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Fender Pro Junior

Discussion in 'Reviews of amps and cabs' started by PB+J, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. PB+J

    PB+J Silver Supporting Member

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    This is a very simple amp 15 watt with just volume and tone. It comes with a single ten inch speaker in a small and very portable cab. It's built on a circuit board. Solid state rectifier, two EL84s and two 12 Ax7s

    The amp was designed to have somewhat of a "tweed" sound. Fender's tweed amps have a different sound from the blackface/silverface amps, which have a very pronounced midrange cut. Tweed amps had much more midrange, and tend to have a looser sound with less clean headroom.. The pro junior sounds more like a tweed amp. People often describe them as "boxy" sounding: That's the midrange they are hearing.

    The amp is built around EL84 tubes rather than the usual fender 6v6/6l6. And it is biased very hot. It runs hot, and it has a "hot" sound. It has a very effective clean tone till about ten o'clock, then it starts to break up. But even the clean tone has a lot of saturation in it, or a fair amount of "sag:" a nicely loose and lively feel. Its hard to describe this, but it seems as if it's designed to hit the power tubes hard. You get saturation from the power tubes, rather than the preamp. Some people suggest lowering the bias current: I suspect this would change what's good about the amp.

    I play mostly jazz, aiming for not clean tone but something more like Kenny Burrell, "Midnight Blue," and set the volume to halfway and control it with the guitar volume knob. I can gig with the Pro junior with a drummer without getting obviously distorted. It's a very loud amp.

    The downside of the Pro Junior is it's noisy at idle--it has a lot of hiss and hum. There are various fixes you can do posted on the web. They have some effect, but it's still going to be a noisy amp. Putting a 5751 or a 12 ay7 in V1, the first preamp tube, will stop most of the hiss, but also reduce the degree of push on the power tubes.

    It also tends to vibrate the preamp tubes a lot, so you will often get some ringing at higher volume. I went to the trouble of "shock mounting" the circuit board the tubes are on, using silicone standoffs

    It's not a perfect amp, but it's a really great sounding simple tube amp for not much dough. It's portable, giggable, and relatively easy to mod or change. It doesn't offer you twenty different models or a master volume or channels: it's simple, direct, and effective
     
  2. Dad love mom

    Dad love mom Supporting Member

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    I have the Pro Junior IV and it has no hiss or hum.
     
    Donn Rowe likes this.
  3. PB+J

    PB+J Silver Supporting Member

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    arlington, va
    I don't know anything about the Pro Junior IV, which was just released. I have a version III

    The other thing that's interesting about the Pro Junior is the way the volume control works. If you set it to 9 o'clock it will be too loud for home use, and if your guitar is on full and you turn it down to barely audible you'll still hear distortion. But if you turn it to 9 o'clock and back off your guitar volume you get a really nice clean tone. The tone control is a little odd. It interacts with the volume in interesting ways. If the volume is all the way up, the tone control becomes largely ineffective. If the volume is halfway up, the tone control has a different range than if the volume is 1/4 up. There are a lot of nice sounds in there depending on your style. I rarely get into high gain, high volume playing.

    I've made a couple replacement cabs out of pine, one basically the same size as the original cab and one larger, to hold a 12 inch speaker. It does sound different with the pine cab, maybe better depending on your taste. The stock pro junior has a very thick speaker baffle, made of particle board. I made cabs with much lighter birch ply baffles.

    This changes the resonant frequency of the amp some. It sounds a little more "open" maybe. Not a night and day difference; more like it shifted the bass a little higher. The biggest difference is weight. With a 12 inch speaker it begins to sound like a very different amp. The thing soudns great stock: I'm not really sure the new cabs made it better, just different
     
    blujaz1 likes this.
  4. DIECHEATO

    DIECHEATO Member

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    Jan 24, 2013
    I have one of the original "Made in Brea" tweed covered ones. Mine rocks, thumps and it does not have the hum or hiss noise the later ones suffered from. I'm glad to read that the PJ IV does not have hum or hiss also. These are very cool amps.
     
  5. wookyoftheyear

    wookyoftheyear Supporting Member

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    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    I perpetually come back to thinking about a Pro Jr. for one of my straightforward folk/blues gigs. I've got a pretty light amp (a Goodsell Mk 17, swapped with a neo speaker), but it'd be nice to have something I can take on buses/metro if I have a gig after work.
     
  6. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane apolitical Silver Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Denton, Texas
    I keep my early model Pro Jr, my MIJ Strat, and a cable in my pickup at all times. You know, in case a jam breaks out somewhere.
    Mine's not noisy. I put the Vol at 3 o'clock and the tone at 9. Set it, forget it, and use the guitar controls. The PO put a Blue Pup in there and I added Amperex Bugle Boy power tubes.

    It's a sweet amp!
     
    Cliffhydro likes this.
  7. Bluestar

    Bluestar Gold Supporting Member

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    Dec 29, 2006
    Love mine! Even if l'm not playing it, I love looking at.
     
  8. ScioBro

    ScioBro Silver Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]

    You can reduce noise by re-routing the wires a little bit.

    Clip the existing tie-wraps and make it look like the photo

    1) you're making sure that wire pairs coming off the PT cross each other at 90 degrees (the greens, reds, b&w)

    2) taking the green wire pair near the middle of the run to the tube sockets, put a pencil between the wires and twist them up, then push them to sit down in the edge of the chassis

    This works
     
    blujaz1 likes this.
  9. JR88

    JR88 Member

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    Bandmaster Band Camp, Princeton, but did no Blackface Bastard lol
     
  10. jackson

    jackson Supporting Member

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    Philadelphia, PA
    Big fan here. Mine is not noisy at idle, sounds great, weighs 20 lbs, and was cheap. Big enough for smaller gigs. Most importantly, it has held up very well over the years, although it does eat power tubes if you push it a lot.
     
  11. Arcadia

    Arcadia Member

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    Nov 22, 2017
    Please stop making me want to buy more amps. Thanks.
     
  12. jesus martin

    jesus martin Member

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    Feb 5, 2019
    Hello friends, I greet you from PERU, I have a fender pro jr 3, but apparently it does not produce the overdrive when I turn up the volume knob, it only increases the sound nothing else, some expert could help me and tell me what is due ?? only data that I have is that the amplifier is the type 230v / 50hz, but in my country the electrical outlet is 220v / 60hz, maybe that has to do, thanks in advance guys.
     
  13. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    I have a Pro Jr IV. I replaced the Jensen 10 with a a Celestion Vintage 10. I tried a Celestion Gold 10 but it would not fit, even with the magnet cover off. The Vintage 10 takes out some of the midrange honk out of the sound. It also adds decibels and firms up the low end. The Jensen is mushy on the low end. The OP says he uses his for jazz. It can do that just fine. It will also do blues and roots stuff but it gets pretty loud! I just used mine for a 14 piece swing orchestra rehearsal where I was mostly chunking quarters with my Collings 290 with Lollar mini hums. Turning the tone pots on the amp and the guitar way down. Still a little middier than I like but it was really just fine and easily kept up with the rhythm section. I don't solo with this orchestra but if I needed to it would have been loud enough. I want to have someone make the bias adjustable, tinker with the phase inverter section a bit and change it to 6V6s. This saturday we are giving a dance/concert to benefit the historic Jayhawk Theatre in downtown Topeka, KS and I will probably use my Quilter 101 reverb head and a WGS 10" in a closed cab instead of the Pro for a thicker low end and less mid honk. The head fits in the cab and weighs less overall than the Pro and since I might have to dolly my stuff a block or two I'll use that rig. I really like the little PRO!
     
    Soothsayer likes this.
  14. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    I changed my mind yesterday and brought the little Pro to my swing orchestra gig last night. I used it with my black dog hair Collings 290 with Lollar mini hums. I wasn't expecting to play any solos with all of those horn players but the director threw me couple anyway. The little Pro Jr IV with the Celestion Vintage 10" easily played over the orchestra. I had the volume on about 6 and the tone on about 5. It sounded great!! For rhythm I dialed the tone pot down to about three on the guitar and put the volume pot on about 7. I was chunking quarters and pushing that band like a mother. The drummer realized I wasn't rushing so he didn't speed up. When you push the beat like that the band swings and bounces better. I would still like to have a tech do some tweaks to it. I know it can be improved, but even as it is, it's a great little amp. You can spend a lot more and not get better tone. If I was going to use it for my main amp I would use it with my Dr Z Brakelight so I could dime it blues stuff. Before soundcheck I turned it all the way up and played some BB King kind of stuff and it sounded super nice, but it was LOUD. 15 watts into a strong speaker will surpise you!
     
  15. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade Supporting Member

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    So you had the guitar volume on 7 and the guitar tone at 3 with the amp at volume 6 and tone at 5 for the rhythm work. What did you do for the solos? Just roll the volume up on the volume pot of the guitar?
     
  16. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    Yea. Just put the guitar all the way up. I probably opened the tone pot too. I think the good speaker helped. That and the Collings guitar really has a fine sound. The mini hums are lower in output than full size humbuckings, which is why I ordered them on this guitar.
     
  17. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade Supporting Member

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    Thanks! Always interested in how guitarists work their craft with orchestras - swing or otherwise!
     
  18. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    You're welcome. The only think that would make it a little easier is to use a volume pedal to adjust the volume easier.
     
    ArtDecade likes this.
  19. havlma1

    havlma1 Member

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    Central Europe
    Hi Jesus Martin, the voltage is OK, small differences have no influence on the amp. I would check what kind of tubes you have in the preamp (V1 position, small tube on the very right if you look from the back side of the amp). Make sure it is 12AX7 type, maybe you have some other lower powered making in hard to distort.. Anyhow this amp needs to be pushed to like 8-10 to get distorted.. and then it gets loud :) .. or use an overdrive/distortion pedal.
     

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