It’s not every day in the world of gear that we come across something completely innovative, however, Finnish Luthiers Ruokangas can safely say that they have started something new. The new invention, the Valvebucker, is the world’s first valve driven pickup, which has the potential to seriously change the game.
The Valvebucker is the world’s first tube driven pickup, and Ruokangas claims it delivers a broad tonal spectrum and a whole new world of organic dynamics.
The Valvebucker system uses triode and pentode NOS tubes and an active preamp circuit which are powered by an XLR cable running from a 12v powered floor pedal. It seems like a bit of a complicated system, but what are the benefits?
By using low voltages, the tubes in the Valvebucker operate a little differently to what you’d normally expect, however, this allows them to find some tasty pockets of sonic bliss. According to Ruokangas, the system is able to express a “wide tonal spectrum and organic dynamics.”
The accompanying floor unit is true bypass and offers a two-way switch, so you can alternate between your Valvebucker guitar and your old guitar that doesn’t glow red when you strum it.
You might be thinking, “wouldn’t it burn your hand?”. Thankfully, the answer is no, as stated the system only uses low voltage, enough to improve response and broaden the tone spectrum, but not enough to turn your strings into a musical BBQ grill.
The switches on the guitar itself control volume and tone, and a three-way switch toggles different sounds over the singular pickup. Also included is a two-way boost switch, which is very handy.
The Valvebucker started as a bit of an experiment. It was fitted into a custom Steampunk guitar that Ruokangas built with the question, “What if the electric guitar would have been invented in 1895?”.
It definitely looked the part but the team didn’t expect anything from the sound, however, when they heard it, they loved it.
“The ‘Valvebucker’ turned out to be jaw-dropping lively, delicious, rich, organic… It just blew us completely away!”
For more information check out Ruokangas’ website.