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Discussion Starter #1
I'm the process of buying a Fender Twin amp. This is my first tube amp. I've been doing a lot of reading about this type of amp (tube) and I must admit I'm concerned about replacing the tubes on this thing (12 of them!!). Anybody??

I like the sound of the amp and I like the 25 watt switch it has (ear drum saving feature).

Bogoboy
 

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Ya gotta love a Twin!

bogoboy said:
I'm the process of buying a Fender Twin amp. This is my first tube amp. I've been doing a lot of reading about this type of amp (tube) and I must admit I'm concerned about replacing the tubes on this thing (12 of them!!). Anybody??

I like the sound of the amp and I like the 25 watt switch it has (ear drum saving feature).

Bogoboy
First off, what year of Twin? There are Woody Twins, Blonde Twins, Blackface, SilverFace and so on up to the recent models and re-issues.

The best thing about pretty well any Twin is that since it's designed to be loud but clean it can sound good at low volumes. Most tube amps sound best cranked to at least 8, like a Deluxe Reverb or a Marshall.

The newer Twins have pull-boosts and extra gain channels. The Twin Amp from around 1994 was a great model 'cuz the extra gain stuff was still done with tubes and not transistor/IC stuff.

Anyhow, step one is to forget about replacing any of the preamp tubes unless they are actually bad! Preamp tubes deal only with amplifying signal voltage and don't wear away like output tubes. They're like light bulbs in that they can burn out in six months or last for 20 years but they don't get weak. Some go microphonic and add harsh vibration noises or accoustic feedback from the speaker(s) in a combo but generally they just work fine 'till they die. I've pulled 12AX7's out that were over 40 years old and they still were working fine.

Output tubes are another matter. Twins usually have 4 6L6 type tubes, which includes 5881's. Modern tubes are lucky to get 2 years if you play out several days a week. More if you're mostly a "weekend warrior" in the basement. They do get weak as they get used for a long time.

How do you know which are which? Easy! The output tubes (and the rectifier if your amp has a tube rectifier - most don't) are the big mothers!

Poke around this site and read the thread on "biasing". If you buy new output tubes you absolutely should have the bias set properly! Many techs have a "dealer" agreement with a tube source (I get mine from http://www.thetubestore.com ) where the tech can sell to you at the same price. If he gets to make a little bit on selling you the tubes he should be charging you around $40 to set the bias. Especially for the newer Twins where for a tech Fender made it easy and straightforward.

You should be checking around your town anyways to find a good tech who will look after this for you. There are good techs and bad techs just as there are good and bad auto mechanics. Going to a music store should be done cautiously. Often they have some young kid who's learned to solder a plug on a guitar cord and he's getting paid minimum wage to do repairs and also sell gear on the store floor! I'm not at all suggesting that a young fellow in a music store won't do a good job. That's how I started out! It's just that you should check it out with your own player community. Any tech who's any good will not stay around for minimum wage but will likely strike out on his own.

The store will most likely have a source to do in-warranty factory repairs but he may not be from your town but rather just come by every week or two to pick up new jobs and bring back completed ones. Finding a good local guy is much more convenient. Besides biasing new tubes he can mod your amp if you want or likely custom build you something more unique to your own tone style.

SRV made some nice sounds through a Twin!
 

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Wild Bill. You are one hellava Encyclopedia there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info Wild Bill. Do you (or anybody out there...) know of a good Fender repair tech in the Montreal area?

The Twin (100-25 watt) is brand new.

thanks again

Bogoboy
 
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