Blues Junior Tone Samples

Green board vs. cream board, tone stack, reverb, brightness, presence control.... So many mods, how to decide?

Here are some clean and dirty tone samples to help you decide what's right for you.

All amps except the stock green board have adjustable bias mod, too, and are set at the tube manufacturers' spec for the EL84, instead of the hot spec Fender uses. All tone controls are straight up (6.5), reverb on 5.

For the clean samples, the master is on 5 and the volume is on 2.5. Fat switch is off.

On the dirty samples, the master is at 2 and the volume is at 12. Fat switch is on.

The dirty setting on the stock green board produced 102-105dB on my sound level meter. All were mic'd with an AKG SM58 clone, direct into my PC at 44.1KHz and converted to 128Kb MP3 with the Fraunhofer encoder.

Amp Clean Dirty
Stock Green Board Blues Junior listen You can hear buzz during the quiet passages--it disappears if you turn the reverb down. Typical BJr dark tone. Reverb dies quickly on muted chords at end of sample listen Reverb buzz is audible when sample fades out. Each EL84 is dissipating around 11W at idle.
Green Board with Tone Stack and Reverb Mods listen There's no reverb buzz, the tone is richer, and the reverb now sustains on the muted chords. listen  The modified tone stack makes the overdriven tone fatter, almost too much for single-string work, but the chords are righteous. This amp is dissipating 8.5W per tube at idle. As you can hear, it doesn't affect the amp's ability to overdrive, since most of it comes from the preamp anyway. The reverb mod makes little or no difference to overdriven tone.
Green Board with Tone, Reverb, and Bright Switch listen  With the bright switch on, the notes have a cleaner edge to them, like the cream board BJr. The stronger highs help the reverb, too--the chords sustain longer. No sample for this one, but the bright switch adds some high-frequency sizzle.
Green Board with Tone, Reverb, Bright Switch, and Presence Control listen  It sounds like I turned on the bridge pickup, but all the settings are the same, except that the presence pot is all the way up. Even more reverb sustain, and the amp takes on a very classic Fender clean tone. listen  With the bright switch on and the presence control cranked, the amp gets louder and more raunchy. I like it! Notice that you can hear a little bit of reverb between the muted chords. Nice sustain.
Stock Cream Board (sorry, no unmodified cream board on hand)  
Cream Board with Tone Stack listen  This is the basic improvement to the cream board BJr. It takes away the boxy, small-speaker sound. You can't tell from the sample, but you can feel the bass in the soles of your feet, and the amp is warmer. The green board with the bright switch/presence control is a little bit brighter than the stock cream board. listen  Compared to the green board bright/presence sample, this amp sounds kind of refined and restrained.
Cream Board with Tone Stack and Presence Control listen  The cream board doesn't need a bright switch, but adding a presence control brings out a different side of the amp. It takes on a bright, cutting tone, and it's right in the reverb's sweet spot, so it really sustains nicely. Lower settings (this is full on) gives a nice edge to the tone that cuts through the mix. listen  With the presence control full on, the raunch is back, but not insane. Sustain is good, The presence control makes the amp noticeably louder--I didn't touch any controls.

























From the above, You can see that the green board Blues Junior doesn't have to take a back seat to the cream board. It can be just as flexible and toneful as you want it to be.

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