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.

Revision Date Major Change
A Green Board 3/3/95 Product Introduction
B 5/15/95 Unknown
C 10/29/96 Revised preamp and FAT circuit
D 7/29/98 Unknown
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.

YEAR MONTH
1990 A January A
1991 B February B
1992 C March C
1993 D April D
1994 E May E
1995 F June F
1996 G July G
1997 H August H
1998 I September I
1999 J October J
2000 K November K
2001 L December L
2002 M
2003 N

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.

Early Tweeds
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.

Current Tweeds
“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.

Other Variants
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.

Stock Speakers
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.

37 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Hello Bill,
    FYI I Have a cream board blues Jr with the name plate on the rear of the amp stating “made in usa” the amp was made in 2001.
    Also did the twin stack, tone stack, and bias mods, cant say how great I think it sounds, the reverb sounds much more usable. Thanks for sharing your great info.
    Mark

    • bill says:

      Yes, I have a 2001 cream board that’s made in USA, too. It was a transitional year, so you can find green boards and cream boards with the USA tag and cream boards with the Mexico tag. No green boards built in Mexco, though!

  2. Maddog says:

    What color board was on a 98′ model blues jr? Thanks

  3. Joe Kataldo says:

    Hi Bill,

    I just bought a USA Blues Junior, the letters says LC so I supposed it was from 2001 but inside has a green board REV. B

    What do you think?

    I’d like to do the basic mods to my blues junior but I’ve no experience on amps, can I send the board to you, do you offer this kind of service?

    Thanks

  4. Jetson says:

    I recently purchased an early green board tweed-covered amp with the serial # beginning with LO. The orginal owner bought it new, used it for 2 hrs. then coved it and stored it unused for 10 yrs. The amp sounds great however, I’m wondering which of the mods would best suit this amp to improve it’s performance. Also can this amp be modded to accept headphones?

    • bill says:

      All you need are the basic mods to get started; the rest is up to you.

      Tube amps are not designed to run headphones. They need a speaker-like load all the time. A Weber Headphone Tap will provide a dummy load and a headphone output.

  5. Don Blair says:

    Hi Bill,

    What does the PR-295 mean on a Blues Junior? Approximate date of production and where?

    Thanks

    • bill says:

      That’s blonde Tolex. It’s probably a green board, but Fender also did a run of blondes more recently and sold them exclusively through Musician’s Friend.

  6. RickeyG says:

    I have the tweed with a Jensen speaker and an eminence driver – odd or what????? anyone know much about this>>>>

  7. David says:

    Hello Bill,
    I have a Blues Junior with a Made in the USA Label. The letters read MC which I assume is March 2002. It still sounds great, but I am considering trading it in for a brand new B J (Made in Mexico). Just thinking it would be nice to have a new 2010 amp. Is that a wise decision? Thank for your time,
    David S.

    • bill says:

      It still sounds great

      Then why would you change it? A 10-year-old amp might need fresh tubes and maybe new filter caps. And the warranty is expired, so no worries if you want to mod it.

  8. Justin says:

    I have a 2002 blues jr. with a cream board. I just made an order for a bunch of mods from your site and am very excited to put them to use. I just noticed the revision C that happened after by board was made:

    “Corrected backwards polarity on filter cap for -15V reverb supply (C34)”

    Is this something I’m going to want to address and fix? or does your basic kit already address this issue?

    thanks in advance.

    • bill says:

      You’ll have to look at yours to see if it’s backwards. If it is, the bottom of the cap will be blown out and there will likely be brown crud on the board under it. I can sell you a replacement cap. It’s not part of the standard mods, because it only applies to the 2001-2002 amps.

  9. Leo Herrera says:

    Hi,

    My Blues Junior has SN B-131264.

    When was made?

    Thanks

    Leo from Chile

  10. Tyler says:

    I was looking at buying a Blonde tolex made in mexico. Does that have a cream board or a green board. It has an eminence speaker and i thought those were paired more with the green boards?

  11. makuserusukotto says:

    I just bought a ’95 Rev B Blues Jr, would you recommend finding a rev c or d schematic and updating accordingly? Or are the updates not worth it?

  12. bluesjunior says:

    I just ordered the basic kit and the recap kit here tonight Bill and await my order with great trepidation having finally decided to make the jump and also after seeing your pics of the kaput 22uf 450v caps. The middle cap on my BJr’ has a tiny bit of residue showing, about a quarter of the amount shown in the one in your pic, my amp still plays fine regardless, but as I have had it for 10yrs a recap is probably well overdue. I bought my made in USA green board rev C BJr’ in 2001 here in the UK. On the QC sticker on mine it looks like a capital LH reading from L-R which going by your revision history year/month would make it 2001 – August ie well into MIM cream board territory but to me it would make more sense if it was month/year which would date it to December – 1997 which ties in with the made in USA back plate and green board rev C stamp. What do you think?.

  13. thenextside says:

    I have a Rev B BJr (built Oct 95) and see that you indicate above that they were not lacquered. Mine definitely is lacquered. Was it just the Rev A that wasn’t lacquered?
    Great site by the way. I was looking for a new amp because I have always felt this one was too dark. Then I came across your site and am really keen to mod this puppy!

  14. blues4U says:

    Hey Bill,

    If I had a chance to get a good condition green board for a good price, should I? Or should I hold out for a cream board? Is there any inherent advantage of either one?

    Thanks.

    • bill says:

      There’s nothing wrong with the green board; as above, the tone is darker. Some mod kits (octal conversion) don’t apply. You’re more likely to find cracked solder joints on the output tubes, but they are repairable.

  15. wksohn says:

    Hi Bill,

    I have a MIM fender blues jr. After retubing with the exact Sovtek models recently, I feel it’s toooooo bright for me. I tried many tubes by myself, but now I believe I don’t like the too much bright taste from the cream board. Do you think I just need green board? Is there any recommendation for example using Sovtek 12AX7 LPS on V1 or any mod on it? Speaker..? … I guess I might need aged tubes but I would be really happy if I know how to aging my brand new Sovtek tubes by myself… 🙂 I really liked the sound with worn out GT tubes from cream board BJ, but I really don’t have idea how to get the exact sound now.. since the stock power tubes are making even noise I don’t think I can use the worn out ones anymore.

    Thank you,
    Andy

    • bill says:

      It’s never a good idea to fall in love with the sound of worn-out tubes (or gradually get used to them), because it’s impossible to maintain that sound.

      You could hunt around for an old green board Blues Junior. Or you could install the sparkle control to roll off highs, just like dead tubes. Then you could slowly turn it up and get your ears used to hearing highs again. I’d also recommend the basic mods kit, which greatly enhances the low end and gives the amp a more balanced tone overall.

  16. FPD says:

    Hi, Bill —

    I know you say above that all the Blues Junior variants are identical electronically — can you tell me whether they’re identical in cabinet dimensions and handle placement/dimensions as well? I’m having a hard time locating one of the tweed versions to check a custom cover fit.

    Thank you!

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