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Fender tube amps (e.g. Blues Junior, Hot Rod Deluxe)

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Slt8576, Oct 12, 2017 at 9:34 AM.

  1. Slt8576

    Slt8576 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    18
    Mar 5, 2017
    Ohio
    I'm looking to get a Fender tube amp that ideally fits these specs as best as possible within price range:
    • $400-700 new
    • Reasonable volume level, as I mostly play alone at home
    • Must take pedals well
    • Goes well with single coils (Telecaster, Rickenbacker, Danelectro)
    • I predominantly play power-pop rhythm and chords, so I want it to be super-sparkly, jangly, and clean (e.g. Byrds, REM, Teenage Fanclub, U2)
    • I have a TS, Rat, and Fuzz for dirt, but it'd be cool if I could occasionally get a little Neil Young crackle simply by turning up and without using those pedals
    • While I've considered Voxes and other tube amps, I ultimately keep coming back to Fender, as I worship the Fender cleans
    I've gotten recommendations for the Deluxe and Princeton in the past, but I wonder if, cost & volume-wise, they're maybe too much amp for my needs.

    I'm curious about the Blues Junior III and amps on that level. Is there anything about it that makes it not a good fit for jangly/sparkly rhythm and chords? (i.e. Does the "Blues" in the name practically mean anything?) I ask because I'm having trouble finding one locally to play.

    Along those lines, are there are any other Fender tube amps (Hot Rod Deluxe, Devilles, etc.) that might fit these criteria? Ideally, I'd like to test drive some in person, but I want to try to narrow the field a bit before doing that.

    Thanks so much for any advice you could provide.
     
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  2. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 14, 2015
    IL, USA
    For home playing at reasonable volumes, the HRD's are a lot of amp. The Deville especially.

    What about an older Champ?
     
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  3. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    54
    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    Super Champ X2 and then upgrade the speaker. On the low side of your price range, great Fendery cleans, loud enough to play with a drummer if you want to, small and portable if you get the combo, usable built-in effects if you don't want to use your pedals, and it still takes pedals well.

    I've got an XD combo (previous version). Swapped the speaker for an Eminence Legend. Played it side-by-side a few times next to my friend's Blues Jr. and I think it sounds more Fendery than his amp. Not that the Blues Jr. isn't a great amp though. Also use a Rat with it, and it rocks the house.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017 at 9:47 AM
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  4. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    I wonder if the Blues Junior III would be the ticket. I think they're a bit brighter than the other Blues Juniors. The volume is fine, and they give you something approximating a classic Fender clean, while having the ability to be pushed into some nice dirty territory.

    But for real 6V6 Fender cleans, I think you'll want to look at a Princeton Reverb or a Deluxe Reverb. Those two are pretty different. If you're concerned about volume, I'd get a Princeton Reverb reissue. The problem with this suggestion is that it's over your price range. You might be able to find a used PRRI for about $700.
     
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  5. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Holic

    756
    Apr 12, 2014
    California
    i'm seeing Champs, Blues Juniors, and Mustangs at the jam sessions I hit.

    I've got a 57 Custom Vibro Champ--but that's more expensive and less sparkly than what you're looking for. For home playing I don't think you want anything bigger than a Princeton. Good luck.
     
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  6. Tele56

    Tele56 Tele-Holic

    707
    Nov 18, 2005
    Phoenix AZ
    An older (original BF or SF) Champ makes a great bedroom amp. No frills, no reverb but 5W of pure Fender clean.

    A SCXD or the newer SCX2 are also good choices...kind of the best of both worlds: 15W of Fender clean with 16 modeling channels and effects.

    I have an older 79-80 SF Champ that sounds great. Also have a SCXD (recently modded with a Ted Weber speaker). I've been using the SCXD for gigs and when mic'd it certainly holds its own in the band mix. The Blues Jr would also be a good choice but may be too much volume-wise for home/bedroom use. Another possible option would be the Pro Jr with 15W and a 10" speaker...similar to original Champ but with a little more power. As far as other modeling amps the Mustang series is also very popular.
     
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  7. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    The thread header says “Fender tube amps”. The Xd amps are NOT tube amps. They have a solid state preamp with digital effects, which is a far cry from an all-tube amp. In that price range, I would look for a used DRRI.
     

  8. MRey

    MRey Tele-Meister

    159
    Jan 30, 2017
    IL
    Super Champ X2

    I prefer it over the Blues Junior all day long, especially if you're playing at home.
     
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  9. Bob M

    Bob M Tele-Holic

    645
    May 11, 2011
    North of Boston
    I prefer it to a Princeton RI. It may not be a "pure" tube design, but the clean channel is nice. More headroom than a champ or the Princeton RI. They do need a speaker upgrade (IMHO) to get the most out of them. Has a great digital "reverb + delay" that makes it great for a grab and go amp.
     
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  10. Slt8576

    Slt8576 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    18
    Mar 5, 2017
    Ohio
    Thanks for this....I'm not familiar, are the X2s 100% tube?
     

  11. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

    Jan 17, 2010
    Decatur, GA
    It surprises me that there aren't any inexpensive Princeton Reverb knockoffs out there... there are lots of inexpensive EL84-based amps out there, but not 6V6-based amps. Maybe there's something more difficult to build there? The VHT and TubeScreamer amps are the only ones that come close, but they don't have reverb and tremolo.
     

  12. Slt8576

    Slt8576 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    18
    Mar 5, 2017
    Ohio

  13. beninma

    beninma Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    291
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    Man would it be great if Fender made a tube amp that could be switched down to a 1W power mode...

    Assuming it had the classic Fender tone I'd be trading my Orange pretty quick and/or picking up the Fender as an addition.

    I guess it all depends on what "too loud for home" means but Most of the Fenders I've tried seemed too loud for my house.
     
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  14. MRey

    MRey Tele-Meister

    159
    Jan 30, 2017
    IL
    It has a solid state preamp section and tube power section, it's considered a hybrid amp not 100% tube...but it works really well in my opinion.
     
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  15. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    Slt8576, none of the 'X' amps....XD, X2, X whatever...are all-tube amps. They are as I described....solid state front ends with digital effects. They do not sound like tube amps....they don't even sound like a good solid state amp, imho. That said, go play through one...maybe your ears will like them.
    Fwiw, Blues/Hot Rod amps are not all-tube either in that the reverb is in the solid state domain. It can be heard. Almost all modern 'consumer grade' grade amps that have reverb do that effect in the solid state domain.
    'At home volumes'....you are looking for clean. A PRRI, DRRI, SRRI or a TRRI can do marvelous clean at low volumes....simply push the tone controls up if you run the volume low. When you need more volume, the tone controls need to be adjusted down accordingly. Who knows...someone might want you to play with them....and you'll need more than a Champ to do that IF you want cleans.

    Much of what you describe here was done through the originals on which these Fender BF Reissues are based.....especially The Byrds.
     

  16. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 14, 2015
    IL, USA

  17. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    There are things I like about the BF/SF Champs....and they are more articulate/less gainy than the earlier Champs due to the loss in the tone stack. I will say that for me, they don't do what the OP says he wants.....and they certainly don't do it at any usable volume level IF one wants to play with a bass player and a drummer.
    But...it ain't my world...... good luck Slt8576.
     

  18. wblynch

    wblynch TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    95
    Apr 24, 2017
    California USA
    Actually the Fender Bassbreaker 45 does just that.

    I have a Bassbreaker 007 and it is perfect for in-home use.

    After hearing so much talk about 6v6 versus EL84 power tubes, I recently listened to some Youtube comparisons where they pulled the 6v6's and used the yellow jackets for EL84's and no matter how hard I tried I could not tell any difference.
     

  19. beninma

    beninma Tele-Meister

    Age:
    40
    291
    Mar 17, 2017
    Massachusetts
    I don't see anything on any of the Bassbreaker pages on Fender's site about a power scaling option like Orange uses. I tried out the Bassbreaker 007 when I got the Orange.. I didn't see anything on it like what Orange does with the Half/Full/Stdby switch on the top + the Bedroom/Headroom switch on the back so you can pick 0.5w/1w/7w/15w. All those options basically means you can get any sound the amp is capable of at a huge range of volumes.

    The 7w of the Bassbreaker might have been fine in my house, hard to say. My playing feels like it has come to favor clean sounds so more watts might be fine since it seems easier to do clean tones at low volume. The Bassbreaker 007 has a 95db rated speaker vs the 101db of the Orange I have.. I never use the Orange in 7w mode in the house but if the Celestial speaker is quieter it might have been fine. I think one day I'll have a Fender amp one way or another.

    The extra money in my pocket would have been nice of course!
     

  20. wblynch

    wblynch TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    95
    Apr 24, 2017
    California USA
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BassB45C

    "The variable-wattage knob lets you choose your power from 45 watts down to 1 watt. "
     
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