Blues Junior verses Princeton Reverb RI

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by TelecasterSam, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. TelecasterSam

    TelecasterSam Tele-Holic

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    How does the tone compare? I play small rooms and jam sessions. I'm not too concerned about high volume. I want to go back to a tube amp and the Blues Jr. fits my budget!
    Thanks
     
  2. cboutilier

    cboutilier Tele-Afflicted

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    The BJ is a darker flavoured amp. The PR is a PR. Very different sounds, but both equally good if you like the sound of it more than the other.
     
  3. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not seeing where you get that a Blues Jr is "dark". I have a vintage Princeton Reverb and a Blues Jr.. I've played several PRRIs and other Blues Jr.s, too. The Blues Jr. has considerably less bass response, and tends to be brighter (and "boxier"). Princetons are less "boxy" sounding, more scooped, and have tons more low end, though generally less volume on tap. I'd say they are about even for clean headroom ... a lot of the BJ's volume is distorted.

    The typical Princeton Reverb has a much better sounding reverb, and way nicer clean tones. The distortion up at the higher settings (over "6" on the volume) can get gritty and fizzy, depending on the tubes and speaker. The Blues Jr. has some pleasing low gain distortion, but it's a one-trick-pony. It really only does one sound well, and that's distorted, loud, and sometimes too bright unless you crank the "treble" control back, which can make it muddy.
     
  4. claes

    claes Tele-Holic

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    Here's a good video if you consider the blues junior. I don't like them:
     
  5. Fatschlamp

    Fatschlamp Tele-Meister

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    My smart alec answer is they don't compare! why do you think everyone mods their BJs. ..? The amount of money they spend modding them surely equals the extra dollars spent on the PR.

    Get yrself the 68 custom modified princeton and you wont look back: standard PRs turn to rat-tails after 6-7 - the CPRs can be used all the way up the dial.
     
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  6. TelecasterSam

    TelecasterSam Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the info. I think the Princeton is a better amp. I'm just looking to spend a little less and get a tube amp sound.
     
  7. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Try the tweed blues jr. It has a different speaker and seems to have much more general satisfaction. I live mine.
     
  8. strat1

    strat1 TDPRI Member

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    I would spend the extra coin and go with the PRRI. I had both and there was no comparison between the two. I was changing speakers, looking for mods to better the Blues Jr. tone. I eventually sold it, got the PRRI and never looked back. If you are into blackface tone the PRRI is it.
     
  9. Zipslack

    Zipslack Tele-Meister

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    If you're looking for cheap, check the SuperChamp X2. It's hybrid - Mustang pre with a Princeton tube powrr amp. I traded my BJIii for it. Channel 1 is a great Blackface clean. Channel 2 is the dirty stuff. Much happier with the sound than I ever was with the BJiii.
     
  10. rwhite219

    rwhite219 Tele-Meister

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    I have a tweed BJ and it is a total one trick pony. You either like it or ya don't. I use mine a lot and I dig it, it's not spectacular but it's a workhorse. I do feel that the bass on a Princeton gets flubby as it drives but the cleans are amazing. Pick your poison muchacho.
     
  11. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    I just went on a search for a small tube amp. Four stores in the Tweed Blues Jr. was my favorite, beating out the Princeton RI and the DRRI, and several other amps. I ended buying a Mesa, but that's a different story.

    The Blues Jr. does gritty break up at low volume--or higher volume. It can get pretty loud for such a little amp. The Princeton stays clean and definitely has the scooped mids of the mid-60s Fenders. It depends on which sound you like.

    I was looking for a 68 Custom Princeton (which I hoped would give me the best of both worlds) when I found the Mesa TA-15--which goes from shimmering Vox-y cleans to gritty Marshall crunch with the click of the footswitch.
     
  12. Pcaluaru

    Pcaluaru Tele-Meister

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    My smart alec answer is: The Blues JR is powered by EL84, The Princeton with 6V6.

    Prose and cons of EL84s and 6V6s

    IMO.... EL84s break up quicker and are smother than 6V6 (when breaking up)
    IMO.... 6v6s are more harmonically richer than EL84s. (With cleans 6V6s have more of a wider EQ spectrum)


    A while back I picked up a used modded BJr for the occasional small coffee house gigs. (Jack, Tubes, Tone stack, OT, Reverb Tank, Crex speaker) I use it as a clean platform for my pedal rig. I got no complaints. It's a fine amp. I Just played a new one in a GC waiting on someone. With all my mods, my Bjr just sounds like a richer version of a stock Bjr (tone stacks are what they are....)

    Clean wise... I think the Princeton has a better tone stack and with the 6V6s & it really translate well.

    That doesn't mean I don't like Bjrs, I do... I love mine but at heart I'm a 6L6 guy and 6V6's are closer to my preferred tone, but a lot of guys like EL84s and that why they love the Bjr. totally get it!

    I like the Bjr look & the price better than a Princeton.
    Also, for the price of one Princeton.... you can run two Bjrs in stereo... I know of a few guys that do. Easy to port around and two Bjrs ran in stereo sound Fricken awesome! (Blows the single Princeton out of the water!)
     
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  13. TelecasterSam

    TelecasterSam Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for all the replies. Now to the music store to try both again.
     
  14. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have had both and sold my PRRI on Sunday. I kept the Blues Junior.
    IMO, the Blues Junior takes pedals better. It's a better platform.
    I don't think it's necessarily darker than the PRRI but the PRRI is known for that characteristic Fender "sparkle."
    You have more versatility with the Junior. It's master volume and you have treble, middle and bass Eq vs just treble and bass with the PRRI.
    I think he PRRI is more of a one trick pony. It has a distinguishable sound and tone all it's own which is great if that's what you want.
    Good luck.
     
  15. Mutato

    Mutato Tele-Meister

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    I wrote this comparison back in 2008 when I bought my '77 Princeton Reverb. I also had owned a 1995-6 USA Blues Junior I had bought brand new. They have new variations now. YMMV since you're comparing a stock PR against the newest Blues Junior. But maybe you'll get some insights:


    Princeton Reverb versus Blues Junior


    Hi,


    Last night I played both my ‘77 Princeton Reverb and my 90's era tweed Blues Junior for a side by side comparison (with my ‘92 USA Reissue ‘62 Strat). I set the master on 10 for the BJr so they were both similar in setup. Now note that the speakers are very different. The BJr has a C12N type speaker (stock Fender 50 watt). The PR has a Jensen C12R (25 watt) speaker. The C12R alone brings a TON of jangle and brightness to the PR. The C10R is the standard speaker on most 60’s PR’s. When I bought the PR, it had a generic Fender replacement speaker (Eminence no label type), which was actually very similar to the BJr. It was less bright and more midrange heavy. It had a larger magnet.


    But the main thing I did was play both at full volume to hear the distortion characteristics of each. Here's some insights I had:


    -------------------------


    PLAYED FULL VOLUME (10)


    Blues Junior sounded a lot louder at 10 that the Princeton Reverb. More Bass as well. Probably from the larger wattage speaker. Scary how loud it can get! When you have it 6-7, it had a nice warm distortion. It just oozes blues. I think that's its strong point in design.


    The Princeton Reverb, with the stock-type speaker, has a lot of brightness which you have to turn down to get some bluesy distortion out of. Otherwise it gets raw sounding. Seemed to have slightly less distortion. If I was thinking blues all the time, I would have kept the speaker it came with or get a blues friendly speaker.



    -------------------------


    PLAYED MEDIUM/LOW VOLUME (3-5)


    Blues Junior sounds overall pretty flat in terms of frequency response. You can't really take out the mids. It kind of dominates. Even with the Mid turned down all the way, you still have a lot of mids and not enough bright end (for me).


    Princeton Reverb has a really nice jangle and thinness to the sound. More scooped. The speaker is really accentuating that. It pushes the brightness (if treble on 10), which gives you that Clapton "Let It Rain" type Strat sound. Not everyone's cup of tea. But I love having the option to dial up the treble to get that. You can always turn it down for warmer sounds. It also helps with brightening my dark sounding ES335.


    -------------------------


    CONCLUSIONS:

    Noodling factor:


    I do like the “noodling” ease of use with the BJr where you sit down in front of it, turn the volume to around 6-7, Master on 1-2 and jam away some Blues licks without killing your ears. The PR is more of a clean “noodling” amp at lower volumes. For me to have more cranked sounds, I have to plug into boxes to get that.


    Love to keep both! But I think I really need to have the better clean sounding amp, which the Princeton Reverb gives me and couple it with a good distortion/overdrive pedal. When I jam, it’s mostly clean rhythm playing with distorted solos dropped in. I also want better spring reverb, which the PR has. The Blues Junior’s is mediocre. Having a tremolo is just add-on gravy. I also play with three different types of guitars: Strat, ES335 and a Ric 330/12. The ES335 being the darkest sounding. All three guitars really shine with the PR.


    Speakers play a major role in the tone. I chose the brightest speaker I could because I love that jangly, raw sound. Think early Johnny Cash picking, Surf style stuff, etc...
     
  16. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    It would help if we knew what musical genres you play. The BJr and PRRI are fine amps, but they have different sonic qualities.
     
  17. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    "Spend a little less" = Blues Jr.
    "I like it better" = Princeton

    It can be a real dilemma, that's for sure!
     
  18. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I had a Blues Jr Tweed version.... I wanted to like it. I have buddies who make their's sound good, at times. But, there is a certain upper mid frequency in all of the Hot Rod series amps, that I don't care for. The Tweed BJ had it as well... made it sound boxy. I didn't keep it long, but I tried... I really did.

    Of all the Blackface amps, the Princeton has been my preferred tone for years.... I did end up with one that had a Vintage 30 in it. I had originally grabbed it as a grab and go... the V30 made it too heavy... It made it just as heavy as my larger amps. I liked it. I liked the tone and kept it for quite some time.

    I have moved away for blackface tones these days.... and sold the Princeton away a while ago as well. But, if I had ti to do over again, it would be the Princeton every time.

    Keep an eye out, you might be able to find a used example in your price range.
     
  19. TelecasterSam

    TelecasterSam Tele-Holic

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    I play country, western swing and blues mainly, plus contemporary Christian music at church.
     
  20. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Blues Junior. The amp is really fine as it is, but if you're' a tweaker, a Cannabis Rex speaker and EH/Sovtek or full JJ set would be the cat's meow. :)
     
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