My experience with the Blues (or Hot Rod, very similar circuits) Deluxe is it has a great clean channel. I find the overdrive channels nearly unusable. One of the problems I ran into was the amp really didnt sound very good at higher volumes (muddy,and mushy low end). I found the stock speaker was a big cause of this (which I believe joe addressed earlier). I swapped it out for an EVM12L and the amp really came to life. One thing though is that the EV is a much more efficient speaker so its louder (a blessing or curse depending how you look at it). So, as you turn the Blues Deluxe up on the clean channel it breaks up pretty nice, especially with a good quality speaker. I would suggest a good distortion pedal for any higher gain stuff. I have a Analogman modded DS-1 that does the job nicely for distortion cause as I said I find the Dirty channels on these amps almost unusable.
Somthing else you may want to try if volume is a big issue is most GOOD amp techs could set your Blues Deluxe up with 6V6 tubes to replace the 6L6's. That would cut your power closer to the 20-30 watt range, it would also change the voicing slightly but might work for you. I have a Blankenship Fat Boy ( basically a tweed deluxe with 6L6's) that puts out around 23 watts and that works for me on a good 80% of my gigs. Lastly, check out Fenders Blues Junior amp. Its 15 watts and a great sounding little amp that holds up extremely well in most gig situations especially when miked. If you go this route I would suggest changing the speaker out (same stock speaker as the Blues Deluxe) and maybe an aftermarket output transformer will squeeze a few extra watts. Anyway hope some this was helpful.
See ya next time
Mike said it. I did all of the following to my amp with great results:
1.) Swapped the stock speaker for a Eminence Governor (very Vintage 30-ish but a little better sounding to my ears) ~$70
2.) Replaced the 6L6's with JJ 6V6 and re-biased the amp slightly hot (followed the instructions on eurotubes.com. Super easy if you can read a multimeter) - NOTE: I picked the JJ's because they have an almost hybrid 6L6/6V6 tone to them, not like traditional 6V6 tubes. They keep the big, tight bottom end 6L6 thing in tact well. The Blues Deluxe also loved Tung Sol 6V6's. Additionally, the drop in wattage allows me to crank the volume up higher ~$30
3.) Built a plexiglass amp baffle - this yields HUGE sonic results and is probably the cheapest thing you can do out of the gate (cost me about $30 in parts from Home Depot). This is almost a no-brainer if you are a fan of Joe. I tried turning the amp backwards and miking it but it didn't really work for me. Used the amp baffle and miked it normally and got what I was looking for. Plus, you'd be surprised how loud you can turn the amp up with the baffle in place. ~$30
4.) Swap the preamp tubes in V1 with a 12AY7 or 5751. This tamed the preamp gain (particularly crappy anyway in the Blues Deluxe) but it also softened the high-end from my tone. Another cheap fix that yields nice results. ~$12
Aside from the speaker, all these mods cost me less than $80.
To me, the gain channels of the Blues Deluxe and the Hot Rod Deluxe sound terrible. That said, I prefer the clean channel of the Blues Deluxe to the Hot Rod Deluxe. I think a key is to crank the mids, keep the treble minimal and add in the low end to get that fullness. By God, never use the Bright switch and play around with the different inputs. I typically play in input 1 but input 2 is growing on me. I think there is a 6dB drop in volume when using this input and you can drive the output tubes harder.
As far as the Blues Junior goes, I say skip it unless you want a really portable, small gig amp. I had mine modded to upgrade the tone stack, added a presence control, and replaced the output transformer (AND used the same speaker and preamp tube mod above PLUS) and it was still lacking. A major sonic flaw in this amp is the small cabinet size. Good luck trying to get any significant low end from the amp. I did like the amp when I ran it through a bigger cabinet but that kind of defeats its purpose....
Guitar: Schecter Solo 6 Limited (p90's), Fender Strat
Amp: Blues Deluxe Reissue, Fender Twin Reverb
Effects: Morley Bad Horsie 2 Wah --> Korg Pitchblack --> BBE Soul Vibe --> Ethos TLE--> Jetter GS3 --> MXR Carbon Copy