Blues Junior Revision History
Fender introduced the Blues Junior in 1995, and has revised and updated it periodically since then. Blues Junior history can be divided into two major categories: the early amps with green circuit boards and the later ones with cream-colored boards. The cream-colored board is laid out entirely differently (and better) than the green board. The biggest change is the reworked reverb circuit. But the old ones sound darker, while the new ones are brighter, with more emphasis on treble tones. One is not necessarily better than the other; the dark tones are nice for blues and jazz, while the new amps do brighter tones better.
All green board and all cream board Blues Juniors are identical electronically, despite what the salesman told you. The only difference is the covering on the case.
Below is a table of revision dates and the changes made on those dates.
|A Green Board||3/3/95||Product Introduction|
|C||10/29/96||Revised preamp and FAT circuit|
|A Cream Board||3/21/01||Revised reverb circuit, new board layout, production moved to Mexico
|B||4/20/02||Added fuse on filament line|
|C||2003||Corrected backwards polarity on filter
cap for -15V reverb supply (C34)
When was Your Amp Made?
Fender adopted a two-letter dating code in 1990, and the code can be found on the Quality Assurance label, inside the cabinet, sometimes located on the bottom, next to the reverb tank, sometimes on the side. The codes are usually handwritten, and the letters can occasionally be hard to decipher.
Fender discontinued date codes in 2003. There is no reliable way to date 2003-2005 amps other than to ask Fender customer support to look up the date from the serial number, although you may find a date code on the speaker. 2006 amps have a small metal “Fender 60th Anniversary” button on the back plate. 2007 amps have no distinguishing features.
The early green board tweed-covered amps were not lacquered. The serial numbers for these amps begin with “LO,” indicating that they were made in the Fender/Sunn Lake Oswego factory.
“NOS” means New, old stock. It usually applies to old vacuum tubes/valves that have gone unsold for decades. The NOS Blues Junior is a current production, lacquered tweed amp with a Jensen reissue C12N speaker. It’s marketed as an upgrade. Once again, only the speaker is different. It is not old stock. It has the same cream board inside with the same components as every other current-production Blues Junior.
All cream board tweed Blues Juniors have a “Limited Edition” plaque on the back. There’s nothing limited about the edition; they built a bunch and when they ran out, they built another bunch.
The Blues Junior chassis has also been used in the Two-Tone, a large amp with a 10-inch and a 12-inch speaker. The chassis can also be found in the weird, plastic-cased Deco-Tone and in some Custom Shop amps with exotic wood cases such as bubinga.
Other cabinet coverings include blond Tolex, dark brown Tolex with a wheat-colored grille (custom for a Canadian music store chain), and the Texas Red Tolex.
Outside the chassis, Fender has used several different speakers in some Blues Junior models. All green boards and all black Tolex BJrs use the Fender Special Design, which is built by Eminence and is equivalent to the Eminence Legend 125. This speaker has been used in the Hot Rod Deluxe, Blues Deluxe, Deluxe Reverb and the Twin Reverb, among others. This is a good, all-around speaker. It doesn’t have the deepest bass, however, and the highs can sometimes be “fizzy.” When the cream board tweeds were introduced, Fender chose the Jensen reissue (made in Italy) C12N. The C12N doesn’t sound much like vintage Jensens, and it can be shrill-sounding. But it cuts through the band well. Some people prefer the Special Design and don’t consider it an improvement. The Texas Red model uses the Celestion Vintage 30 speaker. The V30 is known for its strong midrange and is well suited for classic rock/lead guitar. It’s a little weak in the bass and the highs are a bit more muted than the other speakers.