By Thalia Busby. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 03:19:10 AM.
The only true small bottle 5881 currently in production is the Tung Sol 5881 reissue that is also made by Sovtek. Like the Sovtek 5881WXT, the Tung Sol has lower output than most 6l6's. But when it comes to tone, there is no comparison. The tone of the Tung Sol is head and shoulders above the 5881WXT. The problem is, unlike the Sovtek, the Tung Sol apparently cannot handle the high voltage of most modern tube amps. As a result, most people looking to upgrade the standard Sovtek 5881WXT will do better with a 6l6 tall bottle or one of the new clear tops. In addition to the Tung Sol, Sovtek also has a premium tall bottle 6l6 called the Sovtek 5881WXT+ (not the 5881WXT, the 588WXT"+", which is a very different animal) and the Electro-Harmonix 6l6EH (near as I can tell, the WXT+ and the 6l6EH are the same). Both the 5881WXT+ and the 6l6EH have longer plates, more volume and a much nicer tone - with more harmonic complexity - than the Sovtek 5881WXT.
In my opinion, the speakers are the primary thing that determine the tone of an electric guitar. The tone starts with the strings, and depends upon whether they are nickel or steel, roundwound or flatwound, heavy or light. Then the tone is governed by the pickups, which could be single coils or humbuckers, underwound our overwound, alnico V or alnico II. If you put a chain of effects between the guitar and the amp, the sound of the effects tends to dominate the tone and override everything else. Otherwise, the tone is then determined by the type of amp you have (solid state or tubes, and the type of tubes) and how you set the dials (bass, mid, treble, master volume, etc). But what has the biggest affect is the speakers (the type of cone, the magnet and the size of the speaker and voice coil). The speakers are the last link in the chain; the speakers are what actually move the air to produce the sound you hear.
Guitar Wiring 103, the vast majority of guitars use more than one pickup, and provide a switch that controls which pickup, or combination of pickups, is active at any one time. This article adds one more pickup to our circuit and shows how we can wire up a selector switch. We look at both toggle and blade style switches. This brings us to the point where we now know how to wire up a Telecaster in the standard way.
The Variax is, according to the Line 6 brochure a "digital modeling" guitar that allows the musician to switch between a huge array of potential sounds on one instrument. The sounds of a 12-string acoustic, Fender Stratocaster style single coils, Les Paul humbuckers, banjo, chimes and dozens of others are all available at the flick of a switch. The best part about it is that all of these tonal variations are available completely hum free. For the working musician, this means not having to lug around five to seven separate guitars to provide him with the all of the sounds he requires. The true test, however, is hearing one of these fine instruments in action, so if you'd like to check one out, a list of authorized dealers is available from the Line 6 website. At an MSRP of around $1000 for the mid-line Variax 600 - it's also available in the 300 and 700 - it's not cheap, but for the professional or amateur with money to burn, it may be a worthwhile investment.
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