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Thread: Fender's "cheap" tube amp!

  1. #1
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    Fender's "cheap" tube amp!

    A while back, I helped one of my (guitar player), customers fix his rock saw, and I wouldn't take his money. A couple days later he gave me a Blues Junior that he used to use, no speaker, no tank, and filthy. Said it was working fine, and then the second set, the "bottom dropped out". I took it home, and connected a speaker, and played my Tele through it for a while, and decided to get the SG, and try it. When I touched the cord, it made all kinds of racket, (I had heard that the plastic jack was really a problem on these!)
    Replacing the jack is a piece of cake, the chassis hole is the correct size for a Switchcraft isolating washer, so it is now permanently fixed.
    I can't get over why Fender would use such cheesy parts, (cheap plastic jack, and the pots are tiny, and not attached to the chassis at all!) I really can't see how they justify the price they get for them!

  2. #2
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Fender's "cheap" tube amp!

    Or how they sell a tube amp with a modeler in it for the reverb.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

  3. #3
    Forum Member Old Ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Fender's "cheap" tube amp!

    I got out of the business of repair in '06. So many amps were incorporating PC mounted controls, Jack's, and switches. Its cheaper to use the automated system of assembly. Most of the lower cost amps are not repaired under warranty. They're just replaced with a new amp, and the defective one goes to the dumpster. Don't expect to see old school work today. It's not cost effective.
    I forgot what I was going to say...

  4. #4

    Re: Fender's "cheap" tube amp!

    I’m a player first... a hack of a tech second. I pick up a used BJr that was moded, then did some additional mods. It’s not a bad amp. The tone stack has a decent mid hump that gives it a decent live presence. I have vintage Fenders also.. (to avoid any opinions I’m not familiar with a decent amp) The amp is extremely popular, the amount of working musicians using this amp is a tell all. pcbs are not paper, they are not biodegradable. I have mixed opinions about modern amp construction. Is it the sound quality you get with a hand wired? Maybe... IMO hand wired are Varied on the sound quality over a modern pcb amp once you add decent tubes and usually upgraded the speaker and one could include the BJr in this. It is ease of repair on the hand wired? Maybe .... I used to complain about PCBs, but I didn’t bother to develop the skill sets needed to work on PCBs (example: I was trying to use a solder sucker instead of solder tape, or my iron tip was all wrong etc)


    Given the weight and the design of the Blues Jr there isn’t a whole lot that can go wrong and there’s nothing that I see can’t be fixed. Is it the best sounding amp? No, but for the price point (with or without up grades/modes) IMO the pros out strip the cons.

  5. #5
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    Re: Fender's "cheap" tube amp!

    Well I cleaned up the little amp, replaced the jack with a Switchcraft, and installed a C12N speaker I had, and a 80's 8 series reverb tank, (in a bag). It sounds huge! (I see some of the Billm mods were done to it, and I talked to the tech who worked on it years ago.)
    I let my sister in law play with it before I put it on CL, but I didn't get it home. I told her about the cheap construction, and parts, but she said "I don't care, I know someone who can fix it if I need it!" It's living at her house now.
    She loves it!

  6. #6

    Re: Fender's "cheap" tube amp!

    I know I'm going to sound like I'm tech inclined but I'm not. I'm a player through and through.. It's due to being frugal, having too many amps (mostly vintage/all Fenders) I bought a used Bjr (I still don't know when it was built) reworked the tone stack, the phase invertor, installed a Hyboar output transformer and a Mojotone reverb pan, aftermarket speaker. Went through a few speakers since, some that I tried led to the "box tonality" I've read about. Had a Eminence CRex is for a long time, (IMO good speaker for a Bjr) after experiememnting with an old Oxford 12T6, I dropped in a Sica/Jensen Ri C12Q and I'm very pleased with it. (speaker gives that classic Fender chime & handles OD pretty well)

    I've read the IV has similar mods.

    For me, overall its a nice, its done a great job of extinguishing any gas I have for a boutique 1x12

    I've gigged it (not a lot) imo it handles a stage pretty well though. Definitely No complaints.

    I've gigged several Fender PCP amps over the last 2 decades and have decent results. I'm convinced its all in how I treat them.

    A) I never move the amp till its cooled down
    B) I never expose the amp to extreme temperature.
    C) Treat the amp as a fragile hi-fi piece of equipement.

    It's common sense but that translates into letting the amps reach room temp before I move them. I warm up the car before I transport them, I don't transport them in the trunk or where they will rumble around, I don't bang them off doorjams or walls as I enter Bars, I don't tug on the chord halfway accross the stage/room like its a garden hose (I use best practices like wraping the chord around the handles, then plugging it in)

    The welds and traces on all PCB amps can be subject to oxidization, lifting etc.. minimizing condensation/oxidization from extreme tempeture changs or harsh jolts when cooling down, all this has served me well when using a modern Fenders.

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