These are tubes that I don't
stock but I can either get them or possibly direct you to a place that
I won't be doing any business until further notice.
Note: I can get these tubes if you
want. I can also locate many NOS and other tubes that aren't very popular.
Ask me if you need tubes that don't
normally come in Fenders, Marshalls and the like. I do carry some oddball
types such as 6C4, 12DW7, 6EU7, 6CG7/6FQ7, 6K11 and others from time to
These are fairly nice. They have kind
of a more high endy and crunchy sound when compared to other 6L6GC's. They
are not unlike EL34's to my ear actually. This is not surprising because
Tesla is known for their nice European type tubes. These might be the ticket
if you think other tubes sound slightly muddy or if you'd like a little
more high end intensity. These seem like they don't have quite the power
of other 6L6GC's too. I don't carry them because I personally like the
tone of the Svetlanas better, and these Teslas cost practically the same
money or a little more. These might be nice in a reissue Marshall JTM-45
or "Bluesbreaker"! They sure are pretty though. If you are into aesthetically
pleasing tubes, then these are for you! They have a reddish brown base
and neat looking mica spacers. The glass seems to be fairly heavy too.
Let me know if you want to give them a try.
This is the Chinese version of the famous
Sylvania 6L6GC STR (which is still available as the Philips 7581A). They
don't quite have the power or bass response of the Sylvania. They are more
comparable to the Svetlana actually. They sound nice for sure. A friend
of mine gigged a pair ard for about 5 months and they were already going
flat though. The tone of the Svetlanas is slightly fuller with a smoother
breakup. I know one tech that thinks the tone of these is the best of the
currently made 6L6GC's! I carry these now as the Ruby 6L6CG STR on the
I make it no secret that I'm not a fan
of these. These are the tubes that come stock in all new production Fender
6L6 amps and I believe that they still come in the Marshall JTM-45 and
"Bluesbreaker" as well. I describe the sound of these as lacking "goodies".
They are general purpose tubes. I've heard amps sound great with them,
but I believe that there is always room for improvement where these are
concerned as far as tone. I've never heard of any reliability problems
with these though, which is probably why so many manufacturers use them.
They are also cheap so that could be another reason! A whole lot of techs
use them for the same reasons. I guess I live dangerously because I won't
stand for crappy tone! So far Svetlana 6L6GC's seem to be just as reliable...
You know what I think about those. If you have to have these, I can get
them. Yes they will be cheaper than the Svetlanas, but only by a few dollars.
It's worth it to just get the Svetlanas. But if you insist... I'm not sure
which one is the regular base and which one is the wafer base. I think
that the WXT is the regular base.
The use of the 5881 name on these is misleading.
These are not 5881's, period. Naming them after 5881's is a marketing ploy
only. The response and power of these is more similar to 6L6GC's.
These are lower power than a real 6L6GC.
They lack headroom and bass. The actually do have an interesting tone,
but I don't trust them in high plate voltage amps such as blackface and
silverface Fenders (Vibrolux Reverb excluded). They seem fragile. Kind
of like an even lower power version of the Tesla to my ear. Anyways, these
are probably not something you'd want to be using in a vintage Fender.
I won't install these in a customer's Fender amp. However, these would
work fine in amps that call for 6L6GC's and have lower plate voltages.
Another note about this tube: Groove Tubes
sells this as their 6V6HD. I have a friend with this tube in his Deluxe
Reverb and it sounds pretty cool. But be warned: It's not the same tone
as a 6V6.
****NOTE: This tube is now out of production
as per New Sensor. The new 6L6WXT is their new standard 6L6GC tube. Don't
expect these to dry up any time soon though. I'm sure they will still be
around a few years as stocks run out.****
This is a new tube offered by Sovtek.
It is a huge improvement over the 5881. It is pretty much on equal ground
with the Svetlana. It is almost as good but not quite there to my ear.
Some people may like it better. It has a bit more intense upper mid range,
and a bit less bass than the Svetlana. It's a nice sound, but not exactly
like what I'm looking for. I may start stocking a few of these if people
ask about them, but I'm pretty satisfied with the Svetlanas. The reliability
of this tube is still unknown, but if it's anything like the 5881, it should
be good. I need to do a bit more testing with them before I pass them over
for Svetlanas. But for now, Svetlanas are still the premium current production
These look similar to the standard GE
6L6GC of the same era, but the 7581A has a pretty pinkish brown base. A
very nice tube! The sound is similar to the GE 6L6GC, with maybe a bit
more headroom and bass. The Philips have more headroom and high end clarity
than these in my experience. But these are nice for a fatter midrange type
tone. These are getting hard to find, and are expensive when you do find
them. They are not really similar to the Philips in sound, so if you are
looking for the big headroom, you should probably pass on these.
This tube and the old "blackplate" RCA
6L6GC are probably my favorite of the 6L6 tubes for blackface amps. To
my ear, the RCA's have a bit nicer distortion characteristic. The GE's
have a bit more high end and headroom than the Svetlana, but it's close.
Compared to the RCA's, they have a bit less sweet breakup. I like the older
white printed ones with the more square top compared to the newer ones
with the round top and green printing. The green ones seem a bit more sterile,
but it's subtle. I probably couldn't tell the difference to tell you the
truth. These are fairly readily available, but are pricey. They are comparable
in price to the Philips 7581A at the moment. These are my sentimental favorite
of the 6L6GC tubes. Still available, not too nuts on price, and very nice
RCA 6L6GC "Blackplate"
For many, this is the ultimate American
made 6L6GC. These are the tubes that came stock in blackface Fenders. They
sound great clean and have a great distortion. A little softer than the
Philips 7581A. They have a bit more high end sweetness than the GE's. The
GE's seem a bit stiffer than the RCA's on top, but some people may prefer
the GE's. This is the 6L6GC that every new manufacturer will tell you they
are trying to copy. RCA blackplate 6L6GC's are classic, period. They will
be remembered forever. The only problem with these is that they are getting
rare, and expensive. Expect to pay at least $100 for a matched pair, but
it's usually even more than that.
This is the ultimate tube to have in your
tweed amp. They have a super distortion characteristic. Nice top end and
the bass stays pretty tight. They distort before a 6L6GC type does. Tweed
Twins and Bassmans came stock with these. I believe that the earlier brown
and white Fenders did too. The availability of these is getting really
bad, and the prices are going way up. Matched pairs are at least $100.
These are nice. They sound as good or
better than anything except the RCA's in my opinion. They have a nice crunchy
high end. I don't carry many 6V6's right now because I do have a lot of
the 6EZ5/6EY6s left, read about them below.
These have a slightly nicer distortion
characteristic than the GE's to my ear. They are getting hard to find and
are getting expensive. Expect to pay well over $50 for a matched pair,
more like over $60 or so. I don't even carry them and I will give no guarantees
on finding them.
RCA 7408 (mil spec 6V6GT)
This is the mil spec version of the 6V6GT.
These often came with the black plates, and their sound is similar to the
standard RCA 6V6GT. Since they are mil spec, they are either tested or
built a little sturdier. Nice tubes, but even more rare than the 6V6GT
in my experience.
GE 6EZ5/6EY6 (6V6 sub)
These are cool 6V6 substitutes! I don't
advertise them on the main page because I don't want to cause too much
stir about them. They appear to be made exactly the same way as a 6V6,
and sound the same to my ear. The screen grid is rated for a few less volts
and a they are rated for a few less watts on the plate, but it seems like
GE just used the same parts to make these as they did the 6V6 (or vice
versa) judging by sound. The filaments in these do draw more current, which
isn't a problem in Fenders such as the Deluxe Reverb and Champ. They will
not work in a Princeton Reverb due to the overstressed filament winding
as they came stock. I have been using these tubes in my Deluxe Reverb for
over a year with no problems. I won't guarantee that they won't cause problems
in other amps though. One other thing about these tubes, sometimes they
take a slight modification in the bias supply. They need more negative
voltage to get them to idle right. It is a very small and non invasive
mod to correct this. After that, enjoy great NOS 6V6 tone for a lot less
These tubes are not up to duty in a Fender
amp. It's been well documented that they will go up in smoke in a Fender
Deluxe Reverb, Deluxe, Princeton Reverb, Princeton, Champ or Vibro-Champ,
possibly taking other components with it. It's only a matter of time! I
have one that I tried in my Champ and it sounded good, but I didn't leave
it in there very long. The tone is fine, but these things have been known
to fry in minutes rather than days or months! I think that the reissue
Deluxe Reverb comes with them, but Fender biases that amp so cold that
you get no tone out of them! This tube comes stock in the Fender reissue
Reverb Unit. If you have one, get an NOS 6K6 in there! I will not install
this tube in a Fender amp. If you have another amp that you'd like to try
this tube in, let me know and I'll get you some. But, I'd much rather get
you some NOS ones! Not just because of the money, but because I don't want
you to blow your amp!
These are very nice. They are German made.
Maybe not the same bass as the Svetlana, but get even furrier when cranked.
This is the only Sovtek tube I'd recommend
spending any of your hard earned cash on other than possibly the 6L6WXT.
They are very balanced and break up nice. They seem to have a bit more
high end than the Svetlana, with the bit of extra crunch that may be associated
with the high end. I still prefer the Svetlanas though, but it's very close.
The only reason I don't carry them is because they don't appear to be as
well constructed as the Svetlanas. The Svetlanas are slightly more money,
but it's worth it. I may stock these in the future if I end up selling
more EL34's. But I'm a Fender guy, you all know that!
These are to EL34's what the Sovtek 5881
is to 6L6 types. These have no bass! I've had 2 pairs of the "G" and when
I compared these to Svetlanas in the same amp, the results were rather
dramatic in A/B comparisons. These tubes have very little bass or midrange
bloom even. If you have an amp that has too much bass, then you might want
to think about these. But only if you are a cheapskate! I can't imagine
ever using these in place of Svetlanas or EL34WXT's though. If you have
to have them though... Let me know and I'll see what I can do.
The ones I have are a few years old, newer
ones may be different! These are not very impressive! They were matched,
but quickly drifted to over 8ma apart. They appear to have quite a bit
less power than other EL34's. They break up quick and don't have a defined
high end (you might call it mushy). If you want a tube that breaks up really
early, you might like them, but the definition just isn't there. They started
making some creaking noises too, so I shut down and took them out. Not
a very promising tube. I wouldn't expect them to last long and they might
even fail dramatically! I have a guy I work for with a Music Man RD130,
and the Chinese tubes lasted less than 2 weeks! Granted, that amp puts
more than 700 volts on the plates, but the Svetlanas I put in the amp have
lasted well over 4 months now, so the Chinese tubes just aren't up to it.
I don't have any experience with the newer Chinese EL34's. Once I do I'll
get back and let you know what I think. For the time being, I will not
sell these or install them in a customer's amp.
These are great tubes! VERY low microphonics,
and very nice sound. Kind of brighter than the Ei. They also seem to have
a touch more gain than the Ei. They have really pretty shiny silver plates
(they are called the "silver special"). I can no longer get these, so the
ones I have left are going to stay in my personal stash.
No longer available from me. This
tube is nice when you can get good ones, but that's the problem. I'd say
that near half of the ones you'll get from large tube sellers will be bad,
unless they test them. They are not worth the time or effort for me anymore.
Note: Don't mistake these for the GE 12AT7WA/6201. Those are made in the
'60's and are fine tubes. These WC's are from the mid '80's. See the JAN
Philips or regular GE's for nice 12AT7's.
I'm not a fan of 5U4GB rectifier tubes,
but it you have to have one, get NOS! These GE's are made well and appear
to be better quality than any new manufactured 5U4's that I've seen. Why
am I telling you this? Because the NOS ones are only a few bucks more than
the 5U4's available from Sovtek and Svetlana! There are a lot of older
tweed Fenders that call for this tube, and you should probably stick with
this tube in those applications. It will give more authentic tweed tone
that way. I sometimes carry a few NOS 5U4GB's in stock, but they won't
always be the same brand. The Mullard GZ37 would be a fine substitute as
well. Email me for details.
Mullard GZ34 (5AR4)
This is the ultimate GZ34. Mullard is
top quality, period. They made the best GZ34 there ever was. As a matter
of fact, most of the NOS ones you will find will be rebranded Mullards.
This is the tube that came stock in most blackface Fenders. Prices on these
are way up, around $60 or so (or more). For that reason, don't even ask
me to get one. The Chinese GZ34/5AR4 is fine for me at the price.
I'll be getting more of my opinions
on tubes up soon, and I'll put up more on other tubes as I get more experience
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