Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting - Tube Primer Books
Updated 09/24/04
Part 1 3.30 updated
The Tube Primer Documents

These two electronic format e-books which can be downloaded and printed, give
information on specific tube selection, tube characteristics, matching, power requirement
advice, detailed tube information for many NOS and most new tubes, tube tests and how
they compare, tube theory and operation, tubes versus solid state, and more.   These
books are sort of this entire website in a book, but minus the amp writeups and vendor
information.  It is all the data here, but in greatly expanded and updated content, with
photos, charts, graphs and more.
There are two versions of this book.

V1.31 is 47 pages and about 1.3 mb.  This will give you all the basic info on tube differences from
one maker or type to another.  This will also give a lot of amp hints.

V3.2 is over 190 pages, split into two parts.   This version goes into much more detail.  It also
goes into tube circuits, differences between tubes and solid state components, studio tube
applications, and much more.  This version is something of a "share ware" item.  If you think it has
any value after you download it and look at it, you can contribute something if you desire. ... BUT
... it is understood than many musicians are living on the edge financially, and I would rather you
have the info and the tone, than worry about paying anything of that is an issue.

When you follow the link for 3.2, there will first be a page that comes up on the payment
explanation.  On that page are the links to follow for this version.  If you just want to head to that
link if you are financially strapped, go right ahead and accept the book with my blessing.

These are "electronic" books, meaning that they were optimized for the PC screen (landscape
formatting) and have many links.  There are links to many amp makers, and an area added with
links to all the major speaker makers and the specs on the most commonly used speakers.
CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE
LEFT FOR A SHORTER 47
PAGE VERSION OF THE TUBE
PRIMER
If you are interested in the latest Version 3.3 of the Tube Primer and Selection e-book.   This
book has been split into two sections as it was too large (six megabytes).

The cost of the book is normally $15.00.  I am trying to offer this as a shareware product,
and if enough folks pay something for this book, I will continue to offer it as a shareware
item on my website with updates.  If you are a starving musician, download this for free
with my compliments ... I would rather you buy strings or something, and sound good, and
have the info than starve!

When you have downloaded this book and if you are happy with the book, and if you want
to pay anything, you may go to pay pal at
www.paypal.com and pay the amount you feel is
fair to my account, which happens to be one of my email addresses, the account is
myles111us@yahoo.com

I am also collecting GUITAR STRAPS and any sort of pedals .... so if you have an old ones
lying around, and wish to contribute something rather than pay-pal cash, feel free to send
any guitar straps or pedals (no matter how offensive in artwork), or plain to:

Groove Tubes
1543 Truman Street
San Fernando CA.  91340
ATTN:  Myles Rose

If you have a pen of a contrasting color, please feel free to "autograph" the strap with your
name and even types of amps or guitars you have!

You may download this directly from

Part 1:   
CLICK HERE

Part 2:   CLICK HERE

Click on the links above to download
Table of contents Part 1 version 3.20   (the 9/04 v3.30 is a bit different)

BEFORE WE EVEN GET STARTED … IF YOU JUST WANT A FEW BASICS AND HATE TO READ        4
BRIEF TUBE AND SOLID STATE DIFFERENCES        4
DITTO – THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE OF THE RECORDING STUDIO AND FOR LIVE PERFORMANCE TO THE HOUSE
SYSTEM        5
MY PERSONAL TOP TEN OR SO FAVORITE OR MOST IMPRESSIVE AMPLIFIERS        5
MATCHING IN BRIEF        12
BIASING IN BRIEF        12
WHAT TUBES SHOULD I USE IN MY AMPLIFIER?  - A MODERN DAY TUBE SELECTION PRIMER        13
PREAMP TUBES        16
SAG – SPECIAL APPLICATIONS GROUP (SPECIFICALLY SELECTED TUBES FOR SPECIFIC NEEDS)        17
THE BASICS OF PREAMP TUBE DIFFERENCES        19
12AX7 (ECC83, 7025, 12AT7, 12AY7, 12AU7, AND MANY OTHERS) PIN CONNECTIONS        21
12AX7 RATINGS        21
12AX7 SHORT DATA        21
CHARACTERISTIC NOMENCLATURE USED BY TUBE ENGINEERS        22
PREAMP TUBE OVERALL CHART OF SOME NOS AND MANY CURRENT TUBES        32
ADDITIONAL SMALL SIGNAL TUBE TESTS AND REFERENCE        35
RECENT TUBE TEST RESULTS        37
THE OUTPUT TUBES – THE PENTODES AND BEAM PENTODES        44
BIASING – A NEEDED CONSIDERATION WHEN REPLACING OR CHANGING POWER TUBES        45
6V6 OUTPUT TUBES        47
6L6 / 5881 / KT-66 TYPES        50
EL34 – E34LS – AND 6CA7 TYPES        57
MISCELLANEOUS AND OTHER OUTPUT TUBE TYPES        61
6L6 / KT66 / 5881 / EL-34 TUBE OUTPUT CURRENT OUTPUT COMPARISONS        63
POWER OUTPUT COMPARISON TEST RESULTS OF VARIOUS OUTPUT TUBES        64
6550 / KT-88 TUBES        66
POWER COMPARISON CHART OF CURRENT OUTPUT FOR THE KT-88 / 6550 FAMILIES        73
THE EL-84 TUBES        74
TECHTIP ON EL-84 AMPS        74
OUTPUT POWER CHART FOR EL-84 FAMILY        78
7027 AND 7591 TUBES        81
RECTIFIERS – VACUUM TUBE AND SOLID STATE        81
THE GT RATING SYSTEM – AN EXPLANATION OF “DISTORTION RATING” ALSO KNOWN AT TIMES AS “HARDNESS
RATING”        88
CONVERSION INFORMATION – GT NUMBERING, FENDER COLOR CODES AND MESA COLOR CODES        88



Table of contents Part 2 - 1/20/04 - Report on Sovtek 12AX7WC 0311 datecode batch

POINT TO POINT VERSUS PCB CONSTRUCTION BY ANDY MARSHALL OF THD ELECTRONICS        5
TUBES IN DETAIL – CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION, AND MORE        8
A. CATHODE        11
B. PLATE (ANODE)        12
C. CONTROL GRID        13
D.SCREEN GRID--THE TETRODE        15
E. OTHER GRIDS--THE PENTODE        16
F. AUDIO BEAM TETRODE        17
G. THE HEATER INSIDE THE CATHODE        18
H.THE GETTER        18
I. ASSEMBLING THE TUBE        19
WHY ARE TUBES STILL USED?        25
A. HIGH-POWER RF APPLICATIONS        25
B. GUITAR AMPS        25
C. PROFESSIONAL AUDIO        26
D. HIGH-END AUDIO        26
USING TUBES        26
A. BIAS        26
B. WHEN SHOULD I REPLACE THE TUBES?        26
C. BLUE GLOW -- WHAT CAUSES IT?        27
D. WHAT IS CLASS A, B, AB, ULTRALINEAR, ETC.?        28
TUBES VS TRANSISTORS: IS THERE AN AUDIBLE DIFFERENCE?        31
INTRODUCTION:        31
PSYCHOACOUSTICS        31
MICROPHONE OUTPUT LEVELS        32
DISTORTION CHARACTERISTICS OF PREAMPLIFIERS        36
1) TUBE CHARACTERISTICS        39
SIGNIFICANCE OF MUSICAL HARMONICS        47
RELATIONSHIP OF FACTORS AND FINDINGS        48
TUBE VARIABILITY – THE MOST VARIABLE COMPONENT IN YOUR AMPLIFIER        50
MATCHED PHASE INVERTERS AND DRIVERS        52
WHY DO TWO MARSHALLS OR TWO FENDERS, OF THE SAME MODEL, AND EVEN YEAR, SOUND DIFFERENT – AND
MORE ON MATCHING OF PHASE INVERTERS, BALANCED OUTPUT SECTIONS, GLOBAL FEEDBACK, AND MORE        54
ON THE SAME SUBJECT – WHY DO MARSHALL AND FENDER AMPS SOUND DIFFERENT?        56
PREAMP TUBES - GAIN / OUTPUT AND MATCHING – MORE INFORMATION        60
PART 2 - GAIN VERSUS OUTPUT IN PREAMP TUBES        61
POWER / WATTAGE – HOW MUCH DO YOU REALLY NEED?        62
FENDER BLACKFACE TUBE USE AND APPLICATION        65
THOUGHTS ON 12AX7 TYPE TUBES BY MARK BAIER        66
BLUEPRINTING AMPLIFIERS – WHAT IS “BLUEPRINTING” ?        69
WHICH AMP IS BETTER ?        72
NOS TUBES – THE HYPE, MYTH, AND REALITY        73
THE REALITY OF NOS        73
THERE ARE SOME POINTS OF LIGHT ON THE HORIZON THANKFULLY IN REGARD TO NEW TUBES        75
MATCHING IN MORE DETAIL – STATIC VERSUS DYNAMIC MATCHING        77
POINT TO POINT AMPS - SOME MYTHS AND ALSO WHY SOME TECHS PREFER THEM        80
RECORDING YOUR GUITAR        84
GUITAR SPEAKERS        85
TUBE TEST RESULTS DECEMBER 2003 AND BEYOND        86
GROOVE TUBES NVM MULLARD 12AX7 SERIES 1 – ORIGINAL SPEC        86
GROOVE TUBES NVM MULLARD 12AX7 SERIES 3 – “SUPER MULLARD”        87
12AX7WC SOVTEK – 0310 DATECODE        88
12AX7WC SOVTEK – 0311 DATECODE – PRODUCTION TEST OF SOVTEK BULK DELIVERY        89
SOME POSTS FROM MUSIC FORUMS        90