#1
Hey guys,

I know there's a few threads on the Fender Blues Junior but they're all quite old and I have some specific questions to ask.

Basically it's my birthday coming up so I'll have money to put towards a new amplifier. My band at uni has just started playing regular gigs and I'm looking for a gigging amp. Now I love my Ashdown but it's HUGE and difficult to tranport (I don't have a car at uni) so it's staying at home.

I'm basically looking for a smaller amp for rock, indie, math-rock, post-rock and blues. I've been looking at the Fender Blues Junior as it sounds great, is fairly small and is apparently reliable.

Will the Blues Junior be able to handle gigs of around 200 people? Places of that size will be able to mic it. How loud is it unmiced? Or do I need to step up something more like the Hot Rod Deluxe? My other band mate will be playing a Marshall MG50 (urgh) for now so I assume I'll easily be able to compete with that?

Also, how loud does the blues junior go clean? I might need a reasonable amount of clean headroom for indie-orientated stuff. I don't really need a gain channel- got plenty of pedals for that if needed.

Finally, any other alternatives I should consider. I guess budget will be around £350 and I'd rather not go used.

Thanks guys!


Short Version: How loud is Blues Junior? Gigs of 200 people? Clean headroom? Other options?
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Last edited by Redstar5wp at May 24, 2010,
#2
We use these at my school and I never turn up past 3 to be heard in a big room with drums and other amps right next to me. I'm not so sure about the headroom cause it's the schools amp and i'd probably get in trouble if i ****ed with it. :P The clean is really....erm.... clean. I like it alot. Good Fender cleans. This probably didn't help. So goto a guitar shop and try it out.
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#3
Your school has Blues Juniors?!?!? We used to get Line 6 Spiders back when I was at school

I tried it out a few weeks ago when I was in the US in a Sam Ash and liked it a lot but I couldn't exactly crank it so see how loud it goes/ how much headroom it has.
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#4
It has headroom but once you get up to like 12 o clock it breaks up. If you really need headroom I would say get the hot rod instead if you can afford it.
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#5
It's got good headroom, but I'm running fairly low-output pickups. It stays clean until around 10 with that though on the preamp, so I assume it'll do you right unless you have some high-output screamers in it.

Anyway, Friday and Saturday, in a 9-piece band including myself with a chorus of 50-some people I cut through nicely with the preamp at 5 and the master at 3, clean, in an auditorium with around 100 people. I imagine it'll be fine for 200. Bear in mind this is out of 12, not 10, as it makes a difference(It's two louder, eat that Nigel. ).

As for the Hot Rod Deluxes, I do like them, but at 2 on the master and preamp, it still hurt my ears from about fifty feet away. At the size you'll need, I'd really rather get a Blues Junior, heat those tubes up for some sweet, sweet tone, and mic it at larger venues.
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#6
if you can mic it, who cares how much headroom it has? just turn it to where its clean enough and turn the channel up on the mixer. volume down, master up, thing should be good to go.

now, i havent tried one in years, but i do remember it gets decently loud. not entirely sure you would have to mic it in a room of 200 people. of course, i can stick 200 people in a college gym, or cram 200 people in a smallish bar. but i think it would probably be loud enough, but not completly clean if you didnt have the mics.

i actually liked the blues junior better than the HRD as well.
#7
Thanks guys. Well if I can go up to 10 and stay clean playing an auditorium that sounds fine! I was more worried that I would have to mic it at certain venues where the option to mic it isn't avaliable but from what you guys have said that shouldn't be a problem. I've tried the HRD too and also didn't like it as much but I guess that was partly because I had to have the volume so low in the store.

You guys think the Blues Junior is a good option for me then? It's the amp I've been looking to get for a while to be honest it seems well suited to my needs.

I heard someone say once that the amp is two small for it's 12" speaker and this leads to problems with low end? Has anyone found this to be the case?
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#8
It would have to be running one hell of a big wattage speaker before that amp couldn't drive it well. Sounds like bollocks to me.
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#9
I think the small speaker tends to make it a little "boxy" for some peoples tastes. Try it yourself. I liked it when I played it, really nice cleans, enough drive for low gain type stuff if you wanted. Lots of headroom for a 15 watter, little bit expensive new in the UK though when you can have a brand new Laney VC30 for £350 or a used one for about £200. They're great value over here, really nice cleans, probably a bit more drive, more features (Fx loop 2 channels), and a bit more headroom if you need. Try one
#10
Quote by ProgFolk12
I think the small speaker tends to make it a little "boxy" for some peoples tastes. Try it yourself. I liked it when I played it, really nice cleans, enough drive for low gain type stuff if you wanted. Lots of headroom for a 15 watter, little bit expensive new in the UK though when you can have a brand new Laney VC30 for £350 or a used one for about £200. They're great value over here, really nice cleans, probably a bit more drive, more features (Fx loop 2 channels), and a bit more headroom if you need. Try one


How does the Laney VC30 compare? I havn't seen them stocked anywhere near me so trying one could be difficult (again transportation could be an issue).
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#11
The VCs are great.
Very vox-y, low gain amps, beautifull cleans, great for what you wanna play.

Plenty of headroom, plenty loud.

But at 22kg, they arent exactly light...
#12
Quote by beckyjc
The VCs are great.
Very vox-y, low gain amps, beautifull cleans, great for what you wanna play.

Plenty of headroom, plenty loud.

But at 22kg, they arent exactly light...


^True.

Fender Blues Junior in my opinion is the most portable tube amp that's loud enough for small venues. The sound's awesome, too!

EDIT: Peavey Classic 30 works too, but I love Fender Blues Jr's clean tone better.
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Last edited by ZeroChan at May 25, 2010,
#13
ah man I was pretty much set on the Blues Junior until now but this VC30 sounds amazing! Curse you GG&A! Definate dilemma here....the extra headroom and volume could be useful, it's got another channel and an fx loop plus it's cheaper (?), but the blues junior is much more portable at 14kg and I can crank it.

VC30 sounds awesome in this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po3xLCBYXKY&feature=related

probobly better than the blues junior demoed by the same guy with the same guitar though both sound good.

EDIT: seems to be a lot of threads (mainly on other forums) hating on the Blues Junior :S Starting to put me off a bit:

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2617174

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2523747
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Last edited by Redstar5wp at May 25, 2010,
#14
You CANNOT crank a Blues Jr, your ear drums will implode, well not exactly. But its still far too loud itd overpower in a band situation.

My orange cab weighs like 15kg, i wouldnt really say its more portable, weight wise, it doesnt feel much lighter really, i wouldnt want to carry it down the street.

Maybe consider the Cub12R if portability is important. I havent tried it, but have heard its nice.

I do like the BJ, its a nice sounding amp, its a bit boxy sounding though, i like the sound of the VC better, and the VC has more features. Also considering you're in the UK you get better value for money on Laney stuff considering theyre a UK company.
#15
Laneys don't seem to have a particularly good reputation around here, especially reliability wise. I read somewhere that the VC30 often has problems with the OT transistor or something (I'm no expert on these things). It does sound very nice though from what I've heard and I'm a bit worried about what evryone's been saying about the blues junior being boxy sounding.
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#16
tube, speaker swaps do wonders to the boxyness it has. the amp has lots of potential. but fender didn't do well when they cut costs to make it. IMO, it sounds great. but when you can modify the circuit to your taste, it could be better. it's "so-so" stock. however, many amps are far below "so-so" stock, at the price of a blues jr.
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#17
Yeah my OT transformer failed, but its an old model, 3 years old now, ive heard no complaints on the newer laneys (Released in 2008), the transformers on the new ones are better.
#18
Quote by beckyjc
Yeah my OT transformer failed, but its an old model, 3 years old now, ive heard no complaints on the newer laneys (Released in 2008), the transformers on the new ones are better.


Do you know if they still have the problem this guy discovers:

http://www.chambonino.com/work/miscguitar/misc6.html

(near the bottom of the page)
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#19
yeah, laney is far better value here than the blues junior. It does sound completely different, though, it's a much more british type of tone. the lc30 might be worth a look if you want a more american tone, but at the end of the day the fender will do that better than the lc30 if that's the main tone you want.

is that belcat amp which was reviewed in guitarist a while back a copy of a BJ? If so, it's like £150 cheaper (gear4music). And fame (from musicstore in cologne) allegedly does a copy of the pro junior for a bit less again (gta15). the fame looks like it uses higher quality parts than the fender (i have no idea about the belcat, it might use crappy parts).

haven't tried either (but i've tried the laneys and fenders).
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at May 25, 2010,
#20
Cheers! I'll check those out! Looks liek I've got a lot more options than I thought!

What's the Jet City 20 Combo like? I've heard good things?
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#21
^ havent tried the combo, but i assume its similar to the head (which ive got). its a great amp and you can coax a decent ammount of tones from it, but it is a straight up rock amp. it has no features to speak of, its just a straight ahead single channel amp.

it isnt something i would pick up if you want clean headroom. it does ok clean with lower output pickups, but it starts getting gritty fairly quick. i wouldnt really pick it for indie.
#22
Probobly isn't a good idea for me then as clean headroom is quite important to a lot of what I play.

Ahhh I'm totally torn between the Laney and the Blues Junior now!
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#23
Quote by beckyjc
You CANNOT crank a Blues Jr, your ear drums will implode, well not exactly. But its still far too loud itd overpower in a band situation.

why not?

i cranked my blues jr before...
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#24
Quote by ECistheBest
why not?

i cranked my blues jr before...


how long did it stay clean? I'm getting mixed answers on this point
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#25
well, you don't want my blues jr as an example... cuz it's nearly a blues jr anymore.

and i don't play it these days, because i made a better amp to play through
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#26
The Jr. has enough clean headroom to play with a full band. I always run mine clean. It's plenty loud enough to play for 200 people unless they are scattered across a field the size of Rhode Island or something. You mentioned you would be able to mic it as well so it doesn't really matter how much clean headroom it is. But anyway, it definitely has enough clean headroom to play with a drummer and another guitarist and a bass player etc.
Last edited by jimtaka at May 26, 2010,
#27
yeah whenever i turn it up to 12 i go to the other room haha.
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#28
Agreed. If I crank the preamp and master volumes, I always find myself wishing my guitar cable was longer.
#29
Quote by Redstar5wp

Ahhh I'm totally torn between the Laney and the Blues Junior now!


If you want an American voiced amp and you can live with 1 channel and no Fx loop, the Blues Junior is a great amp. For more British tones and more features, and better value in the UK the laney is a great choice. Mine's been perfectly reliable, though admittedly I haven't had it long, and I've heard mixed things about Blues Junior's as well, but can't speak first hand. In terms of weight, you'll struggle to find a skinnier guy than me, and although 22kg isn't exactly comfortable, I can easily shift it around. Now where to play it, I think I tried it in Dolphin in Huddersfield, I'm not sure if you're alwyas in Sheffield and I don't know how easily you can get around, but I think Dolphin should always have some in stock. I actually bought it new off gak, bang on your budget. Now I realise I haven't actually helped rule out either amp, but hey :P
Also, I think both amps come with fairly poor stock speakers, see what you think, but they'd certainly benefit from a swap at some point
#30
Yeah the problems described there are to do with the speaker magnet being too close to the output valves, which he does say is fixed in the later models (Which mine is) that have the seventy 80, which i believe the 2008 versions still do. So no worries. But it may be worth considering if you plan on upgrading the speaker.

And about not being able to crank the BJ, obviously you can, but its still unbearably loud for home situations, and band practice, my point was, its no more crankable than the VC is.
#31
ok looks like I've got a lot of thinking to do! Thanks very much to everyone for the advice! hoping to try the VC30 out somewhere sometime next week. I'm pretty much 50/50 at the moment!
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