Vintage Tubes in a New Fender Blues Junior

The owner of this current-production Fender Blues Junior selected ‘vintage’ preamp tubes in search of the ultimate guitar tone.  A short time later, the amp doesn’t play at all.  This was not supposed to happen!  The Unbrokenstring Crew rides to the rescue to determine what happened.

This amp is less than a year old and is in excellent shape.  Let’s take a look inside to see what’s going on.

The first two preamp tubes are not JJ Teslas.  The customer said that he ‘had a buddy with a tube tester’ that sold him these ‘vintage’ tubes to give this amp that ‘vintage’ tone.  No kidding.

Oops, I did it again!  More amp porn.  No point-to-point wiring here.  This circuit board is a single-sided board with soldered jumpers to cross over traces.  Nothing wrong with this construction as it it mass-production-friendly.

How is this for ‘vintage?’  An honest-to-God made-in-USA tube branded RCA.

And how’s this for ‘vintage?’  Realistic is a Radio Shack brand.  They used to offer a ‘lifetime’ warranty on the tubes they sold.  Now, if you walk into a Radio Shack store, they don’t know what a tube is, and they will try to sell you a cell phone contract.  How things have changed!

The RCA tube failed in the tube checker in a rather unusual manner.  So here’s it’s new replacement.

The Radio Shack ‘Realistic’ tube was in excellent shape when tested on the checker, so I think we can safely say that the RCA tube was the root cause of ‘why this amp didn’t play’ anymore.

We’re all back together and playing.  But what would the customer think about losing his ‘vintage’ tone tube?  I showed him the video at and he was all of the sudden very satisfied with the new tube and the tone of his amp!


Thanks for reading all the way to the end!


Contact:  David Latchaw EE