Fender Blues JR, making one better?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Melodic Dreamer, Jun 29, 2006.


  1. Melodic Dreamer

    Melodic Dreamer Member

    Messages:
    5,635
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    I am getting ready to buy a Blues Jr off a buddy of mine for 100$. It would be for practicing at a friends house in his living room. I'm not using it with drums or anything.
    I have heard people doing mods, but what do the mods really do? What speaker/tubes do you guys recommend?
     
  2. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    Messages:
    438
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Location:
    Kentuckiana
  3. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

    Messages:
    2,972
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Location:
    northern Connecticut
    I'm going to be doing the Machrone mods on my green board BJ. And getting a new cab (5E3 basically) to compliment it.
     
  4. CBeeper

    CBeeper Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,425
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2003
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I did the BillM mods on my new Junior. It really made a hugh difference. The most dramatic of which was the increase in headroom. Before when I hit the amp with an overdrive it mushed out immediately. Now I hit it with a stack including a Hellbilly, Eternity, COT and Klon and it takes any combination I can throw at it. I did the Bias, Tone Stack and Presence mods. Next on the list is a Switchcraft input jack to replace the cheap plastic one and Bill's clean boost.
     
  5. JoeYello

    JoeYello Member

    Messages:
    1,076
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Are there any mods like these for a 70's Fender Champ?
     
  6. pickaguitar

    pickaguitar 2011 TGP Silver Medalist Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,963
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Location:
    TEXAS
  7. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    35,311
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Location:
    Northern VA
    I'm not telling you what to do ... I'm telling you what worked for me.

    The best mod I ever found for my BJ was selling it and buying a better amp. It's a boxy little beast. Is it possible to dabble around the margins? Sure, and for someone who already owns one and is tight on funds perhaps that's a viable option.

    Otherwise, I've concluded it's best to save my time and money and treat myself better.

    P.S. Though I'd buy one too for $100.
     
  8. DArmstrong

    DArmstrong Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    +1 on BillM's site. I've done the works* to my BJr, for fun and because it keeps getting better. The mods (except the OT swap) aren't hard to do if you can solder a little. It's a fun way to learn and you get a little giant killer amp as a bonus, for very little $$! What's not to like?

    Do it!

    *Tone stack mods, presence control, adjustable bias, stronger input jack, smaller reverb bright cap, Hammond 1650E output transformer, Emi RW&B, 12AY7 in V1, JJ 12AX7s and EL84s elsewhere. Soon will install a BillM clean boost and stiffen the power supply with a bigger cap.

    P.S. Check the FenderForum also. Huge ongoing Blues Jr thread there, where BillM contributes tons.
     
  9. michael.e

    michael.e Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,813
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    Half Moon Bay, CA
    LOL! I was scrolling down and thinking that I was also going to respectfully suggest this as well. My commentary is from my direct experience with the Fender Blues series.
    M.E.
     
  10. Melodic Dreamer

    Melodic Dreamer Member

    Messages:
    5,635
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Do you know of anyone who had this done?
    The basic model for the Plexi mod is 469$ and thats not including the amp. I'm wondering if that price is worth it for this style of amp.
     
  11. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

    Messages:
    2,972
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Location:
    northern Connecticut
    I was looking into doing the s2amps thing, but when everything is tallied up it just seemed like a lot of cash. Basically not much is left of the BJ, especially if you factor in a new cab and speaker (which I would do anyway). Seems like a lot of cash outlay. Can't speak to the sonics though.
     
  12. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

    Messages:
    15,346
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    In The Basement
    I have to agree with Jon. I've never understood putting double or better into the purchase price of an amp to make it sound good.

    The most I've ever done was tubes and a speaker in a DRRI. It helped quite a bit. After a while I looked into having it converted to ptp but thought better of it and sold the thing.

    However, do what makes you happy.....
     
  13. Ben C.

    Ben C. Member

    Messages:
    6,869
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    "Boxiness" seems to be a popular complaint...

    I have a 'Two-Tone'... the 1x12 / 1x10 version of the BJ in a larger cab. There is no boxiness at all and it sounds absolutely fantastic. Yes, even with stock tubes and unmodded.

    So I would think about running yours through an extension cab, or through a 2x12.

    -Ben
     
  14. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,303
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    A close friend of mine had the S2 Tweed/18 Watt mod done. The tweed side of that amp is an absolute screamer. My friend also had the 1/2 power switch installed, which is really cool. Great work for the dough!
     
  15. Transvonjng

    Transvonjng Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    How much do the mods cost?
     
  16. Transvonjng

    Transvonjng Member

    Messages:
    4
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    I mean how much do they cost for those of us who don't do them ourselves...
     
  17. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

    Messages:
    9,011
    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere near White Rock Lake, N. Texas
    BillM's mods are all tested and good.

    For the lower cost route, you might consider:

    Issue: #1 with this amp is unwanted Boxiness. This a result of both the speaker and cabinet size. Because the cabinet is so small, midrange heavy speakers like the stock Emminence can really impact this issue. Also, speakers that flap out on bass notes when driven can be perceived as adding midrange relative to the loss of bass response, and also add to the problem. This is the case with the stock Jensen C12n found on the tweed NOS Blues Jrs.
    Solution: Replace speaker with a Celestion G12H30. This is a speaker that can be cranked while maintaining its relative midrange response. It also keeps a balanced bass response. Very quick and easy way to lose unwanted boxiness. Look at the Hellacat 30 at Avatar speakers' web site. It is a private labeled G12H30 for a huge discount.
    Issue: Short Tube Life. The stock Sovtek EL84 power tubes have plenty of chime, but the nature of this amp's cool tone is how it basically cooks these tubes. And when they start to lose it, they start sounding awful.
    Solution: Replace power tubes with JJ EL84's. Very affordable, much more robust sounding, and they seem to hold up significantly longer. While you're at it, you might consider replacing the preamp tubes with JJ's too. Really nice sounding tubes for this amp, IMO.
     
  18. rh

    rh Robo Sapien Noise Maker Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,402
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    New York, USA
    I recently picked up a USA Blues Jr. I put a spare Scumback H75 into it, and bought a Blues Jr kit from Eurotubes ("max headroom with fatness" spec'ed on the power tubes) and I'm VERY impressed with the improvement. The speaker really helps the boxiness go away, and the tubes really do help with headroom and overall chime.

    It ain't gonna blow away my '93 SC-30, but it's a good sounding amp that I'd be happy to take out to the local open jams. I'm pretty sure I could turn smirks to smiles with it.
     
  19. SRVTWO

    SRVTWO Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    This is what I did to my blues Jr.
    1. Bought off of Ebay (cant remember what I paid but it was about average for what they were going for, and its a Mexican made one, more on this later)
    2. Shipped directly to Roy Blankenship of Blankenship Amplification in CA.
    3. Roy touched all the solder joints, replaced the preamp tubes, installed a Mercury Magnetics output transformer that he uses in his Leeds 21 amp and installed Eminence Govenor (Vintage 30 copy).

    After a good month of use (it took that long to break in the speaker) this amp is awesome!!!! Tip: I have tried it with a few different speakers and all sound good but if you want to use it with a band pick a very efficient one ie: Eminence Govenor, etc or the modest 15 - 18 watts wont get you over the band. Suggestion: Dont worry so much about the made in Mexico and Made in the USA. This is my second one of these amps with these mods and the first was USA (was stolen) this one is Mex. The two amps sounded a little different but neither I would say is better just a little different. Good Luck
    Mike
     
  20. plygtar

    plygtar Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    West of Phila, PA
    +1 on Jon's comment. I agree. Had one and in the end the best thing I did was sell and replace it.
     

Share This Page