I’ve got a tweed blues deluxe I bought new back in 2009. It was on a whim as a spare amp for friends to play. My main amp has always been a twin, most recently a 73 silver face twin with 2 late 70’s MS-12 black shadows in it which have huge ceramic magnets.
I’ve grown to really love the deluxe and use it more often than not for gigs. True, it is limited in its clean headroom, and here is a good clip of it in action last summer being pushed by my American standard strat with Area 58 pups. But for most gigs I play it’s fine.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNGQ4D65b20
In the last few months I put in a JBL D120F I acquired through Craigslist in an adjacent city that I had a friend pick up for me. It had just been re-coned through Orange County and not even played yet – why the guy was selling it is beyond me because it was only $200 and that is less than the re-cone job, let aone shipping.
This was an experiment because the blues deluxe is really well voiced with the standard speaker – not really a jerry tone but a respectable amp on its own accord. After putting the amp side by side with the twin I realized that the stock speaker just does not have the bottom end and articulation of the mesa speakers. The D120f turned the amp into a completely different beast. Just an amazing change. It is a great match for single coil pick-ups and for my PRS with a dual sound middle pick-up. I’m going to offer a different opinion and say it gets you pretty close to a sweet jerry tone, if you have the right guitar. Do I feel I need to spend more dollars and mod it – definitely not.
Now here’s the thing, I’ve got a 98 Les Paul DC with 65 gibson PAF’s (the real deal) and for those low output sweet vintage pick-ups the JBL/ blues deluxe offers a sound that is just ever so slightly compressed and the twin with the vinatge mesa speakers is actually a much better voicing. But the PRS is night and day better through the blues deluxe with JBL, and so are my 2 strats.
My advice. Be savy, hunt down a D120, if you can and if you want to keep your amp you won’t regret it. I also can offer a similar suggestion to what’s been said earlier on this thread. Be wary of chasing an elusive sound with the wrong hardware. My first twin was a Rivera era from 84 and I dropped $300 into so-called upgrades (black face mods amoung other changes) only to find 73 silverface twin loclly a week later for $650, and my choice was to take a bath on my upgrades and unload the 84 for the silverface and I havn't looked back. The 73 amp is better than the modded 84 amp, even without JBL’s in it as of yet (which I’m a few days away from finishing a birch cab with another two d120f’s – also purchased locally on craigslist through patience). I’d be wary of many speaker swaps but my amp tech did recommend an Eminence wizard for the blues deluxe. In fact the wizard went into my 84 twin which is now for sale! It has got a db rating of 108 and is quite articulate. Readily available and sometimes in stock at decent guitar stores. Will it get you that JBL jerry tone. No. will it change your amp – yes but you may like the stock speaker more which has a cool break up.