By Thalia Busby. Guitar Electric. Published at Friday, August 31st, 2018 - 10:53:39 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.
JBL and Electro Voice speakers were both made in the United States. The Electro Voice speakers are still available, but the JBL's are no longer being made. Fortunately, Eminence makes a speaker called the "Commonwealth," which is an excellent copy of the JBL e120 (12") and e130 (15") speakers (those are the ceramic magnet versions of the d120 and d130 speakers). Weber also makes a speaker called the "California," that sounds similar to a JBL, and another called the "Michigan," that sounds similar to the Electro Voice. If you want bullet proof reliability at high volume, you cannot go wrong with a JBL or EV speaker. They weigh a ton but they can handle a lot of power. Also, they handle bass sounds well and produce a smooth treble tone that is especially well suited for guitars with humbuckers, like the Gibson Les Paul and Es-335.
Among single coil pickups and humbuckers, there are many variations in how they are constructed and how they sound. Basically, a pickup is a row of magnets wrapped in copper wire. So changes in the magnets and the wire affect the sound. Alnico V magnets are commonly used in single coil pickups, like Fender's Texas Special pickups for Stratocasters and Telecasters; they are stronger magnets and have a sharper sound. Alnico II magnets are more common in humbuckers, like Gibson's Classic '57 pickups; they are softer magnets and they have a smoother tone.
Guitarists have a lot of fun toys...stomp boxes, effects racks, the list is endless. However, your tone can suffer if your cables get out of control. This article will give you some quick tips to help you preserve your sound. Let's look at a somewhat elaborate setup, and let's pretend it's a live playing situation. It will help point out some strategies. Suppose your rig looks like this:
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