Difference Between Old and New Blues Jrs
I rented a Blues Jr for a month to try before I buy. I am really enjoying it
It is one of the older models not the (III) version. The one I rented has been rented a few times and is about $400, new they are worth $515. Is the new one worth the extra cash?
I think the new one will be worth the extra cash, and is already worth the price!
And I like a forum with pictures (so I've posted pics, sometimes overkill) and like to speak from experience, no guessing.
From Fender's own site, the upgrades would seem to include the following, which I will comment on. "Additional Blues Junior III upgrades include an easier-to-read black control panel with front-reading text, new badge, vintage Fender â€œdog boneâ€ handle, vintage-size jewel light, â€œsparkleâ€ circuit mod, rattle-reducing shock absorbers for the EL84 tubes, highly sensitive Fender Special Design 12â€ â€œlightning boltâ€ speaker by EminenceÂ®, and heavy-duty set-screw â€œchicken headâ€ knobs." FMIC.
I don't care much for the black control panel, as I am an old-school chrome freak, but it is hard to read, and I need glasses and must look carefully. The other oddity, with controls labelled backwards for standing behind the amp doesn't bother me, but it's fine that they have sorted that out with front reading text.
The "new" vintage dog bone handle is much nicer than the poor short handle on mine, and is more consistent with the Blues Deluxe. I compared my Junior's handle with the handle on my 40 year old, tiny 6 watt Vibro Champ, and the VC's is better!
The vintage size jewel light is also a nice, quality, and appropriate historic touch, as well as a beautiful cosmetic feature.
With a "sparkle circuit mod" which I can't explain, and is probably similar to "brilliance"; well... one should go for that hands down. It could just possibly negate the need for Torres Engineering Mods which many people do, but I won't touch because I like to keep my stuff original, and indeed they age well. Somebody with access to my amp put one 12AX7 Groove Tube in it. Maybe my son did it, I don't know, but it could have been a bright idea? The old Junior doesn't sound like much at low volume, under 1. And by that, I mean the first volume (pre-amp) and not the Master Volume. Always use the FAT switch, but it doesn't bring much at low, low practice volumes. I think that's where Torres made some improvements. Anyhow, the thing is really good, with the volume over one, and superb at 2 and beyond. It seems that Fender made an improvement like Dan Torres? Maybe they borrowed the idea from the hot rodders who mod the older amps to their own taste with kits.
Here's a scoop on that, but hey the existing Accutronics reverb tank is just excellent! Maybe you could put a bag over it? :lol: http://www.torresengineering.com/newmodforfen.html
Any tube-movement damping is a good idea, as long as cooling is present. Mine are fine and seem secure, with springs. The 3 little 12AX7 (12AX7A'S) can migrate down with time and miles and miles of movement, but are very firm in their sockets still, and can be pushed up if necessary with a sock over your hand, whether cold or not, so whether cold or hot, ha! I just don't fingerprint them, from some old science or superstition, involving grease and heat dissipation. Clean is good!
Another reason to go for the brilliance circuitry I think, is that you wouldn't have to change out factory budget/cheap tubes for a premium to professional set. http://thetubestore.com/bluesjunior.html So, there's a $100 plus shipping, tax, duty savings by buying the new amp, plus it has a 5 year warranty. I'd want the Blues Junior III for that alone, if buying now.
Oh, I love my Blues Junior so much, that even while I am homeless for the time being, I had to bring it here to my room, with 25 guitars, yeah. And I built one Blues Strat to go with it. It makes any guitar sound good, unless you have bad pickups which are prone to microphonic squeal, 60 cycle hum or buzz. This amp will pattern, or reproduce the true sound of any guitar, good or bad. It doesn't have it own shortcomings, except for that low "practice volume" issue, where I don't find full dynamics and frequencies or headroom, sparkle etc., and the glassy, bright tube tone is missing if not giving some volume.
The speaker is great, original or improved - I don't know what hype they added to an already fine unit, same as the Deluxe.
Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Thanks for the help Blue Jay. I have not decided for sure yet but you make me lean towards the new version.