Blackstar Artist 15 vs Fender Blues Junior – In Depth Comparison

In this comparison of 2 great amps, you will learn what are their exact differences and which one is best under what scenario.

The main difference between Blackstar Artist 15 and Fender Blues Junior is their versatility. The former offers 2 channels, with one having clean tones and the other having effects. In contrast, the Fender Blue Jr has one channel but is more affordable and excellent at a clean tone.

Which one you picks depends entirely on your situation. I will discuss the following scenarios and recommend which one is a better choice

  • For giging
  • For home jamming
  • For the different types of playing styles
 

Detailed comparison between Blackstar Artist 15 and Fender Blues Junior

Technical Differences

  • Channels: One of the biggest difference. Fender Blues Junior has only one channel while the Blackstar Artist 15 has 2. Channel 1 of the latter offers the cleaner tone with strong mids. Its channel 2 has stronger bass, reverbs and basically is the one that allows you to play with different effects.
  • Effects Looping and Reverbs: Only for Blackstar Artist 15. Its effect lopping switch can give you stuff like +4dBV boost or -10dBV level cut.
  • Speaker: Blackstar Artist 15 carries the Celestion V-Type speaker while the Fender Junior III has the “lighing bolt” speaker by Eminence.
  • Headphone Jack: Not for the Fender Blues Junior.
  • Weight: The Blackstar Artist is definitely much heavier than the Fender model. The former weights around 40 pounds while the latter is about 10 pounds lighter.
  • Prices: Both models are in the $500 dollar range, although the 15 is getting harder to find online.

Sound Differences

Blackstar Artist 15’s key advantage over the Fender Blues Junior is the 2 channel options. Channel one is basically what the Fender amp offers so it is a good comparison.

  • Gains: The gains for the Artist 15 looks to be more narrow. The Fender amp, especially when you turn the fat switch on, produces stronger gains on its clean tones.
  • Headroom: The Blackstar Artist 15 offers a higher headroom and is where it shines as the effects are clearly more visible. You can also hear more tonal differences by how hard you are playing the guitar.
  • Reverbs: Fender Blues Junior’s spring reverb gives off the classic vintage Fender sound we are all familiar with. The digital reverb from Blackstar does sounds nice but still lagging behind Fender’s warmer tone.
  • Mids: Fender has a fatter mid range as the Blackstar Artist 15 projects a more heavier tone in this range.
  • Overdrive: The Blues Junior amp gives you more of a blues overdrive, rather than a rock or metal kind of overdrive. In contrast, the Artist 15 gives you a powerful overdrive that is well suited for rock music.
  • Boxy sound: Due to the depth of the Fender cabinet, there is always this complaint of a boxy sound coming from the amp. It is not as obvious on higher volume but for folks who are particular, you will feel it.

When it comes to Blackstar’s channel 2, it offer entirely different set of propositions that cannot be matched by Fender Blues Junior.

In this channel, you basically go from British sounding to more American, with its emphasis on a fatter bottom. It is also where you get lots of flexibility in terms of voices with its ISF control knob.

When you are in this channel, you will be having fun playing with different effects and is especially great for those playing rock.

 

Which amp is best for what

For gigging

Fender Blues Junior has the advantage of portable and light but might not be able to holds its own if your band plays more rock/metal. The drum is an obvious competitor and it is pretty hard for the Fender amp to overcome the drummer’s sound.

If you are doing small gigs or for small venues or doing a blues/jazz band, the Fender Blues Junior is sufficient for the job. Despite its small size, there is enough power in there to offer a solid performance.

If your gigs need something really loud and powerful, with lots of effects, then the Blackstar Artist 15 will be more suitable. However it is pretty heavy so portability is an issue.

For home practice

If the amp is staying at one place, then both amps are fine. However the Fender model is about $50-60 less expensive so I would go for that.

However, the Fender Blues Junior does not come with a headphone jack. That can be problematic for those who want to do silent bedroom practice. In this case, the Blackstar Artist 15 is the one to go for.

Having said that, a lot is decided by how you want to play, which brings us to the next section.

For different playing style

If you want naturally sound guitar, or playing slow rock, jazz, country etc, then the Fender Blues Juniors is more suited. This amp projects a clean and warm tone, with a buttery middle and smooth highs. The bass might not be as strong but it is not needed for the styles mentioned here.

If you into heavy rock, or enjoy experimenting with effects, then the Blackstar Artist 15 is more recommended. Its Channel 2 offers more versatility and goes beyond the usual clean tone.

 

Conclusion

To keep the comparison simple, I recommend you go for the Fender Blues Junior III if you are after the classic guitar sound. The Fender amp offers exactly that with little versatility that you don’t need in the first place.

However, if you are into effects and rock music, the Blackstar Artist 15 will offer more flexibility, at a higher cost and heavier weight.

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