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FDP Forum / Amp Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Fender Blues Deluxe new power tubes



Dec 4th, 2016 03:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hi !

Got a Blues Deluxe '94/95 and one of my power tube is dead.

It was a JJ 6L6GC.

What tubes should I buy ? I play rock/blues from Black Keys to Queens Of The Stone Age. "Vintage" spirit.
So... I was about to say that I don't give a damn about cleans but as I use pedals a lot maybe I should better have a good clean... Isn't it ?

On the other hand, the Drive channel has to be as dirty as it can be !

Should I change the preamp tubes too ? There's Sovtek. Is there something better for my type of music ?

Plus I learn I have to change a resistor or something ?

Can't pay the bill for a tech right now... I do pedals and stuff, I know how to solder, but never put my hands on an amp's guts (Or really small maintenance routine), so I'll try to figure out if I can do it myself.

So if you can help me... Would be very nice of you !

Thanks a lot ! :D


United States

Dec 4th, 2016 06:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

First, if one of the power tubes is dead and you liked the tone you were getting before, just replace it with what you had. Groove tubes 6L6 are relabeled JJ's or Sovtek 5881's, pick whichever match your amp if you liked them.

Second, why change the preamp tubes? Are you hearing something that is wrong? Typically the stock groove tubes will work fine. Unless they are microphonic or rattling, then I wouldn't bother.

Third, going inside an amp isn't something I'd suggest. It's too easy to mess these amps up, and you're going to be bummed if that happens. Again, why change something?

I think with amps keeping things simple is you're best bet. Going far off the mark of how the amp was designed, will almost always, without exception, produce bitter results. Just my 2 cents.

(This message was last edited by NHILL1 at 08:09 PM, Dec 4th, 2016)

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Dec 4th, 2016 06:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

If you don't have knowledge and experience working inside an amp, be advised that you can easily electrocute yourself if you don't know exactly what you're doing. Be EXTRA careful about this. There is a permanent post at the top of this FDP Amp category advising you of all the dangers involved in working inside an amp.



Dec 5th, 2016 07:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

Hi !

First of all, thank you for your replies.

As I have to change some tubes, I thought it was a good idea to change the preamp tubes while I'm at it, to personalize the sound a bit more !
And as the tubes are the same for years, I thought it was the right time.
I read an article on Premier Guitar saying that it's good to try numerous tubes to find the ones you like best.
So you say that's a bad idea ?

The resistor swap is something I read somewhere also, saying that you have to change the resistor when you change tubes. Wrong ?

Someone told me there's some capacitor in the output section that has to be changed every 15/20 Years but can't remember the name...

I know how to work on electronic stuff, but not high voltage, this is true. I'm not an insane person so if I got any doubt I won't do it myself, or at least I would try to find informations first and figure it out if it's at my reach or not.

Anyway you suggest buying new 6L6GC and that's it, right ?
What about NOS ?

And last thing, there's no bias setting on this amp, so maybe I don't have much choice, do I ?

Thanks again !

(This message was last edited by JulianLM at 11:05 AM, Dec 5th, 2016)

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Dec 5th, 2016 09:33 AM   Edit   Profile  

You can spend lots of money on tubes and still not find what you like, or the same sound you remember from the amp previously. Certainly if you buy NOS tubes, you can spend LOTS of money.

The tone of tubes is very specific to the ears of the person playing through the amp. It's not the same for everyone. My personal travels through tubes has brought me to select Tung Sol 12AX7 preamp tubes and Tung Sol 6V6 or 6L6 tubes. That's just what I personally like. Others here on the FDP will say they like JJ tubes, or TAD, or other brands. I've also had good luck with Electro-Harmonix 12AX7-EH preamp tubes. Again...it is too specific to the individual person to make an overall statement of "fact."

Good luck with your search.

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Dec 5th, 2016 11:04 AM   Edit   Profile  

Tubes are more like spark plugs than new rims.


United States

Dec 5th, 2016 11:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

Stratcowboy got it right, tubes are personal preference, but can also be expensive, time consuming and a pain in the a*s.

I think the smart move is to change the power tubes, there's alot of good options, but personally I would keep it stock so that way you have a bass line going forward of what the amp is supposed to sound like. Groove tube 6L6's are relabaled JJ's so pick your poison my friend.



Dec 6th, 2016 03:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

Note that GT currently sell 4 different 6L6 types, see link.
My understanding is that the GT 6L6S is made in Slovakia by JJ, the 6L6R is made in Russia, and the 6L6CHP & 6L6GE are made in China.

JulianLM, I think it's a bad idea to make several changes in one go, especially if one of those involves repairing an actual fault.
Why do you think that one of the power tubes is dead? eg does it not warm up, has the silvering on the inside of the glass envelope turned white?
If the tubes have seen a lot of use, eg more than a few hundred hours, then it's probably best to replace both power tubes, preferably using a matched pair.
If you tell you tube vendor your exact needs, they may be able to supply you with a matched pair whose characteristics will suit the amp, without the need to adjust its bias.
6L6 made by JJ tend to be good and cheap.

If you want to check that the power tubes bias is suitable, and you are competent to work inside the chassis of a energised tube amp (fatal electrocution hazard), then you might follow the procedure 'output transformer resistance method' at the top of the page https://robrobinette.com/How_to_Bias_a_Tube_Amp.htm

When you know that the power amp is working well, it would then be a suitable time to experiment with a different make of pre-amp tube.
I suggest that the new TungSol 12AX7 are good, cheap, and sound a bit different (eg brighter) than JJ.
It is very beneficial to buy pre-amp amp tubes from a vendor who tests and warranties them to have good gain, low noise and low microphonics.
Tubes that perform poorly in these traits are not suitable for use in a guitar combo amp.

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