The tube guitar amplifier is still a go-to option in modern day player’s rigs. The dynamic, versatility and sheer power of this setup gives the player more head room and arguably a ‘richer tone’ than a solid state amplifier. Sure there are pros and cons attached to running a tube amp but the end result can never really be argued. We are going to look at three of the more popular power amp tubes you will find in the Blackstar Anniversary Series of guitar amps today and break down the tone you can achieve from each. Differing valves can add unique tonal nuances to your overall sound, each tube providing a characteristic only found from this tube.
TUBE – 6L6 – BLACKSTAR ANNIVERSARY 10 WATT ARTIST
Known for its enhanced clean characteristics the 6L6 is a great tube for maximum headroom and sparkling over-tones. Featuring on one of the first mass-produced tube amps ‘The Fender Bassman’ the 6L6 is said to have started it all. The 6L6 has a large, present bottom end and a slight scoop to the mids tonally. The 6L6 can be said to have sculpted the classic ‘American Tone’.
TUBE – EL34 – BLACKSTAR ANNIVERSARY 10 WATT ARTISAN
If the 6L6 sculpted the ‘American Tone’ the El34 sculpted the classic ‘British Tone’. The mid-range can be found to be more present and aggressive in amplifiers equipped with EL34s. Working perfectly with over-driven / distorted tones, the EL34 has made a name for itself as the classic rock choice.
TUBE – KT-88 – BLACKSTAR ANNIVERSARY 10 WATT SERIES ONE
A very versatile tube the KT-88 has similar qualities to the EL34 regarding the handling of overdriven / distorted tones but also lends itself to a larger dynamic range which can be perfect for clean tones. The rich mids of the KT-88 give a classic sound, a tube chosen regularly for hi-fi and radio applications.