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Guitar Amp Tubes


Guitar Amp Tube Types



Guitar Amp Tubes | Power & Preamp Guitar Tubes

Page Update 3/7/2016


Locating Guitar Amp Tube types can be a confusing task when reasearching a tube guitar amplifier.  There are many different types of Guitar Amp vacuuum tubes including 12AX7, 12AT7, 6L6, EL34's, and others.  Below are some tube guitar amp tips when researching guitar amp tubes for tube guitar amplifiers.  Tube guitar amplifiers are some of the few electronic devices today that still use vacuum tubes.  You may remember looking at an old TV or radio and seeing power tubes inside.  Most TV's and radio's have gone solid state (basically No tubes involved). 

Many guitar amplifiers have gone solid state as well.   Guitar Amp Tubes are still around in amps today because many guitarists recognize the better tone quality associated with tube guitar amps and bass amplifiers.  Tube Tone (as some call it) is difficult to duplicate.  Many guitarists have tried low line effects pedals or stomp boxes to get tube tone distortion.  The type of guitar distortion that you hear on many rock and blues albums of today.  Most times guitar pedals don't quite duplicate tube tone from a good tube amp.  Below are some Guitar Amp Tube tips to help in your tube guitar amplifier research.

Power Tubes

These types of amplifier tubes obviously power your amp.  The types of tubes used are usually associated with a particular guitar amplifier.   For the most part, Power Tubes are used basically in pairs.  For example, two power tubes would usually generate approximately 40 to 60 Watts (with the exception of the Single 6V6 Power Tube).  If you would add 2 more power tubes the amp should be in the 80 to 120 Watt Range.  This is general information, and you should consult the manufacturer of the particular amp your researching.  Basically, if you have 4 power tubes in your guitar amp head and then removed two power tubes, it should take the Wattage down to 40 or 60 Watts.

Power Tube Types

  • 6L6 - Associated mostly with Fender Tube amps.  6L6 Amp Tubes give a Fender Amplifier its nice clean tone or signature Fender tone. 


  • EL34 - Associated mostly with Marshall Amps.  EL34 Amp Tubes give the Marshall is heavier gritty Marshall tone.


  • EL84 - Associated with Vox Amplifiers.  EL84's give the Vox amp that nice midrange tone.


  • KT88 & 6550 - Associated mostly with Hiwatt and Ampeg tube guitar amplifiers.  Tend to give the Hiwatt and Ampeg tube amps extreme power and distortion free type of tone. 


  • 6V6 - This single type Power tube is associated with small tube guitar amps with minimal wattage.  Most small amps that use these tubes have only one 6V6 inside the amp.

Preamp  Tubes

Usually the more Preamp tubes in the tube amp, the more gain on the amp, and the more control of amp response.  12AX7, 12AT7, or 12AU7 tubes are mostly associated with the preamp.   Supposedly these tubes do not have much to do with the amp tone.   But, I have heard differing opinions on this.  Basically having a few more preamp tubes can help out with distortion and response of your amp. 


Guitar Amp Tubes