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Dave Hunter kicks off a two-part primer on tubes with some general history on our glowing glass friends and an in-depth look at preamp tubes.

Ah, tubes. We love 'em, don't we? But to help them really love us back—and I mean with big, juicy, bear-hug love—we need to know a little bit about what makes them tick, how they vary, and what they do for our precious guitar tone. A quick and easy tube change can make the most dramatic tonal alteration achievable from a single component swap within our amplifiers, other than perhaps a speaker change, but unless you know a little about what different tubes can achieve sonically, that change will be entirely random.
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