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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Fender Blues Junior as a surf amp + latest on pedals with drip

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I was checking our a Fender Blues Jr in a store recently and really liked t the clean tones it gave on a Strat.

I was thinking of getting one to play surf - aka clean, with reverb and some fuzz.

1 - I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on these for surf? I've seen a few comments on search but thought I'd see what people think now the IV is out.

2 - Does anyone have a preference between the III and IV for surf? I've only tried the IV so far, which was good. The III seems to have a more surfy reverb though.

Although tbf, people also swap these out for Accutronics anyway which you could always do on the IV.

Also, what's the latest on suggested reverb pedals with good trip. I've had the Boss FRV-1 for ages, which has drip on tap but isn't the more natural sounding reverb.

Just checking if there's anything that comes along in the last few years does a better job.


Hi Andrew!
IMHO the fact the name Fender is stamped on it, in this case, doensn't help surf at all.
I had the Blues Jr. v2 (stock) and hated it. Brittle is a word that comes to mind. Harsh is another. Overdrived way to soon, and not in a nice way. Pretty loud and capable, just not tuned for the sound I was looking for (with Jazzmaster).
How much different are the new ones? IDK, and IDC. This whole Hot-Rod series is a controversial issue...
IMHO again, if you imagine having the patience for upgrades (speaker, mods etc.), find yourself the patience to find a more solid amp. A 2nd hand P2P wired Silverface or Blackface of any circuit in good condition will do you better for the long run.

Some very accomplished musicians here have succeeded with this amp, and on it's face it should be a very usable piece. So you'll get very different opinions than mine on this, that I would respect, especially since I haven't tried the new versions.
Bottom line, if you need it now, and really like it, I'm not arguing...

What I DO know for sure: Forget about the internal reverb, or any pedals, and built (or buy) yourself a Surfy-Bear. I dare anyone to argue with me on this Mad Big Grin

Last edited: May 15, 2018 14:43:56

If it's a choice between a Marshall MG30 and a Surfy Bear, or a Fender Valve amp and a digital reverb pedal, get the Marshall.

I can't speak for the Blues Jr but I owned Pro Jr for a few years and it's a similar type of circuity layout. I liked it's simplicity, size and ability to punch above it's weight volume wise. Problem was It would pickup on poor mains house wiring and buzz wildly, at friends houses it was good as gold. The other issue becomes apparent in the practice room when you realise 15 watts isn't anywhere near enough. I think Ariel's advice is good.

Another option would be a Quilter Amp. The prototype was first unveiled at the SG101 Convention 2009 and impressed some of the most ardent Fender amp purists, Quilter has gone from strength to strength since.

crumble wrote:

Problem was It would pickup on poor mains house wiring and buzz wildly, at friends houses it was good as gold.

I think the first things on the BillM Mods list are something like:
- More PSU filtering caps.
- Bigger PSU filtering caps.

Tqi wrote:

I think the first things on the BillM Mods list are something like:
- More PSU filtering caps.
- Bigger PSU filtering caps.

First thing I did was drop it into a retired RAE electronics engineer, think "Chap" and "Boffin" Cold War and NASA Ariel satellite designer 1960s. He sink tested it for 5 weeks and came to the conclusion it was working ok but mentioned Fender had broken some basic rules (pointing to the separate circuit board tube mount). He was also very excited about the performance of my JJ's(he collected and tested valves for Bletchley Park).

From there I fully Fromel modded it including caps, It helped with some of the issues which Ariel describes basically smoothing out the harshness and provided a little extra headroom but still very hum and buzzy. I sold it on and brought a Quilter Mach 2 (insane grin!)

Last edited: May 16, 2018 10:07:55

I use Blues Junior, III as far as I remember
I generally like it, but we are not Trad sounding, some pretty heavy surf rock garage punk style
I’ve changed reverb for Mod with long decay, much better than the stock Accutonics, but I tend to use my Flint pedal more
I use EP booster for clean sounds, it improves the above mentioned harshiness and use OCD for overdrive, just great!
Dont wanna switch it, satisfies me for now)

Waikiki Makaki surf-rock band from Ukraine

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