May 31, 2022 2 min read

By Rich Jazmin, Jazmin Electric Co.

This month's Tech Tips will tell you how to make the vacuum tubes in your tube amplifiers last longer, given the current geopolitical situation in Ukraine that has led to sanctions being placed on the import of new tubes.

It’s unlikely that you’ve really had to think about where the tubes for your tube amps are manufactured. Unfortunately, you’ll have to think about it now: all tubes are manufactured in Russia, which has placed sanctions on the export of guitar vacuum tubes due to recent events in Ukraine. This has led to a serious stock shortage - nearly all tube suppliers are completely sold out of most common tubes, and any remaining stock has vastly increased in price.

Tubes will not be available for amplifiers for the rest of 2022. So what can we as guitar players do to make our tubes last as long as possible? The simple answer is to use your tube amps less, or don’t run them as hard. Here are a few tips for extending the lifespan of your tubes:

  • When powering up a tube amp, let the tubes warm up for at least 30 seconds to a minute before flipping the standby switch.
  • You can re-bias your amp to get it to run a bit cooler, putting less stress on the tubes. 
  • Use a standby switch or power off the amplifier when you’re not playing between sets or taking a break. 
  • Make sure the amplifier speaker output is connected properly with a matching speaker load impedance.
  • Be careful handling your amps, i.e. try not to drop them and carry them instead of rolling them on rough ground like cobblestone and brick
  • Try not to physically move the amp until the tubes have completely cooled off after operation.

Although these tips can help your tubes last longer, it looks like tubes will not be available for guitar amplifiers for quite a while, if they don’t become a thing of the past altogether...



Richard Jazmin is a specialist in guitars and tube amps, and has been playing guitar and learning to maintain them since he was in grade school. He has worked in the industry since high school, assisting Ed Sanner in his guitar andamplifier repair shop, and spent many years touringprofessionally with the multi-platinum industrial metal band Powerman 5000, as well as playing for Estonian pop singer KERLI. His professional career in the guitar business includes the title of head of the electronics department at LsL Instruments, training by master luthier Avi Shabat, and a few years working at Fulltone Pedals. He currently uses his 30+ years of professional electronics and fabrication experience to run Jazmin Electric Co. Rich Jazmin is located in Huntington Beach, CA, and can be found at and @jazmin_electric_co on Instagram.