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Old 02-01-2013, 07:15 PM   #1
Vlaco
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Blues Junior or Hughes and Kettner? I only have til tomorrow to decide!

Hey folks,

I might start gigging in the near future- just small venues, mind you. My little 5 watters obviously won't do that well and my Fender Excelsior doesn't have enough clean headroom to handle my effects at what I think gigging volume is.

I found a used MIM Blues Junior at my local GC for $350. And just now I found one of these on CL for $250:

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/revi...sary/index.html

Which one would you buy? They sound like they're the same type of amp from what I can tell. Saving $100 bucks wouldn't suck, but I do like Fender tone, and honestly, my budget could go higher if neither one is a good buy.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:30 PM   #2
Dave_Mc
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have you swapped the speaker in the excelsior? the stock speaker is very low efficiency (i didn't measure it or anything, but i did try it with an eminence legend 1258 which i had in a separate 1x12 cab and that made it a ton louder). I also wonder if either the blues junior or edition tube will have much more headroom than the excelsior once the excelsior has an efficient speaker in there. I mean they're all two power tube push-pull amps, so the volume and headroom will be broadly similar across all 3. that's not to say they'll necessarily all be exactly the same (and the excelsior is cathode-biased which might not help with the headroom), but yeah. there's no point in spending a fair bit of money for little improvement.

what i'd try to do is to get to try your excelsior with a more efficient speaker. Maybe a local shop has an 8 ohm speaker cabinet or something with a decent stock speaker (though the stupid extension speaker jack on the excelsior is in a very annoying place that's hard to get at, which won't help matters, i had enough bother getting to it in the relatively serene setting of my house, let alone in a noisy and busy guitar shop ).
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:30 PM   #3
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I actually popped an Eminence Big Ben in and it sounds much better, but there's noticeable crunch by the time I hit halfway on volume, which makes for a very muddy sound once my tubescreamer clone and Swollen Pickle come into play. I'm guessing this is because there's only one volume, so I'm cranking both the preamp tubes and the ouput tubes. I'm thinking either of the two I'm looking at will allow me to get fairly loud without cranking the preamp too much.

That being said, I'm not getting rid of the Excelsior just yet. I can afford to have two while I AB them. It is a neat little amp to plug straight into and go, and I have several stereo pedals, so maybe I'll work both into my rig.

Out of the two, though, which one would you pick?
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:40 PM   #4
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I have a friend that gigs on the Edition Tube and he finds it can't really cut through the mix all that well (I've tried it for myself too). Sounds fine on its own, but sits really far back in the mix, even with the mids cranked up.

Not sure how the BJ stacks up tho.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:43 PM   #5
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I'd go for the H&K, but that's because I prefer the ELs over 6V6s. Try them out if you can. If not, scour the vast land of youtube checking out videos of both of them. sure you wont get the complete sound because of youtube compressing the sound, but if it sounds good on a youtube video it'll sound great in person.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:54 PM   #6
Vlaco
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Actually, the Blues Junior uses EL84s. Kind of an oddity for a Fender. So these are really quite similar amps, on paper.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:54 PM   #7
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the h&k get's my vote.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlaco
Actually, the Blues Junior uses EL84s. Kind of an oddity for a Fender. So these are really quite similar amps, on paper.

hmm. I wonder how different the tones are...but I just realized TS didn't share what kinda music he's playing. That might help a bit.

edit: also just realized that you're the TS
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:11 PM   #9
Vlaco
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Mostly alternative rock. Some cleans, some gritty OD, and occasionally a massive dollop of fuzz. I'm also working a Micro POG into my sound now. Here's a link to some stuff I've recorded on the 5 watters-

https://soundcloud.com/josh-weishaar/sets/first-demos

I've been recording on a Fender Champ 600 and a Bugera V5 and would like whatever I pick up to approximate the sounds I'm getting out of the little ones.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:20 PM   #10
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Neither is going to stay particularly clean in a mix. You need more power.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:39 PM   #11
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There is a used Deville at GC too... would that do it?
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:00 PM   #12
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Yea, that would definitely stay clean at volume. Though it's also heavy as ****, especially if it's the 410 version. A 112 Deluxe would probably work best for you if you can find a used one. Oh, and if you do get the BJ, $350 is too high. I sold mine for $300 with a Greenback.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:15 PM   #13
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Out of those two, I vote Blues Junior. I've gigged with one, and it certainly won't give you pristine cleans at gig volumes, but it's managable. The thing I love about those amps is how well they take pedals. I was playing Thrash/Groove Metal through one by using a Hardwire TL-2. That same pedal through a HRD sounded absolutely terrible, FWIW. Granted, that's going to be much different than an OD or Fuzz, but it's still something to consider. I personally hated the HRD. There wasn't anything good about it, IMO.

Have you considered an Egnater Rebel 30? It sounds like it would be right up your alley. In addition, the Tweaker 40 would be worth looking at, too.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:20 PM   #14
Vlaco
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There's a used Rebel 20 there too. I'll give it a try just to get a feel for that series.

Also, thank you, everybody. I appreciate the advice.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlaco
I actually popped an Eminence Big Ben in and it sounds much better, but there's noticeable crunch by the time I hit halfway on volume, which makes for a very muddy sound once my tubescreamer clone and Swollen Pickle come into play. I'm guessing this is because there's only one volume, so I'm cranking both the preamp tubes and the ouput tubes. I'm thinking either of the two I'm looking at will allow me to get fairly loud without cranking the preamp too much.


ah right, ok. yeah with the single volume knob you can't control the precise mix of pre- and power-tube distortion, but a master volume will only do so much. once it hits a certain volume it's still gonna start to distort. you might have a little more control over it and might be able to eke out a teeny bit more clean headroom with judicious knob twiddling, but as matt says, the crux of the matter is that if the excelsior doesn't have enough headroom, i doubt the blues junior or the edition tube will either. you really just need more power.

fwiw i think the edition tube's od channel uses some solid state shenanigans. and its clean channel doesn't have a master volume, either. from what i remember the one i tried didn't have a ton of headroom either. Ditto the blues junior.
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