If or when I am making rock star money to replace them, I would consider going to tubes down the road.
I played my Peavey MX with the same set of 6L6 power tubes for 15 years. They would have lasted longer if they hadn't been stolen by a less than scrupulous amp repair guy who was supposed to just do the troubleshooting...I've had my Super Reverb for just over 10 years now, same tubes in it, used the same tubes in the Champ for almost 20 years.
Tubes don't have to be changed every 3 or 4 gigs like strings do...sometimes one won't last a year, but usually a good set of tubes is good for 10 years of weekend gigs with no problems, very often more.
It's funny how many people these days think learning and developing their guitar abilities on an acoustic guitar is a waste of time! I see guys who have been playing just a few years, yet have some decent electric guitars and can't play them worth a sh!t!.
I couldn't agree more. I've seen the same thing, practice all the time on an acoustic, learned on one, and have recommended other guitar players learn and practice on acoustic for 30 years. New, intermediate or whatever...practice on an acoustic.
Tube amps are my choice for most everything, but a good point was made earlier, solid state does do well for things like keyboards and acoustic guitar amps. I still like tubes for bass and guitar better.
But live there is just something about the feeling of a tube amp, that SS cant emulate to me, cant put a finger on it, spongeyness maybe, the feel of the pull on the strings, but there is some different mojo from tubes for sure.
That's the number one reason most guitar players like tube amps better. It's hard to describe, but tube amps have a definite "feel" especially at high enough volume/power levels to get the power tubes really working. Tube amps have a natural type of compression, a bit of "sag" or sponginess, and a type of distortion that comes from the power tubes (not the high gain "crunch" you usually think of with Marshalls) that's hard to describe too, and once you get a amp into that power tube distortion it really starts to sound great. That's where the sustain starts to come out really well, and you can "feel" the amp. Pick soft or finger pick then start hitting it hard and you can tell a major difference in the sound. Solid state won't come close to that.
Bring a solid state amp up to distortion point and it sounds nasty, tubes start sounding better once they get into distortion levels. The power tube distortion is why I much prefer a "straight" tube amp rather than a "Master Volume" type amp.
I use that effect onstage constantly to get the different feel of a guitar part. For a slow, meaningful song you want a different feel from the guitar than something like an AC/DC song. The same tube amp will do both just by changing the way you pick. You can hear it in plenty recordings. I think someone mentioned Zeppelin...Listen to Babe I'm Gonna Leave You or What is and What Will Never Be ( I think that's the name) Page does that in both songs and some others. Same amp, same guitar, same settings, just different picking style. It helps to roll back the volume knob too, I use a volume pedal so I don't lose any treble. Solid state can't match it. Picking soft and hard will produce different volume levels way better than solid state too.
All you have to do is play a tube amp a few times onstage and you'll know what we're talking about, and you probably won't be able to describe it any more than we can...
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