Fender Blues Junior IV Review

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The Fender Blues Junior IV is the latest improvement on Fender's Blues Junior Line. This genuine tube amp is loved by thousands of players. In today's review, I'm going to talk about why.

This is a tried and true combo amp from one of the most trusted companies in the business, so it's no wonder it's a particularly popular amp.

We'll dive into what exactly has landed the Fender Blues Junior IV a spot in so many guitarists' arsenals, starting with a product overview and moving on to a list of its standout features.

Finally, we'll take a look at the considerations to make before buying this amp, as well as a few alternatives so you can compare and contrast your options. Time to amp up!

Product Overview

Fender Blues Junior IV

This high-midrange budget combo amp brings Fender's iconic vintage-inspired tube sound straight to your living room, studio, or venue stage.

As a genuine tube amp, it delivers a naturally warm, vintage-style tone that many guitar enthusiasts know and love.

For its controls, it has an input volume knob, 3-band EQ, spring reverb knob, and master volume knob. It also has a fat switch that can be used to instantly boost the mids, fattening up your tone.

So what's the main takeaway for the Fender Blues Junior IV? Overall, this is a transparent, reliable tube amp that brings one word to mind: dependability.

Fender has nothing to hide here; they've been making great tube amps for decades now, and the Blues
Junior IV upholds their tradition of reliability by slightly improving upon previous Blues Junior models (I'll discuss these specific improvements in the Features & Benefits section).

This amp is most suitable for classic rock, jazz, and of course, blues. While there are better options out there for high-gain metal tones, the Blues Junior IV is great at creating tones ranging from smooth to slightly gritty or overdriven.

The amp certainly has a signature Fender tube sound, and it delivers that sound flawlessly. Let's take a look at some of the standout features and benefits of this popular combo amp.

Why I Like It

  • Durable & dependable
  • Great clean tone
  • Spring reverb sounds fantastic

What Could Be Improved

  • Doesn't handle heavy distortion well
  • Not quite loud enough for certain gigs

Features & Benefits (Overall Average Rating: 5/5)

Volume Capabilities - 5/5

Volume control is where the Fender Blues Jr. IV really shows its versatility. As a 15-watt tube amp, it can reach volumes that are plenty loud for rehearsals and even gigs in small to medium-sized venues.

Combo amps like this one benefit from an ability to perform transparently at both quiet and extremely loud volumes. After all, you go with a combo amp because you value convenience, so you'll want an amp that is usable in a variety of different settings.

The Fender Blues Junior IV definitely fits the bill here. The Celestion speaker provides a great tone at low volumes, and can also reach high volumes without clipping or distorting your signal.

Some combo amps out there can lose definition as they venture into the lower volumes, or become distorted as they reach the higher volumes. But the Fender Blues Junior IV sounds clean and articulate at any volume you set it to. It's probably its most versatile quality.

Tone Control - 3/5

When it comes to tone control, the Fender Blues Junior IV is not exactly a Swiss Army knife. That is to say, it's not one of those amps that can create 100 different tones in one amp (if you want something like that, consider looking into a digital modeling amp).

Instead, the Blues Junior offers only a handful of tones, but the upside is they all sound fantastic. You can turn it on and immediately get a vintage-sounding tube tone that is warm and rich enough to earn you some compliments from fans or fellow guitarists.

Let's briefly explore the handful of great tones you can achieve with this tube amp.

The "volume" knob on the left of the amp functions as an input volume. Much like a "gain" knob, it can have a pretty substantial effect on your overall tone. At low volume levels, you will have a nice clean sound that is great for blues, jazz, reggae, or anything mellow.

Turning the volume knob up, you'll gradually hear a more and more distorted signal. You can achieve a nice crunch and a solid overdriven sound with this volume knob alone.

The 3 knobs for treble, bass, and mid offer even more tone control. These knobs are of course standard for most Fender amps, but I've found they work particularly well with the Blues Junior IV. Sweeping from 0 to 10 on each of these EQ knobs, you'll be able to hear the effect they have on your amp tone.

They are robust and transparent, each one having its intended effect without resulting in unwanted distortion or feedback. This dependability is one of the reasons Fender's Blues Junior line has been so popular over the years.

It's important to note that the Blues Junior IV has a lot of clean headroom, which is a good thing in most cases. It's one of the things that allows the controls to work so flawlessly without distorting the signal.

The flip side of this is that it will be hard to achieve a high-gain sound. So if you're specifically looking to play metal, deathcore, djent, or other heavier genres, then you'll probably be better off with a different amp.

Overall, I gave this amp a score of 3/5 for tone control; because while it is not particularly versatile, the tones it does have, it does very well.

Built-in Effects - 3/5

The built-in effects is one area where the Fender Blues Junior IV really shines compared to previous models. The reverb in particular has been vastly improved.

The preamp circuitry has been modified to allow the spring reverb to sound smooth and luscious while retaining your note definition.

The reverb sounds fantastic on clean tones. You can tastefully add reverb to your reggae, indie, or blues tracks, and it can add impact to your solos in just about any genre. This spring reverb does a great job of transparently fattening up your tone.

And speaking of fattening, the fat switch is another useful built-in effect that Fender included with this combo amp.

This switch instantly gives a hefty boost to the mids in your signal, which thickens your tone and makes it really slap the listeners in the face. If you're playing heavy or gritty music, try using the fat switch with just a bit of reverb, and the volume knob turned up high. It will give you a super full tone.

Aside from the reverb and fat switch, this amp doesn't really have any other features to modify your signal with. But if you're looking to add delay or other modulation effects, you can always plug in effects pedals.

Construction - 5/5

Construction, build quality, durability; whatever you call it, if you buy a Fender amp, you know you're getting a good product.

Tube amps are notorious for being fragile and finicky. Fortunately, the Fender Blues Junior IV has impeccable build quality, especially when compared with other tube amps in its price range.

For anyone who tours or travels a lot with their combo amp, durability is extremely important. You never know what kind of drops or spills your gear might endure, despite your best efforts. Fortunately, the Fender Blues Junior IV's black textured vinyl covering is remarkably resilient.

Guitar techs tend to love this line of amps as well because the circuitry is simple, straightforward, and easy to modify or repair in the unlikely event that something does go wrong.

The Blues Jr. also has white ivory knobs that are easy to see and highly responsive to your touch. We love the steel-reinforced handle, which really comes in handy for transporting the amp from your van to the stage, or from your apartment to your friend's garage.

Whether you're jamming or performing, it is always nice to have the peace of mind that your gear is durable. (Just don't go hog wild and toss the amp around, of course! It is still a tube amp, after all.)

Things to Consider Before Buying

Preferred Genre

When buying any piece of guitar gear, it's always a good idea to buy the gear that suits your preferred genre of music. There are countless options out there for amps, and there is no "one size fits all," so to speak.

Sure, some amps are more versatile than others, but at the end of the day, they all have very defined strengths and weaknesses, and you need to find the amp that most lines up with your needs as a musician.

So what is the Fender Blues Junior IV best suited for? Well, blues, of course. But it also sounds right at home in jazz, reggae, classic rock, rockabilly, and singer-songwriter styles of music.

It can produce beautiful clean tones as well as solid overdriven tones. As mentioned earlier, however, I would not recommend this Fender tube amp to metalheads or punk rockers. A more high-gain amp will serve you better for those heavier styles of music.

I should note that these recommendations are just based on what has conventionally worked for guitarists in the past. If you love the way the amp sounds and you want to use a bluesier tone to play some punk rock, then go for it! Sometimes music is about breaking the rules anyway.

Volume Needs

This is another important consideration any time you buy a new amp. You want to make sure that your amp can go as loud as you need it to go.

One reason this line of Fender amps is so popular is their volume capabilities. Few amps can retain their tone definition across quiet and loud volumes the way the Fender Blues Jr can.

This is certainly an amp you could play small shows with, provided you play a compatible genre of music for its tones. It is loud enough to compete with a drummer in most cases, which is pretty much the benchmark for whether you can gig with it or not.

Once you get up to stadium or arena-sized shows, the venue will have their own technician and sound system, so that's not really a consideration for a combo amp like this anyway.

I should point out that although 15 watts may not sound like much, tube amps do not require much power to reach high volumes. A 15-watt tube amp can go much louder than a 15-watt solid-state amp.

Gear Compatibility

Your next amp needs to be compatible with your current gear. If you're an experienced guitar player then you know that just about any electric guitar will work with an amp like this.

The question is not whether your guitar will work with this amp, but whether it is a good fit for the amp's circuitry. Fender tube amps have a very specific sound that many seasoned musicians can recognize instantly.

If that iconic sound is what you're after, then it'd be best to pair your Fender Blues Junior with a passive-pickup-equipped Fender guitar like the world-famous Fender Strat. It also sounds great with Les Pauls and many other vintage-style guitars.

Since the Fender Blues Junior delivers a 60s-style sound, pairing it with a 60s-style guitar can capitalize on this. Of course, I always welcome experimentation, and you might want to see what kinds of unique tones you can get from any other guitars you might already have.

New or Used?

A shiny new combo amp feels great to purchase, but sometimes a used amp can be just as good. The important thing any time you buy used gear is that you should be able to try the gear out before you buy it.

You just never know what kind of blemishes the product might have unless you can try it out for yourself. If you want a tube combo amp and are looking to save some money and buy used, then the Fender Blues Junior IV is actually a solid option.

The amp is well-constructed and more durable than many of its competitors. Additionally, Fender is arguably the most trusted name in amp manufacturers. All this to say, you might as well go with a dependable amp like this one if you're going to buy used.


Sure the Fender Blues Junior IV is popular and dependable, but it's far from the only valid option out there for combo amps in this price range.

Let's look at a few other alternatives to this amp.

Blues Junior IV vs. Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV

Compared to the Blues Junior IV, Fender's Hot Rod Deluxe IV is the next level up in terms of quality and capability.

It packs an impressive 40 watts of tube power, making it plenty loud for gigs, and easily too loud for apartment use.

If gigging and touring is your top concern, then it may be worth it to dish out the extra $200 or so for the Fender Hot Rod. While the Blues Junior is loud enough for certain gigs, the Hot Rod will be loud enough for just about any gig you could hope to have (short of sold-out arenas, which will have their own sound systems anyway).

What else makes the Hot Rod such a premium amp? Well, for one thing, it has even more impressive tone controls than the Blues Junior. The Hot Rod has all the same control knobs that the Blues Junior has, except it also has a drive knob, a presence knob, and two tone switches.

Essentially, you can achieve even grittier tones with the Hot Rod, and get more precise with your adjustments for your clean tone.

Additionally, there are two inputs and an effects loop for even more customizability.

This amp is an absolute powerhouse, and I'd recommend it as an alternative to the Fender Blues Junior IV for anyone who is primarily focused on playing gigs and doesn't mind paying a bit extra.

Not sure which Fender amp is the best choice for you? Check out our list of the best Fender amps for even more options.

Blues Junior IV vs. Roland Blues Cube

Roland Blues Cube

Roland's Blues Cube is a 30-watt solid-state combo amp that serves as a fantastic alternative to Fender's Blues Junior line.

As a solid-state amp, it uses transistors rather than actual tubes to create its sound. It's also inherently lighter and more resilient than a tube amp.

But the Roland Blues Cube gives you the best of both worlds because although it's solid state, its circuitry is designed to mimic the sound of a genuine tube amp.

It behaves like a tube amp, adding fatness and grit to your tone as you turn up the volume. While it doesn't have the instantly recognizable Fender tube tone that the Blues Junior has, it does provide a very similar tone that is beautiful in its own right.

Much like the Blues Junior, the Roland Cube also has a switch to instantly fatten up your tone; actually, it has two! The "boost" switch and "tone" switch can both be used to add more color and character to your tone.

The boost switch will add some crunch, while the tone switch will add some high-end presence.

This amp also allows you to switch between 0,5, 5, 15, and 30 watts. This is actually quite useful, especially for those of us who live in apartments and have to be mindful of playing volume much of the time.

The Roland Cube also has a USB input that can be used to record directly into your computer.

Overall, Roland has done a truly impressive job of incorporating cutting-edge technology into a combo amp to approximate the tube sound that so many players know and love.

It also comes at about $150 less than the Fender Blues Junior IV, so I would recommend this amp to the budget-savvy guitarist who loves the tube sound but doesn't need a genuine tube amp.

Blues Junior IV vs. Peavey Classic 30

Peavey Classic 30

The Peavey Classic 30 is another dependable tube amp from a time-tested company. Peavey combo amps have been loved by thousands of guitarists for decades because, like Fender, they are reliably built and highly durable.

With a vintage-inspired look and tone, the Peavey Classic 30 is a worthy alternative to the Fender Blues Junior IV. Both amps are around the same price, and they are also similar in their capabilities.

With 30 watts of tube power, the Peavey Classic can go even louder than the Fender. It has more tone control as well, with pre- and post-gain controls and an effects loop. The Peavey also has two channels and a standby mode so you have the option of keeping the tubes warmed up even when you're not playing.

The Fender Blues Junior has the slight edge over the Peavey in terms of build quality. But other than that, the Peavey is just as good as the Fender if not better.

In Conclusion

I hope you've enjoyed this Fender Blues Junior IV review. It's one of the most popular and well-known amps on the market today because you know exactly what you're getting: a dependable tube amp with a beautiful tone.

This amp will be reliable in all sorts of situations, and it's definitely a safe bet with the Fender name behind it. If you've had the pleasure of playing a Fender Blues Junior IV, let me know what you think in the comments!

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