What tubes for my DC-3 ?

Talk about tubes and their effect on your tone

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Mark II
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What tubes for my DC-3 ?

Post by jzerza » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:00 pm

I previously filled my DC-3 with all Mesa tubes el84's and spax7's. Sounded fine. I have another one and was wanting to try some different tubes but I'm not sure what to get. I really don't want to spend a lot of time trying different ones and switching them out. Would like I just order some "cocktail of different ones is fine" just want some opinions on who to call that could put a good set together for me staying around the $150 range, give or take.
I looked at Doug's tubes. He has the tone kit and recommended to me the sovtek millitary el84's. My concern is that the preamps are the same for any amp, nothing specifically that he said would be great for a DC-3. Can anyone reccomend a full retube set or mix?
Not looking for high gain. Just nice 3D sounding cleans and chime and some nice drive.
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Mark IV
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Re: What tubes for my DC-3 ?

Post by 212Mavguy » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:08 pm


It sounds like you might want to buy just enough to get the job done and not spend too much money. The DC-3 is a pretty old amp. So you can pick up some good used vintage old stock tubes for it and get more authentic dC-3 tones than with brand new just made tubes of any brand. I'm staying away from the power tube side, just the preamps here for this post.

Here's the potentially bad news:

You have a lot of homework ahead of you (if you are really diligent) in seeking your personal awesome tone by giving yourself the opportunity to purchase with such few numbers of bottles you are willing to purchase to pick from. That starts and is mainly concerned with knowing what each triode of each preamp tube does in your DC 3 preamp. Then you select tube brand and type for function.

As the best shortcut I can offer, as much as possible try to find old military stock 12ax7's 5751's and 6201's, you won't be sorry to have 2 of each in your quiver for each position in the amp, and they will hold up better in combo amp usage. Since you are not after a lot af gain, if your amp circuit gain knob can now go to "too much for you" gainy tone by the time that knob hits hits 3:00 you can use a 5751 instead of 12ax7, for that circuit's socket positions and the tone will be muuuuuch richer and more musical. Some of the players here use a 5751 or 12at7 in a reverb driver spot that a 12ax7 was for originally, ame for the phase in verter spot. Read up and see if any use your amp model. Use the search function here and study up old posts like a mad scientist! Avoid using a 6201/12at7 of any type in a preamp socket that is wired in circuit what is called a "cathode follower." The tube will die an early death and possibly take out other parts with it. Hope this helps.


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