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Fender Blues Jr. 15 W amp- anyone using one?


5 string Mike

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Hey all,

 

I got an opportunity to stop by my local GC without my wife and kids (im)patiently waiting, so I spent some time just checking things out.

 

I had to pick up strings and some Fast Fret, and while I was there, I wanted to spend some time with a Strat, seeing how I like the neck and all, especially the radius. So I would up with a HSS strat, and I happened to be setting next to a row of amps, and I plugged it into a Blues Jr. that was sitting there. I turned it on and once it warmed up, I was pleasantly surprised at how creamy it sounded. I turned the reverb up to about 6-7, volume and master at 3-4, and liked how buttery smooth it sounded. I ran some arpeggios and a few riffs I know and, I can now say I get it when players talk about the tone of a tube amp.

 

Now after all this, I confirmed that yes, I need to get a strat. I also confirmed that a tube amp is the way to go.

 

As far as the Blues Junior, it's rated at 15W, but have read it gets pretty loud and takes pedals well. So I wanted to reach out to the great forumites and see if any of you have first had experience with one.

 

What I like so far about it is the smaller size and weight- I can pack it in a lot of places for transport and it won't break my back. I am pretty healthy, but as a bass player I have a 4x10 cab on wheels that's enough to drag around and lift up on stages. I really don't want a guitar amp that's like a bag of mortar with a handle on it. I can also find a used one for $350-$400, and with 4 kids at home, that's about all the budget I would have for one. I am a little concerned about the 15W being loud enough, but my buddy has the 40W Hot Rod and it'll blow my ears off. I'm OK miking it for bigger shows if I need to.

 

So what's the verdict on the Blues Junior?

 

Thanks in advance for your help :)

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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Great amp! I've run across several in gig situations, even one driving a keyboard! As long as the drummer isn't using his kit for anger management therapy, you're good to go in small to medium clubs. I'd grab one at the right price in a heartbeat! And yeah, it does sound great enough to mic in big rooms.
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@5 String Mike - quick aside on the Strat radius. If you look over the specs on the Fender site, you'll find that different models come with different neck radii, and different neck shapes, too. If you find one that feels right to you, grab it.

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Expanding on the Strat a bit:

 

There are all kinds of great Strats out there, and not all of them are made by Fender. If you have the chance, shop around for brands like Godin, G&L, Fernandes, Fret-King, Dean Zelinsky Private Label, Reverend, Yamaha and many more...all with slightly different takes on the electric icon.

 

You may just find that the Strat you like most isn't a "real" Strat at all!

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If I was gonna buy a new amp, the Blues Jr would be my first choice, a fully pro amp that could play and mediums sized room un-miked, that does not cost you your whole bank roll.

 

Fender Blues Jr. Humboldt Hot Rod, comes with a hemp cone speaker which brings those highs in line

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I'm pleased with my Blues Jr. I did make a few mods - it had a Mercury Magnetics output transformer when I got it, I did several of billm's mods including making the tone stack more like a Twin Reverb and providing a tube bias adjustment. I also installed all 1960's US made tubes in it, including a pair of RCA outputs. I'm playing a Japan made Epiphone Les Paul into it.

 

For such a small amp, it will get quite loud, but is easy to overdrive the preamp tubes at a moderate volume, and it does sound good. I use powered PA cabs for the keyboards, and have a Trace Elliot amp and cabs for the bass.

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Cool, thanks for the feedback.

 

As far as the strat, I hear you about the different models and radius measurements. I've been using the Xaviere (guitarfetish) Tele copy for 6-8 months, (the SSS configuration) and it has the 12" radius. At GC I played a Mexi strat with the 9.5" radius, it felt pretty good. The Xaviere version has the 12" radius- even though it's the same as the tele, it does feel kind of flat.

 

My buddy has a G&L thinline tele and had the Strat for awhile but sold it. The G&L Tele neck is too small for my hands but it sounded great.

 

I'm not opposed to a Yamaha or Peavey- even though I've heard they have more of a modern/hotter sound than the 'classic' Fender sound.

 

Sounds like some cool mods, MBK. That is one thing I have read about on line is that changing out the tubes for some higher end models can wake these up quite a bit.

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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Well, for a Strat- or any guitar, really- the first concern is does it feel fit in your hands? Then, is it well made, does it hold tune?

 

THEN you start asking about the electronics, because- unless you're going custom- getting the electronics right is a lot easier than getting the right overall feel and good construction

 

I mean, if you found some inexpensive, no-name knockoff that was built like a tank and felt great, you could rip out all the electronics & pickups and make your own "Ultimate Strat."

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

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I really like my Blues Jr. Nice and clean when you want it to be but "dirties" up real well and the reverb is good. With just enough knobs, you can wring a variety of sounds out of it. They hold their value also, I think I paid about $300 brand new for mine and now they are over $500 with used ones going for more than I paid for mine.
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I mean, if you found some inexpensive, no-name knockoff that was built like a tank and felt great, you could rip out all the electronics & pickups and make your own "Ultimate Strat."

 

I have an Agile Strat clone ST 1000, I put in Fender Noiseless pups and CTS pots in it. it sounds great & looks even better. Next I am going to put in Seymour Duncan JB Jr in the rear, and two Lil 59'ers in the middle and front. They sound great in my homemade strat/tele clone. I need more oomph in the kind of music I play.

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Well, for a Strat- or any guitar, really- the first concern is does it feel fit in your hands? Then, is it well made, does it hold tune?

 

THEN you start asking about the electronics, because- unless you're going custom- getting the electronics right is a lot easier than getting the right overall feel and good construction

 

I mean, if you found some inexpensive, no-name knockoff that was built like a tank and felt great, you could rip out all the electronics & pickups and make your own "Ultimate Strat."

 

Yep, I agree- if I had more time to experiment. I think once the kids are older and I have a little more time, I'm definitely going that route. Once I get a little space to put in a 'shop', I am not even afraid of wire, solder, screws, or making mistakes. It's time & space that are working against me. I even had a dream a while back of building a Jazz bass

 

The Xavere Tele I am playing was modded by a friend with the hottest bridge pickup GFS makes and he added a middle pickup, plus routed the neck pickup cavity to fit a mini humbucker.

 

So it sounds like the Blues Jr. is a good way to go.

 

As far as a strat, I'm looking pretty hard at the Squier VM- either black w/ black pickguard and maple fretboard or blonde/white pickguard w/ black pickups. I have the VM Jaguar bass, which I really like, and my buddy has the VM Telecaster with the mini humbucker in the bridge and it's his go-to axe. He prefers that over his higher end PRS and G&L Telecaster. He actually bought another one (same model different color) in Florida to have when he visits family and goes to a jam.

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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I played through one at a jam night a while back and was very impressed. It was set clean and took pedals well. It kept up with drums,keys,bass,vox no worries too.

 

As for the VM stuff, a student of mine had one of the strats and it was great.

 

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I use 2 of them supplied by owners of two clubs in my area. Great amps for the price and louder than other brands that I've played through at 15 watts.

 

Usually I pump them at about 8 master & volume with a pretty loud drummer and bass player - should be good to cover 125 to 150 people with no mike required. I use the volume controls on my guitar to keep the sound at a reasonable level.

 

They get a bit harsh and peaky at that volume level with no mods and the stock speaker but stay clean most of the way up and handle pedals well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

bump

 

Got to spend some time with a Squier strat this weekend. Looks like this one

 

http://www.harmonycentral.com/t5/Electric-Guitars/GASing-for-a-Squier-Stratocaster-Standard-Limited-Edition-anyone/td-p/6194830

 

It's a mid 2000's standard "special edition"- white w/ tortoiseshell pick guard, Alnico pickups, made in China (as opposed to Indonesia).

 

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The action is great, played it at church, the pickups were was hotter than I expected. It had good tone, too. It wasn't too thin and tinny sounding like one might expect from a Squier standard.

 

The neck felt great. Rosewood fret board, frets were cut good, just felt good to play.

 

Price is right- it looks good, plays good, gonna spend some more time with it and see if it's a keeper... :rawk:

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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