Fender Pro and Blues Jr. vs. Harmony 304A

The lowdown on the Mississippi Sax. Just for Google, this section is about harmonicas.

Fender Pro and Blues Jr. vs. Harmony 304A

Postby Tmannion87 » Fri May 26, 2006 3:29 am

Hi I was wondering if anyone has had experience with the Fender Pro jr. or the Blues jr. Also, I was wondering how these 2 Fenders compare to a Harmony 304A amp in terms of volume, feedback, etc. All are relatively the same in price, and I want the most for my money. Thanks

Tim
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Postby kingley » Fri May 26, 2006 6:10 am

I have a Pro Jr and before I bought it I tried a Blues Jr.

The Pro Jr was far, far better for harp in my opinion.

BBQ Bob also uses one, as does Gary Smith, so you would be in illustrious company.

I can't comment on the Harmony 304A, I have never tried one.

But in my opinion if you can stretch to it, I would buy the HarpGear 5F1 from http://www.harpgear.com

It's far better tone wise than either of those Fender amps and has a built in line out so that you can put it in the PA if needed.
It's also hand built unlike the mass produced Fenders and has that real vintage harp tone that you hear in all those classic blues recordings.

I hope to post some sound files of one to my website today if I get time.

Hope this helps
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Postby thebluesbox » Sat May 27, 2006 2:59 am

or look into these http://www.lwharpamps.com
I had a pro jr. it was a good loud amp but in my opinion it doesnt match a older tube amp or lower wattage ones.

Look into the Lone Wolf Harp amps midnight creeper great toned amp.
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Postby bullet len » Tue May 30, 2006 7:53 pm

I have a Blues Jr. and a Harmony H-304A.

The Blues Jr. sounds really sweet and the Fender reverb is great. It breaks up nicely and I can get pretty loud before it feeds back. It's also nice to have the EQ and gain controls.

The Harmony has a more vintage sound. When it breaks up it sounds really dirty. The tubes seem to be more suited for harp than the Blues Jr. tubes. The old Jensen speakers in the old Harmony amps sound awesome. But the harmony only has tone and volume knobs, no EQ settings.

Plus, the Harmony just looks old and vintage. If you walk in to a gig with an old amp, it looks like you're an old pro, not some newbie with a shiny new Fender amp.

They're both good amps. Try them out if you can. But if I were you, I would go with the Harmony H-304A for the Chicago sound.
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HARP PLAYING AND AMPS

Postby colmanL » Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:43 am

THERE`S A LOT OF DIFFERENT SOUNDS YOU CAN GET OUT OF ALOT
OF DIFFERENT AMPS.BUT THE MAIN TONE YOU`LL EVER GET IS OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.LOOK AT JAMES COTTON, CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE,JUNIOR WELLS AND A LOT MORE HARP PLAYERS THESE CATS DIDN`T EVEN USE AN AMP WHEN I SAW THEM. THEY BLEW THROUGH THE P.A. SYSTEM. SO
DOES THAT POP YOUR BALOON. HEY! MAN. SOUL DON`T COME OUT OF AN AMP. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET A FAT SOUND JUST HOLDING A HARP IN YOUR HANDS. WORK ON IT . THATS THE BLUES DIG IT.
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Postby barbequebob » Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:35 pm

Coleman's got it right and many of those old guys flat out could care less what they played thru as long as their sound got across. If it ain't there from the player and his harmonica first, it ain't gonna be there with any rig either.
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Postby jeffl » Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:39 pm

I agree with both BBQBob and colmanL,except for the fact the amp does change whatever tone you have. Tone does come from your body, but the type of amp you play through translates that tone,depending on the type of circuitry it uses. If that wasn't the case, you could gig thru my MicroCube as long as you mic'ed it into the mains. To totally dismiss discussions of amp choices for harp playing is an oversimplification.
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Postby ricochet » Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:40 pm

That's true of plank spankers as well. Too many think they can get "the tone" simply by buying the right gear, or making the right mods to it...
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Postby bosco » Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:38 pm

To totally dismiss discussions of amp choices for harp playing is an oversimplification.

Amen, 10-4, Agreed and seconded.

We all agree that harp tone starts with, and primarily is up to, the player...but it certainly dosesn't end there. If that were the case, none of us would own bullet mics or tube amps.

Little Walter started a revolution and it wasn't because he was playing through the PA.

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Postby angerboy » Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:31 am

Little Walter started a revolution and it wasn't because he was playing through the PA.

I beg to differ. Those 50 year old PA's were nothing but tube amps. Look at the demand for them these days. It certainly isn't because they provide nice clean, pure sound. There are probably more guitar players using them as amps than harp players.

I've seen Carey Bell use a crappy solid state Yamaha bass amp and he sounded awesome. I've seen Billy Branch play through a Twin, a tweed Bassman and a solid state Peavey. He sounded great through all of them. I've seen Sugar Blue use a Mesa Boogie combo that is the absolute anti-thesis of what we as harmonica players are "supposed" to use and he sounded amazing. These guys all have killer tone and technique.

There are no magic tone generators that are going to make Bob Dylan sound like Big Walter Horton. It just ain't happening. Bob Dylan has tone as thin as tissue paper. Big Walter had a big bad ass acoustic tone that also sounded great amplified.

Little Walter's revolutionary style was revolutionary because, it was a unique style. It wasn't the sound of any bonehead at a blues jam making noise through an amp going "womp, womp. womp..." His genius was that he took sounds that he heard and molded his own sound from it. Amplifiers were only a part of it. Listen to his early recordings and his later recordings, a lot of them weren't ampified, but they were still great. It wasn't just swinging stuff. He was very versatile.

Quarter to Twelve is a great song. It's not super amplified. It doesn't bounce. It's just a great song that evokes emotion.

Little Walter combined tone, technique and equipment to do something that no one had done before and that most people are attempting to imitate 50 years later. Imitation isn't what keeps the spirit of Little Walter alive, it's innovation and it's taking what you hear and putting your own spin on it, while sticking to the tradition. Get your own sound!
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Postby angerboy » Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:57 am

To answer the question, the Pro Jr is a good amp for a dirt cheap price. It sounds good and there is little to screw around with. If you sound good, you'll sound good through it. I like it better than the Blues Junior. I've never tried the Harmony.
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Postby bosco » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:06 pm

Little Walter's revolutionary style was revolutionary because, it was a unique style

Little Walter's revolutionary style was revolutionary because it was a unique style and amplified.

Look, we're just splitting hairs here. We all know where the tone comes from. I meant playing through the PA as in the traditional sense. As in Sonny Boy I. As in Sonny Boy II. Playing off the mike. Acoustic style.

Little Walter was one of the first to cup a mic with a tight seal and it really doesn't matter wether it was through a cheap PA or combo amp...they were all tube driven back then. Sure the cuts you mention from parts of his catalog aren't heavily amplified...and if that's all he recorded he wouldn't have been any more popular than anyone else.

He was the total package of creativity, chops, technique and yes, style. But it was his heavily amplified tone that made him internationally famous and that they are still talking about half a century later. No one else had achieved the horn like tones Walter got to the same degree...even the term "Mississippi Saxophone" was derived from amplified, distorted tones.

The man only asked for opinions on the amps he was considering, not for a history lesson or were soul comes from.

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Postby angerboy » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:38 pm

My apologies for deviating from the stated topic. Thanks for bringing it back home.
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Postby jeffl » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:53 pm

angerboy wrote:My apologies for deviating from the stated topic. Thanks for bringing it back home.
Hey Angerboy,no sweat...most of us around here have been known to deviate a time or two,and some of us are downright thread thieves. It's very nice to have enough knowledgable harpers around here to have discussions with some substance to 'em. I don't have a band right now,and I've spent a major part of the last 2-3 years sitting in on bar gigs for a coupla sets a nite,both with guys I know and with bands I've never met-- thus, as much as anybody, I've played through all kinds of set-ups,including vocal mics eq'd for voice,and I know that you gotta be able to get your tone no matter what you're playin' through. But,because of all that I've really learned to value the nites where I get to play thru one of my own rigs,with a bona fide sound check. Even though I'm satisfied with my two giggin' amps, I still stop into the music store occasionally and plug into any old vintage tube amp I haven't played thru before,and even some new ones,jus' to see how they play.
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Postby ricochet » Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:11 pm

jeffl wrote:most of us around here have been known to deviate a time or two, and some of us are ...
...just plain deviants.
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