Fender Pro/Blues Junior Questions

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Baker4, Feb 26, 2006.


  1. Baker4

    Baker4 Member

    Messages:
    35
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    Jan 31, 2006
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I havn't been pleased with my Classic 30 lately, so today I went out amp browsing. I play at home 99% of the time, but still need enough juice for an occasional jam.

    Amps Played:
    Peavey Delta Blues 2x10 + 1x15
    Crate Palomino V16
    Crate Palomino V32
    Ampeg Jet II reissue
    Fender Champ (circa 1975)
    Fender Blues Junior
    Fender Pro Junior

    Reviews:
    -The delta blues 2x10 sounded much better than the 1x15. I found the 1x15 to be too flabby for my tastes, where as the 2x10 provided the punch and sparkle that I'm after.
    -I was not as pleased with either of the Palominos as I was when I first played them a couple of months ago. I could still dial in killer overdriven tones, but I was not digging the clean tones of either. They were too fat and dull for my tastes.
    -The ampeg was a totally different beast than anything I've played. Very, very clean. Reverb to die for, overdrive was a little weak but then again I'm after clean tones.
    -The Fender champ had definite potential, but I think something was wrong with it b/c every twist of a knob resulted in high, amplified crackling noises. It would also crackle in the middle of my playing.
    -The 2 small Fenders were easily the most intriguing amps I played today. The pro junior had the exact clean tone I was after. I loved the simplicity of the controls, and even found I could still achieve a wide variety of tones using the volume and tone on the amp combined with the volume and tone on my guitar. I really wanted to like the Blues Junior. Similar to the Pro junior, but with more controls and reverb. Unfortunately I really could not dial in any amazing tones. I heard some glimpses of good things, but nothing that stood out like the PJ.

    Questions:
    1. Do any of you Pro Junior users find the lack of controls to be a bad thing?
    2. How does the PJ take pedals? Also how do reverb pedals such as the holy grail sound?
    3. Is there a trick to dialing in the EQ on the Blues Junior? I felt that they might be a little quirky.
    4. I've read that the PJ is a very simple circuit and sounds amazing stock. Does it still benefit substantially from tube and speaker changes the way other tube amps do?

    Thanks for your time/help,
    Darren
     
  2. Barge Concepts

    Barge Concepts Member

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    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    spanish harlem, NYC
    Answers:
    1. Not at all. With EQs, multiple channel amps, etc; I find I wwaste alot of time and frustration trying to dial in 'that sound', and am never really happy. On the PJ, I just turn the thing on a play. Want it a bit darker, brighter - turn one knob, continue playing. If I really have a need for a different sound, that's what pedals are for.
    2. LOVES pedals. I don't use much modulation, so I can't comment there, but it eats up gain and delay. Haven't used it with the hole grail, but works well with my verbzilla and Inekos. I like distorted/OD'd delay and reverb, but you may want try turning down the volume on your guitar or amp if you need a cleaner sound.
    3. No advice on the BJ. When I was last amp shopping, I tried a number of them, wasn't happy at all. Far prefer the PJ. There's a number of well regarded mods for the BJ (google or search on FDP for 'Bill M'), that supposed improve the sound.
    4. Yup. I haven't played with many speakers, but a good tube swap is a necessity. Talk to the guy over at Eurotubes. He's got a number of full retube kits for the PJ (and the BJ as well).

    I love the Pro Junior. While I haven't gone through as many amps (or as much cash) as a lot of people here on this forum, I've had my fair share of amps - the PJ still stands as one of my favorites. Affordable, light weight, easy to change speakers and tubes, sounds great through an extension cab.

    One complaint. It's noisy as hell. Even with the volume on zero and nothing plugged into the amp there is a VERY noticable and bothersome hiss coming from the amp. I've had 3 PJs, and this has been the case will all of them. There's recommended ways to fight this problem (tightening screws, removing screws, tube swaps, removing the back panel) - I've tried them all, and it still doesn't help - not enough any way.


    How's that Delta blues sound overdriven? I like 1x15 cabs, and have never gotten around to trying out that amp...
     
  3. handyman11

    handyman11 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    851
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    Oct 31, 2005
    I'll second the Pro Junior .....I play one along with a Traynor YCV20WR and a Looper box .... My pedals ( Keeley DS-1 , Boss DD-3 , Boss FZ-2 ) , sound great in front of the Pro Junior ... my brother has the upgraded Blues Junior , and I just don't think it sounds that good ..

    I've played it through 4X12 V30's , and more recently an old 15 inch JBL 130A ..both sounded good , but for some reason I keep going back to the stock 10 inch speaker ...

    I was going to replace the pro Junior with a 1970's Fender Bassman 100 ..and I A/Bed both for a few weeks,and somehow decided to stick with the Pro Junior ... the Bassman is going on Ebay ....
     
  4. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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  5. benttop

    benttop Member

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    Did you have the Fat switch pushed in? Makes ALL the difference with this amp. They should have just wired that switch on all of the time. I get great tones with my Blues Jr. but the amp needs to be running pretty loud to get them...
     
  6. joel

    joel Member

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    Santa Cruz, Surf's up!
    I wasn't happy with my PJ until I swapped the speaker. I'd put my money into the speaker before new tubes. I got a used Weber P10R for not too much $$ that I like in the amp. Mine isn't much for clean though, even with the stock speaker, so perhaps it's somehow different than the one you tried.

    I find the controls on my PJ just right, although the volume jumps a lot at about 3,1/2 on the volume knob.
     
  7. derek2615

    derek2615 Member

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    Feb 18, 2006
    Location:
    Sweet Home Alabama
    I had a PJ (new model). Added Weber speaker, JJs, tried all the tricks... I could never get the noise completely out of it. Played with the tubes and got it tolerable but after a while the hum and hiss returned. Swapped tubes and got it good, sold it on ebay. If you don't mind constantly fiddling with tubes to keep it quiet then it's a great sounding little amp. I have heard that the old "Made in USA" versions are quieter. I did not research it enough before I bought...
     
  8. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Webster, NY
    I wouldn't. I really liked the BJ without the switch out. YMMV.
     
  9. deepbluez

    deepbluez Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Susquehana Valley, PA
    <<1. Do any of you Pro Junior users find the lack of controls to be a bad thing?
    2. How does the PJ take pedals? Also how do reverb pedals such as the holy grail sound?
    3. Is there a trick to dialing in the EQ on the Blues Junior? I felt that they might be a little quirky.
    4. I've read that the PJ is a very simple circuit and sounds amazing stock. Does it still benefit substantially from tube and speaker changes the way other tube amps do?>>

    Love my PJ - Originally bought it to get me through a "between amps" period and it's not going anywhere - one of the best "home" amp I've had. I prefer it with SCs but YMMV.

    1) Lack of controls - Actually a plus for me...less to fiddle with...plug in and play!
    2) Pedals - Seems to like my Barber DD and FD2 just fine; I haven't really missed reverb with this amp...but the HG would cover that, I'm sure. The cleans are great - no reverb necessary.
    3) BJ EQing- can't help you there...I tried both, picked the PJ.
    4) Mods - I run mine as a head to a custom 1/12 with a Redfang - and love it. Any decent higher efficiency speaker will likely offer up some tasty tones beyond what the stock speaker can deliver...tho many prefer it just as is...esp overdriven.

    Tubes - PJs can be noisy, no doubt...mine quieted down with jj84s and I'm still experimenting with the preamp tubes...a 12AT7 will give a tad more clean headroom if that's what you want/need...and it's relatively inexpensive to try a bunch and see what works for you.

    All in all a fun, affordable, grab'n go jam amp! Worth demo'ing for sure if you can.

    Peace.

    dpblz
     
  10. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    Pro Jrs rock. I've a blonde tolex one with Weber speaker - big difference. Actually the blue frame Fender speaker ain't bad once it breaks in. That just takes awhile. After gigging for awhile with a Mesa MkIV, I welcome simplicity in controls. That's one of the things I love about my Budda Twinmaster - 3 knobs. Same with the Fuchs BlackJack21 - 4 knobs. Tough to argue.

    peace,

    jb
    :BluesBros
     
  11. aeolian

    aeolian Member

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    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA.
    Tubes can contribute to hiss, but it's mostly thermal noise from resistors. A bit of upgrading to carbon film in the right places would work wonders. I've been shopping around for a Blues Jr for rehearsals and grab and go. Haven't found a "project amp" that was cheap enough yet. Sometimes I like the fat switch in, but if I'm just after a clean sound, it sounds more like my DR with the switch out. Not exactly, but sort of a tweed switch.
     
  12. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    I own the relic'd bj with the upgraded Jensen speaker. I generally tend to dime the master and use the gain knob for volume. Seems there are extreme opinions re this amp, either it is pure cr*p or very good. I'm in the latter camp, especially with a tele and eq pedal on the front end. Sometimes I engage the fat switch, sometimes not. Usually leave it off for that chimey tone. But the fat switch can bring out the growl in a tele.
     
  13. Baker4

    Baker4 Member

    Messages:
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    Jan 31, 2006
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Picked up a Fender Pro Junior this weekend, thanks for all the input guys. I love this amp, especially with the volume at 6 and above! Any advice for tubes/speakers for better cleans when it's at low volumes?
     
  14. A440

    A440 Silver Supporting Member

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    beating a dead horse, but also love the simplicity of the pro jr.

    perfect grab and go amp for drummerless gigs. a little challenged if playing with a loud drummer. solution? get 2 of them and run them together :)

    the simplicity is a plus IMO. less tweakin' & twiddlin', and more guitfiddlin'

    I run mine pretty clean and have used it on numerous duo type gigs in bars. usually run it at around 4 or 5 on vol and use various pedals in front. I do run a boss RV-3 in front with pretty good results.

    I have 2 of the black tolex models and have kept them pretty much stock except for tube changes. tube changes usually help cut down on any hiss/white noise (at least it worked for me).

    ps...the z carmen ghia is also another nice option
     
  15. Robert1950

    Robert1950 Member

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    Location:
    Edmonton, AB.
    Baker4: Hows the Pro Junior doing after two months? It's on my purhcase list for the end of June, unless I find something to displace it

    While the Gear Page was down there was this recent thread on Birds and Moons about the Pro Junior:

    http://forums.birdsandmoons.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26560
     

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