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

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.


  • 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

    You had me…right up until “Ampless”.

  • Knarfarious

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

  • Davy Crockett

    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

    Me 😀

  • FoxtrotFox

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

  • serloren

    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

    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

    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.