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NAMM Sneak Peek

Standby Etiquette

Q: I’ve read in forums that it really isn’t necessary to use the standby switch on a tube guitar amp if the high voltage in the amp is less than 500 volts. Is this true?

A: Opinions seem to vary. Here’s ours: a tube amp’s standby switch is designed to allow the tubes to warm up before they are hit with high voltages. The idea is to turn the amp on with the standby off (no sound passes), let it warm up for 30 seconds to two minutes, then flip the standby on (sound passes) and play.

You’re not going to hurt anything by using the standby, so why not baby your amp and let it gently warm up? At worst you’ll extend the life of your amp’s tubes…

The recommended procedure for turning off a tube amp is to turn off the power switch with the standby still on so that the high voltage bleeds out of the amp. Just remember to turn the standby off before you turn the amp on again.

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