12AT7 (ECC81) Guitar Amplifier Valve (Tube)


The 12AT7 (ECC81) guitar amplifier valve, or tube, is also known in Europe as the ECC81. This is a miniature 9-pin medium-gain dual-triode vacuum tube used mainly in the pre-amp section of guitar amplifiers. The 12AT7 belongs to a large family of dual triode vacuum tubes including the most commonly used 12AU7 valve and the 12AX7 valve. All of these valves are similar in design and are used in valve guitar amplifiers and some effects pedals, but with slightly differing characteristics.

The 12AT7 is mainly found in the pre-amplifier section and is selected mainly for the gain setting. Each of the different pre amp valves that have the same footprint have a different gain setting. Tube guitar amp engineers sometimes swap out the tubes-to shape the signal response differently. For example adding a lower gain valve may reduce overdrive effect and have a smoother, bluesy tone.

Read our guide to the different pre-amplifier valves compared to get an insight into the different valves and how they are used. You can buy the 12AT7 (ECC81) guitar amplifier valve below, review the range of suppliers and choose the most suitable. On this web site you can find many different guitar amplifier valves for all the popular amplifier brands and models. Guitar amplifier valves (or tubes) can be purchased as single valves, matched pairs, matched quads, matched sets, complete amplifier replacement valve kits. Use the links on this page to find your valve or amplifier. The 12AT7 valve is one of many guitar amplifier pre-amplifier tubes that are available on the site.

Buy 12AT7 (ECC81) Guitar Amplifier Valve (Tube)

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About the 12AT7 (ECC81) Guitar Amplifier Valve (Tube)

The 12AT7 (ECC81) Guitar Amplifier Valve (Tube) has less gain than the 12AX7, but higher trans-conductance and plate current, which makes it suitable for high frequency applications. The tube was originally intended for operation in VHF circuits, such as TV sets and FM tuners, as an oscillator/frequency converter, but it also found wide use in audio as a driver and phase-inverter in vacuum tube push-pull amplifier circuits. This valve is essentially two 6AB4s or two EC92s in a single envelope. The tube has a center-tapped filament so it can be used in either 6.3V 300mA or 12.6V 150mA heater circuits.

  • Manufacturers – As of 2012 the 12AT7 (ECC81) Guitar Amplifier Valve (Tube) was manufactured in Russia (Electro-Harmonix brand), Slovakia (JJ Electronic), and China.
  • Guitar Amplifiers – The 12AT7 (ECC81) Guitar Amplifier Valve (Tube) is typically used alongside the 12AX7 in guitar amplifier design as part of the pre-amplifier circuitry. The 12AT7 can found in models sold by Fender and Orange as listed below and many other guitar amplifiers.

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Is your Guitar Amplifier not performing like it did when new? Has the output sound begun to degrade and break up? Are you experiencing additional noise and distortion? If yes, then it is time to consider replacing some or all of the valves in your guitar amplifier. Guitar amplifier valves (or tubes as they are known in the USA) are robust and will work for many hours. Performance will be affected by mistreating them or allowing them to overheat. Generally the performance of vacuum tubes starts to degrades with the amount of time they are used and up to 1000 hours is typically the optimum life of a valve or tube. If the performance of your amplifier is failing then it is likely that some or all of the valves need replacement. When replacing guitar amplifier valves it is best to use matched pairs as this will ensure the valves last as long as possible with the best sound quality. We have a full range of replacement guitar amplifier valves and matched sets available for the most popular amplifier types – see the links above.