Cleaning Tube Sockets

Posted by Mike Pascale on

Cleaning the tube sockets in your vintage Fender amp is important basic maintenance. Dirty tube sockets are often the cause of intermittent noises such as snaps, crackles & “fizzles”. You will be amazed at how much background noise might go away after cleaning the tube sockets.

Cleaning the tube sockets is very delicate work. To avoid damage to your tube socket and tube pins, this must be carefully done!

Remove the tube from the socket to be cleaned. Apply a little bit of red “De-Oxit” or other high quality contact cleaner (must be safe for plastics) to the pins of the tube. CAREFULLY re-insert the tube, and “scrub” the socket by carefully removing (almost but not quite all of the way out) & inserting the tube several times.

That’s it! You can apply contact enhancer such as “Pro Gold” or gold “De-Oxit” after the sockets have been cleaned, and the cleaner has been allowed adequate time to evaporate or burn away.

Please note that the preamp tube pins are VERY delicate, and they bend easily! Be sure the tube is positioned correctly before re-inserting it into the socket. The “space” in the circle of pins on the preamp tube should be at approx 2 o’clock in a vintage Fender.
If cleaning the socket does not get rid of the noise, try replacing the tube. If that does not do it, suspect the plate resistors, power drop resistors, or cathode bypass resistors (in that order).

We have a very limited supply of NOS tube pin straightners available! These pin straightners are invaluable tools for the beginner & expert alike, and have saved us literally hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars by preventing broken preamp tubes & bent pins!

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