Gretsch Amps

NAD: Fender Blues Junior III

1

Since a while now I'm thinking about buying me an grown man's amp. I was in a mega music store in another town yesterday and tried a few amps. Finally, I went home with a Blues Junior III in a two tone edition.

Great amp, you can get some nice, warm jazz tones out of it and if you turn up the volume but leave the master down it gives a nice Bluesy break up. The reverb is decent too. So when that surf comes in, I have at least a board. Any tips and tricks for settings are more than welcome.

So my happiness level has temporarily increased with this new toy (although I prefer to think about it as a grown mans amp).

However, there are 2 things that bother me: 1. my (handwound) P90 equipped Epiphone Broadway and 6120 DSV sound great through this amp but my Surf 90 equipped 5120 sounds ... weak and rather one dimensional. This is the first time my ears hear the difference in budget. 2. I played a 'roadworn' stratocaster with a 1000 euro price tag on it in the music store and my playing was way better than on my hollow bodies. It was smoother, quicker and it stayed in tune very well despite me whamming the bar. Aaargh :-/

2

2. I played a 'roadworn' stratocaster with a 1000 euro price tag on it in the music store and my playing was way better than on my hollow bodies. It was smoother, quicker and it stayed in tune very well despite me whamming the bar. Aaargh :-/ -- Greasy
Sounds like your hollowbodies could use a setup, if the store stratocaster played that much better, no?

3

I love the looks of your new amp, very classy indeed. I've not played through a Blues Jr. so I can't help you with settings.

Where do you have your pickups set on your 5120? I have mine very close to the strings and I get a nice fat sound. Of course I'm now running my G-FEC 3 THIRTY through my Kustom KB100 bass amp so effectively I'm using the 10" Fender speaker and the 15" Kustom bass speaker. That makes for a very fat sound.

4

I don't think it's the set up, Walter, I'm afraid it's the design. I've played a stratocaster for almost a decade until I went into hollow body territory. I'm a sucker for F holes and I feel more comfortable with the large body but I have a feeling that one can spend a life time trying to find the best set up while a stratocaster ... it's just designed to play easy, I guess.

Thanks Bear, I have the bridge pick up less than 5 mm for the strings. Until now I was as much a fan of these pick ups as you. Maybe it's just the guitar but for the first time I really hear that the 5120 is (really really well made) budget guitar.

I guess I should just forget about both points and enjoy my new amp.

5

blues jr is a tough amp to beat. they dont cost a lot sound good small, light plenty loud. whats not to like ? Some of the best playing I've heard has come thru one.

6

Greasy, that two tone Jr looks great. I got a BJ III a little over a month ago. Interesting about your 5120 not sounding as good. My 5120's with GFS Surf 90's and Tru Arcs, sound fantastic through the BJ, to my ears. I think the 5120's sound as good through the BJ III as my 6120DSV and 5127 with DeArmond 2000's. Here are my amp settings... Volume-4 Treble-8-9 Bass-8 Mid-less than 2 Master-11

One important note: I leave the Fat Switch on all the time. It really beefs up the tone. Give that a try and see what you think.

7

Thanks Rockabilly Bob. Same here : fat switch on all the time.
I've played the 5120 again on the amp last night, I might have overacted a little but still the difference between the Dynasonics and the Surf 90's seem more important on this amp than on my transistor Fender R15.

Epi P90's settings: treble 0, bass 12, middle 12, Reverb zero for jazz (the P90's do not loose their brightness), clean: less volume, more master treble 6, bass 7, middle 4, moderate reverb, volume 7, master 2 for dirty blues

DSV treble 6, bass 6, middle 3, reverb 9/10 (more is not ok) and less volume and more master to clean up the sound a little

8

Don't forget you have a new speaker in there too. Keep playing. It will break in and sweeten up, and you'll find the sweet spots on the dials by then. Beautiful amp--I like that scheme!

9

Wow! Treble on "0"? How much treble does that Epi with P90s have to bleed off? Guessing you're using it so jazz, but even so...

The amp is very attractive looking, nice purchase.

10

That's a cool lookin little amp Greasy,congrats!

When i sell my old Musicman i'd like to get something like this. And this two tone one would go nicely with my Dano Dirty Thrity.

I've never played through one though,what's the bottom end like? I don't like boxy tones from small amps.

11

I know it sounds crazy to turn the treble all the way off. Certainly here in twang town. ;-) However I met this jazz guitar player few months ago who has recently retired (from working not playing guitar) and he learned this trick from another guy and so on. Regardless of what amp or guitar he plays, he simply turns the treble off, bass and middle (if available) all the way open. The rest, he claims, is in the fingers. He plays an Epiphone ES295 with P90's by the way. And he molds his picks himself. Of course this trick only works for jazz.

I've tried to record the amp with my laptop but it just doesn't work out. Speaking of which, I've played the amp with the band yesterday and I'm getting to like this Blues Jun even more. It's seems to sound better everyday. It takes pedals very well too.

12

i just tried this lil trick. sounds like doo-doo. but with a lil bit of work i was able to get a jazzy tone.

13

aparrently in the fender blurb , they have what is known as a sparkle mod done on the new mk 111 , to take out the boxiness of the old blues jr , which was liked by many harp players . The only thing that marks it down is the printed circuit board and how it's fitted in the chassis , which can make repairs costly , as in the old ones , they're not really built for constant repairs or valve changes etc , ( from the guy that services my amps ) they do look cool in the two tone livery though! for the money though, you can't go wrong 8-)

14

Given the overwhelming demand to hear some samples I've continued my quest to find a way to record the amp. It sounds of course not as good as the real thing but ok enough to share because it shows how versatile this amp is. Please be gentle on my playing, I find recording myself on guitar a very stressful experience. Enough with the excuses here's the result:

Gretsch 6120

Gretsch 6120 II

Epi Broadway P90's Blues Link fixed

Epi Broadway P90's with the treble rolled off (don't try this with humbuckers, they already have the treble rolled off :P )

15

Greasy, nice demo of Blues Jr tones. Your first 6120 clip shows off the reverb well. I'm very happy with my BJ III. Used it for a gig last night running a G5128 and a G100CE through it. I loved what I was hearing, and even had compliments from some non guitar playing patrons.

16

Sounds cool Greasy,thanks for sharing.

17

Nice demo and nice pickin. Mine all of a sudden has a noisey reverb, dont know what thats about ?

18

Thanks, guys. I know too little about amps to have a clue, fauves. Would someone of the experts around here help fauves out, please ? So I'll know what to do if the same thing happens to mine. :) I couldn't stand the idea something going with the reverb.

fauves, while awaiting the arrival of the cavalry can this be of any help : http://billmaudio.com/wp/?page_id=46 ?

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Nice demo and nice pickin. Mine all of a sudden has a noisey reverb, dont know what thats about ?

-- fauves

what kind of a noise are you getting , is it a feedback whistle ? ( could be the valve driving the reverb ?) i'll check the specs first to see the reverb is valve driven . if it has been transported around a lot , a wire might have came loose at the end of the reverb tray . or just it might be something as simple as having the reverb up full and if you stamp on the floor while your playing ,might be picked up through the springs blues jRs can be expensive to fix ,so rule out the simple before taking it to get sorted .

20

I've had a "tweed" Blues Jr. for a few years, I like it a great deal. For the price it is damn near unbeatable. Good tone, won't give you a hernia, tubes warm up nicely, and nice at home and at jams.

Oh, and as for the strat/hollow body thing - I hear you. I love hollow bodies - big ol' handfuls of guitar - but unfortunately they were the first to go from the stable in my austerity measures after the economy went to crap. The Fenders stayed - they do just kind of fall into your hands nicely, and their necks just feel so damn good.

B6

21

Interesting. I think most people would say that a Strat is the least "easy" guitar to play, from a physical standpoint. It's virtues lie elsewhere....


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