Howdy Tone friends! Soooo, last week we discussed the best speaker options for the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp, Fender's all-time best selling amp. Today, we move to it's lil' brother, the Blurs Junior, which is also a perennial best-seller ... and one HECK of a great deal in a grab-n-go hard gigging or recording tube amp. The Blues Junior has the same 2-EL84 output section as the Hot Rod Deluxe, but sports a single channel (great pedal platform), and is in a much smaller cabinet made of MDF (ugg) instead of the much larger pine cabinet of the the HRDX. And so, while the amplifier section in the BJr is VERY similar to the HRDX, the sonically dead much and smaller cab make it a very different sounding amp. Let's talk about that!
Okay, truth be told, the BJr's cab is just too darn small to properly house a 12" speaker ... and so the only cure to REALLY get that amp to sound as good as it SHOULD is to re-house it in a bigger cab or add a larger external cab. But hey, I get it, size matters, and part of the allure of this amp IS how tiny it is, it so darn convenient. And so, given the VERY small amount of available real estate inside that dead and dinky lil box, what the heck can we do to improve the TONE?
Let's get this out of the way first:
Some will suggest tube swaps and component modifications. HOGWASH! I've NEVER heard a BJr sound any different as a result of a tube swap, except in the case of actual failing tubes. And over th years I've done, at customers requests, dozens of "mods" (ie Bill M) to these lil guys, and they still have the same distinct voice! Read my blog detailing how and why NOTHING can re-voice an amp like a speaker change!
PROBLEM: The Blues Junior Cabinet is so dang tiny that it's tough fitting a lot of speakers in there!
With the Blues Junior, you are mostly not able to use heavy-magnet speakers like the WGS Reaper, they end up right up against the power tubes, and that ain't cool (literally). So, here are the speakers we have found work well with this lil critter:
The ET65: This is the all-around winner here! It will make the amp sound much bigger, richer and harmonically complex and less spikey in the upper midrange.
The G12Q: If you want to make your Bj the ultimate RECORDING amp, this is the speaker for the job, makes the tone MUCH like that of a vintage blackface Deluxe. However, it will NOT make it louder or have more bass.
The Green Beret: This speaker will bring a little British flavor to your lil Fender, and also reduce the annoying upper midrange bite of the little snapper, this is a VERY popular upgrade among Blues Junior owners.