If tubes were sold by the pound these would be very valuable tubes. I tend to classify the Tung-Sol 6L6G as a specialty tube. This is not a normal 6L6 tube in today’s market. This tube is aimed squarely at the vintage market or amplifiers where looks are as important as sound. The Tung Sol 6L6G is enormous. A quick glance may lead you to believe you are looking at something exotic, perhaps a large power triode. It is taller than any 6L6 you can readily find. It has the slope shoulder bottle that many refer to as a “coke bottle” and it is extremely heavy. I seldom see anything old or new that has glass as thick and well formed as this Tung Sol. In fact it is very similar to a Tungsol 6L6 from the early 50’s I keep in my vintage stash. The new tube is still a bit bigger and has much thicker glass.
The vintage look is very cool but there are some issues that need to be addressed. Being so tall, this tube will not fit into all amplifiers so you have to be sure about your size requirements. The base of the tube has a tapered bottom like a KT66. This means that the Fender style “bear trap” retainers won’t grab the base. These guys will fall out if mounted inverted without proper retainers because they are very heavy. If you have an amp where the tubes sit upright this isn’t a big issue. If you have an amp where the tubes hang inverted, the basket and spring type retainers must be used. This is the price of looking cool.
Let’s not forget to talk about the sound. Although labeled a 6L6G this reissue Tungsol meets all the requirements of a 6L6GC. In fact, the internal assembly looks almost identical to the standard Tung Sol 6L6GC-STR. It will work fine in fixed bias and cathode bias designs and sounds just like the standard Tung Sol 6L6GC. Nothing really old or vintage about the sound. If you like the standard 6L6 this company makes you’ll like the sound of this flashy cousin.
The Tung-Sol 6L6G sounds great and looks amazing. It won’t be for everyone, but if you have a cool piece of vintage gear or something on display there’s really nothing on the market that can compete with it.