Category Archives: Music

Tubes Tubes Tubes


When it comes to guitar amplifiers, it all starts with the tubes. And the speakers. And the Circuit. And the guitar. And the guitarist. You get the idea, there’s a lot of things that affect your tone, and you should never overlook the tubes you’re using in your amplifier.

I recently had a lot of issues with tube reliability using JJ EL84 tubes. They sound good, but a large percentage of them came to me with a defect: the light-bulb effect shown here: Some people say it’s okay, others say it’s very dangerous and can eventually/potentially destroy transformers. I’m not interested in taking the risk either way.

To compare the tubes, I took a good pair (no flash defect) of JJ tubes, and put them up against the TAD EL84-STR and the Tung Sol (reissue) EL84-TS. The test amp is a JMP Guitars 18 Watt EF86 “TNB” (not to be confused with TMB).

Check out the EL84 output tube comparison video hero:

Check out the EF86 preamp tube comparison video hero:

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Time for a cover song?

If you’re on this site I would say it’s safe to assume you’re a creative type, much like myself. The joy of being creative is what drives this business, and inspired it from the beginning. It’s rare that I get a chance to do something that joins different creative outlets together, but recently I had a great opportunity to do just that.

My sister in law recently graduated high school, and a week or so before she did, she performed Rihanna’s song “Stay” at a recital. She did such a great job performing live that it inspired me to do a recording with her. Continue reading