Is a Blues Junior speaker swap worth it?

Cadillac_Mike

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Right now my main electric guitar amp is an old Blues Junior II limited edition blonde like the one in my pic... You really can't beat 'em for the money as an all around amp IMO but they can sound a bit boxy at times. Would a speaker swap like say to an Eminence Swamp Twang make a worthwhile difference to the tone or is that just throwing $$$ down the toilet and trying to shine a turd lol?
 
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63 vibroverb

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Go for an Eminence Red White & Blue instead of the Swamp Thang. It will soften the high end while keeping it articulate. Bass will also tighten up and stay focused. Mids will fatten up. I’ve heard many great Blues Jrs with the RWB’s.
 

Tim S

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IMO the BJ will never sound like a good Fender tone ala Deluxe or a Princeton due to circuit and EL84s. OTOH put a Celestion type speaker in there and you'll have a fairly decent Brit sounding amp.
Very true!! I got sick of the sound from my Blues 1 (green board). I also found it boxy but green boards tend to sound dark (while every subsequent version tends to be too bright). I ended up using a Celestion Anniversary to better my amp. It doesn’t seem boxy to me anymore, but it certainly doesn’t sound like any past Fender models. It sounds a less boxy and more sonically balance version of itself.
 

Henry Mars

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I put a C.Rex in my Jr. The ST and RWB are also good choices. Yes a speaker change is in order.

There is no "right" speaker though. You have to find one that matches what you do.

I use the C.REX because it is more efficient, providing s tad more "clean" ( if you want to call it that) head room. The C.REX also tames a lot of the "ice pickiness"

There are three things that benefit this amp. A new speaker, A better O.T. and a bais adjustment or just cooling it down a bit. Personally I think they are biased way to hot ..... cooling it down will save some PWR tubes W/O making noticeable difference in the "tone".
 

klasaine

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I agree with what @Henry Mars just mentioned about the C Rex. I recently did that swap and it has improved that amp.

Look, the Bjr is not a great amp. They're a utilitarian, fairly sturdy and relatively cheap tube amp and damn near every guitar, player amatuer or pro, has (and uses) one. Since 1992 I've owned four of them. I use them for rehearsals and gigs where 'my guitar tone' is not the star of the show. I never thought about "modding" one until I found a deal on a C Rex spkr. It made the amp better to my ears.
YMMV.
 

darkwaters

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If you have the original Eminence speaker in it I’d keep it. I sold my BJr years ago, but kept the speaker. I now use it in a Fender closed back cab and it’s great.
 

uriah1

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BJ also do good with most alnicos and the ceramic creamback for fatter
 

39martind18

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I "inherited" a JBL E120 that was blown and I reconed. At the same time, I had a BJ with which I was dissatisfied with the sound, primarily the ubiquitous "boxy" tone. I installed the JBL in the BJ, and there was a great increase in the sound (and weight), but the "boxy" was still there, so, a failed experiment. BJs are not my cup'o'tea!
 

DrBGood

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A small combo will sound like a small combo, meaning boxy. I run mine through a 2X10" cab (WGS Veteran + Celestion VT Junior) and it sounds as good as I would want an amp to sound. Like slauson slim wrote, you could get an American Sound pedal in front of it and dial in your preferred Fender tone. Way cheaper and so much more versatile than any speaker swap.

I am tempted to turn mine into a separate head.

This was a 2X12 cab. Instead of making a new 2X10 baffle, I lazily patched in layers and cut the 10" size holes in them. It was a faster way to test that size cab with 10 inchers. Now that I know it sounds great, I'll probably cut a proper baffle ... or not :)

2X10  V-Type + WGS Veteran.jpg
 

mojavedesert

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I had pro junior a while ago I put a jensen mod speaker (not an expensive speaker) in it just to give it a try. It was an improvement, smoother and fatter sounding, from the speaker that came with the amp. Later, I traded the amp away.
 

schmee

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Cabinet depth is a big thing in sound. But yes, speaker swap is probably the one major thing that will mod an amps sound the most. You want it brighter? or warmer? or...?
 

InstantCoffeeBlue

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Right now my main electric guitar amp is an old Blues Junior II limited edition blonde like the one in my pic... You really can't beat 'em for the money as an all around amp IMO but they can sound a bit boxy at times. Would a speaker swap like say to an Eminence Swamp Twang make a worthwhile difference to the tone or is that just throwing $$$ down the toilet and trying to shine a turd lol?
What is it you wish to change about the amp? Speaker swaps can be such a rabbit hole (and $$$ sinkhole), so I think it makes sense to really think critically about what you like about the amp in it's current state (assuming you do like it), and which characteristics you wish to improve, and whether or not those improvements are reasonably attainable (trying to make a Blues Jr. sound like a vintage Deluxe Reverb or a Marshall JMP = not gonna happen. Trying to make it sound like a better Blues Jr = definitely possible!). Yes, a different speaker may improve the overall presence of the amp, but some of that boxiness is inherent to the Blues Jr's design, both in terms of the circuit and the cabinet.

Sometimes I see these threads on here and TGP where players go down the rabbit hole of chasing a certain idealized tone via multiple speaker swaps, and it makes me wonder if those hundreds of dollars would've been better saved towards a different amp. 🤷🏻‍♂️ Sure, trying to improve the amp you already have usually seems like the more cost-effective route, but... couple speaker swaps here, couple trips to the tech for mods there adds up quickly.
 
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KC

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I have two of the little critters -- one of them long gone with my son -- and I have swapped speakers in both & improved them by doing so. One of them got a weber blue dog ceramic & the other a silver bell. Blue dog sounds bright and Voxy, silver bell more mid-range but still brighter than stock. I wouldn't say that either one transformed the amp but both made it more fun & versatile.

The other thing I did to improve the sound of the amp was to turn the reverb off & use a pedal instead. There's some high-end harshness in that circuit, at least in the older versions.
 

DrBGood

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I have two of the little critters -- one of them long gone with my son -- and I have swapped speakers in both & improved them by doing so. One of them got a weber blue dog ceramic & the other a silver bell. Blue dog sounds bright and Voxy, silver bell more mid-range but still brighter than stock. I wouldn't say that either one transformed the amp but both made it more fun & versatile.

The other thing I did to improve the sound of the amp was to turn the reverb off & use a pedal instead. There's some high-end harshness in that circuit, at least in the older versions.
Funny how some want that amp brighter. I play P90s and humbuckers through it and want the BJ darker.
 

Dik Ellis

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IMO the BJ will never sound like a good Fender tone ala Deluxe or a Princeton due to circuit and EL84s. OTOH put a Celestion type speaker in there and you'll have a fairly decent Brit sounding amp.
Bill M recommended a Celestion Greenback, which is what I have in my Greenboard Blues Jr. Swapping the tubes may also improve the sound. I have JJ's in mine. Bill Machrone is famous for his Blues Jr. mods, of which I had many done. I was so happy with this amp, I sold my Pro Jr. "Woody" instead.
 




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