If you’re interested in the Blues Jr vs Hot Rod Deluxe guitar amp comparison, you’ve come to the right post! I’m not a guitar expert, but I have played since 2003 and know a thing or two about the instrument.
So, which is better, the Blues Jr or Hot Rod Deluxe? Neither is clearly better or worse, but the Blues Junior may be better for blues, jazz, and old-school hard rock, while the Hot Rod Deluxe may be a better general-purpose amplifier. Let’s dive deeper into these two classic Fender tube-driven amps and explore their differences.
|Feature –||Fender Blues Junior||Fender Hot Rod Deluxe|
|Amplifier Type:||Tube (Valve)||Tube (Valve)|
|Wattage:||15 watts||40 watts|
|Speaker:||1×12″ Fender Special Design||1×12″ Celestion A-Type|
|Channels:||1 (Clean and Fat modes)||2 (Clean and Drive)|
|Controls:||Volume, Tone, Reverb, Master||Volume, Treble, Bass, Middle, Master|
|Reverb:||Built-in Spring Reverb||Built-in Spring Reverb|
|Size/Weight:||Compact and lightweight||Heavier and bulkier|
|Portability:||Highly portable, great for small venues and practice||Less portable, more suited for larger stages|
|Tonal Characteristics:||Warm and clean tone with a touch of natural overdrive when pushed||Versatile, capable of clean and over driven tones, with more headroom|
|Best Use Cases:||Blues, rock, classic rock, and small to medium-sized gigs||Versatile for various music genres, medium to larger gigs|
|Generally more affordable||Slightly more expensive|
Classic Fender Tube-Driven Amps –
Sure, we all know Fender for their awesome guitars. But the company is also very experienced in amp manufacturing. They were the ones who defined the traditional American tone back in the 1950s and the 1960s. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, the popular amp manufacturers were Marshall and Vox.
Traditionally, American amps had a bit of a smoother and rounder tone, while British amps, like Marshall, always had more mids in the mix. This is mostly attributed to the use of different power amp tubes. Fenders traditionally come with 6L6 or 6V6 power tubes.
The most impressive thing about Fender is that they continue their old lines of amps. But they also introduced new models along the way, all of which were inspired by the old stuff.
Blues Jr Vs Hot Rod Deluxe –
In the world of guitar amplifiers, the Blues Junior and Hot Rod Deluxe are among the newer series that emerged in the 1990s. Guitarists frequently find themselves comparing these two models, seeking to determine which one is the superior choice. However, the question of superiority remains open-ended, prompting us to explore these amplifiers more comprehensively, analyze their characteristics, and potentially identify the one that aligns better with your specific needs.
The first Blues Junior model came out in the mid-1990s. The idea behind this one was to replicate the 1950s blues tones. In addition, it was smaller and relatively cheaper. The most recent model is the Blues Junior IV, released in 2018.
Here, we’re looking at a 15-watt amp with one 12-inch speaker. Aside from being a tube-driven amp, it features just one channel. The reason behind such a feature was to have the same approach and sound from the old days of amps.
However, it comes with an input gain control which is (somewhat inappropriately) labeled as volume. But other than that, the controls are pretty straightforward. Aside from gain and master volume controls, we have a 3-band EQ, reverb, and a FAT switch.
This last one helps you get a more distorted tone. You can also activate the FAT feature with the external footswitch. The preamp comes with three 12AX7 tubes. However, its power amp tubes are a bit unusual. It features two EL84s, which is typical of American amps. This also impacts its tone.
There’s a clear boost in the high-ends. However, it still somehow retains some of the classic Fender tones, despite the EL84 valves. You may notice a slight boost in the mids, and the amp gets a more Marshall-style character when pushed over its limits into distorted territories.
Overall, it’s a simple vintage amp with one channel and some additional features. You can get some versatility in there, but it’s mostly blues-oriented. At the same time, it has a competitive price.
Hot Rod Deluxe:
Hot Rod Deluxe came out a year or two later. The idea was to have a different twist to the Fender Blues Deluxe amp. And, of course, for the purpose of this comparison, we’re discussing the latest iteration. This is the Blues Deluxe IV.
Here we have a 40-watt tube amp with a single 12-inch speaker. Aside from three 12AX7s in the preamp, there’s a pair of 6L6 tubes in the power amp. This is more of a classic Fender setup.
But, most importantly, this amp has a pretty decent number of features. There are three channels, two inputs (low and high level), an effects loop, and a bright switch. The bright switch works with the clean channel, providing an additional sonic option.
There are also separate volume controls for the clean channel and two over driven channels. Then we also have a drive knob, a 3-band EQ, master volume, reverb, and presence. Aside from its 40-watt output, the amp does sound a bit more robust. Additionally, the amp comes with a more classic Fender tone on clean and lower-gain settings.
However, when you reach high-gain territories, you get a lot more options. In fact, for some reason, it reminds me more of Marshall amps here. It’s not completely mid-oriented, but it’s still pretty close.
Blues Jr Vs Hot Rod Deluxe: Which Is Better?
It’s essential to point out that both of these amplifiers belong to the more budget-friendly range of Fender’s offerings and are manufactured in Mexico. Nevertheless, they still provide excellent value for their respective price points.
What’s also worth noting is that both amps have some unique features. Blues Junior comes with EL84 tubes but sounds like a classic Fender in clean settings. Meanwhile, the Hot Rod Deluxe comes with 6L6 tubes but gets some Marshall-like tones in high-gain settings.
With that said, the Hot Rod Deluxe does offer more options. And it’s not just about having more channels. It comes with an effects loop, which can mean a lot for a tube amp. But, overall, it’s a very versatile amp. You can play pretty much any genre on it and get those organic tube-driven tones.
Meanwhile, the Blues Junior is a 15-watt piece with just one channel. Additionally, it’s more blues-oriented. Maybe you can get some metal-oriented tones with an overdrive pedal, but it’s still not like the Hot Rod Deluxe.
As for the reverb, these two amps are pretty much the same. I will also say the same thing for the 12-inch speaker quality and the overall build quality.
In my opinion, Blues Junior is great for blues, jazz, and old-school hard rock. It’s also a great choice for gigging musicians who don’t need more than 15 watts. After all, the amp is noticeably lighter.
Conversely, the Hot Rod Deluxe excels in versatility, serving as a true all-purpose amplifier with its robust 40-watt output. This versatile powerhouse can effortlessly adapt to and complement a broad spectrum of musical styles.
In the eternal debate of Blues Junior vs Hot Rod Deluxe, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both amplifiers are exceptional in their own right and cater to different preferences and needs. The Fender Blues Junior offers a compact, portable solution with a distinct vintage tone, ideal for smaller gigs and studio work. On the other hand, the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe provides a more powerful and versatile option, making it suitable for larger venues and a wider range of musical styles.
Ultimately, the “better” amplifier depends on your personal requirements and playing style. Consider factors such as portability, power, and your tonal preferences to make an informed decision. Whichever amplifier you choose, rest assured that you’re in the company of legendary Fender quality and tone. So, whether you’re chasing those classic bluesy riffs or aiming for a broader sonic palette, Fender has got you covered with these iconic amplifiers.
Last Updated on November 6, 2023 by Perry Garner