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Fender Blues Junior Tweed Review

Fender Blues Junior Tweed Review

If you’re striving to achieve a dream guitar tone, the amplifier is a part of the equation that you can’t underestimate at all. You can have an amazing guitar that has been set up by a pro, but plugging it into a low-quality amplifier will most likely yield an unattractive and bland sound. You should pick a guitar amplifier that suits your playing style and favorite music genres. In this Fender Blues Junior Tweed Review, I will guide you through the main features of a popular, portable and stylish amplifier that can be seen all over the world in schools, rehearsal rooms, studios and stages.

The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation was founded in 1946, and during the 50s and the 60s, they took the music world by storm with unique and iconic amplifier designs that you have listened to countless times in hundreds of records and live performances. Some of their most famous models include the Twin Reverb, Deluxe Reverb, Bassman and the Champ.

The Blues Junior is a small design that isn’t meant to be extremely loud with a lot of headroom, like the Twin or the Bandmaster. It is easy to carry around, it is versatile and it still has enough volume for most situations you may encounter.

Bottom Line Up Front

If you want your next guitar amplifier to have a stylish vintage look, pristine clean tones and raw overdriven sounds paired with a real spring reverb, the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed is one of the best choices currently out there. For under $1000, you get a high-quality tube amp that is easy to carry around while still being able to hold its ground in a rehearsal situation with other musicians.

Having Pre and Post volume knobs allows you to drive the preamp tubes harder at lower volumes. In any case, this amp takes dirt pedals extremely well, making it a solid foundation to build a distorted signal using pedals. The spring reverb sounds lush, and it is noticeably better than the one found on the Fender Blues Junior IV.

The Jensen speaker is also an improvement over the other Blues Jr models. Lastly, the Fat Switch is an excellent addition that can beef up your guitar’s tone at the press of a button. Mine stays on all the time!

Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed | Fender

The Blues Jr. Lacquered Tweed takes Fender's 15W gem and gives it the true vintage treatment with a lacquered tweed covering and a vintage-voiced 12" Jensen speaker.

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Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed Main Features

fender blues junior tweed
Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed – Image by Gustavo Pereira

First, let me show you why the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed is one of my all-time favorite guitar tube amplifiers by guiding you through its main features.

Pre and Post Volume Knobs

Having Pre and Post volume knobs allows you to do something that amps with master volume only can’t do, which is to get overdriven tones at low volumes. While I still prefer the tone that I get from my Blues Junior when I can crank its volume, I can also get a nice crunch without making too much noise.

In my case, I tend to get my dirty tones from a combination of overdrive and fuzz pedals, so I don’t get to make the most out of this feature. However, if I had to play a gig without any pedals, I would be more than confident in using the Blues Junior to play with an overdriven tone.

Fat Switch

The Fat Switch is a small button found between the Volume and Treble knobs, and it is one of my favorite features of this amplifier, so much that I tend to have it on all the time.

In short, it boosts your mids and increases the gain in the preamp stage by a small amount. Engaging it gives your tone an extra kick that makes it fuller, slightly louder and more compressed in a musical way.

If you have the footswitch that goes with the Blues Junior, you can use it to toggle this feature on or off, which can be very useful if you decide to use the fat switch as a boost for solos or any other similar context.

Real Spring Reverb

Having a good onboard reverb makes any amp a lot more valuable to me. If we are talking about a real spring reverb that really makes everything else pop, then it becomes one of the main selling points of that amplifier.

While I have to admit that the reverb on a Deluxe Reverb sounds far superior to the one found in the Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed, it is still well above average.

To my ears, it also sounds better than the one on the Blues Junior IV, which helped me decide which version I wanted to get.

Jensen Custom 12″ Speaker

fender blues junior tweed features
Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed – Image by Gustavo Pereira

The Lacquered Tweed version of the Blues Junior comes equipped with a Jensen C12-N speaker, instead of the Celestion A-Type found in the Blues Junior IV.

Overall, I prefer the Jensen, and it was one of the reasons why I went with the Lacquered Tweed version when I bought my Blues Junior (alongside the reverb and its looks). To my ears, it sounds more like other Fender amps that I own and have had in the past, such as the 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb and the Princeton Reverb.

The clean tone is what you’d expect from a good Fender amplifier, and I found the Jensen to have a bit more twang and bite than the Celestion on the Blues Junior IV. When it comes to dirty tones, I do seem to take a bit more time tweaking my pedals to achieve a tone I like than I do when I’m playing on my Deluxe Reverb, but I can’t say whether this is due to their choice of speaker or just the fact that they are different sounding amps that can’t be compared at the exact same level.

Complete Specifications of the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed

You can take a look at the complete specifications of the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed below:

  • Wattage: 15 Watts
  • Channels: Single Channel
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4″
  • Speaker Jack: 1 x 1/4″ Mono
  • Speaker: 1 x 12″ Jensen C12-N with Ceramic Magnet
  • Total Impedance: 8 ohms
  • Effects: Spring Reverb
  • Amp Covering: Lacquered Tweed with Leather Handle
  • Amp Jewel: Red Jewel
  • Grille Cloth: Vintage-Style Brown/Gold
  • Preamp Tubes: 3 x 12AX7
  • Power Tubes: 2 x EL84
  • Rectifier: Solid State
  • Controls: Reverb, Master Volume, Middle, Bass, Treble, Volume, Fat Switch
  • Footswitch: 1-Button (Controls Fat Switch, not included)
  • Dimensions: 16″ x 18″ x 9.81″ (Height x Width x Depth)
  • Weight: 31 lbs

Pros and Cons of the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed

fender blues junior tweed pros and cons
Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed – Image by Gustavo Pereira

Pros

Versatility:

The Fender Blues Junior line offers amplifiers that can perform well in a myriad of scenarios. You shouldn’t expect it to be a great amp for metal and other extreme genres, but it can be used for blues, rock, jazz, soul, funk, and it can also sound good with a more saturated distortion, since it takes pedals very well.

I run boosts, overdrives, distortions and fuzz pedals through mine and I’m always happy with the results, especially if the amp is already breaking up a little before engaging any drive pedals.

If you don’t have any dirt pedals or you don’t want to assemble a pedalboard for a certain gig, having the Pre and Post volume knobs makes it easier to get a saturated sound at moderate volumes.

Having a good reverb unit also plays in favor of this amp’s versatility, since you can cover more ground with it without having to bring any pedals with you.

Portability:

At 31 lbs, the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed is a portable tube amplifier that gets the job well done without hurting your back. Some amps can be tricky to fit into smaller cars, but this one is easy to carry around anywhere.

There are many small gigs and clubs in which hauling a head and a heavy cab is unnecessary, making this amp a great choice for anyone who is frequently playing in different venues. Fender also makes a cover that protects it from dust, but it is sold separately.

Modding Potential:

If you search online, you will find countless mods that people have been trying out on their Blues Juniors, and many of them claim that it is possible to make this amp sound substantially better than it does out of the box. Some of the most popular mods include:

  • Upgraded electrolytic caps for better tone
  • Added bias pot to allow for adjustment of the output stage bias
  • Circuit tweaks to improve tube life and reliability
  • Added Standby switch
  • Reverb tank replacement
  • Upgraded output transformer
  • Cooler bias to extend tube life and for running the amp at a cooler temperature

Please take into account that performing this kind of mods will void the warranty of your amplifier, so do it at your own risk. I would always recommend having this type of work done by a professional, since there is a possibility that you get severely hurt if you don’t carry out the appropriate safety precautions with electrical equipment.

Cons

Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed – Image by Gustavo Pereira

Headroom:

At 15W of power, the Blues Junior line can’t be expected to have a huge amount of headroom. That is how loud your amp can play while remaining clean, instead of starting to naturally compress and break up (what we call overdrive).

If you don’t mind this, then it won’t be much of a problem. Personally, I like this about my Blues Junior since I prefer using my fuzz and overdrive pedals into an amplifier that is already breaking up a little.

If you would like to guarantee that your sound stays clean when you are playing at louder volumes, you should think about getting a more powerful amp. If you like Fender, I’d suggest looking at the Hot Rod Deluxe, a Super Reverb or a Twin Reverb.

Clarity at High Volumes:

While I find my Blues Junior to sound great at low and mid volumes, if I really crank it, I don’t get the same kind of clarity and definition that I get with other amps such as my 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb Reissue.

I don’t get to play this amp loud enough for this to be noticeable very often, it only happens when the volume is pretty much dimed. In any case, you might be going for that blown-out speaker kind of sound, in which case this could be seen as an advantage.

Other Amps You Should Check if You Like the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed

The Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed has been one of my favorite amps for a long time, and I believe it is always worth having one due to how good it sounds and how easy it is to transport anywhere. However, most music stores today offer a diverse catalog of amps that also sound great for a similar price.

Take a look at some of my personal favorite alternatives to the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed:

Supro 1822 Delta King 12

Supro 1822 Delta King 12

Supro has been a prominent name in the music business for many decades, being responsible for amps that were used by guitar legends such as Jimmy Page.

The 1822 Delta King 12 is a 15W tube combo amp that sports vintage looks and raw tones that classic rock and blues lovers will fall in love with.

It features a FET-driven boost that can be activated by flipping a switch on the control panel, and a Pigtronix FAT high-gain mode, controlled by the switch next to the boost.

Other features include a 3-band EQ, master volume, and a Supro DK12 12″ speaker. You can get the Supro 1822 Delta King 12 in a Black and Cream or Tweed and Black finish.

This amplifier is generally sold for a price of around $700.

Supro 1822 Delta King 12 15W 1×12 Tube Guitar Amp | Guitar Center

The 1822 Delta King 12 15W 1x12 tube guitar amp captures the vintage Supro amp tone that helped sculpt the sound of early electric rock 'n' roll and the British Invasion of the 1960s.

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VOX AC15C1

VOX AC15C1

When it comes to guitar amps, VOX is one of the biggest names you can mention, alongside other giants such as Fender and Marshall. Many legendary guitarists have used these, such as the members of The Beatles, The Edge (U2), Brian May (Queen), among others.

Its most famous model is arguably the AC30, but I’m recommending the AC15C1 as an alternative to the Blues Junior because they are the same power, share similar features and their price is usually very close.

The AC15C has an onboard reverb unit just like the Blues Junior, but it also has Tremolo, something that the Fender lacks. You also have Volume and Master Volume controls, allowing you to achieve overdrive without having to wake up everyone in the neighborhood. Like many of their amps, the VOX AC15C1 features two inputs, a Normal one, and the Top Boost, which gives you more brightness and more gain.

This amp is powered by 3 12AX7 preamp tubes and 2 EL84 power tubes. The speaker is a 12″ Celestion G12M Greenback.

The VOX AC15C1 can be found in music stores for a price of around $800.

Vox AC15C1X 15W Tube Guitar Combo Amp | Guitar Center

This powerful channel pairing provides an abundance of tone-crafting control, letting you dial in a classic sound that is all your own.

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Blackstar HT-20R MkII

Blackstar HT-20R MkII

The Blackstar HT-20R MkII aims to be a compact tube amp that provides you with all the necessary tools for practicing, rehearsing, recording at home or the studio, and gigging. This 20W amp comes fully equipped with Blackstar’s ISF tone control, two channels with a “Voice” switch that can be controlled by its footswitch for more flexibility during performances, a studio-quality reverb, and other interesting additions that any musician will appreciate having.

To me, some of the most interesting aspects of this amplifier are its power reduction switch, something that comes in very handy when I’m playing in a bedroom setting, the XLR outputs that make recording a breeze, and the fact that this amp can be voiced to sound more like an American or a British amplifier, giving it a significant versatility boost.

The Blackstar HT-20R MkII combo is usually sold for a price of around $650.

Blackstar HT-20R MkII 20W 1×12 Tube Combo Guitar Amp | Guitar Center

The HT-20R MkII offers huge versatility for home, rehearsal or studio use. The carefully voiced preamp, coupled with an EL84 power amp, provides you with the ability to create wonderfully lush valve tones.

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Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb

Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb

Naturally, Fender builds other amplifiers that might suit your needs a bit better than the Blues Junior Deluxe Lacquered Tweed. The Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb is quite unique, since it is Fender’s first solid state Deluxe Reverb.

It aims to be more reliable, powerful and light (about half the weight of the original model) without compromising its tone. This is a mythical amp that you have heard countless times in records, since they are present in most good studio amp collections.

It has 100W of power, but it simulates the performance of a 22W tube amp, the same as the original Deluxe Reverbs. Aside from what you’d expect from this amp, there are new features such as a Balanced XLR line out with Cabinet Impulse Response, Ground Lift and Level Control, a mute switch and a USB port for firmware upgrades. The speaker is a 12″ Jensen N-12K neodymium, and there is an included 2-button footswitch.

The Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb is one of the most expensive amplifiers on this list, with a price tag barely under $1000.

Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb 100W 1×12 Guitar Combo Amp | Guitar Center

In a bold Fender first, the Tone Master Deluxe Reverb amplifier uses massive digital processing power to achieve a single remarkable sonic feat: faithfully modeling the circuitry and 22-watt power output of an original Deluxe tube amp.

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Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus

Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus

Yet another solid-state amplifier, the Roland JC-40 is a smaller version of the amp that has Roland’s most famous clean sound, the JC-120 Jazz Chorus. I absolutely love this amp’s clean sound, and the fact that it needs less maintenance and repairs than the average tube amp makes it a very desirable piece of gear to take just about anywhere with peace of mind. The onboard reverb and chorus/vibrato are also worth mentioning, but unfortunately, the overdrive on this amp leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion.

I would be fine with having no overdrive section and paying less for the amp, since I tend to get all of my drive from pedals. In any case, I would always recommend this amplifier to someone who prioritizes clean sounds above all others.

Although this is the smaller version of the JC-120, at 40W of power, this amp can hold its ground in most scenarios. Other interesting features include stereo inputs, a bright switch and an FX loop.

The Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus combo amp will generally cost you around $700.

Roland JC-40 40W 2×10 Jazz Chorus Guitar Combo Amp | Guitar Center

The JC-40 Jazz Chorus delivers Roland' renowned "JC clean" tone and signature stereo chorus effect in a compact combo amp with evolved features for the modern guitarist.

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Peavey Classic 30

The Peavey Classic 30 was my first real tube amplifier, and I remember the amazing feeling of plugging my guitar into it for the first time and being in awe at the difference in sound, dynamics and character when compared to my previous solid state amps (a low-quality practice amp and a couple of modeling amplifiers).

I would have no trouble whatsoever recommending the Peavey Classic 30 to players who like to have a solid clean tone, a good amount of headroom, and onboard reverb.

The Classic 30’s reverb is a real spring unit that sounds great, although I prefer the Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed’s reverb. The Classic also has Pre and Post volume knobs, but you can control more with the footswitch, namely channel selection and reverb on/off.

The Peavey Classic 30 can be found being sold for a price of around $700.

Peavey Classic 30 112 30W 1×12 Tube Combo Amp | Guitar Center

Revered by blues, country and rock players alike, the Peavey Classic 30 112 30W 1x12 Tube Combo Amp spans the tonal landscape from vintage to contemporary with ease.

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Fender Bassbreaker 15W

The Bassbreaker is one of Fender’s most recent releases, and it has been designed for people who need a practical amp with modern features, without sacrificing the classic tube tone that we have all grown to love. With 15W of power, you can expect the volume and headroom to be similar to the Blues Junior models, but this one presents features that aren’t found on vintage-oriented amps, such as an XLR line output with speaker emulation and a power amp mute, something that comes in extremely handy for recording.

If you are looking for an amp that has more than one channel, this one might not be your cup of tea, but if you’re like me and you would rather build your dirty tones with pedals on top of a clean or on the edge of breakup tube amp, the Bassbreaker 15W could very well be a suitable candidate to occupying a spot in your collection!

You can buy the Fender Bassbreaker amplifier for a price of around $800.

Fender Bassbreaker 15W 1×12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp | Guitar Center

Supercharged with a plethora of flexible features, the Bassbreaker 15 is a top-notch performer for stage or studio.

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Fender Blues Junior Tweed Review FAQ

Question: Is there a difference between the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed and the Blues Junior IV?

Answer: The differences between the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed and the Blues Junior IV are not purely cosmetic. The most important one is the speaker. You will find a Jensen C12-N with Ceramic Magnet on the Lacquered Tweed, and a Celestion A-Type on the IV. Other differences between them include the reverb, which to my ears sounds better in the Lacquered Tweed version, and the IV seems to have a little more gain.

Question: Is there a footswitch for the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed?

Answer: When you buy a Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed, it does not include a footswitch, but you can buy it separately. The appropriate model only has one button, which toggles the Fat Switch on the amp on and off.

Question: What tubes does the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed use?

Answer: The Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed features a combination of 3 12AX7 preamp tubes and 2 EL84 power tubes.

Question: Is the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed loud enough for rehearsals and gigs?

Answer: In general, I consider the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed loud enough for most rehearsals and gigs. Since 15W is not a lot, you can’t expect to have a lot of headroom. This means that the amp will start breaking up and compressing at a lower volume than a more potent amp would (for example, a 100W Fender Twin Reverb). If you need to keep your signal clean, you might want to look into an alternative with more headroom. In terms of volume, unless you are playing with an extremely loud drummer, you will be fine.

Question: What guitar amplifiers are a good alternative to the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed?

Answer: Even though the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed is a great amp choice if you’re looking for something under $1000, there are many interesting options that you can look into. Here are a few of my favorites, encompassing both tube and solid state amplifiers:
– Vox AC15C
– Fender Princeton Reverb
– Supro 1822 Delta King 15
– Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb
– Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus
– Peavey Classic 30
– Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
– Fender Bassbreaker 15
– Roland Blues Cube
– Blackstar HT-20R MkII

Closing Considerations About the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed

In summary, I consider the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed to be one of the most valuable tube amplifiers under $1000 that you can find today. There are also several other versions that feature different speakers and other slight variations, aside from all the limited editions that focus on alternative aesthetics. This amplifier can deliver great clean tones, overdriven sounds at moderate volumes, a lush real spring reverb, and a fat switch that beefs up your tone when you need a little extra kick.

Within the same price range, there are other amps that are also worth looking into, depending on what you are prioritizing. If headroom is a big concern of yours, you might want to go with something that has a bit more power, around 40W at least.

During rehearsals and gigs, I haven’t felt the need to have more headroom, but I also like to play my tube amps at that point where they begin to slightly break up and compress.

My most important advice is always to try out as many amps as you can, preferably with your guitar and pedals so you get the most accurate idea of how you would sound in other contexts.

When I bought my Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed, I had been trying it side by side with a Blues Junior IV and a Supro 1822 Delta King 12, and it helped me fully understand that the Tweed model was the one that suited me the most.

Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed | Fender

The Blues Jr. Lacquered Tweed takes Fender's 15W gem and gives it the true vintage treatment with a lacquered tweed covering and a vintage-voiced 12" Jensen speaker.

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We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.