Fender Blues Junior

15W Combo (1 x 1")

Made by Fender

Description Tube amp, capable of nice tone and decent volume for only 15 watts and modest price. Controls: volume (gain), master, reverb, bass, mid, treble. Spring reverb. No standby switch.
Posted By Stanley Tead (111)
Directory Equipment: Amplifiers
Rate/Review This Resource
Overall Rating: 4.3 (of 5)
Rating Votes %
5 36 ||
8 57 ||
1 7 ||
0 0 ||
0 0 ||
From 14 votes total

Member Reviews


On 5/12/2008, Dominic Hatchuel (4861) posted:
Overall Rating:
Truth be told, I went to buy a guitar, and ended up buying the amp I played it through. I would definitely replace my Blues Jnr.
Price: $4999.00 ZAR (new)
Where Obtained: Andy McGibbon's Guitar World
Features:
This little guy is all tube (5 of 'em), and has bass, mid & treble boost, spring reverb, volume, master and FAT. That's it. No bells, no whistles. So an average rating for features, but the Jnr doesn't have what it doesn't need.
Sound Quality:
I have only the one electric guitar - a H1 Strat. But I had the amp first. In fact, the H1 is the first Strat I've ever owned, I've always had H/H guitars before - Les Pauls, PRS's, etc. I play mainly blues through this amp, and it gives everything from tight and clean to a full gain crunch. Best of all, you don't have to crank it all the way up to neighbours-are-gonna-kill-you volumes to get great tone. I haven't had it all the way up there, so I'll let you know how it sound when I do. This is also my first tube amp, and the difference is unbelievable. I had a Marshall 50W combo, which I really enjoyed, even for playing blues, but this is a different beast altogether.
Ease of Use:
There aren't many knobs. All it takes is a guitar, a cable, and an ear or two to get the sound you're after. For me, the less fiddling, the better.
Durability:
I've had it about a year, no hassles so far. I'm shortly going to move continents, so I'll let you know how it holds up.
On 7/25/2006, Rob Bee (569) posted:
Overall Rating:
This is a lovely amp. I bought it about a year ago as I was sick of carrying my marshall half stack around, and as I play with no drummer now I didn't need it's volume. But I was determined not to compromise on tone, so I went for valves. I use an FX processor to get all my tonal variation so all I needed was a good single channel amp capable of producing good tone...and this is it.
Model Year: 2005
Where Obtained: sound control, Salford UK
Features:
This is a very simple amp. Just 3 stage EQ (bass, mid, top) master and volume, and a spring reverb. Plus a FAT switch to give you a bit of extra clout when you need it. Optional footswitch for the FAT.
Sound Quality:
I use it with a fender strat and a fender jag. Both sound great. I also put my bass through it from time to time and while it wouldn't do for bass at high volume it sounds really tight and controlled at lower volumes. It sounds good at living room volumes, but take it to a practice room or gig where you can crank it a bit and it really starts to sing. I have used it for many different patches - from clean to punk and metal distortions, modulations, e-bowed, etc - and I've been very happy with the sounds this little amp has produced. Oh! and I've never heard 15 watts sound so loud!
Ease of Use:
It couldn't get any easier. Just plug and play (unlike PC's plug and play really works!)
Durability:
It's a valve amp, so it needs treating gently, but it's built solidly.
On 5/15/2006, Ray Pace (114) posted:
Overall Rating:
I wanted a straight forward amp good for blues and this is it.
Model Year: 2006
Price: $218.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Good Guys Music -- Honolulu
Features:
All the basics, volume, master, treble, mid, bass and reverb along with the fat switch. Good straight forward layout.
Sound Quality:
The Variax sounds very good through this on Strat settings, also Les Paul, Semi, Jazzbox and Tele. This little guy is a winner.
Ease of Use:
Very straight forward. Use your ears and you'll get it.
Durability:
Seems well built and has a great history of satisfied owners.
On 9/22/2005, Peter Zoethout (122) posted:
Overall Rating:
This thing is the perfect little amp for me. No channels required (got a DOD 250 for extra gain), small enough to carry without busting a vertabrae and loud enough to combat excited band members. Obviously don't buy it if you're into Dimebag or Mustaine but for an honest sound for everything else this is the amp for you, too.
Model Year: 2002
Price: $1000.00 AUD (new)
Where Obtained: Pro-Audio (Canberra)
Features:
Single channel amp with the standard vol, bass, mid, treb, master, reverb (not in that order) plus 'FAT' switch which boosts the bass and treb (I think). No effects loop, no reverb switch, no multiple channels. This is a plus in my book. Due to stage requirements at church the amp faces me and the congregation get to look at 5 marvelous, glowing tubes :-) I will say that it needs a standby switch.
Sound Quality:
I play through a tele copy and a bunch of pedals, though sometimes I stick a VAmp 2 in front (effects only). This amp gives me the two things that I want: a blues/rock sound for jamming and practice; and a nice 'contemporary' sound for church. The 15w are way powerful enough for most small applications though if you have a bigish venue or a nutcase drummer you'll need to mike up. I don't rate the reverb very highly but use a tiny amount to embiggen the sound a touch(thankyou Simpsons).
Ease of Use:
Turn the master volume to zero, switch it on, plug in, dial up the settings and play. Nothing could be finer.
Durability:
It seems to be able to take the odd knock but as it's a valve machine, I opt for the cotton wool approach.
On 1/26/2005, John Boogher (432) posted:
Overall Rating:
This amp sounds great and is certainly worth consideration if your interest is blues or classic rock. I'm fairly certain i'd buy this again.
Model Year: 2004
Price: $389.99 (new)
Where Obtained: Sam Ash
Features:
It has five tubes(3 12AX7's + 2 EL84's). It has 6 'chicken head' knobs and a FAT switch. The knobs are: volume, treble, bass, middle, master volume, and reverb. The FAT switch kicks the gain up. There is only one channel and does not have an effects loop. Not many controls, but they work well together.
Sound Quality:
I plug a mex strat with vintage noiseless into mine and it sounds wonderful. The clean is deep and beautiful, but since it has but one channel, this amp truly is wonderful at the 'barely-breaking-up' stage. As the name suggests it is well-suited to playing blues, but also plays rock fine. I'd give it a five star rating in it's price range, but overall its a 4.
Ease of Use:
It is easy to use: just adjust the volumes to your liking then alter the EQ and reverb.
Durability:
Too soon to tell but the tubes look pretty well protected.
On 10/13/2004, Andy Frantz (36) posted:
Overall Rating:
I bought this amp so I didn't have to lug my full rig to practice or small gigs. The modelling pedal I was using for such occasions is OK, but it just isn't a tube amp. When I played through this amp in the store, I didn't even look at another amp. I was blown away by the tone, especially for the price. I would buy this amp again if it were lost or stolen. In fact, I've considered buying another one to have different settings!
Model Year: 2004
Price: $350.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Reno's Music
Features:
The knobs are Master, Volume, EQ (Low, Mid, High), Reverb. There is also a "Fat" switch that can be engaged on the amp or controlled with a footswitch. It's really a pre-amp boost and is good for a little extra punch when you need it. The two EL84s produce 15W, which is plenty. If you need it louder on stage, mic it. I generally use it as a practice amp to play rock and country and I don't have to turn it up very much to keep up with drums and bass. The master usually doesn't get past half way.
Sound Quality:
I use a Godin that has 2 humbuckers with coil taps and a Fender American Tele. You can get a great blues tone when the tubes start breaking up with the tele's neck pickup. Use a bridge humbucker, crank the volume, and engage the Fat switch and you can get a great growl. I have a pricey tube amp (THD BiValve) and I've never been playing through the Blues Jr. and said "I wish I was using my other amp." In fact, if I had this amp first I may have never purchased the BiValve (don't get me wrong, it is an awesome amp and I won't be selling it).
Ease of Use:
Couldn't be easier to use. Set the EQs at their midpoint, adjust the Volume to drive the tubes to your liking, and add some reverb to taste. Change the EQ as the room/your ears call for it.
Durability:
It seems to be well constructed. I wouldn't call it a tank, but I've never had a problem with it.
On 2/17/2004, Dan Nuttle (232) posted:
Overall Rating:
This is the amp I should have gotten in the first place. It's lacking some features that I'd really like to have again (like two channels), but the tone is what really matters, and this amp delivers.
Model Year: 2004
Price: $390.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Guitar Center
Features:
The features have all been covered in other reviews. I switched from a Princeton Stereo Chorus to this. I do miss features of the Princeton, especially the footswitch for both the distortion and chorus channels, and the two channels, so that clean could be played at one volume and distortion at another. The Princeton also had an effects loop that the Blues Jr. lacks, though personally I never had a need for that. And the Blues Jr. lacks a headphone jack. I think that is a glaring omission, personally. The reverb is very nice, though; others say it is hissy, but it seems pretty good to me. And the separate master and volume controls mean you can saturate the tubes at low volumes. Nice.
Sound Quality:
I play this with my 72 Thinline Telecaster. Until I got this amp, I honestly didn't know (from personal playing experience, anyway) what kinds of tones the Thinline was capable of. I'm learning now. I don't want to sound like a kid on Christmas day, but this is my first tube amp, so I'm repeatedly thrilled with the sounds I get out of this thing. You get the best tones, in my opinion, when the volume (gain) is up pretty high, as well as the master. This means the tubes are saturated, and the speakers are being stressed. It has a really authentic, powerful sound to it. Well worth the moderate price. But I can't usually play that loud, so I turn the volume up and keep the gain down. Not as satisfying, but if you've only owned digital amps, take it from someone who was in your boat until recently: Tubes really do make all the difference. Even at lower volumes. The "fat" channel on this amp sounds ten times better than the "distortion" on my Princeton ever did. One other thing, the speaker is quite efficient, so 15 watts will be loud enough to make your ears ring. I would think you could play small gigs with it no problem.
Ease of Use:
There are only a handful of chicken-head knobs and an input jack, so ease of use is high.
Durability:
I've only had the amp for a couple months, so I can't speak to long-term durability. I expect it to be good. The Princeton certainly held up. The cabinet of the Blues Jr. seems nice and sturdy.
On 4/15/2003, Harry Mandel (20) posted:
Overall Rating:
I would like two channels, one clean one dirty.
Model Year: 2001
Price: $300.00
Where Obtained: ebay
Features:
Volume, bass, midrange, treble, master volime, reverb and a fat switch. Control knobs go to 12, that is better than Spinal Tap's 11.
Sound Quality:
Play a 1971 Les Paul Custom and an Epihone Les Paul Jr. Nice little amp.
Ease of Use:
Easy to use.
Durability:
So far so good.
On 3/4/2003, Mike Rasmussen (360) posted:
Overall Rating:
Solid built amp but the sound is very boxy. And the low end is slush.
Model Year: 2000
Price: $295.00 (new)
Where Obtained: lidgett music
Features:
All tube, bass, mid., treble, volume and fat switch
Sound Quality:
This is where I think this amp really fails. For a small 15w tube amp, it has some power and overdrives very nicly. The only thing about it is the cabnet size makes you sound VERY boxy and the bottom end is like slush, not tight at all. I've heard of guys modding and puting in different speakers to fix this but then you might as well buy the deluxe. I ended up selling mine
Ease of Use:
Just turn the knobs to your liking, you'll never tweak that boxxy sound out though
Durability:
Its built pretty solid and the tubes are covered and protected nicly
On 2/25/2003, Emily Burns (555) posted:
Overall Rating:
I looked at some of the other Fender amps that are similar to the Blues Jr. only bigger and decided on this one because I needed a practice amp. One that's rather easy to cart around but still can give out quite a large amount of sound, it suited the style of playing and my guitar, and it wasn't all that expensive.
Model Year: 2002
Price: $584.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Guitar Center
Features:
This amp has reverb, master, middle, treble, fat switch, and volume controls. It is definitely powerful enough for me but will not work well when playing in a band format that has a second guitarist and a bassman. It has tube electronics.
Sound Quality:
I use it with my Gretsch Tennessee Rose, and I also use a Dunlop Cry Baby. This amp fits well with just about any style, you can play just about anything on it . I'd say the sound quality is very good compared to that of other amps i've used. It's never really given me any trouble as far as noise goes. IT will still stay pretty clean at high volumes, and when you turn the fat on you can get a pretty good crunch out of it.
Ease of Use:
This amp is very easy to use but that is mainly because you can't really do that much with it. You can set the controls to your liking but other than thay there's no programming it or create/editing patches. Let's put it this way, it's a really good amp for practicing.
Durability:
It's construction is very heavy-duty, it's covered in black texture vinyl, and weighs a good 31 lbs. I haven't had to have mine repaired yet. I wouldn't use this to play live unless I were doing a solo/acoustic type show, which it would be fine for. But there's no way you could play this thing live with a band.
On 1/22/2003, Bill North (12505) posted:
Overall Rating:
I would prefer point to point wiring and all metal pots, switches and jacks; but hey this is 2003. What do you want for $300.00?????

It's light, powerful, full of tone.

I love it
Model Year: 1999
Price: $299.00
Where Obtained: Guitar Center (Halsted st, Chicago)
Features:
Single channel with reverb. Controls: Bass, Mid, Treble, Volume, Master, Reverb and "Fat" Switch. No effects loop. 15 Watts RMS mono All tube (except rectifier)
Sound Quality:
I use it with guitars that range from a 1952 Fender Tele to a 2002 Dillion DR500 (with a 1958 Gibson LP for variety) I play mostely Blues and Classic Rock and this amp gives me all the class A tube tone I need for small venues. It compares well with the classic Fender amps I owned and used in the past, but I worry a little about some of the modern plastic components. My BJ is as quiet as a mouse (background noise that is) I can get high volume clear bell tones, or beautiful creamy overdrive when I want.
Ease of Use:
No programming required. Just your basic amp controls. Easy to set up and play, play, play.
Durability:
I re-tubed it immmediately with NOS telefunken 12AX7s and RCA black plate EL84s to improve the tone. Stock tubes are adaquate, but with quality tubes this amp becomes a serious tone machine.
On 11/24/2002, Jerry Lewis (14) posted:
Overall Rating:
I think that it's probably the best little amp in it's class. That's probably why you end up paying a bit more for this one over similar competition. If I lost it I would buy another one just like it - except maybe a blonde or tweed version.
Model Year: 2000
Price: $275.00
Where Obtained: Used
Features:
Very nice sounding little tube amp. Great clean sound. Turn up the gain to get a nice bluesy tone. Reverb is just about right. Best thing is that it's all I need and it only weighs about 30 lbs. One other thing - it's probably the LOUDEST 15 watts I have ever heard. It's loud enough to carry a small gig, seriously. I think the reason for the volume is the 12" speaker along with an efficient circuit design. Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to volume.
Sound Quality:
Really great clean tone. Turn up the gain and get some great bluesy sound. No real distortion though. If you want metal then don't buy this amp.
Ease of Use:
It's a basic amp. Nothing very complicated about it. If you know how to operate a guitar amp then you won't have any trouble.
Durability:
Nice, well built amp. I've heard that there are a few pros that use these little amps.
On 6/16/2000, Stanley Tead (111) posted:
Overall Rating:
After a lot of (fun!) trips to music stores I concluded that true to most advice, Blues through solid state amps (at least in my price range) just didn't have the right sound. Depending on the model and settings the tone was either dull, lacked depth, or was harsh. The new digital amps (a bit more expensive) seemed more promising - if I'd spent enough time tinkering with the amp and guitar settings I might have found the tone I was looking for and gotten those fun effects to boot. Subject for future research : )

I bought an Epiphone Electar Tube 10 ($180 in the store, later I saw it in $100 range at musicyo.com and Ebay). The Electar had a nice range of sound for a very modest price, and was easy to lug around and put away. But I took it back because it wasn't loud enough (especially at clean settings) in our large-ish living room and so I knew it was going to completely disappear in the meeting hall at our church. For an apartment-sized practice amp and the price I would think it a great choice.

Took the Electar back, and landed on the Blues Junior. I have been very happy with it. Perfect tone for what I had in mind, perfect range of power: small enough to use as practice amp at home without generating neighbor problems or killing my back hauling it around, yet powerful enough to keep up in our five-piece band.

To improve it, would like to be able to control the reverb with foot switch, not just the boost (FAT switch).
Price: $320.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Local store
Features:
Tone controls mentioned in description above. Start with Bass at 3 - 4 and the others at mids, else it can be muddy. I forgot to mention the FAT switch (can run with optional foot switch)which provides a midrange boost and can help push the preamp into overdrive for higher gain settings. I do use the reverb although it is a little hissy: much has been made of that in other reviews (including possible work-arounds) - I've only considered it annoying when NOT-playing late at night (figure that out). Was able to observe same effect on more expensive Fenders like Deville and Princeton Chorus on a rare day that I was the only soul on the floor of a local music store.
Sound Quality:
I bought this amp for use with my 335-style Epiphone "Dot", where price, size, and portability were factors. I wanted a heavy, mellow, Bluesy sound, and the combination of the semihollow guitar, double humbuckers, slightly heavier strings, and this amp fits the bill to a tee. A single-coil Strat with light gauge strings sounds very different (great - but different). Good advice - evaluate an amp with your guitar (or closest possible).
Ease of Use:
Very easy to use. Good tones throughout a variety of settings, though all of a bluesy-midrangy tone - so expect to depend on your guitar settings or effects to change the sound a great deal.
Durability:
I've only had it for a few months, but have been packing it up and trudging to rehearsals / gigs (OK, it's a band that plays for our church) a couple times per week no problem.