Valve Junior Head Review

manufacturer: Epiphone date: 01/17/2013 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Epiphone: Valve Junior Head
The Valve Junior is a 5 watt head that also features a single-ended class A tube amp with solid state rectifier, 1-12AX7, and 1-EL84. 4, 8 & 16 ohm speaker out.
 Sound: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9.7
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Features: 7.8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (6) pictures (3) 52 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.3
Valve Junior Head Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 11, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 109

Purchased from: Rudys Music

Features: This is the new series of tube amps from Epiphone. This little baby is a 5 watt, one channel tube amp. It has only a volume knob. While almost everyone would probably go: "wow this thing sucks", this amp benefits from the lack of controls. Your guitar now becomes a lot more important. You really feel the difference of rolling of the volume and tone to affect your sound. Additionally, this small tube amp includes an EL44 tube to your typical 12XXXX style tube found on most low wattage amps. That really helps out the tone. Another Versitile feature is the speaker out jacks. You can hook the head up to cabs having 4, 8 or 16 ohms of impedience. This really helps because now you can use your favorite speakers in single, two-by or four-by configurations. // 9

Sound: I played a fat strat in the shop with this thing and funked out some "Dani California" riffs. I was sold on the spot. In the shop the head was connected to a Bogner 1x12 cab and the sound was orgasmic and very RHCP plain and overdriven. For 5 watts this thing is loud enough for small venues. Depending on the cab you're using, the amp starts breaking up between 10 and 12 o clock, and I use my volume knob and pick attack to initiate overdrive and clean. It has the feel of a Fender champ, only with a slightly different tonal characteristic. This is a great early '90s cleaner crunch that you don't get from a higher wattage amp. This thing also loves pedals. // 9

Reliability & Durability: These things are incredible. It survived the subway trip and car ride home from NYC, and it's still in pristine condition. I would certainly gig this without a backup, I've already cranked it as loud as it will go and it has no intentions of blowing out. These tubes are designed not to be replaced, because the back grille leaves no access to them. That can only say something about its durability. // 9

Overall Impression: I play blues rock, and this is my practice amp. It is good enough to gig with, but will probably be restricted to smaller indoor venues. I've been playing for about 4/5 years now and this is my first tube amp. I've had valvestate marshalls and I've played through tube amps before. This thing rocks. For roughly 100 bucks, it is definately worth a buy. If you can find the combo version (which is about $130) you'd have a great all in one practice amp. // 10

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overall: 9.5
Valve Junior Head Reviewed by: V_mike, on july 18, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 100

Purchased from: Fuller's Vintage Guitar

Features: This is a 5-watt, Class A, tube amp. It uses a 12AX7 for the pre-amp and an EL84 for the power amp. The only control is a chicken-head volume knob. Other than that it has an input, on/off Switch, and three speaker outs in 4, 8, and 16 ohms. The setup of this amp is great, no bullshit, just amp. The volume control is the only thing on it. Everything else I control with pedals as should be done. The only thing I would want would be a headphone out for quiet practice ability. // 9

Sound: I use this amp with an '06 Fender Standard Fat Strat and the matching cabinet. The HSS pickup configuration gives me a few tonal options to work with. The Tex-Mex single coils sound great until the amp starts feeding back at a certain amount of distortion. The bridge humbucker, however, crunches it out great at all volumes. Either way, the feedback can be used in a sweet-sounding kind of way. I use this amp with a Boss DS-1 Distortion and it makes the world of difference. The volume control actually gives quite a bit of tonal variation with the turn of the knob, with cleaner sounds at the lower volumes, and raunchy tube overdrive at the loudest. I set the volume to about 10 or 11 o'clock and use the DS-1 for switching between clean and overdrive. The way I use it is smooth & warm w/ the single coils, or crunchy and raunchy zep-like humbucking. The clean sounds awesome too. // 10

Reliability & Durability: No problems with the amp, although I haven't owned for more than a few months. I would use it for gigging, but only miked thru a PA because it might not overcome the drums. I would use it without a backup, but that's only because I don't have the money to buy amps out the ass. I might replace the tubes as time wears on, but that's just personal preference. The construction seems pretty solid, and it looks like something older than me. Other than that, it is a sturdy mofo. // 9

Overall Impression: I have been playing for about 2 1/2 years now. I play mostly blues, classic rock, and hard rock. This thing gets the job done for those, but I have played some funky shit with a wah, and it can even jam some good reggae tone with a envelope filter. All in all, the only thing I wouldn't play with this amp is metal, but I don't play too much metal. You might be able to if you wanted, but the distortion you can get from this amp might not be enough for you. If this amp were lost/stolen, I would definitely replace it, since it was so much bang for the buck. // 10

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overall: 9.5
Valve Junior Head Reviewed by: unregistered, on november 18, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: This is a all-valve class-A valve head with a simple volume control. i bought this as a replacement for my 30-watt Marshall solid-state combo. I bought it with it's 1x12 cab . it's actually quite versatile for an amp with one knob! i use it with a DigiTech Screamin' Blues overdrive and it sounds amazing especially for the price!theres only one channel , a volume knob input jack, on/off Switch around the back theres inputs for 4,8 and 16 ohm speaker cabinets. // 9

Sound: I currently play an Epiphone G-400 Sg copy with this and although the Epiphone pickups aren't that great the amp provides a decent blues/rock tone although i can't see it stretching as far as metal. So far i haven't pushed it into overdrive you'll be amazed at just how loud it is! I personally think the bright punchy sound better suits single-coil pickups though it dosen't do a bad job with the humbuckers on my Sg. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Im not in a Band yet so have yet to gig this amp although i would certainly take this amp to a gig witout a backup!So far i've had no technichal problems with it, although i just want to point out that due to the lack of a standby swithch each time you turn the amp on you have to wait about a minute for the valves to warm up before you hear any sound! // 10

Overall Impression: I think this is must for anyone in the market for their first tube-amp it covers most styles loves effects and although I would never take a soldering iron to mine is a perfect oppourtunity to start modding amps! It is perfect for my style which is blues/rock I especially love the break-up bluesy tone you get with the volume at about 11 O'Clock. so anyone looking for a decent amp should consider this. Don't let the price mislead you into thinking this amp is for people Who can't afford the big Brands, this amp represents great value for money! // 10

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overall: 8
Valve Junior Head Reviewed by: guitarcam123, on january 19, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: 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. // 5

Sound: 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! // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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! // 9

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overall: 10
Valve Junior Head Reviewed by: unregistered, on october 14, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 65

Purchased from: Gumtree

Features: Who needs features! As mentioned - 1 volume dial, an input, and 4, 8, 16ohm outputs on the back of the head. No Standby switch, but not really required. It's pure valve tone and really doesn't need any bells and whistles. I'd defo have this over the combo as aesthetically it's very pretty and looks good on top of any cab. // 10

Sound: I use this amp with a number of guitars - Gibson SG, Epiphone G400 loaded with Seymour Duncan Jeff Becks, Strat with Lace Sensors, Stock Squier Tele...etc. It can be quite a quiet amp but does break up nicely from 12 o'clock onwards. It's loud enough to gig at smaller venues, but I run it with a Seymour Duncan Pick-Up Booster in front of it, and you'd easily think this was a 50w Valve head. I play anything from Blues to Heavy Rock and with the Pick-Up Booster in front of it this thing is capable of anything. It is a very tight sounding roaring amp. Killer distortion and beautiful tone. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've only just had this for a few weeks but it seems like there is very little to go wrong with it. Until now all is good. // 10

Overall Impression: I've been playing for 17 years and have been gigging for 15 of those and I've never been happier with an amp. My admission is that after a recording session, and being young and silly, I traded in a JCM800 2205 for a line6 Spider II head and cab, mainly as I couldn't make the Marshall sing, but a few years more playing and the combo of this head and a 1960A cab is simply wonderful. For a budget head it's incredible. I really can't recommend them highly enough. Go get one! // 10

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overall: 8
Valve Junior Head Reviewed by: pie_man_25, on january 17, 2013
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: C$ 145

Purchased from: Long and McQuade

Features: The features are fairly minimal, it's a tube amp, with a 12ax7 in the preamp and a single EL-84 in the power amp, running in class A. It has a volume knob, and three output jacks - 4, 8, and 16 ohms. I'm giving it a five in this area, because it really isn't much by way of features. If you want lots of knobs and switches, look somewhere else. That being said though, I play through an old blackface princeton knockoff, so I really dig the simplicity, in this sense I would consider it's lack of features to be a feature. I'm a fairly intelligent guy, but stick me in front of a 3-band EQ and suddenly I'm not sure what to do. On the other hand though, I personally wouldn't mind if it came with some reverb, even digital reverb. One drawback of this amp: it's a single-ended circuit using an EL84, and the topology of the amp really limits high end and low-end. The EL84 was used in radios, and it can only really put out 2 clean watts, 3 tops, so don't look to this thing for clean headroom. It still kicks out lots of volume when overdriven, but it won't fill a stadium, that's what the PA is for. This amp would be useable in just about any situation - if the gig is too big, then stick a mic in front of the cab or use a more sensitive cab. I'm using a 210 with eminence red fangs and it's plenty loud. One huge plus with this amp, in my opinion, is that it's a very simple circuit, which means that with proper reading and safety procedures, it isn't difficult to modify - people have Fenderized it, Marshallized it, turned it into a 15-watt push-pull amp, put a tone-stack into it. You name it, it's probably been done before. If you want to tinker around with something, this amp is cheap and simply laid-out, it'd be a great start. // 5

Sound: I primarily plug my tele-knockoff into this amp, but sometimes just plug my acoustic with a pro-mag into it. Mostly playing something along the lines of punk, psychobilly, garage rock, blues rock, ska, and folk. I'd say this amp is versatile enough to get all of these sounds. With some lower-output single coils you can go clean, or with some fizzy overdrive. With some humbuckers in your guitar you get some heavier overdrive, though the stock amp wouldn't be high-gain enough for metal. The amp has some points in it that bleed the gain to ground, as well as treble, so you don't get glassy cleans or uber high-gain sounds, unless you mod it that is ;). I'd say that stock the amp is fine enough for most applications, but it's kind of like recipes for soups - add salt and pepper to taste. The bare-bones nature of the amp allows you to tailor it to your needs with mods and pedals, not high-gain enough? Mod it or get a tube-screamer type pedal, want reverb? There's a pedal for that. It's like the model-T ford of guitar amps, dead simple and bare-bones but highly modifiable. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This amp is certainly durable, I've played it in bars with questionable electronics, it has spent nights in basements, the trunks of cars, it has been dropped. It won't break on you, and if a tube does break, the tubes themselves are cheap - just a 12AX7 and an EL84, you could spend less than 20 bucks on replacement tubes. Anything that could go wrong with it is easily fixable - If a transformer blows, you could just get a new Hammond transformer for 30 bucks or so, or if you want to go boutique, go with mercury magnetics; if one of the components goes bad, the PCB is simple enough to figure out what went bad and there are plenty of stock schematics online. It's dead simplicity not only makes modding it easier, it also makes fixing it easier. // 9

Overall Impression: This amp is certainly adequate for what I do, metalheads beware though: this thing won't give you a heavy sound without any serious modding. I've been playing for a while, but I've always been primarily a bassist. I dig this amp, and it's easy to see why there are plenty of similar amps out there. If this thing were stolen, I might try one of those other similar models though. Things I like about it are: incredible simplicity - just plug in and play, small and lightweight - it'll go anywhere without hassle, and lastly versatility and moddability - a simple circuit that is relatively well-designed: just mod/add pedals to taste. There really isn't anything I don't like about the amp, stock tubes are mediocre, and it's got a treble bleed in the circuit, not to mention lack of reverb, but these are all fixable, like I said earlier. I kind of got the amp to mod, as well as to have another amp to play through, and it lives up to my expectations. Overall, I'd give it an 8 or 9 out of ten, almost perfect for what I want it for, but certainly not for everybody - if you play a dumble, this is not your amp, if you want something like a Krank or a 5150 and don't know how to mod, this is not your amp, if you don't like using pedals, this isn't your amp. It is certainly my amp, and I like it a lot, and if you're anything like me, I'm sure you'll find that this amp is at least worth checking out in a music store. // 9

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