Retubing a Peavey 5150 Amplifier

I’m retubing my 5150 head entirely. What tubes do you suggest, and what other suggestions can you make for choosing good tubes and getting good sounds


You’ve got some choices here, James. Three come to mind—namely, China, Russia, and in the U.S. These are among the few countries that still produce tubes. Your 5150 uses four 6L6s as its output tubes and five 12AX7s as its preamp tubes. China makes a reasonably priced 6L6. The ones I’ve heard have a sweeter and softer overdrive, say, the Russian 5881, which is a direct replacement for the 6L6 and has a harder, colder character to my ear. Although these tubes are not as well made as some American and British tubes (the production of tubes in both the U.S. and U.K. has dwindled to little or none), the Chinese and Russian tubes should last a reasonable amount of time, unless you’re rehearsing and gigging five nights a week.

If you’ve got lots of cash, I highly recommend buying new old stock (NOS) tubes. Retubing a Peavey 5150 AmplifierThese are tubes that were manufactured years ago and never sold or used. A set of four NOS RCA 6L6 “backplates” will run you over $300, while the GE 6L6s go for about $150 a quartet. These tubes deliver superior quality and construction, if you can afford them. If you can’t, don’t worry. You can still get killer tone out of tubes from China or Russia.

To replace your 12AX7s, I’d recommend the Chinese-made tubes. I’ve heard a 5150 with some really expensive British military spec 12AX7s (the higher military specifications typically give you higher performance), and I actually preferred the Chinese.

When you take your amp for retubing, ask the technician to clean the tube sockets and to check that all the sockets hold the tubes firmly. It’s in the socket that the tubes connect to the amp, which is why it’s imperative that you provide the cleanest, most stable connection for highest performance. Happy motoring.

Read: Trouble shooting Peavey 5150

Peavey 5150 rear


  1. Depends on what tube you are talking about. Power tubes or preamp tubes. You’ll want to change the entire Quartet of power tubes together because they are matched. You can change preamps individually. Personally, I like Electro-Harmonix 6L6GC in the Peavey 5150. It is all personal preference, of course.

  2. Hmm i was talking about the bulbs

    what are those?

    one of em is fairly white on top and doesnt have a grey smoky thing on it anymore.

  3. We are talking about the power tubes. If you have the Peavey 5150 or 6505, then the preamp tubes are under a cover behind the amp (see 5 phillip head screws) — inside there you will find the preamps.

    However, we are talking about the power tubes. Even though one tube is bad, replacing just the one will not be matched with the other three tubes. If one needs to be replaced, then you really should replace all four–like I said, make sure you get a Quarted matched set… you don’t want to damage your amp.

  4. so here ‘s what i did. i took the two tubes in the middle out to see if it’s really about that particular one (with the glassy looking on top) but nothing changed in fact the sound got weaker.
    could it be something from inside that caused this problem?

  5. Eurotubes has great sounding tubes for the 5150. I have a combo, so it only cost me about $100US for all 7 tubes. The power tubes have to be matched, as stated before. The stock tubes that came in that amp were junk. Once you change the tubes and hear the difference, you will come to the same conclusion. Just don’t waste your money on NOS tubes. The head version has to be biased, where as the combo has a set bias. You just put the new ones in and play.

  6. You can change 2 tubes, if you want but that is all you can do you cant just change one

    example the two on the outside are matched and the two on the inside are matched so


    its like this depend on what one is bad say its the one on the very right I you can buy just 2 and switched out the IIs 🙂

    Im getting a 5150 tomorrow trading my XXX head for it, so the preamps are internal?? that sucks. is it hard to take them out? on my xxx they were right there.

    and yes Eurotubes are a good place to buy tubes and they have info about everysingle tube they have

    to me JJ tubes are the best so far I have tried EH and stock tubes. so far jj are the best.

    you will just have to go by what you like.

    also want more clean? get an eq pedal and set it for nice cleans and when you need cleans just turn it on and turn your guitar vol down low it works great!

    thats a trick Iv learned playing

  7. oh man i remember this.
    actually to give an update on my 5150;
    i didn’t do shit.
    i just learned a trick that saved me $$
    i realized that every time i turned the standby & power buttons all at once it would screw things up, hence the whole cutting-outs. so now turn the power on; wait a minute or so then standby and then READY TO ROT AND ROLL, bro!!!!!!

  8. No biasing is needed on the COMBO. Head version WILL NEED BIASING. Yeah, Freddy, ALWAYS turn on power and let the tubes warm up 1st for a few minutes, then turn on the standby and rock out with your…

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