Fender’s new(ish) inexpensive tweed line….which one?

jrblue

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I have a first-run Pro Junior that has been modded beautifully over the years and is a phenomenal amp. It has virtually nothing in common with a tweed, and I don't use it for anything tweedy at all. In fact, the oddball tone setup on the PJ, which is intended to create a sort of early breakup, is one of the very worst features of the amp. (Therer are easy mods to get rid of the ill effects.) As others point out, there are a zillion tweed clones out there, including the Custom Champ reissue by Fender, which gets much praise and is not too $$$. But a PJ or BJ m-- nah. I love my modded PJ. For tweed, I use my Champ.
 

archetype

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I kind of wish all of this tweed nonsense would end. That was 60 or so years ago. While today's amps aren't built as well they sound just fine, I think a lot of this is in the player's head. A Blues Deluxe or a Tweed BJ or the Delta Blues /C30 sound just fine in their element. Which current production Stereo set up sounds like a Victrola ?

There are tons of amps that sound just fine, but just fine isn't the point. So called "tweed circuits" have tone and response that aren't commonly found in amps with other circuits. If you want that tone and response, you can get into the ballpark with other circuits and perhaps pedals, but you don't really get all the way there.
 

fretWalkr

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My main amp is a Mesa MK IIb which is the ideal for me. It's got a sweet bassman-ish tone stack, great cleans, and all the tube OD you could ask for. But it's too heavy for me to cart around.

So I got a Blues Jr and use it for playing out at jams. I was looking for something with that tweed look, tweed tone (without the BF chimey sound), and tubes. Guitar lives in the mid range so I wanted a tone stack with a middle control. I also like a master volume so I can dial it up to the edge of breakup. With a tube amp I don't want to stick a transistor overdrive as the first thing in the circuit. To my ears that defeats the purpose of the tubes. If I do that I'd rather just go with the convenience and light weight of a modern SS amp.

The Blues Jr checked nearly all of my boxes. It has tubes in the preamp and output stage, a tone stack that's similar, if not identical to a tweed bassman, and a MV. It's not as solidly built as my Mesa or SFSR which were my work horses during my gigging days. But other than a loose input jack fixed under warranty I haven't had any problems. It's all stock, I don't see any need to mod it.

The only complaints I have is that the leather handle looks great but is not very practical and the 10 inch speaker can sound boxy. It looks like Fender agreed with me on the speaker since they put 12s in the new Blues Jr IV. I've seen all the threads on modding the BJr but I think those guy would be happier with a different amp. They all seem to want a BF Fender sound which is what I don't want. Play it for what it is, which is a lot of good tone and a nice looking and sounding tube amp.
 

watercaster

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I have the Peavey DB 115. It's looks are tweedy but it's really some sort of quasi-vinyl type tweed. Not the real shellac cloth stuff. Don't let the repair horror stories scare you. It's really not bad servicing it. I did a complete re-cap job also replacing a few questionable resistors in under a couple hours. Here's a 'before' pic. You can find these amps cheap.

upload_2021-11-9_13-9-0.jpeg
 

clingin_on

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I have the Peavey DB 115. It's looks are tweedy but it's really some sort of quasi-vinyl type tweed. Not the real shellac cloth stuff. Don't let the repair horror stories scare you. It's really not bad servicing it. I did a complete re-cap job also replacing a few questionable resistors in under a couple hours. Here's a 'before' pic. You can find these amps cheap.

View attachment 917761

I saw a guitarist playing through this exact amp:

Tele - Roland RE-201 - Delta Blues 115.

A match made in heaven. He was a good player though, you can't leave that bit out.

I'll see if I can dig him up, he just may be on the internet somewhere.
 
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JamesAM

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The blues junior is a fine amp - I had an older cream board one that sounded great. it looks good with tweed covering, but as others have indicated isn't what we would call a "tweed amp" #onhere. sounds really good for not a lot of $$.

Authentic "tweed" amps - the handwired circuits that were used in tweed covered amps from the 40s and 50s - have their own specific sonic character that is literally at the nexus of classic fender and marshall sounds. The blackfaces and marshalls both trace their circuit lineage to tweed amps, just varying their approaches to evolving them in a different way.

for what you've described you're looking for, OP (a good sounding tube amp with tweed cabinet covering), I'd get the blues junior or the supro delta king. the blues deluxe is too loud, and the pro junior (which sounds fantastic) doesn't have MV.

If I were you, however, I would forget that and buy a 5e3 deluxe clone (or a 2000s ampeg j-12 or j-20) for about $500-750. the sounds, and more importantly, *the feel*, are on another plane of existence and are worth being stuck looking at whatever covering is on the cab.

blues jr: really good organic 3d "tube" sound, sparkly cleans, good pick dynamics, decent overdrive, solid headroom for gigs if you need it

5e3 deluxe: so pick-hand sensitive it may actually be alive. overdrive sounds like nothing else and cannot be replicated. cleans are no kidding "the" fender cleans. may not have enough headroom (in fact, probably doesnt) for a gig situation.

either way, you'll end up with a good amp. best of luck and let us know what you pick.
 
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Whitebeard

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If you can afford to, buy a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a Tube Screamer TS9DX Flexi-4x2 that has been modified by Robert Keeley. If you can't find one for sale call Keeley Shop Phone: 1-405-341-2025 and ask if he's still making them. If the answer is no, ask what he is making as a replacement for it. The Deluxe Reverb is an extremely versatile amp. that's easy to carry around but powerful enough to gig with. Turn the volume down at home but still get distortion and sustain using the Tube Screamer with it. Both units are strong and dependable. Good luck.
 

Henry Mars

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There are tons of amps that sound just fine, but just fine isn't the point. So called "tweed circuits" have tone and response that aren't commonly found in amps with other circuits. If you want that tone and response, you can get into the ballpark with other circuits and perhaps pedals, but you don't really get all the way there.

I played them when they were just another amp the cats were using. '60 - 61. They were a quality amp for the period but I can't get excited. Aside from the player and the oos and ahhhs you are gonna get from the other young guitar players that think because some obscure blues cat used one 65 years ago that anyone else is going to care? MOJO is not inherited. If you want to go broke be my guest there are a lot of amps that do the same thing.
Every year I either hung or play at this outdoor party. Everyone in this one band has a vintage Marshall. They are so fuzzed out that they sound like crap .... basically the way they sounded in '68. I was using an old PEAVEY DEUCE and it blew these amps off the stage when it was our turn to play. It is all in the human head. They don't make you play better or sound better. The best sounding club player in my area plays a cheap Strat copy and an old Yamaha SS amp. You need to sit in the audience with your back turned. You might get a different perspective.
Then again if makes you happy go for it.
Just an aside. I was down in south Philly one night, in the early '70's (?) me and a number of the fairly high powered guitarists in the Philly area. We were there to listen to, and hang with Pat Martino for a few hours. He was playing through a Crown PWR amp and beat up PA speakers. Nobody including him gave a crap about his amp. Actually quite funny when I think back on it. Quite an evening.
 

archetype

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I played them when they were just another amp the cats were using. '60 - 61. They were a quality amp for the period but I can't get excited. Aside from the player and the oos and ahhhs you are gonna get from the other young guitar players that think because some obscure blues cat used one 65 years ago that anyone else is going to care? MOJO is not inherited. If you want to go broke be my guest there are a lot of amps that do the same thing.
Every year I either hung or play at this outdoor party. Everyone in this one band has a vintage Marshall. They are so fuzzed out that they sound like crap .... basically the way they sounded in '68. I was using an old PEAVEY DEUCE and it blew these amps off the stage when it was our turn to play. It is all in the human head. They don't make you play better or sound better. The best sounding club player in my area plays a cheap Strat copy and an old Yamaha SS amp. You need to sit in the audience with your back turned. You might get a different perspective.
Then again if makes you happy go for it.
Just an aside. I was down in south Philly one night, in the early '70's (?) me and a number of the fairly high powered guitarists in the Philly area. We were there to listen to, and hang with Pat Martino for a few hours. He was playing through a Crown PWR amp and beat up PA speakers. Nobody including him gave a crap about his amp. Actually quite funny when I think back on it. Quite an evening.

Were you trying to respond to someone else? You seem to be going on about things that weren't in my post.
 

Henry Mars

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Were you trying to respond to someone else? You seem to be going on about things that weren't in my post.
I'm old ... probably just lost my train of though or conversely the lack of it. It's probably the prednisone I had a bad asthma attack yesterday. Sorry about that chief.
 

JRapp

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I could be wrong, but isn't there actually some 'tweed era topology' in a Blues Jr. and Pro Jr. ?

I know the power section is EL-84, but thought the biasing, 'tone stack' and some of preamp gain has origin from '50's Fenders?, mated with the different power tubes ( cost cutting?)

I am not the least bit amp tech savvy, just commenting on what I have read here on TDPRI from folks that do know/understand these amps.

Nope. The ill-fated 6G9 Tremolux with EL84s disappeared pretty quick. The BJ tone stack is basically a BF type nwith BF values, fixed bias, LTP phase inverter, and a hardwired 100 pF bright cap. it's not like any other amp Fender ever made...thank God. I've been through a 1/2 dozen of them (mods, speaker swaps, bigger OTs, yaddayaddayadda) and I have no use for Shane Nicholas's little squawk box.
 
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archetype

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I'm old ... probably just lost my train of though or conversely the lack of it. It's probably the prednisone I had a bad asthma attack yesterday. Sorry about that chief.

No worries. I thought I heard a train. :D

Sorry to hear about the asthma stuff. My wife is using an inhaler for the first time in decades and doesn't know what's suddenly giving her trouble.
 

Lone_Poor_Boy

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I kind of wish all of this tweed nonsense would end. That was 60 or so years ago. While today's amps aren't built as well they sound just fine, I think a lot of this is in the player's head. A Blues Deluxe or a Tweed BJ or the Delta Blues /C30 sound just fine in their element. Which current production Stereo set up sounds like a Victrola ?


You're probably right but I have a bunch of amps, from Boogies to Blues Juniors and a Marshall, and this 5E3 kit I just had finished has me mesmerized. I'll just start to test it and just jam for and hour or two before I realize it.
 

Dik Ellis

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what exactly do you want? cosmetics or sound? 50s era tweed amps & their modern clones are substantially different beasties than the more recent critters you mention--the older ones use 6v6 power tubes vs the el 84s in the pro jr. The blues deluxe uses 6l6s which puts it in fender concert territory

but if it's 50s era tweed SOUND you want, you're best off looking for a 5e1 champ or 5e3 deluxe clone, of which there are multiple varieties.
Indeed. I myself have been confused about the Tweed thing. Looks are great, but do they sound any better than a black tolex amp? I will put my Black Tolex Blues Jr. (Bill M modded) against any Tweed Blues Jr. anytime. My idea of a true Tweed amp would be a 5E3 circuit amp, which is at the top of my gear bucket list. My amp tech builds them and I would take one of his, for sure.
 




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