Blues Jr speaker recommendations for Classic Rock

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Tele Vince, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    I have a Blues Jr NOS with the BillM tone stack mods. I'm looking for a replacement speaker to give it a fuller sound. The stock Jensen C12N reissue was way too harsh sounding on overdriven single notes, while the Eminence Texas Heat I have currently replaced it with cut out too much of the presence frequencies for chord playing. The Jensen was good for rhythm, but bad for leads. The Eminence was good for leads, but bad for rhythm. I'm hoping to find a speaker which can excel at both.I was wondering if you could also please help me pick out which of your speakers best fits my needs?

    I'd like to keep the classic Fender "sparkle" high-end available (chimey, but not harsh), while also maintaining enough low end and low-mids thickness to remedy some of the Blues Jr's "boxy" sound. I'd like solos to sound warm, but still have frequencies to cut through a crowded live band mix.

    I play mainly a Fender telecaster in a classic rock band (Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Petty, Springsteen, AC/DC, The Cars, etc). I'm not a heavy metal player at all, but mostly rock and some blues. My band has a three-piece horn section too, so it's very important that my amp can cut through the mix without having to increase to super loud stage volumes.

    Based on my feedback regarding the Texas Heat, tech support at Eminence recommended their GA-SC64 instead. How does the GA-SC64 cut in a live band mix?

    I'm also considering a Celestion G12H30(75Hz) 70th Anniversary and an Eminence Swamp Thang. Open to other suggestions.

    Could you please help recommend the best choice? Any input is appreciated. Thank you very much!
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  2. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    http://billmaudio.com/wp/?page_id=295

    If you've got a Blues jr, then this is the only website you need.

    I've done some of his mods and they work well. And yes, I changed the speaker and yes, it sounded different and better. But the best thing I did for my Blues jr was to build a larger cab for it out of plywood. Pine works too.

    The tiny MDF box that its sitting in now is choking its sound. I suspect the speaker you have in it now is fine, but YMMV.
     
    Mr Green Genes likes this.
  3. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    Thanks, I actually did his tone stack and twin stack mods. Based on his page recommendations, I also bought the Emi Texas Heat. I do like the TH, but it is lacking in some of those presence frequencies (3-4kHZ) which normally stand out while you're strumming chords in a large band. He gives great advice, but BillM seems rather biased towards a super heavy low end and against mids.
     
  4. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    Hmm. Yeah I think you are right in that regard. But Jason Lollar seems to love lap steel guitars and his pickups (the sound samples I've heard, at least) seem to reflect that treble-heavy lap steel cut. Excellent pickups, just not my sound.

    But if you know the writers bias then that should help interpret their assessment of something. That's the value of movie critics; their consistent sense of taste is part of the equation.

    The Blues Jr power trans upgrade is also worthwhile to do. I found his analysis of speakers seems to jive with conventional wisdom. And I can say the Cannabis Rex has proven exactly as he described it.

    Good luck.

    Postscript to the comment below: Cannabis Rex gave a nice round bottom end. Swamp Thang supposed to do that too. Its a tough call since the EL84 BJ has loads of cut naturally so all this will be interactive. Just curious, you've done the twin stack, are you scooping the mids or are you running them high while you are playing with other musicians? Dumb question, I know, but gotta ask.

    Maybe YouTube would be a better place to search for an answer (speaker demos comparing this vs. that using the same recording gear).
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  5. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    The BillM mods did a lot to get rid of the "boxiness", so I'm not too concerned with that now, and I'm not really looking to go as dramatic as a physical cabinet change. Maybe I'll do the output transformer change someday, but I'm not really in need of more volume or low end. I think my current concern is more in shaping the 700-4,000Hz tonal range.

    I'm most curious as to what speaker could give me the fullness and tone that the Texas Heat does, but with some added Jensen-style presence reintroduced. I'm wondering more specifically if either the G12H30 or GA-SC64 can pull that off. I'm concerned the former will be too bright/harsh, while the latter may not cut through the band mix.

    Thanks!
     
  6. mtjo62

    mtjo62 Tele-Holic

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    I had a Texas Red model that came stock with a Vintage 30. I thought that it worked quite well in the BJr and reduced some of the boxy sound.
     
  7. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    I usually hear about the Vintage 30 when it's paired with something like the G12H30. You don't find it to be too mid-centric, leaving out much of the lows and highs, when it's by itself in a 1x12?
     
  8. mtjo62

    mtjo62 Tele-Holic

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    I don't associate big bottom end or extended highs with a BJr. I bought mine from a client who kept bugging me to take it off his hands for $300 even though I didn't need it. He had subbed in a Tone Tubby 40/40 to tame the highs. He threw in the V30 as well as a new tube replacement set to seal the deal. I thought the 40/40 was very dull sounding. I tried a Carvin British series in it and it sounded better. Just for kicks, I put the V30 back in and it came to life. It was very articulate and I believe BillM liked that combo as well. I ended up selling it for $300 and kept the 40/40, V30 and tubes. I sold it with the Carvin speaker in it and it had a huge magnet that I felt interacted with the tubes and added a slight hum. Didn't notice it with the 40/40 or V30, but that might be something to consider if you choose a high wattage speaker.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  9. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    The Jr is one of my work horse amps. IMO if you have the Tweed version leave it alone ... it is great the way it is. If you have any other version: Swap out the filter caps, reduce the bias current on the Pwr tubes because they run way too hot, and change the speaker to a C. Rex. Optionally if you use reverb change the reverb tank and finally the O.T. can be beefed up ... it is noticeable. If I only could do one mod it would be the speaker ...
    In the end trying to make this amp something that it is not isn't a good idea ... there are many amps that will do what you want them to right out of the box. The cost of these mods begin to add up. Why cut and paste if you don't have to?
     
  10. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    My understanding is that the only difference for the NOS (vs the regular BJr) is the tweed covering (vs the black tolex) and the Jensen C12N speaker (vs something similar to an Eminence 1258).

    The C12N was good for sweeping chords, but all leads had to be played on my neck pickup to avoid harsh "icepick" sound.

    I've had Fromel mods similar to the BillM mods done with tone stack cap changes (which definitely helped remove the boxiness), twin stack mod, and the bias reduction.

    I already owned the BJr, but have decided my gigs are best at managing stage volume with nothing larger than a 15W, so now I'm making this amp gig-suitable. Even with a second speaker swap, I'm well below spending the difference that would be spent on trading in the BJr for a used PRRI, DRRI, or AC15. Risking another $40 for the speaker swap is fine by me.

    The mods and Texas Heat have me really close to the best sound I imagine I can get out of the BJr. I think a speaker with similar tonal qualities to the Texas Heat but the additional presence frequencies will get me there.

    I need a good recommendation for the aforementioned speaker type, not really one for more mods or a trade-in.

    Thanks!
     
  11. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    Do you find that the C. Rex dulls the treble too much? My concern is that it wouldn't be bright enough for rock, although plenty suitable for blues and jazz
     
  12. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Warehouse ET-65 is a great speaker too, V-30 like, but higher power rating. Looks cool, only $69.00 shipped. Lots of folks using in Fenders. I put one in a Peavey Classic 30 recently, it sounds great.

    Just don't get a Jensen C-12K, BillM wrote it was a "dull butter knife of a speaker", and heavy as heck too.
     
  13. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

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    Look into a Celestion Cream, or a Fane F70.

    Cream is an Alnico, F70 is Ceramic.

    I myself would put a Cream in it.
     
  14. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    Thank you. The WGS ET65 may be in contention. A few people have recommended Greenback-type speakers to me. Enough highs and lows for a single speaker cab? I thought those were typically paired with another less mid-centric speaker though.
     
  15. Tele Vince

    Tele Vince TDPRI Member

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    Thanks. The Cream and Fang might both be a little pricier than I'm looking to spend. Hoping to get something (used is fine) for under $100.
     
  16. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Emmy hemp-coned C-Rex, and if you want, swap out the tubes for a set of EH/Sovtek's or a full complement of JJ's. Warms up the amp, and adds dimension to the sound. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  17. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    No not at all ... some of the real harsh highs go away. Most of what I play these days is R&B oriented blues and Jazz. Think 60's Blue Note Sound.The Rex made the difference between keeping the amp and getting something else. The stock speaker sounded to ice picky for lack of a better description.I am never really satisfied with the way my rig sounds ... but I like it best with a Tele. JMHO. Of course I change guitars and amps like most people change socks. For the most part I use JJ tubes.
     
  18. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    G12h30 anniversary or 75hz cream back .. Hellatone has copy
     
  19. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    +1. The Blues Jr can be really shrill sounding. That's what the Rex did for me too. Got rid of the ice pick and generally smoothed out everything else. If the pickups are really midrangey or trebely, then the speaker will still transmit them well. But it can't do ice pick anymore, which is a good thing.
     
  20. telefunken

    telefunken Friend of Leo's

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    I have one of the limited run "Red October" editions. It has an Eminence "Wizard" speaker. It's really full and dynamic. It add a little more clean headroom than the stock. This speaker kinda slipped under the radar.......it's an awesome speaker.
     
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