Fender Blues Junior


    Before going any further, I believe that it's VERY important to discuss about variations within different guitars as well. There is no "One guitar to rule them all" and it goes the same for the amplifiers. Different guitars cover different ranges, but in my opinion we can shorten the list into these: Fender Telecaster, Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul and Gibson ES-335. I'm not trying to say that these are the best guitars ever. It's just that I believe that each of these defined modern music in their own, irreplaceable way, and one is no better than the other. Lets start with Tele.

    In electric guitar world, Fender Telecaster was the first one that truly defined grounds for what's to come in later years. It was a unique and revolutionary sounding guitar, with two single-coil pickups. Now you might ask, what was so special about this sound? It simply allowed a musicians to express them selves in a unique way that's never heard before. The sound of single-coil pickups is fairly thin and bright, which made it perfect for all different kinds of styles out there: country, rhythm and blues (later to become rock'n'roll), blues... you name it. Back then, there were no distortion pedals. This guitar allowed one to play softly and gently, but also to play in more rocky style as well. It stayed in production and it's in wide use even today (if you're not familiar with the tone, just think of it as Keith Ritchards, Muddy Waters, Ricky Nelson, Elvis... or Bruce Sprinsteen :) and of course, many, many others.

    The next big thing came from Gibson company. It was a legendary Les Paul. Les Paul was (and still is for that matter), the first guitar that featured humbucker pickups. Humbuckers are really, just two single-coil pickups wrapped into one. It allowed almost zero hum on stage (compared to Telecaster), and it provided more powerful sound with more sound output (yeah, louder!). The sound itself is darker than it is on Tele, but it's full, it's tick and this guitar featured more tone controls than Tele did. As it became popular right away, more and more musicians tried to make the best use of that bigger output thing. In the end, the world have seen the first distortion pedal. This guitar, over-amplified with such pedal or in some other way, screamed like no other could. It defined the whole era of rock music, starting with Eric Clapton (early days), Jimmy Page, Slash, Billy Gibons, Peter Green.. and others. Its versatility is to be thanked for creation of many rock flavors, primarily hard rock, metal and blues rock.

    Gibson company continued to produce other guitar models, and even though their main power was always a Les Paul guitar, many musicians, primarily greatest blues musicians if I may say so, have chosen to commit themselves to other models, most notably Gibson ES-335, Gibson ES-345 and Gibson ES-355. These guitars all have pretty much the same characteristics Les Paul does, but they come with less full-frontal attack. These guitars were just perfect for any blues style, jazz, funk, rockabilly... and so on. They simply have that power, but it much left to guitarist to decide how much to expose it. Think of it as BB King, Freddie King, George Harrison, Chuck Berry, T-Bone Walker... and others.

    Last but not least, the legendary Fender Stratocaster. After seeing Gibson guitars getting more and more popular among musicians, Fender decided to give their best shot in order to keep up the fight. Stratocaster was not just yet another guitar. Main focus was the playability and they successfully created this whole new guitar body that just fits perfectly with player's hand and body. It also featured a revolutionary tremolo arm, which allowed bending of strings with just a small right hand move. Many, many guitarists took advantage of this new system to invent new sound shapes and music styles, but that wasn't enough. Still, Les Paul and other Gibson models were primary choice of the whole new rock'n'roll era. But then, Jimi Hendrix showed up :) He showed to the world how that same Stratocaster can be played, how can it sound, and how amazing that piece of wood is. He encouraged every guitar player out there, to rethink their choice, and many of them never wanted to play another guitar. The debate, which one - fender or gibson? It goes for 50 years now, and I don't think it will ever "be decided". That are simply two great guitars, and each will have its place around for a long time that's to come. Most notable players are: Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Richie Blackmore, Eric Clapton (everything post '70.).. and others.

    It is very important that you compare the sound you hear in your head, the one you seek for, to those artists and their guitars. If the majority of your playing is within blues, country, jazz and blues rock, then Fender Blues Junior amplifier may be just perfect for you.