Vacuum tubes are going the way of the dinosaurs, or at least cheap tubes are.
That's the latest music industry news resulting straight from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. We have always been able to count on relatively cheap vacuum tubes from brands such as Mullard, Electro-Harmonix, Sovtek and a few others. This is really bad news for guitar players that love tube amplifiers. Awhile ago there was a fire at the Chinese factory where many of our vacuum tubes come from, and there is no word yet when and if that factory will ever resume production.
Now with Russia shutting down the sale of tubes to the west, Americans will have to either start hoarding tubes, be willing to pay a lot more for smaller production runs, or just leave behind the guitar tube amp forever.
Your first thought should be, why can't we make tubes in America? While there are some tubes made in the USA, the labor costs made the product impossible to compete with when Russia and China were our supplier. But more than just labor, it's been generally accepted that making tubes is really rough on the environment. In the modern western world, we leave the really dirty work to people on the other side of the globe. Of course it's way passed time to re-examine that.
Whether I like it or not, People of all ages are leaving tube amps behind in favor of incredible modeling amps and even software plugins. As a retailer I am not a big fan of the Software Music age that is sweeping our industry, and the only thing I can do about it is encourage people to walk into guitar stores and actually play real amps. The joy is real, and the software in a studio will never rival real life.
I don't want to take away from any of the other more serious problems in our world right now, but for musicians, the loss of Vacuum tubes deserves a mention.
In other news, rumors are coming out of Sacramento that it might be time for government to do something about rising gas prices. If you have listened to me before, you know that Socialism always leads to shortages, and this is a prime example in motion.
Prices go way up and people hurt. Politicians feel your pain and want recognition for helping, so they come up with price controls. They set the price instead of the gas industry, what happens is everybody rushes out to take advantage of the stable price and they buy all the current supply. The gas retailers try to fill their empty tanks but the suppliers keep raising their price because costs go up for a wide variety of reasons. Gas stations don't get filled and then government steps in and tries to help a second time by forcing rationing. Rationing never works and a black market is created full of dangerous suppliers and even more dangerous and faulty gas.
Keep an eye on Sacramento and expect the worst because that place is where influence is purchased, not wisdom.