Fender Blues Junior vs. Carr Rambler

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by green72, Feb 2, 2008.


  1. green72

    green72 Member

    Messages:
    914
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Obviously the Carr Rambler is a ton more expensive, and higher wattage and louder.

    But as far as tone,dynamics,etc, has anyone really A-B'd them here?
    If so, whats the verdict?

    Just wondering your thoughts.
    Thanks;)
     
  2. nasonm

    nasonm Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Bangor, ME
    kinda like comparing a Kia with a Caddy isn't it?
     
  3. Free

    Free Member

    Messages:
    1,305
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Honestly those two amps are not comparable fundamentally. It really is analogous to comparing something like a BMW M3 with a sporty Kia model. Whatever one tries to say about tonal similarities - "similar" overdrive character, clean tone, etc, etc - it's fruitless really. Someone can stick nitrous and in their Kia and claim similar performance specs, but I guarantee it's a completely different feel and nature the way a BMW M3 performed those specs. Don't even try IMO.
     
  4. green72

    green72 Member

    Messages:
    914
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Well they're both amps. One is booteek, one is mass produced.

    I just asked how they compare soundwise.
     
  5. Free

    Free Member

    Messages:
    1,305
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005

    I understand that and mean no offense at all to you. I suppose I'm just trying to orient towards finer amp construction and tone - the fundamental difference that transcends an amps gain, overdrive capability, headroom, frequency response, etc, etc, etc.. Again, someone could point out tonal characteristics that are similar, but it would be irrelevant. That's my strong opinion.
     
  6. green72

    green72 Member

    Messages:
    914
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Well I actually have the Rambler, but, it doesn't get that much play time, I don't gig with it, and when I do play it, it doesn't get cranked up really. It's kind of waste to just sit there as a glorified practice amp. I'd REALLY like to get a custom-made G@L Comanche, but alas, financially, I can't really afford it right now. I was thinking of selling it to get the Comanche done, but I don't want to be without a amp at home. My other amp is a Bogner Shiva, and thats for the band at my buddies place. I thought maybe a Blues Junior would be more fitting, as much as I'd hate to part with the Rambler, I can't justify having a little 2k amp just for basically bedroom use. I play through my POD probably more at night when the wife is sleeping anyway, but of course I'd still like a tube set up at home. I thought the Blues Jr might be a good substitute for that. I've played Blues Jr.s in the store several times, and they seemed fine, and I've heard good things about them.

    I guess I might just have to bring one home from my local shop and find out if I could live with that decision.
     
  7. Free

    Free Member

    Messages:
    1,305
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    I see. Looked at that way, that makes sense. I practice at home with a solid-state Vox that I wouldn't gig out with and like it just fine - half the price of a Blues Jr and twice as cool.

    I've played a Rambler (very fine amp) and owned a Blues Junior about ten years ago for practice. What I remeber most about the Blues Jr was it was always rattling something, it produced harmonic noises at times, and the reverb was plain silly sounding. It could get a pretty cool overdrive tone, but it always sounded like something was missing and that a certain level of transparency was absent from it. And, the cabinet was an assault against the concept of resonance. Lastly, the 15 watts it was rated for were the weakest 15 watts I've ever heard - similar to a 15 watt solid state amp's volume.

    That said, though, I guess it could be considered a "decent" amp by many. But, to me it was always a frustrating compromise, because it was an amp that always strove to be more than it was, instead of having the character of an all out cheap amp, which can be a very cool thing sometimes (a Pignose amp for example), especially at home. For the price range, I believe you can do much better for a practice amp. Of course, there are huge Blues Jr factions out there who will disagree with me. Surprised one hasn't chimed in yet...
     
  8. green72

    green72 Member

    Messages:
    914
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Yeah, I see your point. Thanks for your input.
    I'm REALLY on the fence about the idea. The truth is I've never had a REALLY nice guitar, and I've been lusting after a Comanche for years.

    Although the Rambler is SUCH a beauty. I'm afraid I'd be kicking myself if I parted with it. Decisions, decisions. It never ends goddamit.:horse
     
  9. TimmyP

    TimmyP Member

    Messages:
    2,436
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    This is the first I've heard of the Rambler. I will say however that I think the Pro Jr. sounds better than the blues Jr.
     
  10. dave-o

    dave-o Member

    Messages:
    774
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Mercersburg PA
    I have an older green board version blues JR with some "Bill M" mods and a greenback speaker in there and Ill tell you its a great sounding amp. The JR is the only amp I haven't sold in 8 years and since then Ive flipped many amps including, drz, orange, mesa, fender, lil dawg and marshall. With some tweaks you can can get it sounding very good, works great as a practice amp at home (thanks to a master volume) and is very gigable. Ive gigged with it many times with both guitar and harmonica.

    You said you have a shiva, thats an amazing amp so I wouldn't feel bad about selling the car. Try some older JR's if you get a chance.
     
  11. jim lavender

    jim lavender Member

    Messages:
    380
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    I own 2 Blues Jrs. One has an Eminence Tonker and the other is the laquered tweed edition with the Jensen speaker. I think that they are great little amps for the $ but I would suggest a speaker change as that tamed the high end on mine. I a have an Eminence C REX that I'll probably try at some point.
     
  12. Latif

    Latif Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Location:
    Arcata, Ca (very northern)
    I've got a rambler and love the big clean tone I get out of it , even for practice at home. I've played through a BJ and didn't get what I wanted in tone and feel. I agree about the chincy reverb on the BJ. Still it's a great amp for the money, especially for practice. That said I've left the amp search behind for the past few years and focused on better guitars and have found it's the most important part of the tone equation for me. I know there's lot's of opinions both ways out there. I'd go for a great guitar.

    Latif
     
  13. plygtar

    plygtar Member

    Messages:
    119
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    West of Phila, PA
    I bought a used BJ as an amp electronics project as they are readily available for a good price besides being an EL84 based amp and having other good attributes. However, its tone has never really grabbed me even after trying different speakers and doing a number of mods on it. I have since abandoned the Blues Jr in favor of another EL84 amp that I am thoroughly happy with now. I plan to use the Blue Jr. as a cabinet.
     
  14. Miles

    Miles Member

    Messages:
    3,962
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Location:
    Colorado
    The tone of the rambler is a bit more polished and a bit more complex, but for the $$ spent, I'd take the blues jr.

    Yeah, I know, boxy, cheap fender, whatever, but the tone just works, and for a 20 watter, with a decent pedal, I would be able to accomplish just about anything I could want.

    The rambler sounds great, I've played the 1x12 and the 2x10...I didn't look, but they 'sounded' 6V6 based, and they don't break up, whereas the blues jr does break up.

    But, in short, blues juniors are great amps.
     
  15. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

    Messages:
    23,781
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Canada-GTA
    Good move.
     
  16. Ryguy

    Ryguy Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Seems like a no-brainer, if you only use it at home/low volumes, and don't have a really nice guitar, 1.5k is a lot to have tied up in an amp if you're on a tight budget. So I would sell the Rambler

    However, I have owned a Blues JR, and would strongly recommend a Peavey Classic 30 instead. Just my opinion, but i think it's a much nicer sounding amp, stock, or modified, than a Blues Jr.
     
  17. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

    Messages:
    9,008
    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere near White Rock Lake, N. Texas
    I've also got two of 'em, both laquered tweed, one still has the original Jensen C12n, the other a Celestion G12H30.

    I can't speak to the Carr amp, having never played one, but I've owned and played many blackface, tweed, blond and silver Fenders, so here's my tonal take on the Blues Jr:

    The Jensen speaker is kind of your basic, early-rock sounding speakers; nice but not terribly dynamic. Bottom end flaps out easily - too easily - with humbuckers at stage volume - and when cranked, this speaker, and the stock Emi's that come with the tolex version, both make this amp sound boxy.

    But with the Celestion G12H30, that amp really came alive; Gone is the 'boxiness', and instead the amp takes on a whole other character. Very resonant, dynamic, increased headroom but still dynamic response at lower volumes, and a lot more harmonic complexity. Probably the best comparison would be "somewhere between AC30 and JTM at a manageable, small club level". Probably the most un-Fender Fender amp ever made.

    BTW: I've also changed out all the stock Groove-Tube/Sovtek preamp, phase inverter and power tubes to JJ's, have had a bias pot added and have the amp rebiased whenever power tubes are replaced.

    Edit: There are a lot of people carrying on about the older Blues Jr's being better quality and more toneful than the new, Mexican made ones. Personally, I believe a lot of this comes from people who are trying to bump the price on older ones they have for sale. The old ones had some major design flaws in the Reverb - very cheesy sounding, and overall I believe sounded more one dimensional than newer ones. Also the old ones's speakers were hardwired; the new ones have a standard 1/4" jack, so if you want to experiment with other cabinets...
     
  18. drawrein

    drawrein Member

    Messages:
    12
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    I was pleasantly surprised playing one at a store recently and my ears have been listening to a SFDR with a Weber lately. It won't be your "desert island" amp but it seems to be an honest amp with a good clean sound, thats what I look for. Wait around till summer and see if the PRRIs are for real.

    D
     
  19. davya

    davya Member

    Messages:
    187
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    Longmont, Colorade
    I also have two Blues Juniors and I ablsloutly love 'em!! That said, they do sound "boxy" stock. I have modified mine quite a bit. The tone stacks and the reverb circuts are different played with some tubes and I have different speakers in them. The "green" board has a Celestion V30 and the newer "beige"
    board has an Eminence Swamp Thang.

    I use them to gig with in small to medium clubs either all alone or both in "stereo". Of course I don't play hard rock or anything very loud, or too agressive...Blues, Country, Jazzy and Folksy Rock stuff. Mic them up and they could do most anything...very expressive.

    For practice? Oh yeah!
     
  20. Guitar Dave T

    Guitar Dave T Member

    Messages:
    9,008
    Joined:
    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere near White Rock Lake, N. Texas
    I can't speak to the Eminence Swamp Thing, but I tried a V30 in one of my Blues Jr's and did not care for it - too much midrange 'spike' for my ears, and still to boxy for that amp.

    When I went to the G12H30, the heavens opened and so did the amp's tone.
     

Share This Page