Best Tube Guitar Heads

By Ruth Jenkins | Last Updated on Nov 14, 2021

In Hurry? Editor's Choice:

Marshall JVM410H
TOP 1
Marshall JVM410H
TR score rating icon 9.9
TR Score
PRS Paul Reed Smith MT15 Mark Tremonti Signature Guitar Amplifier Head, 15 Watts
TOP 2
PRS Paul Reed Smith MT15 Mark Tremonti Signature Guitar Amplifier Head, 15 Watts
TR score rating icon 9.9
TR Score
Marshall DSL20HR
TOP 3
Marshall DSL20HR
TR score rating icon 9.9
TR Score
How To Choose Tube Guitar Heads: Methodology

The best Tube Guitar Heads ranking is based on our detailed evaluation and analysis of over 5,421 consumer satisfaction surveys. We have come up with the top 3 Tube Guitar Heads you might be interested in and rated them on factors such as Quality of Material, Versatility, Reputation, Weight and Giftable experience.

* Our experienced editors are constantly reviewing the latest news, looking at data analytics in order to recommend only products worth your time and money. As Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

A Detailed List of Top 3 Tube Guitar Heads in 2021

Marshall JVM410H

Reviews for Marshall (TA Score)

TR score rating icon 9.9

Sound Samples

Funk Reference Box
Metal Reference Box
Rock Reference Box
Blues Reference Box
Rock Line
Metal Line
Funk Line

Features

El34 Power Amplifier With Presence And Resonance Control
Programmable Parallel Fx Loop With Hardware Bypass
Power Amp Tubes: 4x El34
12 Basic Sounds Can Be Chosen Directly Via Foot Switch Or Midi
Digital Reverb With Individual Controls For Each Channel
Emulated Di Out
Foot Switch Included
4 Channels With All-tube Technology - No Semiconductor In Signal Path
Suitable Dust Cover: Article Nr. 150488 (not Included)
2 Switchable And Programmable Master Volume Controls
Weight: 22 Kg
Preamp Tubes: 5x Ecc 83
Dimensions:: 740 X 310 X 215 Mm
Power: 100 W
Suitable Case: Article Nr. 227873 (not Included)
Midi In And Midi Thru
Serial Insert Loop With Hardware Bypass Circuit
Individual 3-band Eq As Well As Gain & Volume For Each Channel
El34 Power Amplifier With Presence And Resonance Control
Programmable Parallel Fx Loop With Hardware Bypass
Power Amp Tubes: 4x El34
12 Basic Sounds Can Be Chosen Directly Via Foot Switch Or Midi
Digital Reverb With Individual Controls For Each Channel
Emulated Di Out
Foot Switch Included
4 Channels With All-tube Technology - No Semiconductor In Signal Path
Suitable Dust Cover: Article Nr. 150488 (not Included)
2 Switchable And Programmable Master Volume Controls
Weight: 22 Kg
Preamp Tubes: 5x Ecc 83
Dimensions:: 740 X 310 X 215 Mm
Power: 100 W
Suitable Case: Article Nr. 227873 (not Included)
Midi In And Midi Thru
Serial Insert Loop With Hardware Bypass Circuit
Individual 3-band Eq As Well As Gain & Volume For Each Channel
#TOP 2

PRS Paul Reed Smith MT15 Mark Tremonti Signature Guitar Amplifier Head, 15 Watts

AMMTHD_U7OL-_ST--
19 x 14 x 13 inches
25 pounds

Reviews for PRS (TA Score)

TR score rating icon 9.9

Features

Dimensions: 14" X 8" X 7.25" (with Feet)
Included Accessories: 1-button Footswitch (channel Gain/clean), Amp Cover
15/7 Watts (switchable)
2 Channels
6l6 Power Tubes
Dimensions: 14" X 8" X 7.25" (with Feet)
Included Accessories: 1-button Footswitch (channel Gain/clean), Amp Cover
15/7 Watts (switchable)
2 Channels
6l6 Power Tubes
#TOP 3

Marshall DSL20HR

Reviews for Marshall (TA Score)

TR score rating icon 9.9

Features

Bass Switch That Complements A Resonant Bass Boost
Tone Shift Key For Centre Configuration
Serial Fx Loop
Independent Volume And Gain Controls For Both Channels
Reissue Series - Authentic Dsl Sound
Common Sound Control For Treble, Mid And Bass
Power Tubes: 2x El34
Emulated Line Output
Including Footswitch
2 Footswitchable Channels With Classic Gain And Ultra Gain
Preamp Tubes: 3x Ecc83
Power: 20w
Bass Switch That Complements A Resonant Bass Boost
Tone Shift Key For Centre Configuration
Serial Fx Loop
Independent Volume And Gain Controls For Both Channels
Reissue Series - Authentic Dsl Sound
Common Sound Control For Treble, Mid And Bass
Power Tubes: 2x El34
Emulated Line Output
Including Footswitch
2 Footswitchable Channels With Classic Gain And Ultra Gain
Preamp Tubes: 3x Ecc83
Power: 20w

Best Tube Guitar Heads — FAQ

Can I use a tube amp head without a cab?

you have to have a cab. The amp head MUST have a load connected to it, otherwise all the power generated by the power amp section has nowhere to go, so the output transformer will blow.

Thereof, how does a tube head work?

Electrons flowing through a tube originate from ground. The cathodes of the EF86 and the EL84 each have a resistor attached to ground. This creates the small DC voltage on their cathodes to prevent the electrons from flowing. When the guitar signal reaches the grid, the electrons then flow.

Also, how often do tubes need to be replaced?

On average, tubes can last from 500 to 1,000 hours, so if you play with your amp two to three hours every day, you can safely expect to get around a year or less from your vacuum tubes.

And, are power tubes interchangeable?

Even tubes of the same type can run a little hotter (i.e., with more plate current) or cooler (with less plate current) in the same ampeven if they're the same brand.However, just because they seem interchangeable doesn't mean you can randomly plug different power tube types into an amp not designed for them!

Moreover, do you need a speaker with an amp head?

Amp Head & Cabinet Setup
The amp head and cabinet setup is two separate pieces of equipment. The head is an amplifier by itself with no speaker. The cabinet is the speaker. If you're at a huge rock concert, the tall stacks of equipment are an amp head and cabinet setup.

Likewise, can you play guitar with just an amp head?

As a general rule, you cannot play guitar through just an amp head. The head makes no sound on its own. In fact, using a tube amp head without a speaker connected is dangerous, and can seriously damage the amp. The head requires a load to distribute its power, usually provided by a speaker cabinet.

Still, does orange make tube amps?

Crush Pro A Tube Amp Without the Tubes Orange Amps.

In addition, why do tube amps sound better?

We use tubes simply because they make the music we create sound better: smoother, warmer and cleaner. Ditto for guitar amplifiers used in creating music. The ways that tubes distort when pushed to the edge are much more musical than the artificial sounds that come from transistor amplifiers when overdriven.

Thus, do tube amps light up?

A: That blue glow is just a side effect of a power tube a fluorescent glow in the blue spectrum. The tube is fine! It actually indicates that the vacuum inside the tube is very good, which is what allows this phenomenon to occur. It will not have any effect on the performance or tone of the amp.

Nonetheless, what does a bad tube sound like?

Preamp tubes usually cause problems through noise or microphonics. If noise, you will hear hiss, crackling, popping or similar issues. If you hear squeal, hum or feedback, it is typically a microphonic tube. Noise from microphonic tubes will typically increase with a volume increase.

Beside this, how do I know when my tubes need replacing?

A: These are the most common signs that tubes need replacement:

  1. Excessive noise (hiss, hum) including squealing or microphonic tubes.
  2. Loss of high end.
  3. A muddy bottom end; Sounds like there is too much bass and note clarity is lost.
  4. Erratic changes in the overall volume.
  5. The amp doesn't work!

Similarly, how do I know if my tubes are bad?

Sometimes you will hear strange sounds, loss of power, or heavily distort sound. These are signs that a tube is failing. Often power loss that seems like the amp is performing at half power or less will be one or more bad power tubes, or even a dying phase inverter tube.

Our Verdict

With so many Tube Guitar Heads available, it's difficult to know which one is best. Fortunately, our research team compiled an unbiased list of 12 best Tube Guitar Heads that will fit every budget. During this study there were over 58444 products across 12 brands. Our verdict: most customers choose Tube Guitar Heads with an average price tag of $120!

Ruth Jenkins
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruth Jenkins is a guitarist and songwriter who has been playing for over 7 years. She's played in many bands, but her favorite band to date was her punk rock band called the "Nasty Snakes." Ruth loves being able to share music with others through teaching guitar lessons.