NAMM 2019: The Ruokangas Valvebucker is the first-ever tube-driven electric guitar pickup

NAMM 2019: In one of the more “WTF?” announcements of the show, Finnish luthier Ruokangas has unveiled the Valvebucker, which it claims is the first and only tube-driven electric guitar pickup in the world.

By using relatively low voltages, the Valvebucker makes use of sweet spots found outside typical operational points of vacuum tubes, says Ruokangas.

The unit itself features a tube-amplified active preamp circuit utilising triode and pentode NOS tubes, and is powered by an XLR cable running from a floor unit, fuelled by a 12V AC power supply.

That floor unit features two inputs and a true bypass A/B switch to alternate between a Valvebucker-equipped electric and regular guitars.

On the guitar itself, volume and tone controls are complemented by a three-way switch and two-way boost switch.

We know guitarists love their tubes, but is integrating them at the very first stage in the signal chain one step too far?

It results in a “wide tonal spectrum and organic dynamics”, according to Ruokangas, but we can’t wait to hear for ourselves...

The Valvebucker will be available as a custom option on Ruokangas guitars for an additional €1,200. Pop over to Ruokangas for more info.


NAMM 2019 - all the news

The dust is settling, but our ears are still ringing. You'll find all the stories that counted in our massive news hub. Below, enjoy our findings as we regrouped at the end of the show.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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