Is the Fender Blues Jr IV worth an upgrades over the III? I would say probably not but if you were deciding between the two, the IV is definitely the winner.
The main difference between Fender Blues Junior iv vs iii is the significant jump in sound quality. The Fender Blues jr IV exhibit a stronger bass and a more responsive reverb than the III. It also differs in the quality of the speakers and the cabinet built quality.
These differences are listed below for more specific descriptions:
- Bass: IV has a stronger, rounder and clearer bass, especially when you used distortion. This is the main difference that is obvious on the first hearing. Fender has clearly made this change to answer critics who wasn’t happy with III’s bass handling.
- Reverb: IV has rearranged the reverb in a different part of the circuit, resulting in a more warn sounding reverb as III is a bit wash out
- Gain: IV has stronger and even louder gain. When you compare the two side by side, the IV sounds fuller
- Sound Brightness: III is well known for having a brighter sound and it is still valid, even against IV
- Pedals: The IV has made using pedals even more easy. This an effort to make the amp more versatile to keep up with the times.
- Cabinet: Suppose to be lighter but can’t really tell
- Speakers: IV uses the Celestion A-Type while III uses the “lighting bolt” speaker
For the more technical incline, here are some additional differences in terms of actual component change from III to IV:
- C8 preamp caps is upgraded from 0.0022uF to 0.022uF
- Bias is still fixed with the factory resistors being 33k for R51 (unchanged) and 27k for R52 (increased from 22k)
- Reverb position has been changed
- Things that remain unchanged includes: large filter cap, output transformer, C2 preamp caps, tone stack.
Despite the improvements in IV, there are still problems that exist
- Volume still doubles when you dial it from 1 to 1.0001. This is a known problem since III but it looks like it wasn’t fixed in IV.
- Build quality is still the same from something in this price range. The wood used is not the best and if you moved it around very frequently, you might need to resoldier certain items.
- Cabinet design still lacks depth. It will be perfect if it was 1-2 inch deeper. That would help to remove the ‘boxy’ sound that some have complaint about.
Which Fender Blue Jr model is the best
The decision to go for Fender Blue Junior IV or III depends on the context that you are using it:
- If you like brighter and woodier tone: go for III. I would say the older Fender supporters will likely prefer this tone rather than the IV’s darker tone.
- For stage gigs: the III model has a brighter sound so you might want to choose this. However, both amps are actually sufficient powerful to handle small gigs and yet are not too loud for a small venue.
- For versatility: the IV has made the usage of pedals more easy and integrated. If you are the type who likes to play with different tones and styles via the pedal, the IV definitely is the better choice.
Blues Junior Iv Humboldt edition vs regular
For IV, there is a regular version and the Humboldt edition. Their differences are:
- Speakers: The Humboldt edition features the Hotrod Hempster speaker by Eminenc while the regular has the Celestion A speaker
- Cabinet material: The Humboldt used cab plywood vs the particle used by the regular version
- Price: The Humboldt edition is about $50 more than the regular version.
So, which version should you get?
My recommendation is the regular version because I can’t really tell much difference from the two, when I listen to their demos online.
Best setting for Fender Blue Jr
Be it for the III or IV, you need to adjust the right setting to get the best of these machines.
- Dial the master volume all the way up
- Control the volume via the volume dial
- Eq to taste, especially you want more clean tone or natural guitar sound
Doing the above will give you so much better tone quality and even reduces some of the boxed sound that result from a shallow cabinet.
The common mistake made by most guys is to do the reverse. They dial the master really low and set the gains pretty high. What this does is to cause the amp to overdrive but at the same time, choking the amp due to low master.
The Fender Blues Jr IV is an upgrade of the more classic sounding III. Side by side, the overall sound from IV is definitely fuller, so I can say the sound improvement is significant.
However, there are also some fundamental changes which might divide the Fender crowd.
The Fender supporters who like the classic tone might still prefer III. For folks who like more bass and have more versatility in playing styles, the IV offers exactly that.