In the world of guitar amplifiers, Fender’s Blues Junior vs Princeton Reverb stand out as iconic choices. This comparison will delve into their key differences, tonal characteristics, and suitability for various musical styles.
|Features –||Fender Blues Junior||Fender Princeton Reverb|
|Amplifier Type||Combo Tube Amplifier||Combo Tube Amplifier|
|Power Output||15 watts||15 watts|
|Speaker||1 x 12″||1 x 10″|
|Tubes||3 x 12AX7, 2 x EL84||3 x 12AX7, 2 x 6V6|
|Controls||Volume, Treble, Bass, Middle, Master, Reverb||Volume, Treble, Bass, Reverb, Speed, Intensity|
|Weight||Approx. 31 lbs (14 kg)||Approx. 34 lbs (15.4 kg)|
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||16″ x 18″ x 9.18″ (40.6 cm x 45.7 cm x 23.3 cm)||16.87″ x 19.87″ x 9.5″ (42.9 cm x 50.5 cm x 24.1 cm)|
|Footswitch||Not included (optional)||Included|
|Price Range||$$ – $$$||$$$ – $$$$|
|Best For||Blues, Rock, Classic Rock||Jazz, Clean Tones, Country|
|Notable Features||Compact and portable, Warm tube tone, Great for small to medium-sized venues||Classic Fender clean tones, Built-in tremolo, Vintage aesthetics|
|Pros||Portable, Affordable, Good for blues and rock, Built-in reverb||Classic Fender clean tones, Excellent tremolo, Great for jazz and cleans, Vintage appeal|
|Cons||Limited tonal options, May require pedals for versatility||Limited tonal options, Heavier than Blues Junior, Pricier|
Overview of the Blues Junior:
History and Background:
The Fender Blues Junior is a member of Fender’s esteemed Hot Rod series, which was first introduced in the mid-1990s. This series gained immense popularity due to its simplicity, classic Fender tone, and affordability. The Blues Junior, in particular, was designed with a focus on delivering the warm and gritty blues tones that Fender is renowned for.
The Blues Junior typically comes in a compact 15-watt combo amp format. This power rating strikes a balance between providing sufficient volume for smaller gigs and maintaining a manageable size, making it ideal for home practice. Inside the Blues Junior, you’ll find three 12AX7 preamp tubes and two EL84 power tubes. This tube complement is responsible for the amp’s distinctive warm, overdriven sound.
Simplicity is one of the Blues Junior’s defining features. It boasts a single channel with basic controls, including Volume, Tone, and Reverb. This minimalist approach encourages players to focus on their playing without getting lost in a sea of knobs and switches.
The Blues Junior includes a built-in spring reverb, which adds a touch of ambiance to your sound. While not as lush or deep as some other Fender models, it provides a classic reverb effect that many players love.
Equipped with a 12-inch Eminence speaker, the standard Blues Junior delivers a well-balanced tone with a slight emphasis on midrange frequencies. This speaker choice complements the amp’s tonal characteristics and is well-suited for blues and rock styles.
Overview of the Princeton Reverb:
History and Background:
Fender’s “Vintage Reissue” series meticulously designed the Fender Princeton Reverb, a classic amplifier with a rich history dating back to the early 1960s, to capture the essence of the original 1964 Princeton Reverb. This amplifier has earned renown for its opulent reverb and velvety, warm tonal qualities.
The Princeton Reverb typically has a 12-watt power output and is available as a combo amp. It’s slightly smaller and lighter than the Blues Junior, making it exceptionally portable
Under the hood, the Princeton Reverb utilizes two 12AX7 preamp tubes and two 6V6 power tubes. This tube configuration results in a smoother, cleaner tone compared to the Blues Junior.
A standout feature of the Princeton Reverb is its dual-channel design, which incorporates both a normal and a vibrato channel, each equipped with its set of controls. This versatility broadens the spectrum of available tonal options, rendering it a favored choice among musicians with a wide range of musical preferences.
As implied by its name, this amplifier is celebrated for its luxurious reverb and tremolo (vibrato) effects. The reverb, in particular, garners high praise for its depth and quality, establishing it as the preferred option for musicians in pursuit of a vintage, ambient sound.
The standard Princeton Reverb comes equipped with a 10-inch Jensen speaker. This speaker choice produces a warm and balanced tone, although with slightly less low-end compared to the Blues Junior’s 12-inch speaker.
The Main Difference Between The Blues Jr Vs Princeton Reverb Amp:
a) Sound Quality:
When it comes to evaluating amplifiers, the sound quality is paramount. Let’s break down the sound characteristics of both the Blues Junior and the Princeton Reverb. The Blues Junior is celebrated for its gritty, bluesy overdrive. It has a distinctive midrange growl that can produce a harmonically rich breakup when pushed to its limits. The 12-inch speaker in this amplifier delivers ample low-end punch, making it a fitting choice for genres such as blues and rock.
Although its built-in reverb may not match the lushness of the Princeton Reverb’s, it imparts a subtle sense of space to your sound, elevating the overall playing experience. The Blues Junior excels when paired with single-coil pickups, enhancing their inherent brightness and twang. This amplifier is also an ideal selection for musicians who favor simplicity and a straightforward “plug-and-play” approach.
The Princeton Reverb offers a cleaner and more balanced tone compared to the Blues Junior. Its 10-inch speaker provides a slightly smoother response, making it ideal for jazz, country, and cleaner styles of playing. However, don’t mistake “cleaner” for lacking character; the Princeton Reverb is known for its rich and harmonically pleasing clean tones.
The dual-channel design is where the Princeton Reverb truly shines. The normal channel delivers a clean, glassy tone, while the vibrato channel adds a beautiful tremolo effect to your sound. This versatility makes it a versatile choice for players seeking a broad tonal palette. The reverb in the Princeton Reverb is legendary for its depth and quality, adding a lush and ambient dimension to your playing.
b) Speaker Configuration:
Both amplifiers come with distinct speaker configurations that contribute to their unique tonal characteristics. The standard Blues Junior is equipped with a 12-inch Eminence speaker. This speaker choice results in a well-balanced tone with a slight midrange emphasis. It complements the amp’s bluesy and rock-oriented character, delivering a punchy and articulate sound.
In contrast, the Princeton Reverb features a 10-inch Jensen speaker. While this speaker is slightly smaller than the Blues Junior’s, it offers a warm and balanced tone. The Jensen speaker in the Princeton Reverb is known for its clarity, making it well-suited for genres that require pristine clean tones and dynamic response.
The choice between a 12-inch speaker (Blues Junior) and a 10-inch speaker (Princeton Reverb) can influence your decision, depending on your tonal preferences and intended musical style.
c) Power Output:
The power output of an amplifier affects its volume capabilities and the degree of natural tube-driven overdrive it can achieve. The Blues Junior typically delivers 15 watts of power. This power rating strikes a balance between providing sufficient volume for smaller gigs and maintaining a manageable size for practice and home use. It’s an excellent choice for musicians who want tube-driven tone without excessive volume.
The Princeton Reverb offers a slightly lower power output at 12 watts. While it may not be as loud as the Blues Junior, it’s still capable of filling smaller venues with ample volume. The lower wattage also means that it can reach its sweet spot of tube saturation at more manageable volumes, making it a great option for studio recording and practice.
d) Weight and Portability:
Portability is a crucial factor to consider, especially if you’re a gigging musician or if you simply value the convenience of easily transporting your amplifier. The Blues Junior, known for its compact size, is a relatively lightweight amplifier. Its portable nature makes it a popular choice among gigging musicians who need a versatile amp that can be easily carried to venues. Its manageable weight ensures that it won’t strain your back during transport.
The Princeton Reverb is also highly portable but is slightly smaller and lighter than the Blues Junior. This makes it an even more convenient option for musicians on the move. While both amplifiers are considered portable, the Princeton Reverb’s reduced weight might be a deciding factor for players who prioritize ease of transport.
e) Tube Complement:
Tubes are at the heart of what gives these amplifiers their distinct tonal characteristics. The type and number of tubes used in an amp’s circuitry significantly impact its sound. The Blues Junior utilizes three 12AX7 preamp tubes and two EL84 power tubes. The 12AX7 tubes in the preamp stage contribute to its warm and harmonically rich overdrive, while the EL84 power tubes help shape the amp’s character. This tube configuration gives the Blues Junior its classic Fender tone with a bluesy edge.
The Princeton Reverb, on the other hand, employs two 12AX7 preamp tubes and two 6V6 power tubes. This tube combination results in a smoother, cleaner tone compared to the Blues Junior. The 6V6 power tubes are known for their balanced response and sweet breakup when pushed.
The choice of tubes in each amp contributes to their sonic signatures, making them suitable for different musical styles and preferences.
f) Price Point:
New units range from approximately $599 to $799 USD, with used or vintage options available at varying prices. New models typically cost between $1,099 and $1,399 USD, while vintage versions can go for significantly higher prices, often exceeding $2,000 to $3,000 USD or more.
Your choice should consider your budget and desired features, as the Blues Junior offers affordability, while the Princeton Reverb provides versatility and vintage charm at a somewhat higher cost.
Which One Is Better for You?
Choosing Your Amplifier:
Blues Junior: Opt for this if you’re into blues and rock, seek a simple setup, prioritize portability, and are on a budget.
Princeton Reverb: Go for this if you play various styles, appreciate vintage-inspired effects, need tonal versatility, and can accept a slightly heavier but tonally rewarding option.
Ultimately, your choice between the Fender Blues Junior vs Princeton Reverb depends on your playing style and preferences. The Blues Junior offers gritty overdrive, simplicity, and portability, while the Princeton Reverb excels in delivering pristine sound and vintage-inspired effects. Regardless of your decision, you’ll embrace Fender’s rich amplifier legacy and timeless sound.
Last Updated on September 24, 2023 by Perry Garner