most times these valves are used, without boxes. They do hawever stick some sort of testing data... which in a lot of cases is meaning less (some valve testers give "good" info, some just give info that allowed TV repair men to know when to replace a valve. These people I have bought from, but only after I have check out all their feedback and watched them for weeks, months on ebay. There are plenty of people who sell like this. and again bargain can be had sometimes because there are a lot of used, but still good valves out there and often more than those who want to buy. Make these people an offer on valves that don't get sold.

A couple of days back I made an offer on 4 6V6s to a guy with 4 RCA for sale... this is his relisted auction. he wanted $200 I made an offer of $75 (ok that would be $17 each tube... not bad) He rejected the offer. Why did I only offer $75 ? well I don't need them (but my guitarist getting a DR so he might) but also the seller says "..all 4000+gm.3700gm recommended value..tested above nos level on the hickok 600a mutual conductance tester." Well this plus nowhere does he say NIB or NOS tells me they really ahve been used. I have NOS RCA 6V6s that read over 6000 on the Hickok 600A .. so reading only 4000 is way down from NOS ... it not exact numbers, but it gives an indication. So I wasn't annoyed when he rejected my offer... he now has them up for sale starting at a very low first bid.

here's two auctions that I did win recently
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... MEWNX%3AIT" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... MEWNX%3AIT" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

both from the same seller .... so three 6V6s for $25, whichg is $8 each. Postage is cheap, the seller has sold a shit load of valves over the years and has a good ebay rating. Plus the valves looked ok... printing on the valves looks good
So I took a risk and I shall know in a week or so time whether is was a good risk.. I think it will be.

It doesn't hurt to "ask the seller a question and make an offer"

(d) Radio geeks .. there are radio geeks out there who are not into guitar amps and they have a shit load of valves (I've been to swap meets here in Oz and they make our geekness shrink into nothing) These guys are often middle aged or old and really just want to thin out their collection of valves and usually do not have extremely high prices... The two white boxed 6V6s came from a radio ham guy who had tested the valves correctly, written all the values I, voltage and Gm on the end of the box ... again check theior feedback out like you would with any ebay seller.

(e) professional guitar parts shops like angela, KCA ... I tend to steer past these guys on ebay because with the "blood in the water" mentallity of some ebay buyers I would rather buy a set price from the guys from their actual online store

(f) Foreign - none USA based sellers. Lots of ebay sellers who are in say
turkey: http://stores.ebay.com/The-Tube-Sound" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

or russia or taiwan or germany ... et al ....

as Brad said elsewhere, there is a shit load of hardly used military valves that have been on sold to people ... boxes of the stuff and these strang (to me any way) countries have them. Again keep a watch and bargains can be found. I pickewd up 2 Mullard 1961 NOS NIB GZ34 rectifer valves 12 months ago from a guy in Russia for about $30 each

Lots of guys in Germany with great test equipment selling excellent used valves on ebay.

(g) lastly there is the HiFi expert who wants to hear James Last in perfect stereo sound on a scratchy old LP from the 60s. these people buy and sell valves like you and I buy beers... buy a match set of power tubes one month, play them for an hour and then think they can do better with a different brand and then sell the first set on ebay. Pick up some EL34s that way recently


Basically just keep your eys open... start to "read' the signs of what you think are honets sellers and who are dodgy people and you should be ok.

but remember DON'T BUY THE FIRST THING YOU SEE ... do your homework
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:31 am

thanks for all this, guys :-* :-* :-*

I'm gearing up to start buying in a couple of weeks, and I'm sourcing all sorts of links and adding up how much a full NOS re-tube would be (and thanking god, I don't have a high power amp that needs loads of tubes!! ;D )

there seems to be quite a large price gap between some dealers, so I'm also looking at threads with seller feedback etc

it's actually been a pretty neat learning experience...with the help from you guys here + reading all sorts of stuff on TGP and other sites, I'm actually now more comfortable with tubes in general (remember, I'm the ultimate "set-and-forget" kinda guy!)

I hope to report back in early Feb...my tweed deluxe is in pieces at the moment anyway...I re-grillclothed it a couple of says ago, and I'm currently sanding the cab to prepare it for re-tolexing...god I love small projects! :)
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by sookwinder » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:38 am

Yannis, if you want any opinions about the veracity of any ebay auctions, just send me the link(s). I have enough NOS and used valves myself so I won't steal them from you :D
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by zhivago » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:08 am

sookwinder wrote:Yannis, if you want any opinions about the veracity of any ebay auctions, just send me the link(s). I have enough NOS and used valves myself so I won't steal them from you :D

it's a deal!!

I must say, that turkish seller you linked, is very very good (and so near me, here in Athens!) 8) 8) 8)
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by jgs61 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:20 am

I can't really say anything that hasn't been said, but I'll confirm that I've also had good experiences buying on ebay. I bought some Marconis from that same Turkish seller with good results.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by sookwinder » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:11 am

I see these types of comments all the time on ebay adds ... :(
Internal 15 watt speaker (modified 12" JBL) (original tubes replaced with 'Groove Tubes')
This item has some minor wear and tear and is 'sweet' with it's 12" JBL and Groove Tube upgrades!!
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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:05 am

You guys have me curious about this Turkish seller.

After I finish this mic I'm (very slowly) building (expensive), I might have to re-up some stock.

I need some more 5881s and 12AX7s and 12AY7s.

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Re: NOS versus new production tubes

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:06 am

sookwinder wrote:I see these types of comments all the time on ebay adds ... :(
Internal 15 watt speaker (modified 12" JBL) (original tubes replaced with 'Groove Tubes')
This item has some minor wear and tear and is 'sweet' with it's 12" JBL and Groove Tube upgrades!!
God, I know. It's like, don't piss on me and tell me it's raining. You know you took those badass tubes for yourself. Otherwise, you're a dumbass.

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