Move over the blues Jr….there’s a new kid on the block …….and it shoots from the hip.
To be clear, the Rival Son is not a Blues Jr clone, but it does have a handful of similarities, size, weight, power, looks, versatility, spring reverb etc. And in some ways it has more to offer.
Tweed covered as standard (as opposed to an expensive optional extra) the sturdy ply wood (the Blues Junior is partacle board) well-dressed cabinet houses a 15W all tube circuit powered by 2 x Ruby EL84’s and 2 x Ruby 12AX7 perfectly matched with a 12” Celestion Seventy 80 speaker. This is Celestion’s most popular speaker in fact, renowned for its sound to be detailed and crisply defined, with a tightly controlled low-end and punchy, aggressive upper mid-range. The top-end response is also subtly increased.
It is the amplifier for every occasion, neither too big nor too small, useful for practice and live shows alike and glides through all styles, from blues, (Peter Green sounding we’ve been told) to classic rock and everything in between with simple volume and tone controls.
The Rival Son also has a real spring reverb, but an extra dimension included that the aforementioned amplifier doesn’t, is a beautiful and dreamy tube bias Tremolo, with Speed and Intensity controls, a ararity in amps of this price range. There are also two inputs, one normal and the other bright. Unlike the Blues Jr the controls are front facing so no weird upside down adjustments when playing.
So, as mentioned, there is only one tone control, but it is extremely variable. The difference across 1 to 12 covers a whole spectrum of tone. On the blues Jr, players tend to have the dial set to 1 as they are pretty bright and there is nowhere else to go, especially if you are looking for more tweed like sonics.
A common fault with the Blues Jr is that the board can melt as the red hot tubes are too close, causing all sorts of problems. Not here though, the tubes are spaced. The steel chassis between them and the main board so there are no issue like that likey with the Rival Son.
It has to be said, coming in with a price point of £100 lower than the Blues Jr, if you are in the market for this kind of amp look no further.
Any why the green badge on the front of the amp? Simple…..to match the colour of your guitar playing buddy’s eyes. Envy is a terrible thing………