Vintage versus New Valves – Valve Tube Guitar Amps

Vintage versus New Valves

Vintage valves for amps

Over the weekend, I got my hands on a bunch of vintage audio valves and rectifiers.  I went through all of them and tested them and that blew most of my weekend.  Testing valves and doing matching is  a boring but very necessary job!
Some were brand new in boxes,  some were loose in Tupperware containers and obviously had been used. I was curious also to see the test results of vintage versus new valves
The valves date from the 1940’s , 1950’s and the 1960’s.   I was very excited to see I had a lot of Mullard, made in England,  ECC82’s. I was less excited when testing them to find most of them were only fit for decorating the inside of the garbage can. They were all badly worn and I guess I should have expected this.
However, the good news was that I did get  bunch of nice 6V6 ‘s , some metal jacketed 6L6’s from the eary 1940’s.  A good mixture of  EL84’s too. The EL84’s are all used and I dumped any electrically worn ones.  The EL84 output pentode does run very hot so they tend to get quite burned in appearance. Never judge the quality of the valve just by appearance. It is quite amazing that good looking valves were only fit for the bin and the ones that looked cooked were the good ones !
The latter all being used ones that test ok.  Also a good number of ECC81’s  with a mixture of brands., ECC83’s and 5U4G,  Mullard GZ34, and 5Z4, 5Y3 rectifiers.  A few of the ECC82’s were good too.
One British manufacturer that always amuses me is Mazda.  Originally making valves in the UK, they were bought by Thorn-EMI and then starting importing valves that were branded ” Mazda” . They only ever said ” Foreign” on these imported valves so I have no idea who actually made them. They probably shopped around.  Nothing to do with the Mazda company that makes cars !!!
So, the big challenge is the amount of labour it will take to get these valves onto the website with pictures and a write up as they are all  almost all one off’s . I have re-cycled old boxes so that the valves are boxed  ( except for some of the EL84’s).
My conclusion on vintage versus new valves is that electrically they are very similar. The vintage rectifiers are slightly better but there is not much  difference.
We can ship to  Europe and USA, Canada, Australia. Click here to email us  if you want to purchase before we get the units up on the online store. It is going to be a slow process.

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