Fabulous valve amp, the third version of the famous Blues Junior first launched in 1995. All those warm tube tones, classic Fender reverb, and a lot more bark than you'd ever expect from a 15 watt amp. Modern-day classic!
Fender absolutely nailed it when they bucked all trends towards transistor and digital and launched the Blues Junior in 1995. A pure valve amp, which, despite its diminutive size and weight, recreates the classic tones of blues and blues rock from the 1950s onwards. Just one 12" speaker, just 15 Watts output, but you wouldn't know it. Clear as a bell with the gain low. Crank it up, engage the "FAT" button, and you're into that Holy Grail creamy (non-digital!) overdrive and sustain that you'd only expect from classic vintage Fenders like the Twin Reverb or Deluxe. It's been in uninterrupted production, through four versions, for longer than those original vintage amps, which is saying something. And weighing in at around 14 kg, you can take it anywhere! Love this amp!
A truly classic combination with this 1965 Fender Stratocaster.
Blues Junior Mk III
- Pre-amp: 3 x 12AX7
- Power amp: 2 x EL84
1 x 12" Eminence Special Design
Volume (Gain) and Master Volume
Classic Fender Reverb
External Footswitch connection
Sometimes simplicity is beauty. This isn't a feature-rich amp: one input, Volume (Gain), standard Treble, Bass and Middle (in that order), a Master Volume, that glorious Fender spring reverb, and a single push-button "FAT" switch to bring in some extra pre-amp gain to your overdrive. That's it.
But you get so much more for all that simplicity. Classic Fender clean tones and lush reverb, through to full-on overdrive with the Gain cranked up and the FAT button engaged.
Great for practice, great for gigging - on its own or mic'd up. The Edge and Noel Gallagher have used one as part of their on-stage set-up, which is saying something for such a diminutive powerhouse. And neither of them would claim to be bluesmen, which further underlines its versatility.
Some reviews talk about the "boxiness" of the Mk III's output, enough so that Fender changed to a Celestion speaker with the Mk IV, released in 2018. Personally, I don't get the sense of boxiness. If anything, there's a little too much brightness in the "sparkle circuit", when you play with a guitar with single coil pick-ups (ironically . . .). But that's just a question of adjusting the tone controls to get to a sound that suits your style. To be fair, I've never done a side by side test with a Mk IV, so don't take my word for it! For me, though, this amp's got everything you could want from a single-speaker pure valve amp - classic Fender clean and fat sounds in a small package. Size is not everything!
Sources & Links
Just Guitar Amps Review Great review from Just Guitar Amps. Tested with both humbuckers and single coils, the latter giving rise to that brightness that you might want to dial back. But overall, it's a big thumbs-up from Just Guitar Amps (and they should know!)..