The Fender Blues Junior are well loved for their clean and warm tones. However, some might find them to be too loud or too expensive. This article will suggest some affordable alternatives that can still produce the tones you want from a Fender.
Solid alternatives to Fender Blues Junior are:
- Blackstar HT-1R
- Vox AC4TV
- Bugera V5 Infinium
- Orange Micro Terror
- Fender Bassbreaker 007
These amps are cheaper by 20-40%. They are also quieter alternatives due to their low wattage, making them ideal for bedroom practice.
Alternatives to Fender Blues Junior that are quieter and cheaper
Protip: To get the full clean tone of a Fender without cranking up the volume, you need to crank up the master volume all the way to the top. Then adjust the volume via the volume knob. If you skip the first step, you will feel the Fender amp is just soft without the full bodied tone.
Once you have done this, you might not need a Fender Blue alternative. If you still feel the Fender amp is too loud or expensive, here are some alternatives to consider:
1.Blackstar HT-1R review
This is a one watt practice amp that I highly recommend. Despite its small size, I can get pretty much all the tonal effects dirty, clean, crunchy etc from a bigger amp, without your family or neighbors wanting to throw that amp out of your windows.
If you want an amp that sounds like a Fender Blues Junior but at conversational volume, this is it. The sound is warm and clean and doesn’t sound flat like how most low wattage amp do.
Its small size also means it is easy to fit into any small room settings. This is very useful if you are struggling with a normal sized amp that need certain floor space.
The Blackstar HT-1R comes with a ISF control, which is pretty niffy. It is basically a tone controller and allows you to distort your sound by simply turning the dial. Using this, you can play around with different styles in teh comfort of your bedroom.
The downside is a lack of EQ control and not much headroom when playing in clean tone. It also lacks power if you want to use it in a rock band or a big venue.
2. Vox AC4TV review
This small 4 watt amp is a blast to play with. When you want a quieter setting, tune it to 1/4 watt. When you want to up the power, it has additional options of 1 and 4 watt. At 4 watt, it is pretty loud and can be used for small venue gigs.
Although the Vox AC4 has only a couple of controls (power, volume, tone, attenuator switch etc), there is a lot of room for experimenting. The sound ranges from dirty to clean, depending on your setting.
If you want breaks for example, set the wattage to 1 and the volume to 11. If you want distortion, hit the volume knob to 6 and wattage to 1 or 4.
The downside is again the limited headroom but that seems to be the common problem for low wattage amps.
3. Bugera V5 Infinium review
The Bugera V5 Infinium is a 5 wattage amp that is cheaper but delivers a satisfying tonal experience at minimal volume.
There is a attenuator switch that lets you go from clean to a darker tone and is the primary control that you will experiment with on finding the right tone for your playing style.
There are some who complaints about the darker tone. If you doesn’t appreciate such a tone, you might want to stand away from this model. However, you can avoid it by simply turning the tone dial higher
However, if you are into blues player, you will love this amp. At the higher gain, the sound is warm and conveys a smooth breakup, even at the 1 wattage power level. At the 5 wattage level, the loudness might surprise you as it is pretty loud and powerful.
4. Orange Micro Terror review
One of the cheapest alternative you can find in the market as it costs around $150 in most online stores. I was expecting this to be a toy but was I wrong!
This little amp packs a mean punch, as it delivers a clean and crystal clear sound despite the small package. At low volume, the clean is still pretty clean although not as good as 1 to 3 models above.
At high volume, this is a beast as it delivers a powerful dirty tone that can hold its own even for small venue gigs. If you want something even more bright or warm, simply use the tone knob to control the degree you desire.
5. Fender Bassbreaker 007 review
If you like the Fender sound but do not want to pay the price for the Fender Blues, the Bassbreaker 007 is a cheaper alternative that delivers the Fender clean tone everyone loves.
The reason for this recommendation is that Fender Bassbreaker 007 can achieve the Fender sound without too high a volume. It can even achieve break up at low volume so it is really suited for bedroom practice.
In terms of tone, it is where you will either love or hate this amp. It does what it is meant to be do, very very well. If you want clean and dark tones for playing blues, slow rock or just natural guitar, this is amp is very solid.
However, it is not versatile enough to accommodate other kinds of tonal effects. For example, if you like the Vox amp kind of clean tone, you can’t get it here.
Another downside is that the Fender Bassbreaker 007 is more expensive than the Blackstar HT-1R and Vox AC4, due to its higher wattage capacity.
My personal favourite among the 5 choices is the Blackstar HT-1R for its pricing and the clean tone that sounds closer to the Fender sound. If you are a Fender purist, the Bassbreaker 007 will be more suited but it costs more and is less versatile.