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Just bought used MIM blues junior.. . Now what?!?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by GaryOsborne, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne Friend of Leo's

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    Hey guys. I just bought a used blues jr (made in Mexico) for 275$. I thought I did pretty good. It's super clean. Just wondering, being a first time tube amp owner (since someone stole my 64' epiphone pacemaker) if there are any basic things I need to know so I don't ruin it. (Ie: how long should you let the tubes warm up...) stuff like that. How do I know if the tubes are still good? It looks like the three on the right are groove tubes. I read about the "magic 6" starting settings and that's working pretty good. I'm running through a boss cs-2 and stock bd-2 and a 95' MIJ foto flame tele. Had a sparkle drive but returned it cos the button **** out after one gig.
    Also. It has some hiss at low volumes but I'm sure that's normal right? Should mention its the older model with the silver control panel (which is impossible to read btw!!)
    Idk. Any help would be awesome. Thanks guys.
    Gary.
     
  2. JKjr

    JKjr Tele-Holic

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    Play it. Don't drop it in the swimming pool.
     
  3. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

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    You might want to research some of the BillM mods. Especially the one with the adjustable bias or at least dropping it down closer to specs. Your tubes are probably running pretty hot.
     
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  5. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

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    You got a pretty good deal.:grin:

    I had a cream board 2005 MIM Blues Jr for seven years as my small gig amp. Great little amp. The only mods I did was installing a set of vintage RCA EL84s and a set of Fender tilt legs. Part of the charm for me was it wasn't another blackface, tweed, blonde or brown Fender but a flexible amp capable of vintage and more modern tones.

    If you can't leave well enough alone and like to do mods look up Billm's website.
    He is the Blues Jr modmeister.
     
  6. Blustele

    Blustele Tele-Afflicted

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  7. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks guys. I know about The Bill M audio mods. I was wondering which ones you can order and install myself easily. I have NO previous experience but know someone who could help me. I want to get most if not all of them eventually (twin stack, transformer, bias control, presence mod, sparkle mod .... What am I missing? Lol) Another question. What exactly is the bias control? I know it runs the tubes cooler but that's it via it adjustable after its installed? Is it difficult to install?
    Thanks
    Gary
     
  8. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne Friend of Leo's

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    Also bid there anything else I can do to keep the tubes going until I replace them? How can you tell it's time to replace them.
     
  9. kubiakl

    kubiakl Tele-Meister

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    My Blues Jr. let's me know it's time for new power tubes when I get crackling or a fade in volume.
    Nice score man. I've had mine for a while and can't bring myself to upgrade - it has all the sounds I need. The only modifications I've done were a new reverb tank (I bought mine used with a busted tank), Eminence Texas Heat speaker swap, and changing the tubes occasionally. I like plain old JJ tubes for the EL84s, and I've played around with different 12ax7s - can't remember what's in there now, but nothing special. Enjoy the amp!
     
  10. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    +1

    Go against the grain and just play it for a year. Learn to twist the knobs, find out what settings are best with which guitars and which environment. Why would you start changing things when you have no idea what the thing does:confused:
     
  11. Wyzsard

    Wyzsard Friend of Leo's

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    They will start sounding bad. If they sound ok now, I'd still replace them and save them for spares.

    Congrats on the purchase. :cool:
     
  12. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

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    Any of Billm's mods can be done by someone with modest skills at soldering electronics who can read directions and understand photos of the mods.

    The bias control allows you to back off the factory-set hot power tube bias for longer tube life and potentially a bit warmer sound. Mine ran unmodded for seven years without changing the bias, but there are some issues with the hotter bias settings designed in today's tube amps. Necessity, no but if you got the bug to mod, nice to do.

    Back in the late '60s-early '70s I would replace a set of power tubes in my amps (unmatched of course) and take a screwdriver to rotate the bias adjustment to the "best sound". Very high tech.:rolleyes:
     
  13. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne Friend of Leo's

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    I forgot to mention it has the MOD reverb tank "upgrade". How do you like the Texas heat speaker? If I were to swap speakers that one is the most intriguing to me.
    I probably will leave it alone for a while (probably retube pretty soon but that's it)
    Just to get used to it. I got lucky. It looks brand new. The sounds I'm getting so far with it stock are pretty awesome. I started with the "magic 6" setting and added a little more treble. I'm loving it. Even without my blues driver (which I'm still getting used to as well) I love it. It also sounds great with my cs-2. It can do no wrong so far lol
    First gig with it is tomorrow so we'll see.
    Thanks again guys.
    Gary
     
  14. sunvalleylaw

    sunvalleylaw TDPRI Member

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    Congrats!

    And this:
    That is a good little amp and should serve you well. If something goes wrong with a tube, you will hear it. I do not personally mess around with fixing my own amp beyond replacing a tube as there are things you need to know about reaching in there so you don't fry yourself. But you can handle swapping tubes out if you need to.
     
  15. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne Friend of Leo's

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    Cool. Yeah I'm probably gonna order some JJs from eurotubes on Friday. There's a couple different packages for blues he's though. I was thinking of trying the one for the most headroom. I play in a country band so I think that'd be best. Any of you guys tried this set? I figure I can just use my blues driver if I need some crunch.
    Thanks.
    Gary.
     
  16. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

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    Does the set use a 12AY7 in V1?

    The 12AY7 is a lower gain preamp tube than the stock 12AX7. It breaks up later so you have a bit smoother control over clean volume.

    I replaced V1 in mine with a 12AY7 as I play clean to clean with a little breakup.
    Worked well for my needs.
     
  17. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne Friend of Leo's

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    Price: $58.25
    Description: "If you simply need all the clean headroom you can get from your Blues Jr then this will do it. This kit uses a matched pair of JJ EL84's in a cooler grade, a balanced ECCC83S for the phase inverter in V3 and two ECC81's to replace the 12AX7's in V1 and V2."
    That's from eurotubes.
    Also wondering about speakers. I'm leaning Texas heat or maybe even the lil Texas. My favorite thing about the BJ is its size and weight so I don't want to put a speaker in with a Heaney magnet or something.
    Thanks guys.
    Gary.
     
  18. JohnS

    JohnS Friend of Leo's

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    I apologize in advance.

    Heaney magnet? I use a Henway in mine. What's a Henway? Oh, about 6 or 7 pounds. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Cat MacKinnon

    Cat MacKinnon Friend of Leo's

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    my knowledge of tube stuff is fairly basic compared to a lot of other people here, but i'll see if i can help a little...

    ECC83's are good old 12AX7's and ECC81's are 12AT7's. here's a list of the gain factors for some of the tubes in that family:

    # 12AX7 (gain of 100)
    # 12AT7 (gain of 60)
    # 12AY7 (gain of 45)
    # 12AU7 (gain of 19)

    i think most people don't hear much of a difference between the 12AT7 and 12AY7, so either one will sound pretty similar to the other. obviously you'll hear the biggest difference if you use a 12AU7 (aka, ECC82.) i've also read (i think on BillM's site) that 12AY7's weren't really designed for the same sorts of things as the other 12xx7 tubes, which is another reason they probably don't sound noticeably different than 12AT7's. if you like running a really clean amp and putting your drive and effects in front of it, i'd definitely try the 12AT7 and 12AU7.
     
  20. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's

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    There's no need to mod the Bl-Jnr., everything is in there. The best thing to do is to max the master, and find your sound from there.

    The Magic 6 formula is mostly applicable to BF and SF amps. There are several threads here with recommendations for Bl-Jnr knob settings.

    Good luck, it's a fine gig amp.
     
  21. kidmo

    kidmo Friend of Leo's

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    +1 on the no mods. However, the magic 6 did work for mine. The only thing I would even think about is maybe a better speaker for overdriven sounds. I have been enjoying lately putting the treble all the way up and bass all the way down and mids half way. What ever works with your pickups.
     
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