Eating Crow, Or Tubes Are Just Awesome? (Ya, let's go with the tubes one)

My friends, apologies for being gone lately. Life has been lots lately (in a good way…meaning, lots of guitar playing out). But I had to give an update on my gear life here. Remember how I hate buffers? Ya well, the VHT Valvulator is good enough that it has convinced me to try it out live for a few weeks. I know. Crazy. But it’s happening.

So, I owe you a demo of it. And the Ooh Wah. And a budget guitar rig demo that I’ve been wanting to do. And my remodeled board is finished, and my fingers are almost healed from that. (Just kidding.) And instead, I’m giving you this cheeseball little updatey post. Because I’m on my anniversary getaway and hanging out with my wife is more fun than you. Sorry. And it’s okay that I’m posting this…she has some school work to do while we’re out, so I’ve got a couple hours. And in those couple hours, I just had to give the update……that a buffer may find a permanent place on my board. I understand it’s frightening. I’m frightened, too. I hate eating crow, or eating my own words, or anything slightly resembling having to be wrong. So, rather than admit to said ‘wrong’, I have decided that the reason the Valvulator sounds so good is that, due to me wanting to know definitively if this buffer was the way to go (because I’ve hated all other buffers), I put a JJ gold pin in it. Yep, it’s just that tubes are awesome. Not that I could be wrong. The next few weeks playing out live will tell.

What a difficult situation. If it ends up sounding better, than I have to have been wrong. But if it ends up sounding worse, then I have to subtract a tube from my rig. Neither are very good options. Hey! Maybe it’ll sound worse, and I can sell it and buy a Zen 2! The Zen 2 doesn’t really work in my rig, but it does have a tube! Problem neutralized.

And, just because I won’t be back for a couple days, I leave you with this. Just heard these guys, and can’t stop listening to it.

Mmm…melody and shoegazer fuzz tone. Doesn’t get much better than that.


21 thoughts on “Eating Crow, Or Tubes Are Just Awesome? (Ya, let's go with the tubes one)

  1. Jed–haha I hope so too! And I’m sure it will be……for a couple months. lol Ah, us guitarists.

    Andrew–awesome! Me too. You know, I haven’t heard the newer Silversun stuff. I’ll check it out!

  2. saw the antlers recently at the belly up. it was a wash of noise, couldn’t even understand what was going on, thx for the video, they sound better now then they did.

  3. K-Verk,
    Ummm…first off, long time blog-lurker, sparse comment-poster. But I am gonna try to be more active in this wonderful community…it’s my Valentine’s resolution (is that a thing?). And sorry for the crappy nickname above…it sounded better in my head.
    Anyways, really love the site, love the info, keep it up brother. However, could you explain to me the benefit of a buffer in your effects chain? I am not really clear on what they do or how they work.
    Looking forward to your upcoming post about your board’s rebirth…I’ll try and get some pics of my gear up here soon. But just a warning it’s an M13 into a Pod…so yeah, 0 tubes in my rig, but I think we can still be friends right?

  4. Yes…Tubes are awesome. In fact they are more than awesome. I can’t even really think a word right now that describes just how awesome tubes are. In fact, I’m thinking of returning my 46″ HD Samsung because – can you believe this? – It doesn’t have one single vacuum tube inside!!! I’ll bet if I stuck my hand in the case, I wouldn’t even get a decent shock.

  5. Nick- I have heard rumors that Karl once ran a boss gt6 into a crate 212, had crazy long metal hair, and played a bc rich. 🙂

    Basically a buffer helps push signal through the pedals. What happens is the electric current from your electric guitar diminishes over distance in the cables as well as being pushed through effect pedals. As far as I know the Buffer just amplifies the signal a little in order to allow a fuller signal when it reaches the amp.

    Karl – Happy anniversary bro! let me know if I can help with anything.

  6. Karl,

    I’ve noticed a few of the music posts you’ve been putting up lately, and I really appreciate your taste in music…

    Have you heard these guys?

    I get the feeling you may enjoy them.

    Just got the Timeline and it’s blowing my mind. Thanks again for your help.


    • oh yeah, i must say that the Valvulator was quite famous with POD users who wanted a tube in the chain. i, on the other-hand picked-up a Seymour Duncan SFX-03 that also has tubes in them to use with POD. Well, let’s just say, I sinced retired the POD in favor of pedals/tube amp combination 🙂

      so yeah, putting a tube helped me in a way!

  7. Rhoy,
    That Seymour Duncan SFX-03 looks saweet…but here’s my predicament…I have to run direct every week. Mic’ing an amp isn’t really an option right now. I’d love to, but that would mean taking two cars to church every week.
    Could I run M13 into the SFX-03, into the snake? Basically, using the SFX-03 as a POD replacement. Or is the SFX-03 really just intended to work before a tube amp? Just curious…

  8. Andrew and Karl – Silversun’s Swoon album is wonderful.

    Kendrick – Are you in San Diego? My buddy from high school has worked at the belly up since 98 or 99 I think.

    Also, I have mostly tb pedals with a couple boss buffers in there for good measure. I came across this cable today though and wonder if buffers can disappear from my board eventually:

  9. Kenrick–haha Actually, I just saw them open for Editors right after posting that video. Yikes. They opened with that song, and then it was all downhill from there. Just a giant wash of self-indulgent noise, just like you said. hehehe

    Nick–friends without tubes in between them? Is there such a thing? 😉 hehe No seriously, welcome to the site (or at least the comments section, hehe), and it’s great to have you here!! Buffers just help ‘push’ your signal through cables and circuits and pedals. As if your signal was water pressure through a hose, the more hose and connectors you run through, the less water pressure you get…even if all the connectors are really clean (i.e. true bypass). And buffers do this in different ways. Some just boost the signal, giving it more power, and others change the signal from hi impedance to lo impedance, allowing it to flow through better. 🙂 Hope that helps! Great to have you here, bro!

    Scott–lol Actually, I kind of feel the same way! There’s a subtle warmth and gentleness that’s lacking from a lot of the HD stuff. I’ve even heard of some directors using treatments or re-running their HD stuff back through film reels in order to get the feeling back.

    Tim–thanks, brother!

    Jacob–so stoked you’re enjoying the Timeline! And that’s a great song…never heard of them. Thanks for posting that! Sounds like The Shins in a room with MGMT, singing a Moby melody. Love it!

    Seth J–thanks, bro!!

    Rhoy–thanks! And that’s so rad that your 4-year-old liked it. hehe Way cool!

    I have heard great things about that Duncan unit. And more tubes is never a bad thing! hehe

    Slater–great song! Thanks, man. I like the harmonies and the bass player’s pomp. hehe 🙂 Way awesome.

    Rhoy & Nick–some of the tube preamp pedals can sound really good direct, but Rhoy is right that then you are losing the options that the POD gives you of having more than one sound.

    Forgivenick–interesting! I’ll have to look into that more. I think currently, Lava’s ELC is the lowest capacitance on the market. And even with those, you get enough pedals and circuits together, you’ll still have tone suck. Thanks for posting that link! I’ll have to see if I can find any reviews of it. Cheers, brother!

  10. premierguitar magazine did a VERY short review on the zerocap cables in their March 2009 issue. you can find their back issues in electronic form online still.

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