The 8 Best Speakers for Fender Blues Junior and Why
What is the best speaker upgrade for a blues junior? If you are looking to upgrade your Blues Jr’s tone then the speaker is by far the best mod you can make.
I see a lot of people making the same mistake when it comes to buying a Fender Blues Junior. So many people (myself included) have made the mistake of spending more for the fancy Blues Junior with the nice Tolex. Usually, the fancy looking Blues Juniors are loaded with an upgraded speaker.
With the Tolex colour and speaker aside, the stock blues junior and the brand new limited edition ones are identical. There is one exception which is some have Pine cabinets instead of whatever they are usually made from. Instead of spending the extra $200 on the one with the fancy colour just buy the stock black Blues Junior. Now to be clear, if you love the tone of the limited edition Blues Junior, then just go for it! Having an upgraded speaker installed already will save you the hassle of changing speakers.
If you are like me and you really want your tone to stand out then I have some killer speaker suggestions to check into. Like anything when it comes to music gear, make sure you listen to as many sound samples and videos as you can. The reason I always suggest this is because everyone likes different things. I will try my best to describe what I love about the speakers in this list and why I think they are a viable option for the amplifier.
American or English Voiced Speakers? What is the Difference?
I am going to break this list down into two sections: American and English voiced speakers. If you don’t know the difference a lot of American voiced speakers are found in amplifier brands like Fender, Mesa, and Peavey (some).
English speakers have a different character to them. You can find English sounding speakers in a Marshall, VOX, or even in Fenders (depends on the model). The weird thing about the Fender Blues Junior is that it’s not really a “traditional” Fender amp. It’s one of the only amplifiers in the entire range that is set up essentially like a VOX AC-15. It has EL84 power tubes and 12AX7 preamp tubes. The Pro Junior is the only other classic amp from their line up that has this configuration.
American Voiced Speakers
- The Eminence Swamp Thang. I “speak” about this speaker a lot. The Swamp Thang will make the Blues Junior way louder and it will also have a far better low-end response. These are easily my #1 suggestion for making amps louder while still having that classic Fender tone.
- The Eminence Texas Heat. This speaker is a real killer! It will have extended lower mids than the Swamp Thang and be much louder (and better) than the stock speaker. One thing the Texas Heat does though – It can take some of the top ends out of your sound. If you like a lot of top end, then this speaker isn’t for you. I usually suggest this if you love a rolled out tone and lots of mids. It’s a great speaker and works well in the Blues Junior.
- Eminence Cannabis Rex. The Cannabis Rex was actually a speaker Fender was putting in some limited edition amplifiers for a while there. This is a lower watt speaker but it really makes the Fender Blues Junior come alive. The Cannabis Rex is a very efficient speaker too. It will be loud and fat sounding that’s for sure. This is a huge upgrade over the stock Blues Jr speaker.
- The Jensen CK12. I had a chance to test the Jensen CK12 with my Blues Junior a number of years ago. I actually took the Jensen CK12 out of my Fender Deluxe Reverb for this test. It worked! I am not sure it’s as nice of an option overall as the rest of the speakers in this list. The main difference is the Eminence speakers sound great straight away, while the Jensen Ck12 requires a bit of break-in time.
English Voiced Speakers
- Celestion Creamback. This speaker is a very articulate speaker with lots of nice tones within it. The Creamback is a much better choice than the Greenback in a Blues Junior. The Creamback has a clearer sound but it also sounds fuller on the low end which is what you want with a Blues Junior. Any help you can give the small amp to sound bigger is a good thing.
- Eminence Tonker. This speaker is a unique and somewhat bland speaker compared with some on the list. I say “bland” lovingly because nothing really screams amazing. It’s a solid all-around speaker that is extremely loud! It has a tighter low end (less prominent lows) than the Creamback and to my ear, it’s much louder and has next to zero speaker distortion. Putting a 150-watt high headroom speaker in an amp is what I would choose any day over a low watt one.
- Celestion V-Type. This speaker is a very underrated speaker. It might not be as loud as the Tonker but it sounds great in amps with EL84 style configurations. It has a good amount of bit and mids. I would take this over a Greenback in a Blues Jr any day of the week.
- The Eminence Wizard. If you buy a Wizard your neighbours are going to love you. haha. The Eminence Wizard has one of the largest magnets you’ve ever seen on a speaker. Because of this, it has lots of low ends but unlike some of the other speakers, it has an enhanced top end. If you’re looking for something loud with lots of bite, the Eminence Wizard is a winner.
This list is based on speakers I have actually tried. It might sound like I also do not like Greenback speakers too by my remarks about it earlier. My number 1 reason for avoiding the Greenback speaker in a blues junior is because I tried it myself. Once you had the amplifier up at any appreciable volume, it really struggled to keep up. Many of the speaker on this list I currently still own and being able to try them back to back is a really great thing to hear how different a speaker modification can be.
My last word of advice on choosing a speaker
- Listen to as many clips as you can of any given speaker.
- Try some sound clips of someone who plays along the same lines as you do.
- Load up the speaker companies website and check the frequency graphs as well. This will show you how much treble, mids, and bass each speaker has and how it compares to others.
- Once you narrow two speakers downplay the clips back to back and take a chance.
- Choose the one you like the best because at the end of the day that is what matters most.
- Changing the tubes/valves won’t impact the tone of the amplifier anywhere near as much as changing the speaker.