I've been doing for a fender blues Jr. I'm curious, is there is a better model for harmonica between the blues Jr deluxe and the blues Jr hot rod?
Any other suggestions for an amp that won't break the bank, or the bank, would be welcomed as well. If like something with the 'Chicago' sound that could be played at home, or in a gig situation. Lighter is better.
My opinion and you will get several I think, is the Blues Jr. I had a Hot Rod Deluxe and never could tame the feedback. The Blues Jr. may not have as much power but the tone is better. ---------- Music and travel destroy prejudice.
I have benefitted from cutting gain in the pre amp stage on a lot of amps. It's usually different for each amp. Mic choice matters and I would guess a gain taming pedal may help as well. ---------- Music and travel destroy prejudice.
For Fender amps, I've heard the Pro Junior is better for harmonica than the Blue Junior. It has a 10" speaker, no reverb, simpler tone stack, and a dirtier sound good for harmonica. Both are 15 watts. Both use EL84 tubes. It seems most amps built for harp use 6L6 or 6V6 power tubes. The EL84 seems to be preferred by guitar players. I'd be inclined to save up and buy something that is made for harmonica vs. buying something meant for guitar, then maybe changing the speaker, changing the tubes, adding an expensive pedal or two, all to try to sound like the ones made for harmonica. Just my opinion. As noted, I'm going by what I've read and heard from players, not personal experience.
As mentioned, the Lone Wolf Harp Train was specifically designed to be an affordable, harp-specific tube amp from a reputable outfit. Also, you might consider "used" to keep in your price range and get a better amp for harp -- there is a buy and sell board here -- explain what you are looking for. Lots of folks here with more amps than they need!
Last Edited by TetonJohn on Feb 01, 2021 6:46 AM
I might possibly be misinformed, but as far as I'm aware there is no such amp as a Blues Jr Deluxe or a Blues Jr Hot Rod.
There is a Blues Jr, which is a 15 watt amp with a 12" speaker. Many accomplished harp players like them. They are cheap and get the job done, as long as the job isn't too loud for such an amp.
There is also a Blues Deluxe, which is a 40watt amp with a 12" speaker. It has a variant which is the Deluxe Hot Rod. This is pretty much the same amp but with an extra switched channel for "more drive"
Generally the Blues Deluxe is thought of as more harp friendly than the Hot Rod, but if you just don't use that "more drive" channel, I think there's not a great deal of difference. Neither is particularly harp friendly in stock configuration, but they can both sound pretty good if you don't mind going to a little effort to sort it out. Pretty loud. I had one, but sold it on because I already had a Hot Rod Deville which was basically the same except bigger and louder. The challenge is to tame the gain a little. There are various ways to approach this.
Anyway, if you're thinking about a blues Jr, and want suggestions around that, it's one thing.
If you're thinking about a deluxe, it's a whole different level.
If you get a Blues Jr. there is one thing I highly recommend besides tube changes,etc. Remove the bright cap. It's either C-3 or C-2 depending on the board in your amp. It's hard to miss. It's below the input and is a brown disc type capacitor. Left in it's like having the bright switch on all the time. Taken out the treble is much easily managed.
Okay, I have a strong suggestion. I have just bought a 4 year old second hand Laney Cub 10 and I love it. It's an English design but made in China. I bought mine for just under $200 US It is discontinued now but this earlier one is the one to get. It's a 10 watt Class A/B push pull and a 10" speaker. It only weighs 18 lbs It has a much smaller footprint than anything else I have. It measures H X W X D 355 x 365 x 220 mm or 14" x 14" x 9" Here's a link to the page on the Laney UK site for more specs https://www.laney.co.uk/products/cub-cub10-tube-combo
I use a Blues Deluxe and its great for harp. Very loud, and a lot of low end punch from the 12" speaker. You'll want to change preamp tubes to lower gain 12AT7 or maybe 12AU7 to tame the feedback. Honestly I can't remember exactly what tubes I currently have in mine. But it doesn't matter, you will need to match it to your mic and you're desired sound. Best thing is to buy a couple 12AT7 and 12AU7 and start swapping and playing until you find the sweet spot in tone and feedback resistance for your mic and style of playing.
---------- Jim McBride Bottle 'O Blues microphones www.bottleoblues.com
I've used a Silvertone 1482 for years. Single 12" speaker, trem circuit, about 12 watts. I have a 12au or 12at7 in P1 and that's the only change in this one. We do mostly duo stuff so big volume is not a worry. Big volume with tone my best one was a 4x10 Bassman replica. ---------- Music and travel destroy prejudice.