By Thalia Busby. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 15:43:32 PM.
Another intriguing development is in the area of computer-guitar interface. This has been long time coming, and if you consider the explosion in the popularity of digital recording with Pro Tools and similar software, it's surprising it took as long as it did. Far and away, the leader in this field is Line 6's Variax model. Now, I will be the first person to admit that I know just enough about computer technology to be dangerous, but I'll try to tell you what I know from what I've read and from friends and acquaintances who have played the Variax. I should also state that I am in no way affiliated with Line 6 or any of their subsidiaries or partners.
Sovtek is the primary OEM supplier of preamp tubes today. Sovtek tubes are made in Russia. As you can see above, they have a spacer below the short, fat plates, a gap between the plates and the second upper spacer, and a "dimple" getter over the top. If you see a tube that looks like this, it's a Sovtek, regardless of the label. Sometimes they are marked as Sovtek 12AX7's but you also see them marked as Groove Tubes 12AX7-R's and Fender 12AX7's. You will also see them marked 12AX7 WA, WB or WC. I'm told the WB version has a little more gain and the WC version is a little quieter. Regardless, these tubes all have an edgy (bright) tone that is popular with Fender amp owners.
Then it was time to test my work. I plugged the guitar into the small practice amp I keep on my workbench, and then I checked each pickup and each position of the switch by tapping the pickup pole pieces with a screwdriver. Satisfied that everything was working right, I unplugged the guitar and very carefully slid the entire assembly back into the guitar through the f-hole. Then I pulled on the floss, starting with the input jack which was the farthest away from the f-hole, to get each component back in place. I put the nut on each component as once it was in place, and once they were tight, I plugged the guitar back into the amp to test again.
Keep in mind though the nickel is only on the wound strings. The thinner, higher pitch strings are all steel. Also, with the wound strings, it's not just the nickel content that determines the tone, it's also the shape of the windings. Roundwound strings are brighter, but flatwound strings have much more bass response, and so- called "rollerwound" strings, like GHS popular "Nickel Rockers," have a tone that is somewhere in between the two (i.e. they sound darker than roundwounds).
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