What can you tell me about the 'Blues Jr' amps?

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by tygr1, Jan 2, 2021.

  1. Diamond D

    Diamond D Strat-Talker

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    I have a Blues Jr. I LOVE it. I've done hundreds of gigs on it. Hundreds. I've had an original black face twin. Loved that too but for most bars and clubs it was just too loud. I'm not saying they are similar sounding but this Blues Jr rocks. I run it without the Fat switch. I don't like that circuit at all. Single coils into a Boss SD-1 (I set the drive at about 10-11 o'clock on the dial then bring the level knob up to where it surpasses the volume on the amp. Just so it growls and the volume goes up a click.) and a TR-2 and spring reverb... it covers a ton of territory. Decent enough head room so if you dig in with your pick hand you get plenty of sustain and lighten up and you get plenty of clear chimey tones. I love the Blues Jr. !
     
  2. longboard blues

    longboard blues Senior Stratmaster

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    Pretty much me, right there. Works nice with my strat with early spec pickups, my other one with Texas specials (even though I don’t like them overly) and my DeArmond starfire with gold foils. Not tried with a Les Paul, but that is coz I don’t have one....yet....
     
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  3. Bob Spumoni

    Bob Spumoni Senior Stratmaster

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    That's a beautiful iteration of this great amp.
     
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  4. White Dog

    White Dog Strat-Talker

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    I also have a 1st. Generation Blues Junior...but I have the Pro Junior III, and I too like the Pro Junior better (even with the Greenback upgrade in the BJ); but have you ever found the sweet spot on both together via ABY? Man it is fun and fantastic.
     
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  5. Bob Spumoni

    Bob Spumoni Senior Stratmaster

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    I've never done that. Do you just Y the guitar cable to both amps or is there some sort of buffering gizmo in the mix?
     
  6. White Dog

    White Dog Strat-Talker

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    I just use an ABY pedal on my board and can switch between the amps, or play through both at the same time.
     
  7. Bob Spumoni

    Bob Spumoni Senior Stratmaster

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    Thanks. I'll get one!
     
  8. Afishman9

    Afishman9 Strat-Talk Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I like my DRRI best, but have 2 Pro Jrs and an older Blues Jr I did BillM mods to. I love the Blues Jr, but it is not the blackface sound, though it can get close. I doubt many people try the range of tones the amp gives by varying the Volume and Master Volume. At home I generally would run the Master about 3 and the Volume at 5. If you crank the Master and run the Volume low, it is a different amp (preamp vs. power tubes).
     
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  9. DeMelo

    DeMelo Senior Stratmaster

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    About 70% of the people who diss the Blues Jr., especially the later versions, either expect it to sound like other Fender specific amps or didn't really take the time to dial in the right tones. Or simply don't get the idea of what this amp is meant to be and to do.

    Indeed, it doesn't sound like a classic tweed amp, nor a blackface or whatever. it is what it is, a 90s amp made to cover a lot of ground for modern players, not to emulate the 50s clean-oriented amps that Fender made back then. The Blues Jr. breaks early, and gives you a pretty decent Fenderish clean (though something of its own, it has small tubes and a 12' speaker) or a pleasant preamp crunch that goes very well with pedals.

    I bought the tweed covered version because of the Jensen C12N speaker, which makes it sound even more "Fenderish", and I use it professionally (i.e. I gig with it all the time with my band, I don't just wank-play in my bedroom). It is practical to carry, loud enough for most small and medium venues, and if you're going bigger, just mic' it.

    I myself never heard mine distort or "fart" as some people say. I think it's a matter of doing a well done soundcheck before you play. The dynamics of playing in your garage are entirely different from when you are gigging live.

    Me, I love it for what it is, a modern player's Fender amp. The Jensen speaker makes a HUGE difference in making it sound as a Fender amp should, I'll give you that, but still I know it ain't a Princeton or a DDRI. If i want one of those, I'll buy one of those.
     
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  10. JDug

    JDug Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    I just got one used, for Christmas. Like new, dated Oct ‘18, lacquered tweed!

    No mods, stock Jensen speaker. Its plenty loud, and you can get a reasonable amount of distortion out of it at lower volume levels. If I need more, I can run through a Tube Screamer or an attenuator...great for home use too!
    ( It just says Blues Jr on the back, not a IV, is it what’s nicknamed the NOS model?)
     
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  11. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    There are 4 different "generations" of the Blues Jr.
    The original was made in California and has a green PC board.
    Starting in 2001, the 2nd generation was made in Mexico and had a cream board. This also featured some design changes... the BillM mods for the 1st gen are not exactly the same as for later revirsions.

    The Blues Jr III was released in 2010, it had some cosmetic and circuit design changes. The BJIV moved to a Celestion speaker, as well as other circuit revisions.
     
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  12. Nick L Plate

    Nick L Plate Strat-Talk Member

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    When I hear someone saying that electronic mods eliminate supposed boxiness, I know there's some magical thinking/hearing at work. If you think a BJ sounds boxy, the reason is this: it's a box. The fix is speaker and cab, not wiring. I like Pro Juniors way more myself because the 10" speaker, IMO, performs way better than a 12 across the range of guitar tones. I have a first issue PJ (made in USA) that has been modded w/ a larger OT, a number of cap changes, and some parts upgrades. I use a Weber Beam Blocker to broaden projection for when I use the amp live (which is very often) but sionce it's usually miked, any beaminess is a nothingburger. As for "boxy" sound, when I was in the audience hearing Jeff Beck playing through a PJ at the Nokia Theater I don't recall thinking "hmmm... boxy." Lots of PJs and BJs suck, because they're cheaply made, have terribly sloppy wiring, use crap tubes, and have a terrible volume knob breakup design. It's easy to get a clunker. But almost every guitarist who hears mine goes "Whoa!" and it's not because I'm Hendrix the Second. It's been tweaked to real amptastic wonderfulness.
     
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  13. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Yep.
    Compare the BJ to the Deluxe, or the Black/Silverface Princeton.
    Princeton is 16x20x9.5
    Deluxe (Tweed) is about the same, a touch taller.
    BJ is 2" narrower.
    The BJ cabinet is simply too small for a 12" speaker.
    The original Tweed Princeton was about the same size as the Blues Junior, a little more shallow... and carried an 8" speaker (with a smaller chassis occupying less room in the enclosure)

    Another thing that helps is position. Get it up off the floor and away from the wall.
     
  14. JDug

    JDug Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks, I knew most of that older history, but its two years old and just says Blues Jr, no IV or otherwise, I was thinking it was the “NOS” amp that people refer to. ( has Jensen in it), or it was the GC special.
     
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  15. DeMelo

    DeMelo Senior Stratmaster

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    The NOS is the one covered in tweed and has the Jensen C12N speaker. IMHO the best version.
     
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  16. Chmason85

    Chmason85 Strat-Talker

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    I had a tweed blues jr 3 with a Jensen speaker. Great amp but I would not associate it with any classic fender amp sound. Awesome for smoky overdriven tones but IMO not in the same realm as a blackface or silverface amp. I have a 68 custom Princeton reissue now and the cleans and reverb blow the blues jr out of the water. Having said that, I do want to eventually get another blues jr or a pro jr just to have two flavors of fender amps. Both great, just very different.
     
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  17. nederemer

    nederemer Senior Stratmaster

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    For them to sound good you need to be able to turn them up a lot.

    At 15 watts that might not be something you can do.

    But, until you can crank them they don't have the power for the bass to not sound like crap.
     
  18. marksound

    marksound Strat-Talker

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    I have a MIM BJr that I bought used about 14 years ago. For years I took it out to jams used it as a backup on gigs. Over time I reflowed solder joints and installed a Cannabis Rex speaker. In all that time never realized that it wasn't up to snuff. :shrug:

    It does sound boxy, but I take that as part of its charm. Watching videos on YT (not naming names) with people playing through vintage tweeds and Deluxes, I notice some of the same boxiness.

    Delete your preconceived notions and just experience things for what they are. The sun will shine brighter and your life will be much more enjoyable. :)
     
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  19. DeMelo

    DeMelo Senior Stratmaster

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    Funny, one of the things I liked about mine is exactly the reverb, which is too good for the size of the tank... Perhaps the newer ones are better...

    I’m not advocating for the amp because I own one. Owned several other tube amps, and the BJ was a pleasant surprise that made me get rid of my bigger Hot Rod Deluxe, which was my workhorse gigging amp.

    I play mostly 60s and early 70s stuff, me band being pretty much Rolling Stones oriented, and I can juice out some great “Bassman/Richards” tones out of this little amp, with a fuzz and some elbow grease. No, it ain’t a Bassman, but you can get some good Fender mojo from it if you work it out.

    One thing that says a lot about this amp is: the more elitist the guitar forum, the better they judge it, although it’s a budget amp...
     
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  20. Chmason85

    Chmason85 Strat-Talker

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    I definitely wanna get the mk4 version, mine sounded great with strats but pretty bad with a gretsch for some reason. Luckily I only have a strat again now, and intend to keep it that way! I’m really curious about the pro jr, never played one but the people I’ve heard playing them made them sound great.
     
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