VintageGuitar: Small Cha-Ching, Big Bling

The Mercury Magnetics Valve Junior Mod Kit

Last year, Epiphone tossed a small pebble into a large pond with the introduction of its Valve Junior amplifiers—and its launch caused a tsunami. Available as a stand-alone head or a 1×8” combo, the Junior was as basic as an amp could be for something that still produced sound. With just two tubes, two transformers, one speaker, an input jack, and a volume knob, when a player plugged into one, there was very little to get between their guitar and their ear. And the Junior turned out to be a very good-sounding amp. It’s doubtful that any owner of a pre-’67 Fender Champ sold it after hearing the little Epi, but for under $140 for the combo and only $99 for the head, the Junior was definitely the steal of the day.

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