don't buy a Fender Blues Junior .....

General amplifier talk.

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DaveWW
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Post by DaveWW » Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:18 pm

Gotta be honest - I've never tried a BJ

but just to help with your GAS here's a pic of my tweed power scaled 5 watter :D

Image

To echo your sentiment I f***ing love this amp :lol:

ranjam
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Post by ranjam » Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:07 pm

Off of the Fender track, but when they were blowing out the discontinued Crated V18, you could have scored one for $150. And GC had scratch-and-dent floor demo ones for $99. No way in Heck you'll top that deal. Even if you don't dump another $150 for upgrades and mods, it'll still be as good as any Blues Junior. But spend $$ on some better tubes, speaker, and maybe a circuit upgrade or two, and you have the best 'small' recording amplifier hands down. And you've spent 1/3 the price of a Blues Junior.
The Blues Junior is an OK amplifier as is, but it does become a lot better with Bill M's mods. I won't buy one new, but if a used one came up for a ridiculous price, you'd be crazy not to buy it. Don't let one person's negative opinion turn you off of the potential of a Blues Junior.

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Post by luis » Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:25 pm

I dislike Blues Jrs. also. And they come with EL-84s Fender never put in the past,so this is not a classic Fender sound amp.I would prefer 6v6s tubes.

Old Gibsons are very good and matchews P90s well.I own a very old GA-20(circa '51) I got in nasty condition and a friend a really fantastic amp tech got back to work.The old Jensen speaker P12R is great and sweet sounding!

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Post by ranjam » Sat Dec 26, 2009 8:03 pm

And I believe those are two of the real flaws in the Blues Junior. It's hard to believe Fender doesn't have an engineer who understands EL84's, but apparently they don't. And the stock speaker is crap. You can replace the speaker, rebias the EL84's, and maybe monkey with the feedback loop, and achieve that classic Fender sound. That only leaves the OPT, and I don't have a BJ to tell you if Fender got it 'right'.
But for me, the bottom line is this; am I using it live or to record. Obviously this is a recording amplifier, so tweaking it, and using pedals, will make it a great recording tool. And it is just a tool. There are design flaws with every amplifier out there, or there wouldn't be mods for every amplifier out there. Well, I take that back. Peoples tastes change, and that's why you have mods, even as simple as swapping speakers. Regardless of if it is a Plexi or a Blackface Super Reverb, there's nine hundred web sites with mods to make it 'better'. And no one would suggest 'Don't buy a Plexi'. Would they?
Or, of the dozens of vintage Tokai Les Paul type guitars I have owned, every freakin' one had microphonic pickups. I didn't get on every web site forum I belong to and say 'Don't buy a Reborn/Love Rock!'. I looked at the potential, and how it would work for me as a tool.

leadguitar_323
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Post by leadguitar_323 » Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:06 pm

I think comparing guitars to amps is a waste of time, its very easy and cheap to wax pot pickups but there is no cheap fix to an amplifier and it takes a lot more knowledge to start modding amps by yourself. Apples and oranges..... :wink:

Mick
so many guitars....so little money...

marcusnieman
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Post by marcusnieman » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:41 am

Half of the sound of a guitar is due to the player.

I agree. You can't say play this amp with this guitar because it sounds better. You could copy SRV's rig and if you don't play like him, you're not going to sound like him.

Love my Juniors.... all three of them. It's all up to personal preference. The sounds I have in my head and what I'm trying to achieve is going to be different from anyone one else. I plug straight into the amp, no pedals or effects. Crank the master and volume and go.

To each his own, boys.

leadguitar_323
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Post by leadguitar_323 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:58 pm

Spot on Marcus, even i sound different on the same guitar as anyone else....all down to different technique..

Mick
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Post by ranjam » Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:43 am

leadguitar_323 wrote:I think comparing guitars to amps is a waste of time........ Mick
What I was implying is the philosphy of finding flaws in gear that thousands of other people still want to buy is flawed itself. I don't need to tell you the crazy money people are buying for 'vintage' Love Rock or Reborn guitars. Bad pickups and all. And aren't pickups the heart of the tone? Even the P90's in any Junior I've had were microphonic. So there's a huge flaw with the guitars in my mind. Yet I bought them. So there's a brittle top end to Blues Junior amplifiers. Thousands of people still bought them. And then there's those people who have no issue paying $1K or much more for a guitar they'll have to 'fix up' so it's usable, but get their full bitch on about an amplifier that costs $499 that is too bright or doesn't have 'character'. I guess I didn't spell that out, and it looks like I have a hankering comparing apples to oranges. But what I was really saying is don't buy an apple and bitch it doesn't taste like that orange you bought last week.
leadguitar_323 wrote:there is no cheap fix to an amplifier and it takes a lot more knowledge to start modding amps by yourself. Mick
Don't expect Beano tone for $499. And for many BJ fans, a relatively cheap speaker was all it took to make the amp quite usable. A speaker that cost less than a set of decent pickups :wink:. All I'm saying is either see the potential, or look elsewhere.
That's it for me. I ainlt lookinf for a fight, since I'm awful at political, religious, or other debates about who's opinion is more valid. You now have mine, so do with it as you see fit. Have a great New Year!

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Post by JohnA » Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:02 pm

ranjam wrote:
leadguitar_323 wrote:I think comparing guitars to amps is a waste of time........ Mick
What I was implying is the philosphy of finding flaws in gear that thousands of other people still want to buy is flawed itself. I don't need to tell you the crazy money people are buying for 'vintage' Love Rock or Reborn guitars. Bad pickups and all. And aren't pickups the heart of the tone? Even the P90's in any Junior I've had were microphonic. So there's a huge flaw with the guitars in my mind. Yet I bought them. So there's a brittle top end to Blues Junior amplifiers. Thousands of people still bought them. And then there's those people who have no issue paying $1K or much more for a guitar they'll have to 'fix up' so it's usable, but get their full bitch on about an amplifier that costs $499 that is too bright or doesn't have 'character'. I guess I didn't spell that out, and it looks like I have a hankering comparing apples to oranges. But what I was really saying is don't buy an apple and bitch it doesn't taste like that orange you bought last week.
leadguitar_323 wrote:there is no cheap fix to an amplifier and it takes a lot more knowledge to start modding amps by yourself. Mick
Don't expect Beano tone for $499. And for many BJ fans, a relatively cheap speaker was all it took to make the amp quite usable. A speaker that cost less than a set of decent pickups :wink:. All I'm saying is either see the potential, or look elsewhere.
That's it for me. I ainlt lookinf for a fight, since I'm awful at political, religious, or other debates about who's opinion is more valid. You now have mine, so do with it as you see fit. Have a great New Year!
Very well put! And tinkering with amps isn't that hard to do either, I started making a few mods to mine a couple of years ago and I've now built three of my own, and as 'Big Ed' will testify, Beano tone for $499 is achievable! Well almost, I didn't get Clapton's fingers included at that price :wink:

On another note, the guitarist out of a band we supported a few weeks ago used a blues junior and a USA standard tele, and sounded fantastic!! He was a great player, and proved the point that you definetely don't need a $2000 amp to sound great!

leadguitar_323
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Post by leadguitar_323 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:20 pm

And aren't pickups the heart of the tone? Even the P90's in any Junior I've had were microphonic. So there's a huge flaw with the guitars in my mind.
I don't wish to argue either so just a few points. Pickups are NOT the heart of the tone, the wood is and as far as pickups being a "huge flaw" well thats just rubbish, a misaligned neck or a broken headstock are "huge flaws" and i must say that there are piles of people that love the Tokai pickups so thats more your opinion than "a huge flaw". Wax potting pickups is extremely cheap and easy to fix so i think you are being a little melodramatic with your examples. I understand what you are trying to say but you are misinformed as to where "tone" is developed in a guitar. For example, i showed Ozeshin my RR-65 greco, unplugged it has a harmonic feed back on the "D" string at the fifth fret, which is only coming from the wood, granted it sounds better plugged in but this guitar is very resonant and feeds back acoustically, the pickups are just a vehicle for transporting the tone to the amp, they do not create the tone, although they will alter it to a degree and this comes down to,personal preference. Also P90's are single coil pickups and single coils are known to scream under volume. Just a thought, pickups prematurely feeding back is totally different to a pickup going micro phonic..... Which are you referring to? Someone else may like to elaborate on this one...

Mick
so many guitars....so little money...

stratman323

Post by stratman323 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:50 am

ranjam wrote: So there's a brittle top end to Blues Junior amplifiers. Thousands of people still bought them. And then there's those people who have no issue paying $1K or much more for a guitar they'll have to 'fix up' so it's usable, but get their full bitch on about an amplifier that costs $499 that is too bright or doesn't have 'character'. I guess I didn't spell that out, and it looks like I have a hankering comparing apples to oranges. But what I was really saying is don't buy an apple and bitch it doesn't taste like that orange you bought last week.
I think ranjam makes a reasonable defence of the BJ, as does Marcus. Fair point. The amps must have their good points or nobody would buy them.

I think the original point of this thread was to point out that, although many people love the Fender BJ, many other people (myself included) find them over-rated & tone-free. So many of the BJ reviews praise the amp very highly, so I was hugely disappointed when I bought mine a few years back, & I wasn't sad to see it go. People need to be aware that the BJ is not a typical sounding small Fender amp, & it's a bit of a "love it or hate it" beast.

But if you love it & can get good sounds out of it, great.

8)

stratman323

Post by stratman323 » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:55 am

ranjam wrote: And for many BJ fans, a relatively cheap speaker was all it took to make the amp quite usable. A speaker that cost less than a set of decent pickups :wink:. All I'm saying is either see the potential, or look elsewhere.
To be fair here, isn't that often the case? My early 90s Fender '63 Vibroverb RI is a superb amp, but it's considerably better since I replaced the stock Oxford re-issue speakers with a pair of Jensens costing less than ?100. They transformed the amp.

marcusnieman
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Post by marcusnieman » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:06 am

stratman323 wrote:
ranjam wrote: So there's a brittle top end to Blues Junior amplifiers. Thousands of people still bought them. And then there's those people who have no issue paying $1K or much more for a guitar they'll have to 'fix up' so it's usable, but get their full bitch on about an amplifier that costs $499 that is too bright or doesn't have 'character'. I guess I didn't spell that out, and it looks like I have a hankering comparing apples to oranges. But what I was really saying is don't buy an apple and bitch it doesn't taste like that orange you bought last week.
I think ranjam makes a reasonable defence of the BJ, as does Marcus. Fair point. The amps must have their good points or nobody would buy them.

I think the original point of this thread was to point out that, although many people love the Fender BJ, many other people (myself included) find them over-rated & tone-free. So many of the BJ reviews praise the amp very highly, so I was hugely disappointed when I bought mine a few years back, & I wasn't sad to see it go. People need to be aware that the BJ is not a typical sounding small Fender amp, & it's a bit of a "love it or hate it" beast.

But if you love it & can get good sounds out of it, great.

8)
I have three now - all the Limited Edition tweeds with the birch cabs and the Italian made Jensens... side by side, they each had a little bit of a different personality.

Then I loaded one of them I put into a handmade, dovetail joined, solid pine cab and it has a totally different character than it's cousins - much warmer and less punchy. Kinda like it:

Image
Image
Image

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Post by ranjam » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:42 pm

leadguitar_323 wrote:
And aren't pickups the heart of the tone? Even the P90's in any Junior I've had were microphonic. So there's a huge flaw with the guitars in my mind.
I don't wish to argue either so just a few points. Pickups are NOT the heart of the tone, the wood is and as far as pickups being a "huge flaw" well thats just rubbish, a misaligned neck or a broken headstock are "huge flaws" and i must say that there are piles of people that love the Tokai pickups so thats more your opinion than "a huge flaw". Wax potting pickups is extremely cheap and easy to fix so i think you are being a little melodramatic with your examples. I understand what you are trying to say but you are misinformed as to where "tone" is developed in a guitar. For example, i showed Ozeshin my RR-65 greco, unplugged it has a harmonic feed back on the "D" string at the fifth fret, which is only coming from the wood, granted it sounds better plugged in but this guitar is very resonant and feeds back acoustically, the pickups are just a vehicle for transporting the tone to the amp, they do not create the tone, although they will alter it to a degree and this comes down to,personal preference. Also P90's are single coil pickups and single coils are known to scream under volume. Just a thought, pickups prematurely feeding back is totally different to a pickup going micro phonic..... Which are you referring to? Someone else may like to elaborate on this one...

Mick
Aaaaahhhhh! I know I'm not eloquent, or well spoken. But how do I get misunderstood so often? Ah well, maybe I'm just not clever enough to get a simple point across. Here is a loooooooooong and boring story. Maybe it'll make sense.
I wanted to be a little different, so I started buying Tokai Les Pauls years ago. I bought from eBay, I bought from 'koiz', I bought from 'tokaijoe', I bought from US sellers, I bought from Canadian sellers. You name it. My idea was to buy 'a few', pick the best one or three, and flip the others back to recoup as much of my money as possible. I wasn't out to make money, but not to lose my shorts either, Many I resold I lost $100 or so on, and I considered that rental fees.
I ended up with about twelve guitars. This cost me a lot of money. But some guitars were 'Reborn', others plain 'Love Rock' models. Some had nice tops, some didn't. A few weighed seven or eight pounds, others weighed closer to ten pounds. Some had the circuit board for the controls, others didn't.
The one thing they all had in common? MICROPHONIC PICKUPS!!!!! Unusable. At that time I was still playing hard rock with a pair of Marshall half-stacks. No pedals, not even a tuner in front of the amp. No JCM2000's either. Either a JMP and a JCM800 mixed or two JCM800's. Just a guitar, a cable, and the amplifier. Nothing crazy. And any volume on the amp past '2' resulted in squealling feedback. I could talk into the pickup if I held the guitar close to my face, and I could hear my voice from the amplifier louder than the PA! It was not tubes, it was not the guitar cable. IT WAS THE PICKUPS!!!!!
Undaunted, I just thought about.....Well, with better pickups, this guitar would be cool. I can't play this guitar right now. Maybe the next one will have better pickups, I'll swap them, and flip the squeally guitar over! It didn't turn out that way.
At least with a Blues Junior you don't like, it is still usable to record, or do some coffee house gigs with. It doesn't hiss, spit, go snap, crackle, or pop and ruin a performance. That amp has no real flaws other than not appealing to you (or whoever). The Tokai guitars I bought? Useless as is. For me anyway. I did plug them into low gain amps, and they worked. You could still use the guitar as a microphone if you wanted, but at least they didn't squeal away. The guitars were really useless for me, but I saw potential, especially when I saw what Gibson was charging. I didn't go for Seymour Duncan Hot Rails, Invaders, or Full Shred pickups either. What did I get? Low output Gibson '57 Classics, that are advertised as being double wax dipped. Problem solved. I could crank two Marshalls, stand right in front of the amps, and not have any squealing. And I had a cool Les Paul with a killer top that cost me well under what Gibson wanted at that time. The Juniors I had were also bad. Jason Lollar fixed that up in a hurry. Now with that Tokai I have Leslie West tone on a budget. It's really nice.
The point is also reinforced when I mention I turned a few friends onto Tokai, and they ordered from some of the same people I did. To my utter shock, they also got microphonic pickups :roll:. We just accepted it.
Does this make sense? I couldn't take a stock Tokai Love Rock and play it out. I could take a stock Blues Junior and play out with it right now. And the Tokai guitars dated from the late 70's up to the late 80's, so I didn't get a bad batch.

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Post by leadguitar_323 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:57 am

I understand what you are saying, its just funny how someone elses experience can be totally different. You shouldn't assume i play at lower volume or on clean amps or what ever because i am metal through and through, just ask Ozeshin... now correct me if i am wrong but premature feedback and microphonic pickups are different animals, pickups that feedback early in the volume range are usually cheap ceramic or non wax potted or non hum canceling single coils. The issue you have relates more to squealing feedback which has more to do with shielding and earthing related issues or wax potting the pickups, all of these issues are relatively easy to fix. If the pickups have "died" and become microphonic then maybe new magnets would help. It seems that it depends on where you are in the world as to what the definition is of microphonic so we will stick to feeding back here as thats what i think you refer to. All the early Gibbo's had no wax potting so a lot of the earlier LP's made by Tokai were the same so thats why they feedback, there is actually nothing wrong with the pickups and in fact they sound excellent when used properly. They are NOT unusable its just that you don't use them properly. Look into wax potting, its cheap and fixes your problem easily, shielded wire will make an improvement as will shielding paint in the pick up cavity, remember these guitars are made to replicate the early Gibbo's and they do it very well, its horses for courses. :P
I have a Greco that has "to die for"tone and its pickups are not potted, i have no trouble with squealing as i use my volume control and tone control just like lots of guitarists do , i will never pot these pickups because i don't want any changes in tone and i don't have any problems with squeal as i control it with the controls or a volume pedal, i never stand not playing my guitar with the volume control open, thats just asking for trouble. I play Black label stuff and sevendust and my originals are along similar lines so yes i love it loud... :wink:

I hope this doesn't sound too argumentative at all, just trying to discuss your problem.....Happy new year

Mick
so many guitars....so little money...

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