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Just in case you can't tell a tube model just by glancing at it, here is a little bit about the preamp tubes we encounter most often.
Preamp tubes are easily identified; they tend to be the smaller bottles in your amp and are almost always close to your amp’s inputs. Sometimes they are covered with metal shields, which can easily be removed. Since the mid 1950s, preamp tubes have mostly been of the smaller ninepin variety, although some older amps will still have bigger eight-pin (or “octal”) tubes that fit the same sockets used by many types of output tubes. The most common preamp tube type by far is the 12AX7 (also known as the ECC83 in Europe, or the high-grade US alternative 7025). This is what they look like:
Some other types you will occasionally see look much the same, other than the numbers printed on them. These are: the 12AT7, often used in reverb driver and phase inverter stages; the 12AY7, used in the first gain stages of many early Fender tweed amps of the 1950s; and the 5751, a lower-gain replacement for the 12AX7. All of these are what we call “dual triode” types, because they contain two independent tubes within the same bottle. They are mostly differentiated by their gain factor— the degree with which they increase the signal they are given. The 12AX7 has the most gain of the bunch, and the 12AY7 and 5751 are direct substitutes with less gain, which in many cases means they’ll distort the early stages of the amp less. The 12AT7 also has less gain than the 12AX7 but requires a slightly different bias voltage for optimal operation (it can be directly substituted in a pinch).
12AT7 12 AY7 5751
The only pentode preamp tube seen with any regularity in amps today is the EF86 (or 6267), which appeared in early Vox amps and has more recently been used in models from Matchless, Dr Z, 65amps, and a few others. Another less frequently seen, but much admired, pentode preamp tube is the 5879, notably used in Gibson’s GA-40 Les Paul amp of the late fifties. Both of these pentodes fit the same 9-pin bottle as the dual triodes but require very different circuitry, and are known for their thick, robust sound. Both have higher gain factors than even a 12AX7, but aren’t prone to distorting the way that dual-triodes can, and instead pass their fattened-up signal on to the next stage. They also have a reputation for handling effects pedals very well. Drive a 12AX7 hard, however, and it will induce quite a bit of sizzling, slightly fizzy-voiced distortion of its own. This can be a great thing if you’re looking for a super-fried overdrive tone that’s cooking at all stages, but not at all desired if you want more headroom and clarity, or the fatter distortion that’s generated in the output stage of the amp when a cleaner preamp signal is driven into clipping at the output tubes.
The section on power re tubes is being prepared...
This is taken from an article published by Premier Guitar magazine.
Here are some ways you can improve the look and performance of your guitar. Some of them are dead easy, while some of them require the use of a soldering iron. If you are interested in any of these but want some advice then stop by the store.
Creation Audio Redeemer Circuit ($49)
Love your pickups but wish your guitar had just a hair more of an edge to it? One of the easiest and covert things you can is add a little circuit into your circuit. With just two solder points to deal with, your quick operation of installing some minimal circuitry with a battery you can make your guitar have more clarity and more oomph. Some people seek out the Redeemer to clean up their signal, but we like it because of what it adds to your tone—it really does clean it up and make your guitar more responsive. The Redeemer works with active pups, too—drawing from the existing 9 Volt. Added bonus: your guitar’s new output impedance will allow you to plug into line inputs directly without a DI.
EMG After Burner Active Volume Booster ($47.00)
Tired of having to be near your pedalboard every time it’s time to boost up and play a solo? The EMG After Burner looks like a volume knob to mere mortals, but shredders with x-ray vision know that it is a push/pull booster that can give you and extra 20dB of variable gain, and it can be used with passive pickups. As you would expect, you can even get some overdrive out of your mids and highs with the After Burner. This is another simple mod that requires slipping a 9 Volt into your guitar, but if you already play actives it can draw from the existing 9 Volt. If you don’t need variable control and would prefer the same thing with a simple boost switch and an internal trimpot, go with the EMG PA2.
TiSonix Hard-Tail Bridge Assembly ($325)
Titanium=more sustain. Nuff said. TiSonix offers a titanium hard-tail assembly with some nice features: rounded and smoothed saddles heels, recessed screw holes, string reservoirs designed to eliminate string breakage and an hourglass saddle shape that supposedly transfers vibrations even more efficiently.
Strat Wiring Kit ($26.52)
This kit will give you everything you need to replace (or repair) the wiring in the trusty Stratocaster—especially if it’s a recent pawn-shop find. (StewMac also has wiring kits for many other guitars, including the Les Paul and a PRS.)
Vibramate Quick Mount Kit ($59.95)
Since Bigsbys have been showing up everywhere from Taylors to PRSs, the Vibramate couldn't have come at a better time. If you want to experiment with the Bigsby without wrecking your guitar, the Vibramate acts as a mounting kit that fits into most guitars with a Tune-o-Matic bridge and stop-tailpiece. It includes screws for US or import guitars, and has felt pads to protect your finish. Bigsby is sold seperately.
Calculating Dimensional Weight for Domestic Shipments
If you have more than one package to be shipped, consider each package a separate shipment for weight calculation purposes.
Determine the Actual Weight: Use any standard scale and round up any fraction of a pound to the next full pound.
Determine Dimensional Weight:
- For UPS Ground Shipments: If the cubic size of the package is 5,184 or larger, divide the cubic size by 194 to determine dimensional weight in pounds. If the cubic size is less than 5,184, use the actual weight of the package.
- For UPS Air Shipments: Divide the cubic size by 194 to determine dimensional weight in pounds. Any fraction of a pound will be calculated at the next highest rate.
Determine Billable Weight: Compare each package's actual weight to its dimensional weight. The larger of the two weights is the billable weight and should be used to calculate the rate.
If you have a multiple-package shipment, add the cubic sizes for all of the packages together. The total is the cubic size of your shipment.