Dave’s Corner: Debunking Tube-Amp Tone Myths

Dave Hunter: The web has put a wealth of information at our fingertips. The trouble is, all too often that information is misleading, or even hands-down wrong.

Nowhere is the pseudo-scientific babble more fetid and fertile than in the world of tube guitar amps, where players have long sought mythical ingredients that will make their own rigs just a little more magical than those of the guys who’ll be up on stage in the set that follows. Many of us discovered years ago that different components can and will make a difference in how our amps sound, but for many amp nuts that awareness has become a siren’s call to root out an entire signal-chain’s worth of golden fixes which, when strung together, will guarantee the tone of the gods.

One guy notes, for example, that his amp sounds extremely good and uses a particular make of signal capacitor. A second guy pontificates about the magic properties of those parts, even though he hasn’t tried them for himself. A third guy buys enough of the caps in question to “upgrade” his entire amp and, after making the investment and .....

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