Valve Junior Head review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (46 votes)
Epiphone: Valve Junior Head

Sound — 9
I'm using this through cheap plywood & pine guitars with cheap $10 pickups, so I don't get any thing great out of my guitars, but the Valve Junior on the other hand is a great amp. I can get awesome blues tones out of it, no matter humbucker or single coil. it's very quiet, there is a very small amount of buzz, but that could just be the lights. I only practice at home so I can't turn the volume up past 3 as it gets too loud. At low volumes I get a nice bluesy tone, but when no ones home and it goes up around 10, then the distortion starts to kick in. Although it's no Marshall heavy/ brutal distortion, it's enough! I usually play a lot of heavier music (Heavy Rock, Metal etc) so the VJ is not the best for that type of music, but with my Boss ME30, then it gets brutal!

Overall Impression — 9
For my style of music, it's not the best but with a bit of distortion I love this little amp. I've been playing for about 3 years, so this being my first tube amp, I'm very impressed. If it were stolen I don't know if I'd buy it again, because it's more for the blues, but with my effects, I'm getting a good tone from it. But then there's the little Blackheart amps that would suit my style of music, but then I'd have to re adjust my pedal settings again to get a really nice tone out of it. I love this amp because it's a small little handy amp that can really rock at only 5 watts! My favourite thing being an amp modder myself is all the room on the front panel, just think of all the mods possible!

Reliability & Durability — 9
Very durable, could take a fair bit of abuse! I would definitely take it to a gig without a backup, it works like a charm. So far I haven't needed to change any tubes, so it's still in it original state. Everything's as it came in the box. Although I don't think I would gig with the Epi VJ speaker cab in a large arena. it's a good size for bars and resturants but if your doing a massive gig, I would buy a bigger 4x12 cab.

Features — 5
My VJ is the latest model head (version 3). The VJ is quite limited feature wise, one volume control, no standby Switch, one channel, no effects loop or headphone jack. Although I do like the speaker outputs in the head. All three 4ohm, 8ohm and 16ohm, so you can plug pretty much any speaker/ cab into it. One of the best amps for it's price.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Nice job on the review, however I need to point out a couple of mistakes. It's very crucial that you go back and reread what you've written to check for errors and omissions. You referred to the power tube as an EL44, where it's actually an EL84. You also mentioned that it's a "12XXXX style tube" at one point. This is also wrong. Instead of submitting your rough draft, you need to proof the article at least 2 or 3 times - looking for spelling and punctuation errors AND proper flow. Also, it's a good idea if you get your facts straight when posting a review. RTFM!!! Which, translated into English, means Read The Freaking Manual. In the military, we used to call it RTFM2, which means do it twice. Who would make an amp you can't replace the tubes in? I'll bet the manual talks about removing the screws on the grille to access the tubes. Also, you facts about this thing only being good for smaller venue gigs is based on bad information. Most bands mic their cabs and combos into the PA system. So, whether you were playing for 100 people or 100,000 is a moot point, because the PA system handles the amplification of the small amp. Again, this is just constructive criticism. I'm not trying to flame you or put the smack down on you. Other than that, you did a decent job.
    despite the majority of reviews being for blues/bluesrock, i play metal. i have the head and matching cab, and i play an SD Hot Rails in a modded strat through a EH Metal Muff, and this is by far the heaviest metal tone i have ever gotten out of an amp. its perfect for metal, nice tight low end. if you're wondering if this thing can handle metal, with a decent pedal in front of it, its absolutely great. metallica, pantera, devildriver, rob zombie, bloodbath, led zeppelin, black sabbath. i have been unable to find a style this amp is not suited great for, because of the simplicity of the single volume knob.
    Hopefully I'll be getting one of these I tried one out today, wow it was louder than i thought, amazing tone too.
    ok, if I put the head through a bigger cab, let's say 2x12 or 4x12, how loud can I get? because 5w isn't really a lot, you know; and other valve amps are extremely expensive
    I have been playing for over 25 years, I have an old Carvin Rectifier half stack, a Behringer V-Ampire half stack, an Ampeg VH140C head and a Peavey Stereo Chorus 212. I would give them all away before I let this little Valve Jr. Head go. You will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands; even then I will haunt you for as long as you have it. If anyone says it sucks they probably have not been playing very long and they may find it still difficult playing an Amaj chord. And they might be deaf. They would certainly be tone deaf.
    Would like to add, a good all tube amp for metal (comments way up top.) the best tube amp for metal, Ampeg Lee Jackson Head.
    i wrote the 3rd review, and since then ive got a line 6 pod xt pro, and the metal sounds i can get out of the amp are monstorous, ive also gigged it 4 or 5 times and it's been perfect
    this head is AWESOME! I just use a Boss blues Driver 2 along with this amp and i can get almost any sound i desire.... if your looking for a nice practice amp that keeps that nice clean tube or powerful over driven tube get this!