by Angus Baigent | Approximate reading time: 1 Minute
Vacuum tubes and valves to be banned across the EU from 2019

Vacuum tubes and valves to be banned across the EU from 2019  ·  Source:


First came the war on filament lightbulbs. Now we’ve heard of a planned EU directive banning valves and vacuum tubes across the EU from 2019. The as-yet unannounced piece of legislation cites “an unsafe, inefficient technology invented in the 1920s” and is, we understand, to come into force from 1st January 2019.


The announcement was allegedly posted on a website run by the European Commission that outlines technical standards applying to all EU member states. The piece was, it seems, pulled a few hours later, yet our staff received a copy from an anonymous email address from someone within the EU legislature.

Spearheading the new law, apparently, is Switzerland’s EU commissioner on technical affairs, Helmut Ampless. He is quoted as follows:

This ancient so-called technology is inherently unsafe and should be banned as soon as possible. It’s easy to electrocute yourself on these little things, and imagine if a child broke one and was sucked into its vacuum. It’s terrifying.


‘Illegal’ guitar amps?

If promulgated, this order will obviously have a huge impact on all manufacturers of tube-based guitar amps and other studio equipment. It’s currently unclear if owners of tube amps will have to destroy their precious equipment before the deadline. Could owners of ‘illegal’ amps face fines for merely owning one of these “unsafe” pieces of equipment? Transistor technology is unaffected by the ban, however. Could this pave the way for a new renaissance in solid-state amp technology? Presumably everyone will be compiling IRs of all their valve amps before it comes into effect in an attempt to circumvent it.

We’ll keep you posted…

UPDATE: By now you will no doubt all have guessed that this was our April Fools Day article. How many of you were really taken in by this? Let us know in the comments.

Electro-Harmonix-EL34-6V6-Tube Ban 768x424

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26 responses to “EU to ban vacuum tubes from 1st January, 2019”

    Hammy Havoc says:

    My heart broke when I read this, so glad this is just a joke.

    I was freaked out and believed it at first because of the ridiculous import/export restrictions on guitars made with rosewood.

    John M Wainwright says:

    You had me…right up until “Ampless”.

    Knarfarious says:

    I broke out laughing at getting sucked into the vacuum, lol

    Davy Crockett says:

    I was completely drawn in until I saw the Swiss EU Commissioner’s name, Helmut Ampless. Very funny! Quite a believeable story on the surface because it’s so very much in line with the over-reaction and complete idiocy going on these days about carbon footprints and polar bears swimming themselves to death because there’s not enough ice. My first thought was actually, holy cow the Brits are going to be so happy they got out of that stupid power-hungry EU before THIS happened. Long live freedom, self-determination, and free enterprise.

    Maxim Velpler says:

    Me 😀

    FoxtrotFox says:

    I’d kill all of them fuckheads before I let go of my tubes. Choke on a 6AQ5 and die!

    serloren says:

    If someone could read the “comment” about kids getting sucked in and NOT figure out it was a joke piece (ANY time of year), well….

    Errik Wong says:

    At first I thought: Holy crap, think about all the fantastic deals that could be gotten out of this situation! But I guess it was too good to be true ;P

    Carlos Eduardo Arellano says:

    What a shame it is a AFD joke. I felt happy to read it, finally justice would be done and face the cruel digital racism towards the poor transistors, besides, it is absurd so much money invested in those hot lamps, to obtain only 12 Db of distorted harmonics.

    rhzszm says:

    The EU banning something useful and irreplaceable? Why would I believe such a story?

    Robert Malcolm Menefee says:

    It would not have shocked me if it were for real. Just like they are trying to force LED bulbs on everybody.Not only for household use,but in many commercial applications as well. They are trying to replace many HID (mercury vapor,metal halide,and high pressure sodium) street lights and industrial high output lights with LEDs as well.Rather let the consumers and the free markets decide than a “socialistic” alliance between big corporations and various governments. This is all about power and control over the people and is more than just a way of pressureing the little people to abandon their old ways and blindly accepting what may or may not be a better product.

      Angus Baigent says:

      Hi Robert! Angus here, the editor. Just curious: did you see this posted somewhere? We’ve not reposted this and to be honest were wondering how come people are suddenly seeing an April Fools post from last year in January 2018. Thanks!

    Markku Vuorensivu says:

    I thought it would be an Aoril fools joke ???

    Perry Cole says:

    Hey, the fact is that someone in the business is actually really worried. Ebay REALLY blocked a sale of a tube for an Guitar Amp. It was a aquantence of his. But, if he can’t buy Tubes internationally hes got himself a problem. Because this is the guys life. He rebuilds Guitar Amps for costomers, and the fact is those are still a important requirement for guitar Amps. People LOVE the classic models. Its not good. I just wanted to mention.

    mike_in_brum says:

    I voted for Brexit because I’m fed up with being a foreigner in my own country!

    BOB says:

    You shouldn’t make jokes like this! If any government asshole sees it, they will probably think it’s a great idea banning tubes. After all, they are pretty dangerous, containing mercury and high voltages. The tube amp industy is already threathened by amp-sims like Kemper and other similar products.

    Carlzon says:

    Time says 09:15, this is the first good one I have read today.
    Medal thy will have!

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