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What's wrong with a Blues Jr.?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by MisterZ, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Holic

    876
    Sep 20, 2011
    Sacramento
    When I bought my BJ II 10 years or so ago, it was in the $300-400 range. A Vox Ac15 was closer to $600. They are much closer in price now. In those 10 years I only had to have it serviced once. For me, it was a nice sounding, reliable amp.

    Eventually I traded it for an AC15. I like the AC15 a lot. My only real complaint with the BJ was that it sounded boxy to me when I played with another guitarist. As much as I like my Vox, it is a chore to lug that thing upstairs to rehersal. The BJ is a great amp for what it is. And I agree with what others have said about TOANZ. Most of the subtleties I hear at home disappear at gig volume once the drummer and bass player kick in. If you like what you hear then it is good.
     

  2. macatt

    macatt Tele-Meister

    Age:
    70
    452
    Jan 10, 2007
    silverdale wa
    Same here..
    I play for a living. I've been using Blues jrs for over 20 years; all with Billm mods; two green boards from '96 and '98 with EVM 12Ls, and a newer tweed NOS with the Special Design speaker (not the Jensen) The tweed NOS I'm using now has 6V6 tubes and upgraded transformer as well.

    I couldn't gig with a stock one though at the volume levels I play at. The low end would be too mushy and distorted. Modded, they're great.

    S Mac
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
    DaphneBlue likes this.

  3. macatt

    macatt Tele-Meister

    Age:
    70
    452
    Jan 10, 2007
    silverdale wa
    For those who are curious about the mods:
    Here's what Billm sent me after doing mods and repairs on my first '96 green board Blues jr.

    I had already been gigging with this amp for ten years at the time and had an EVM 12L in it.

    sent: Tue 5/23/2006
    "Quote"
    "...I've got your amp on the bench and have been testing it. I've gotta
    say, this is probably the hardest-gigged Blues Junior I've ever seen!"

    (I'm proud of that comment)
    (later when done):

    sent: Sun 6/4/2006, 9:56 PM

    "Oh, man, Scott. This amp is gonna be brutally loud with that EVM 12L in
    there. All the mods and repairs are done, and it's awesome. You also won't
    believe how lush the reverb sounds.

    I found the problem with your friend's repair--the plate connection on V4
    was flakey--part of a short printed circuit trace had burned away and it
    opened up with heat. I replaced the damaged trace with wire.

    Anyway, here's the rundown:

    Mods
    Basic green board mods: $80
    Presence control/bright switch: $30
    Switchcraft input jack: $20
    Clean Boost: $45
    Footswitch jack for Clean Boost: $20
    Subtotal: $195

    Repairs:
    4 new pots @ $.3.50: $14
    2 new knobs @ $2.00 $4
    New Reverb tank: $24
    Circuit board repair: n/c
    Subtotal: $42

    Return shipping/insurance: $25

    Total: $262

    It really is way better than new--I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by
    the tone and the output. And it's ready for another 10 years of gigging. The
    bias is adjusted for your JJ EL84s, so you're set to go.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    - Bill
    "Quote"

    I still have this amp.

    S Mac
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018

  4. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

    Aug 14, 2009
    innsmouth, MA
    what palaces are you guys playing where everything gets a microphone?
     

  5. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    I play in a church that can accommodate maybe 400 (guessing). Right down the road from the church in either direction are two broken down bars with a max capacity of maybe 100 each. I don't go to them often but when I've seen a band, they ponied up the money to hire a sound guy. I've seen bands in maybe three other bars in town (Cracker and Cowboy Junkies both played at another broken down bar here and they each probably brought in 300 people in a very small space. Their sound guy was my neighbor, he did a great job.) Aside from the pros, these are all cover bands.

    In college we had numerous bars with varying sizes and my roommate was a professional sound guy and part-time student. He was literally putting himself through college. He worked every weekend and subcontracted out with other sound guys.

    His take on it was that bands that cared about their sound would sacrifice some of the cover to pay for a sound guy. Not all bands did this, but the ones that people enjoyed listening to all did it. I paid attention because my roommate was in that business. These bands mostly played covers and slipped an original in from time to time, if they thought the bar owner wasn't paying attention.

    I think a lot of bands look at it as a cost of doing the business that they want to do. I look at it as the sound guy is the fifth member of the band. I'd be curious to hear from other musicians who are playing in bars these days. At what point do you consider it essential to hire a sound guy?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018

  6. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    atlanta

    depends on so many variables... I can list a few -

    Does the band or band member own a good PA? Is there anybody in the band who really can do a good job of running a board, even while playing? probability of hiring soundman goes down - this may over-ride other considerations

    band content or purpose - dive bar cover band? probably not. Have some originals you are pushing? more likely.

    how many people likely to be in the audience is a variable. I mean, playing to tables and chairs... probably not essential for a soundman.

    playing a gig, regardless of content, and you expect a sizeable audience, could be bar, could be wedding, doesnt matter - probability of getting a soundman goes up
     

  7. NMore

    NMore Tele-Meister

    253
    Dec 8, 2017
    Castle Rock
    Remember if you have an anal sound guy he wants to control the levels of everything, and that means micing everything. I hate this. I shouldn't need a mic for a lot of the venues my band plays at.
     

  8. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    atlanta

    depends on the venue again.

    if its REALLY small venue, you probably dont need a mic.

    the problem with guitar amps is that they often beam their treble out like a laser. MOST amps, especially small amps, sound one way when you're standing in front of them.. and then completely different when you're even 10 feet out of the line of direct fire.

    Different cabinet sizes etc will affect dispersal of sound, but then, bigger cabinets tend to throw the sound farther. A 4x12 often will often sound "louder" 20 feet in front of it than 5 or 10. A technician once explained that this has to do with sound waves cresting but honestly I didnt understand most of it. However, I have heard this effect in action.

    Smaller amps are often louder the closer you are to them.

    So its all about the amp, the cabinet, and the venue.

    I use small amps, so in most venues, I'm happiest when I'm mic'd, I know the sound is being dispersed via the FOH... and I get some guitar in the monitor in front of me too.
     

  9. NMore

    NMore Tele-Meister

    253
    Dec 8, 2017
    Castle Rock
    My singers hog the monitors(L.S.D.:mad:). The only one that wants me in their monitor is the drummer. Oh and I sing as well, but I have to hear myself through our lead singers monitor.... I'm whining.;)
     

  10. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    + That right there. Hard as it might be sometimes, I have to trust my sound guy because I'm not in a good position to know what I actually sound like. I think I am, but I'm not.
     

  11. NMore

    NMore Tele-Meister

    253
    Dec 8, 2017
    Castle Rock
    I Hate Sound Guys! I Know they hate me too. :D I haven't been killed yet and I've played with the same cover band for 10yrs...
     

  12. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    atlanta
    been there done that. worked with one really excellent diva, great singer, but she would b*tch if there was ANY guitar in her monitor.

    That wont work unless there are multiple monitors onstage, one for each player, and each one can have its own monitor mix.
     
    NMore likes this.

  13. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    atlanta

    AND you have to trust them and sometimes when you hear the result afterwards, recordings from the soundboard or a video or whatever... just damn. Sometimes I'm either ridiculously out front in the mix or so far buried underneath I might has well have stayed home ;-)

    but thats the reality of it. Often its pretty good - sometimes its not.
     
    JuneauMike likes this.

  14. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

    Aug 14, 2009
    innsmouth, MA
    if you're playing punk shows, a good chunk of them will be in places where only the vocals get a microphone and the pa looks like it fought in vietnam. smaller amps don't always cut it for that. you're also not going to get monitors. all of that stuff is a luxury.
     

  15. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    Ah, LOL. Now I understand where the "palaces" comment comes from. Yeah, not unusual for punk shows to be guerrilla affairs. Abandoned buildings, condemned houses, your buddy's garage. :lol:

    Although I've been to punk shows in decent bars. I recall they had a PA and a sound guy. But ya go with what ya got.
     

  16. twobuckchuck

    twobuckchuck Tele-Meister

    117
    Oct 21, 2015
    California
    Seems like to me, if the drums are mic’d then the guitar should be mic’d. Therefore, If a blues jr isn’t loud enough, get a new Drummer.
     
    JuneauMike likes this.

  17. Xtyfighterx

    Xtyfighterx Tele-Meister

    Age:
    26
    125
    Mar 2, 2018
    North idaho
    I don’t see anything wrong with them if I could find one cheap I’d buy it. I’m not super amp picky currently running an Egnater Tweaker 15 and get the tone I’m after and guess what the pedal guitar and amp I’m using all made in China but, you wouldn’t know it but the sound I’m producing.
     

  18. bigbean

    bigbean Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2013
    Hartville OH
    I always thought a Blues Jr. is a lot of bang for it’s weight and price. The III version is improved and there are lots of mods offered. It’s not expensive, it’s easy to resell, what’s not to like.

    Is it a Marshall stack, nope. Is it a Z wreck, a Two Rock or a Mesa Mark? Hell no. Is it an awesome, not expensive, not heavy, decent product that does what it supposed to do reliably. Yep.

    I thought the article was catty and not well written. The only thing I ever liked about “Premier Guitar” was the printing quality and the videos on YouTube otherwise I’m not a fan.
     
    MisterZ and PBO Blues like this.

  19. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

    Aug 14, 2009
    innsmouth, MA
    It's not unusual for amps to not get miced at bars either.

    One of the most fun weird venue shows I've ever been to was a generator show on a pedestrian bridge over a river in austin at two am.
     

  20. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

    Aug 14, 2009
    innsmouth, MA


    here's some video of one of those bridge shows.
     

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