As an electric guitarist, it’s probably a safe bet to assume you’re constantly seeking that edge that will give you the ultimate tone—this kind of OCD seems to go with territory and I wouldn’t be exaggerating at all if I told this search is what drove me to begin building effects pedals in the first place. And as guitarists we’re all aware that tubes are the sonic foundation of many legendary guitarists’ electric sound: Hendrix, Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Angus Young to name just a few. But just how much of a part do tubes, particularly the older variety of tube, also known as N.O.S. tubes actually play in achieving great guitar tone? In this article I’ll give you my two cents worth, my own experiences of using vintage and new tubes in guitar gear along with a little historical and technical info—after reading this you might not be a tube guru—those guys came from another era, the 1960s—but you’ll certainly be a whole lot wiser when it comes to these archaic, hot, high-voltage devices.
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