Valve Guitar Amplifier – Tube Maintenance and Care

Valve Guitar Amplifier Tube Maintenance and Care is very important if you are to get the best from your valve guitar amplifier. It is very easy to damage the vales (tubes) if the correct precautions are not taken. The first step is to read the owners manual it will give advice on what is required for servicing.


Buying replacement guitar amplifier valves is not a cheap option and they can be easily damaged if used incorrectly. At YUMAGOLD we can supply replacement guitar amplifier valve kits for most models from the 50’s onward. If you require new valves visit out product pages to view the range of replacement valves.

I have listed below some basic advice to care for the tubes in your valve amplifier.

Valve Guitar Amplifier Tube Maintenance and Care – Remember 

  • Before attempting any guitar amplifier tube maintenance read the owners manual that came with the guitar amplifier. If in any doubt give the guitar amplifier to a trained technician to service and repair.
  • Always allow the Tubes to warm up for at least a couple of minutes before using the guitar amplifier. Some amplifiers have a standby mode for this reason.
  • Do not move the amplifier until the tubes have cooled down. Moving the amplifier while the tubes are still hot will shorten their life.
  • Never handle the tubes with bare hands. This will leave a oil mark on the glass and create a hot spot. The hot spot will shorten the life of the tube and will possible crack the glass. Use gloves or a soft cloth and only do this when they are cold.
  • Always replace the power tubes with the exact tubes you have taken out. If you don’t, then flow of electricity inside the amplifier will change. To prevent total damage the circuitry would need to modified by an experienced technician to re-bias the circuit. It can be very expensive to do this. You also most likely need to replace the pre-amp tubes as well.

Are my Guitar Amplifier Tubes Dying?

EL34 (6CA7) Valves (Tubes) - JJ Matched Quad NEW TESTED
EL34 (6CA7) Valves (Tubes) – JJ Matched Quad NEW TESTED

Amplifier tube maintenance is a key part of owning a high quality guitar amplifier. Cutting corners can be very costly and cause serious damage to the amplifier circuit. There are a few tell-tale signs that a tube is becoming weak, and ready for replacement. This does not always happen, sometimes they can burn out without warning. For ones that are slowly dying here are a few warning signs.

  • A high pitched whine usually means that a tube in your pre-amp is dying.
  • A low rumbling sound is associated with a bad power output tube.
  • Anytime your amp blows a fuse, it can be a warning sign that a tube is failing.

Changing Guitar Amplifier Tubes

  • If in doubt use a trained technician to change the tubes.
  • Always ensure the amplifier is switched off and cooled down before attempting any amplifier tube maintenance.
  • If you need to change a tube, check the owners manual, or the manufacturer’s web-site first as it may give tips on identifying the problem and obtaining the proper replacement.
  • You should change an entire set of tubes at the same time. If one pre-amp tube is to be replaced then change all the pre-amp tubes. Failure to do this will only shorten the new tube life span and end up costing more in the long run.
  • When taking the tubes out remember they pull out of the socket do not try to unscrew them.
  • Always buy quality guitar amplifier valves and if possible by matched sets of guitar amp valves.
  • Buy Replacement Amplifier Valves
  • Buy Matched Sets of Amplifier Tubes
  • Buy Full Guitar Amplifier Re-Valve Sets

Read our Guitar Amplifier Technology Pages

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