Best valves for amplifiers: The myths and truths exposed.

Best Valves for guitar amplifiers.

What are the best valves for guitar amplifiers? It’s a good question. Like fine wines with their ‘hints of raspberry’ there’s a huge amount of hokum on the forums about valve brands. But did you know there are actually only a handful of valve manufacturers in the World? So all those sexy valve names and high prices are, in reality, coming from the same valve manufacturers. They have just been rebranded. I’ve been designing and servicing valve amplifier equipment for four decades. Here’s my view on which valves are best for your guitar amplifier.

Best Valves for guitar amplifiers: How do you compare the market?

What you need is a high quality guitar amplifier valve which is real value for money. It’s my firm opinion that you would be unable to tell the difference between two tube makes, even if such a test was possible (which it isn’t, see below). E.g. few could tell the difference between valves from different manufacturers. Particularly when they are actually the same valves with a different name printed on the valve.

So you can pay a lot of money and waste a lot of time searching for the ‘perfect tone’ or you can buy sensibly priced, long lasting, high quality valves, e.g. JJ valves,  with great tone – and get on with playing!

Perhaps you wonder why a proper test is impossible? Simple. No two amplifiers (same make, same model) are even close to being identical, so putting Brand ‘A’ tubes in one and Brand ‘B’ in another won’t tell you a thing.

You may argue that you will use just one amplifier and swap the valves. Okay, that’s a better test, but are you really going to remember the tone in the fifteen minutes it will take you to do the swap? And when you swap the valves are you going to re-bias the amp each time? I doubt it. So one set of valves will be running hotter than the others making the test completely useless.

I have been witness to many hours of “valve testing”. Then someone knocks the tone control on the guitar and the whole test goes out of the window.

Best valves for guitar amplifiers:  Why we choose JJ Electronics Valves?

Well, the biggest reason I mentioned earlier. They are one of only a handful of valve manufacturers in the world. So you are not paying over the odds for the same valve with a different name printed on it. You are buying from the original source. You can trust JJ valves – they are all made by JJ Electronics Valves (JJ Valve Company) formerly JJ Tesla Tubes. You will often see them referred to as JJ Electronics Tesla tubes as well. JJ Valves are superb quality, great sounding valves – and at a sensible price. Of course you should always buy “tested” valves which means that they have been checked after the production stage to make sure they are in tolerance and operating as they should.

JJ Electronics Valves – best value valves for guitar amplifiers.

After 40 years in the business I have seen many different valves used in guitar amplifiers. As I mentioned earlier, JJ valves or JJ Electronics Tubes are one of the manufacturers who’s valves are often rebranded by other companies. So don’t be surprised if that expensive boutique valve you bought is really just a re-branded JJ valve.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to get in touch.


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