Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Two Fender amps tested
Two Fender amps tested
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Martin
1635 posts
Mar 13, 2020
8:05 AM
A nice man who runs a music store has let me borrow two Fender amplifiers for a few rehearsal sessions. It was his suggestion, and I accepted politely. I have limited time to fiddle with them since I don´t have un-problematic access to the rehearsal room, and it´s not ideal to get too involved with such stuff when the whole band is gathered: people get tired quickly, and I´m one of them. Therefore I´m hunting for advice.

The larger one is called Deluxe Reverb. Real expensive, and sounded total crap – for harp: I play a bit of guitar as well, but have no need for a $170 monster. I brought it home immediately.

Smaller one is called Blues Junior, red lacquered, handy size. Not very impressive as a harp amp initially, but with the help of a feedback blocker and a HO pedal it at least sounded decent and – relatively – loud. Which is important in that band. (Say no more, say no more.)
But it didn´t have any real growl, though, more of a … blaring distortion. Not totally unpleasant, but – even if I can get a good price (that´s hinted at) – not terribly interesting at this point.

But this is tricky business, I know, and I´m an absolute technophobe. Could see that the speaker was called “Cannabis Rex”, which sounded kinda interesting, but I know nada of possible tube swaps etc.

Can anyone of you more knowledgeable in the world of amplifiers report any success with the Blues Junior?

PS I used dynamic mics. Didn´t think to test it with a bullet – but I have never had any real joy with those.
jbone
3156 posts
Mar 13, 2020
3:02 PM
I've played through a Hot Rod Deluxe. NOT so much a harp amp without some mods. The Blues Junior is a better bet. One or two simple mods like a pre amp tube swap or different speaker and it will suit for harp better. The older ones are all tube, but the newer may have some solid state parts which can't be changed or adjusted. A dynamic mic should work but it needs to be high impedance. That can be wired that way or with a matching transformer.
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rbeetsme
1716 posts
Mar 14, 2020
6:59 AM
Martin, you are doing it all wrong! Most of us read as much as we can then buy every new, vintage or custom amp we can afford, try it out, flip it and move on to the next one.
Martin
1636 posts
Mar 14, 2020
12:17 PM
Thank you guys, I´m gonna delve further into the mysteries of the Blues Jr. At least a little: I don´t have that much patience for these things.

@rbeetsme: You right, I´m wrong. I´m wrong in everything. But I´m 62 now and it would take a Herculean effort for me to 1) re-think my entire stratagem and 2) save enough money to pursue the road you indicate.
jbone
3157 posts
Mar 14, 2020
12:59 PM
Rick is having some fun is all. If someone wanted to let me try out amps I'd do it, at this point for fun since I have what I want. By the way it's close to the Blues Junior and I've had it or one like it for 15 years.
I have seen several stages with harp mics in Blues Jr. over the past several years.
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tomaxe
177 posts
Mar 15, 2020
8:22 AM
Martin I think I have seen samples of your playing and I believe you could make the Blues Jr sound good, it's not for a beginner but a decent harp amp for a seasoned player with some simple mods. I much prefer the "Pro Junior" for a few reasons—it's cheaper, lighter, smaller (10" speaker), and doesn't have unnecessary knobs in it's circuit like master volume and reverb that always cause thinness in tone and feedback issues for harmonica with high impedence mics. The Pro Jr has a volume and tone knob--that's it. The Pro Junior, at least the one I have had for over 20 years, has been beat to sh*t and keeps going...I've had to replace power tubes in it once or twice, and I put a cheaper Weber speaker in it about 3 years in. It's 15 watts and plenty loud for all but the most obnoxious blues situations. The Blues Jr and Pro Jr do have a sort of unique boxy sound when cranked and that's a matter of taste. For a single speaker smaller amp that you can toss in the car trunk...I like 'em....
SuperBee
6544 posts
Mar 15, 2020
6:38 PM
I’m interested in the Deluxe Reverb.
Does anyone have experience with using a DR?
I know about the hotrod deluxe but that’s quite a different amp to the DR.
I used one at a festival and I didn’t hate it. I’ve long thought I might like one, either an old silver face or one of the reissues, ‘65 or ‘68
I’ve used a Princeton Reverb for quite a while and it took some time to work out but very happy with it atm. I expect a DR might take a bit of tweaking but I believe it should have real potential. Also built a bit more robustly than the budget models I believe
Martin
1638 posts
Mar 16, 2020
10:19 AM
Many thanks, tomaxe. I have a friend who´s sitting on a Pro Jr, and he has vaguely hinted that he might want to get rid of it. Could be reason to push him a bit. What you say makes me interested in trying it out. Also, I like sturdy things -- and the price point sounds interesting.

@SuperBee: I´m something like The Amp Tester from Hell since I get tired and restless so quickly. Headaches also knock on the door. But the time I spent with the DR did not in any way encourage me.
It hade zero warmth and no distortion. Some volume. yes, that it had -- but I´d rather go straight through PA.
Of course, this was from a dilettante fiddling with it for a while, and test running for a song. We were five people in the room and the conclusion was unanimous: "The smaller one was much better".
Also, there are three Blues Jr´s to be had for one DR; and it was something of a bitch to carry. (Although I´m not terribly afraid of that particular aspect.)
But don´t take my word for it: There is a YT vid where it is tested with a vintage mic and there, although rather too trebly for my taste, it sounds decidedly better.


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