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Old June 15th, 2008, 09:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Blues & Rock: Best Speaker/Tube Upgrades for Blues Junior?

Preserving that classic Fender sound (as much as one can using EL84s), what are some recommendations for speaker and tube upgrades for a stock BJr?

Sonically, I'd like to land somewhere between dark and shrill (I don't like shrill).

Thanks for any help.

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Old June 15th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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First, replace V1 with a 12AY7. This should give you sweeter vintage tones and increase clean headroom. Then you can max your Volume knob and just use the Master to set overall volume (set your guitar volume knob about 1/3 to half-way down first). Control sustain and grind....everything from your guitar volume knob then.

I recommend you put Bass and Treble about 6-8, scoop mids to around 3-4. FAT swtich off.

See where that takes you.
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Old June 15th, 2008, 12:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Fender guy,
I mean this with all due respect, but if you really want to preserve that classic Fender sound, the best speaker upgrade would be an OLD Jensen ... preferably housed in a Deluxe Reverb, or at worst, a DR reissue, 'cause you ain't gonna get any classic Fender tone out of a Blues Jr.
But seriously, look at the Jensen Mod speakers. I have a 12" 50 watt and it screams; blew me away for the price. Not really an upgrade, more of a "attitude adjustment", but they handle overdrive well and seem to be tight and balanced. If you want "louder", think about a used Peavey Scorpion or Black Widow. Really.
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Old June 15th, 2008, 01:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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JJ tubes, and an old Jensen speaker, or you couold try a 12" Celestion or Weber alnico blue. Maybe one of them new fangled Warehouse.com speakers, the Black & Blue. That might make it sound a little British though, and Lord thunderin, who wants an accent like that? LOL... if you knew me, you'd realize the irony there.
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Old June 15th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I put an Eminence Legend in one of my Blues Juniors and one of those
Italian Jensen reissue P12s (smallest ceramic magnet, whatever letter
designation that would be) one of the ones that everybody seems to
badmouth, in the other..

both amps greatly improved from the stock Fender-branded Eminence 12"

I have tons of spare tubes so I've tried swapping 'em in varous combinations
in both amps until I get the sound/feel that I'm seeking.

vintage power tubes are great but honestly a pair of brand new JJs for $20
sounds just as good to me - now, the preamp tubes, on the other hand -
well, that's where the "x" factor lies because different tubes will give
different results and it's not enough to generalize that so-and-so makes
good tubes so if I spend $125 for a NOS tube from the 1950s it's going
to sound better than anything else, because that may or may not be the
case.. there have been runs of Chinese 12AX7s which share every bit of
the same sonic magic as my beloved Amperex Bugle Boys, and I can buy
six of 'em for the cost of one NOS Amperex! will they last as long?
probably not. but that's the trade-off isn't it?
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Old December 31st, 2008, 12:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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blues_jr_recommendation

I own an lot of Fender amps, princeton reverb,
65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue, Twin Reverb, Blues jr.
Recently I bought the jr and wasnt happy with the
tone so I called this guy :
http://hoelectronics.com/Product2.php
and had him make an attenuator specifically for it for $350.

I can now crank this amp to 12 and can get some amazing
tone. The good thing to note is that with the HO attenuator
I get transparency and the thing runs cool. The fat switch
with the volume knobs on 12 acts like a true overdrive.
Unlike other attenuators this one gives you everything you
want and nothing that you do not.

may experiment with speakers but Im not in a hurry
Ive heard an 12AT7 in the V3 slot ups the gain if
you into that.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 02:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A 12AT7 does not up the gain. It's less gain, less drive to the output tubes. It also mutes some of the highs, so the tone is more midrangey.

If you want classic Blackface tone out of a Blues Junior, do the TwinStack and tone stack mods. A Weber 12F150 is all things the Jensen reissue C12N should have been. But if you don't like shrill, try an Eminence Cannabis Rex.

Quote:
The good thing to note is that with the HO attenuator
I get transparency and the thing runs cool.
If you're running the BJr on 12 and 12, I can assure you that it's not running cool! If you want that much distortion at low volume, why not just use a pedal?
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Old December 31st, 2008, 08:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have a Jr that Iíve been using for a few years for both blues session work and blues live work. Depending on the room or what the song calls for, I donít wonder too much from these starting settings.

My Jr has the Billm mods, a Cann Rex speaker and the updated reverb tank. My starting point has the low and high set on 6 and the mids on 5. The Volume is somewhere in the area of 7 to 8, with the reverb about 5. The master ends up where ever the room says it needs to be. I use the guitar volume to take it from gritty to jazz smooth and where ever in-between.

I donít use any pedals when playing live, sometimes a trem, delay or something in the studio. On the road, I just plug the tele straight into the Jr. and try to make who Iím hired to back up, sound the best they ever have.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 12:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I had this same dilemma about a month or two back. I think that the BJ is such a great amp. I ended up going with the Eminence Texas Heat. After reading a bit about it, and hearing what others had to say it appeared that it was a very versatile speaker, and it is. It has nice cleans and break up. The Cannibus Rex seems like a nice one, as well, however, I have hear, has a lot of head room. I am really enjoying my Texas Heat.
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