Suggestions for improving a Blues Junior?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by trumpus, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Hey all,

    I've got a stock Blues Jr. that I use as my bedroom/practice amp. I actually don't find the same problems with this amp that others have mentioned, however, my ears may not be as finely honed in terms of tone.

    I've read a few threads where people talk about swapping tubes, speakers, performing mods, and I was just wondering....

    ...for those that use or have used a Blues Junior, what would you recoomend I do to improve the overall tone (short of telling me to buy a different amp - finances are somewhat tight, and I'm already on the hunt for a Bassman - but I still need something for bedroom-ish volumes).

    Any specific speaker recommendations? Any specific mods? Specific tubes? Add an extension cabinet? (thought this will likely make the volume louder!), have it rehouse?

    Like i said, i don't hate the tone, but if it can be improved upon, well, then why not!

    Brian
     
  2. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    Here's Bill M's Blues Jr modification page. Great stuff
    http://home.comcast.net/~machrone/bluesjunior.htm

    Also, a Mullard 12AX7 in v1 makes a huge difference (you can buy a used but tests great one for $40). I've got a Weber c12n speaker in mine, sounds real good
     
  3. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

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    Gasoline and a match.
     
  4. pickaguitar

    pickaguitar 2011 TGP Silver Medalist Silver Supporting Member

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    It's a great amp!

    Try some JJ main tubes along with some tung-sol preamp tubes.
    If your's is not tweed...try upgrading the speaker.
    Also...the BillM mods are ok. Maybe just the bias mod is all you really need.

    Jason
     
  5. Calloway

    Calloway Member

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    I've had one for years and love it. I did change the tubes to JJ's, but that was only cuz the old ones were starting to go. It really did make a big difference, cleaned up the sound a bit and had a little more bass response. I also swapped the speaker for an Eminence Private Jack, I mainly did this because I was gigging with this amp quite a bit, and wanted a little more clarity. Great amp for home, and can even work well live.
     
  6. onestop

    onestop Silver Supporting Member

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    :nono
     
  7. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Send it to S2 for the tweed deluxe/18w conversion. Great sounding little amp after the work is completed.
     
  8. TopJimmy5150

    TopJimmy5150 Member

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    I really don't know if they can be improved upon. The guy I regularly play with upgraded his with JJ's, new speaker, bias pot, some sort of circuit mod, etc...and it's still sounded like a boxy, nasty Blues Jr. to me. I'd ditch it and get a Silverface Champ or Vibro-Champ.
     
  9. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Any speaker recommendations?
     
  10. pickaguitar

    pickaguitar 2011 TGP Silver Medalist Silver Supporting Member

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    Jensen C12N - my tweed has this and I like it so far...others may disagree
    or
    Jensen P something...can't remember

    There are others that might be better...such an eminence, weber or jbl


    Also...the S2 suggestion is not a bad one. S2amps.com
    It will change your amp...for the better but very different.

    IF you're down for a change..Steven does great work.
    I had him mod one of my BJ's.
    The other I had him rip out the guts and transform it into a micro-plexi.
    It totally rocks too:dude
    (it has a Celestion G12H30 speaker)

    Here's a pic (Usuall I'll plug both into a Marshall cab and it sounds great):
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (I've got different tubes in this one now and have added a better OT)
    [​IMG]

    Jason
     
  11. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    If you're happy with the tone, why do anything? It's your ears. If you think it sounds fine than stick with it and save your money. ;)

    But if you want to experiement and since money is a concern, I'd look at speakers as your best option for improving the tone. I think it'll make more of an immediate difference than tubes. What speaker depends on what you're looking for sonically, but I'd recommend you look at the Eminence Patriot and Red Coat series. Lots of options there. They're not that expensive.

    I have a Tweed BJ and I think a lot of the dreaded boxiness comes from the size and quality of that cab. It's really not very good. You might also consider plugging the BJ into some extension cabs and see if you like THOSE tones. If not, then save your money. If so, maybe that's the way to go?

    Good luck!
     
  12. RichSZ

    RichSZ Member

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    I would say sell it, but pbradt's way avoids dealing with problematic buyers.

    -Rich
     
  13. echobaseone

    echobaseone Member

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    After playing my BJR through a Avatar 2 X 12 open back, I cannot stand to play through the actual BJR cabinet. I would advise picking up an extension cab or as someone mentioned, repackaging the amp in a more resonant (& larger!) cabinet.
    It's a great little amp, but in it's current configuration it isn't allowed to breathe.
    I'm considering turning mine into a head only unit.
     
  14. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    Pete,

    You really need to stop this. I just finished lunch. Now my sides hurt and I need a Zantac.

    :roll
     
  15. phalanges

    phalanges Member

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    There're a bugzillion B.J.s out there.You'd think in this niche market world that some speaker manufacturer could design a speaker specifically to
    remedy the shortcomings of the combo-cab. I like the portability and the non-
    precious quality of the amp enough that I'd check it out.
     
  16. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    That's essentially why I bought it. I was a grad student and didn't (and still don't) have a tone of money to invest in a new amp. My Mesa/Boogie was far too loud for my house, and I wanted to try and retain a bit of tube warmth while still keeping bedroom volumes low. I liked the Blues junior because it was small, inexpensive and tube. I considered a vintage champ, but wanted something I knew was a little more reliable.

    I appreciate all of the input you guys have given me, but I do want to say, the gasoline and match comment was a little off-putting. Not everyone on these boards can afford the best gear in the world, and some of us have to work with what we've can!

    I'm a veterinary surgery resident, so hopefully, in a few years time, after the university is done paying me crap, and i make some real money, i'll be posting threads like, "Where do I store all of my Dumbles?" or "Can you ever have too many '58 Strats." Until then please try to keep comments to those that might actually help me!!

    Brian
     
  17. pickaguitar

    pickaguitar 2011 TGP Silver Medalist Silver Supporting Member

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    Brian,
    It's not all about money though...

    Some want to bash this amp because it is cheap or because they didn't like the sounds they could get out of it. Maybe some of them like to haul around a 'big rig' that weighs a ton.

    In my case...the more gigs I do...the less I want to carry around. I really enjoy my tone on this amp. If I thought it wasn't great...I'd go buy another amp. I'm sure there are many others that feel the same. Pros use this amp too.

    To each his own
     
  18. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    This thread made me pull my Tweed BJ out of the corner, dust it off, and take it for a spin. This is NOT a bad sounding amp at all. Apart from some cabinet rattle and slightly harsh mids, this is a totally decent sounding tube amp. In fact, I'm going to take it to band practice tonight and give the boutique gear a rest.

    The BJ IMO is a totally cool little amp. I think I'm going to get a new cab and speaker for it eventually, and replace the broken reverb and bring this amp back into rotation.

    So I stand by my original opinion...if you want to dramatically upgrade the tone, look into an Eminence Patriot speaker. I think they go for between $50 and $80. Have fun with it man.
     
  19. iMatt

    iMatt Member

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    Brian, I just bought a Blues Jnr a month or so back. Changed the speaker to a Celestion Vintage 30. Now sounds quite different. Not better - just different. I expect that out of the many speaker choices out there there would be some I did like better, but without direct experience its hard to know what to go for. Others will try to help by sharing their views, and whilst thats very welcome, they don't always translate. I guess what I'm saying is if you swap the speaker you might end up with a very different sounding amp, but without having heard one in a Blues Jnr you can't guarantee you are going to find the change an improvement just because someone else did. You might strike lucky you might not. All in all, unless you are prepared to try several different speakers, I would keep your money in your pocket and take it for what it is.
     
  20. Cody McLain

    Cody McLain Member

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    Funny post Brian. There's all kinds around here- don't worry too much about those comments. They're made in jest most of the time. You have a good amp that's very usable and I've seen local pros play gigs with those amps to great affect. I know Brad Rice used one on the latest Son Volt record for instance. There's better, but it's a great amp to have. My guess would be replace the speaker and go with it. I like Celestions, but it's hard to say what you speaker you would like as that can depend on your playing style, etc

    Maybe replace the first preamp tube, although I'm not sure you'll get a lot out of that- it can be hard to hear subtle changes like that in that type of amp. Guys like Mike at KCA might have a little advice for that.

    Just play it and enjoy.

    P.S. What's up Jason!
     

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