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FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Why do Groove Tubes have such a bad reputaion?

Previous 20 Messages   Next 20 Messages  
BBQ Gord


Didn't chew kill my bruvah?
Apr 25th, 2012 01:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I don't own any myself, but some techs recommend them. Maybe there are fewer duds?

Contributing Member

QLD Australia

Apr 25th, 2012 02:56 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Interesting subject. I'm amused when people bag Groove tubes and recommend brand X or push Groove Tubes in preference to other well known brands.
I'm really ROTFL when someone says " I've just thrown out the original Groove Tube 6V6S's and replaced them with JJ's". The following Chart from one of our sponsors shows they have just replaced their tubes with exactly the same thing:

Groove Tubes Cross Reference Chart

Groove Tubes Part Number Original Part Number
GT-6L6B Sovtek 5881WXT
GT-EL34R Electro-Harmonix EL34
GT-EL84R Sovtek EL84
GT-6V6R Electro Harmonix 6V6GT
GT-12AX7C Shuguang 12AX7-A
GT-12AX7R Sovtek 12AX7-WA
GT-12AX7R2 Sovtek 12AX7-LPS Vacuum Tube
GT-12AX7R3 Electro-Harmonix 12AX7-EH
GT-12AT7 Shuguang 12AT7
GT-12AY7 Electro-Harmonix 12AY7EH / 6072

Groove Tubes are just re-badged something else.

(This message was last edited by Alderandash at 02:58 PM, Apr 25th, 2012)

Contributing Member

That chicken

is WRONG, baby.
Apr 25th, 2012 03:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Exactly. That's why they got a bad rep--because they weren't selling anything different than all the other tube dealers were peddling. All Groove Tubes did was do some voodoo-doodoo torture testing to make sure the tubes were fantastic and springtime fresh (Toyota 106-point inspection, anyone?) and stick a GT label on them, and sell them for more than what they were going for at other dealers. It is a good racket, actually. Marketing is everything.

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Apr 25th, 2012 03:24 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I would note from the chart above that none of the tubes I've grown to prefer over the last number of years, have corresponding GT product codes--save for the Electro-Harmonix 12AX7-EH. But I never bought the GT version of that anyway. While I still use the Electro-Harmonix 12AX7-EH in some placements, my preference is still the Tung Sol 12AX7.

And yes...I think GT is mostly about marketing, not innovating or actual manufacturing.

Contributing Member

Portland, Oregon

Apr 25th, 2012 03:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Most people don't have the technical knowledge to be able to discern the difference in tube design. Or, they don't do any research to find out if what they are buying is a different animal than what they have.

I know I don't so, I, like many others lean toward popular opinion to make a decision about tube purchases.

I've only changed tubes in two amps so far. A cybertwin head and a Valvetronix AD120. With each tube change, using EH 12ax7's, their was a significant change in tonal quality.

Naturally, one set of replaced tubes where the Groove tubes and the others escapes me for the momemt. None of the replaced tubes were all that old and still firing on all cylinders, so to speak.

But, the change made a significant difference in each amp.

I wouldn't be surprized to find out that I changed tubes for the exact same tubes; the only difference being the label on the tube. 8)

Tony F

Long Island

When you come to fork in road take it
Apr 25th, 2012 04:06 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

here's some tubes that are the same on above posted cross reference yet very different reviews in link below.

I'm just trying to decide on either tungsol 12ax7 or 12AX7EH for my pro jr which is VERY sensitive to preamp tubes. With my VHT combo I can put any tube in and it's always dead quiet where my pro jr has to have the wright tube combo just not to roar at idle.

tube ratings



Stardom, one receipt at a time.
Apr 25th, 2012 06:01 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I used to think the NOS tube thing was all hoey, until I tried some vintage Brimars in my DRRI.

So it's not the GTs are bad per se. It's just the old stuff really is that much better.

Contributing Member

Buckeye Country, USA

Motorcycles, Guitars, and Golf
Apr 25th, 2012 07:38 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

GT is the Bose of tubes. They're good, but are they worth the hype and price?

Contributing Member

El Californio

Apr 25th, 2012 08:05 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I just looked into retubing my SFPR with JJs and was shocked at the price. Truly didn't expect it to be over $100.

FDP Data Goon

Hero, hero

you have done so well...
Apr 25th, 2012 08:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

GTs were good in the 90s when I couldn't reliably find other stuff, especially at 4 pm on a Saturday before a gig.

I wouldn't thumb my nose at most of them now- what they are is generally consistent and I can't even count on that in NOS stuff.

Contributing Member

Oceanside, CA

Apr 25th, 2012 08:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've had a number of tubes that were real garbage compared to most Groove Tubes tubes I used.

I've had many lousy NOS tubes and now just use new production tubes. You just have to use what works for you and your amp.

Rick Plays The Blues


May I try that again?
Apr 25th, 2012 10:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have no idea about current quality of Groove Tubes, but I am one of those who swapped the GTs out of a Fender quite soon.
I had GT 12AX7A and GT12AX7WA in my 2001 Fender amp - while the 12AX7A where quite ok but not stellar sounding, the 12AX7WA sucked imho.
Today, I use JAN GE 5751, JJ ECC83S and EH 12AX7 in these slots.
Also the then installed GT 6L6R where only ok but not good. Today, I use TAD 6L6WGC-STR that I love.

Now given the price point and the fact that they are all just relabeled other tubes never made me think of using GTs again.

Contributing Member

Irishman in Paris

Forget Tone - go with Note Choice
Apr 26th, 2012 07:49 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ridiculous prices and BS marketing. Call me old fashioned, but I won't buy a product if I don't respect the company. I choose not to give them money.

Deacon Blues
Contributing Member

Stay interesting my

friends.-The world's thirstiest man.
Apr 26th, 2012 08:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

They are part of the Fender family of products these days.

I've used a few and some have been better than others. I won't use EH tubes knowingly, and I would guess that the GT tubes that I didn't care for were EH tubes.

Contributing Member


Apr 26th, 2012 08:28 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Why is it everytime I try out a Fender amp in a store it has bad tubes? Yes they all say GT FENDER on them.

That is somewhat of a lie, I have tested 3 or 4, out of hundreds, in the last 8 years that had tubes that didn't rattle.

That is why I wont buy them.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Ain't turned 60, but I got my blinker on
Apr 27th, 2012 08:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I replaced more GT branded tubes as a tech than all others combined. Maybe because there were more out there...

Contributing Member


Apr 27th, 2012 09:52 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"It's just the old stuff really is that much better."

There are some of us that were alive during the 50's, 60's and 70's that used and remember the tubes we now call NOS. Yes, there were some really good ones and a lot of Junk too. My most hated were the Realistic tubes marketed by Radio Shack. Very good at shorting out. Phillips, RCA, Sylvania, GE, Tunsol and Mullard and a few others had some good ones but even those brands had a few failures. It is a shame from the mid 70's until the 90's we lost most (but not all) of the art of making tubes. I understand today's Tungsol's seem pretty good. I am sure there are others but I have been out of the tube loop for a few years now.

Guitar Fool
Contributing Member

Titusville, Florida

Thank a Vet today....
Apr 28th, 2012 04:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've got tons of old tubes...they can be finicky....what may sound bad in one amp might sound great in another...

of course...YMMV

Tony F

Long Island

When you come to fork in road take it
Apr 29th, 2012 09:46 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

So seems like groove tubes are relabeled Sovteks for more money. One of the preamp GTs in my pro jr. became micro-phonic in two days. I'm replacing with Mullard and power tubes with JJs.

Contributing Member

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Apr 29th, 2012 11:48 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

People comment on both the tone quality and silent idling of my Fender amps. I run Groove Tubes.

I tried JJs in an EL84 amp and one of them exploded. GT seems to be successful in weeding out the garbage.

Previous 20 Messages   Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Miscellaneous and Non-Fender Topics / Why do Groove Tubes have such a bad reputaion?

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