1990 Review

manufacturer: Bugera date: 01/27/2012 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Bugera: 1990
This amp was made in 2009, and it's fairly versatile for punk and ska.
 Sound: 6.1
 Overall Impression: 6.6
 Reliability & Durability: 5
 Features: 7.1
 Overall rating:
 6.8 
 Reviewer rating:
 6.2 
 Users rating:
 7.4 
 Votes:
 30 
reviews (7) pictures (3) 50 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 3.3
1990 Reviewed by: SeanX3187, on august 25, 2009
3 of 19 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 450

Purchased from: American Musical Supply

Features: This amp was made in 2009, and it's fairly versatile for punk and ska, but I like the JCM 900 better. 120-Watt hi-gain amplifier driven by 4 x 5881 valves Classic 2-channel preamp design (Clean/Lead) featuring 3 x ECC83 valves. Integrated reverb with dedicated Reverb control for each channel. Vintage Equalizer section with dedicated Bass, Mid, Treble and Presence controls. Power Switch to select between 120w and 60w. Impedance Switch (4, 8 and 16 Ohms). FX Loop with dedicated Level control. Frequency compensated Recording output. I use this amp onstage occasionally when my buddy has it available and I can't get my Marshall. It has enough power, but the extra 20w isn't necessary, you just pay more for it. As you know, it's tube, and the 5881 tubes are nice, but 6L6 or EL34s would have been better. // 6

Sound: I play Gibson guitars with humbuckers, and Fender guitars with single coil pickups, and it doesn't sound very good with either. I own its Marshall counterpart (JCM 900 4100) and I'm glad I went with that. This amp may have all the features as the Marshall, but it doesn't sound nearly as good. It suits my playing style, but only because it's a Marshall rip off. It is very noisy and I haven't been able to find a solution for it yet. The clean channel gets messed up if you get if you get it above 6 (volume) because the sound gets unclear. The distortion gets heavy, but doesn't sound good. it has a sort of lo-fi gain that doesn't ever seem to sound right. i'm not at all satisfied with the sound, and it's not just because I have the jcm 900 it copied.. I played both of these extensively before finally deciding on the Marshall because it sounded much better. // 3

Reliability & Durability: Every one I know who had this amp complained that the wiring got messed up after about 6 months, and shortly after that, they died. No power was getting to them (from what I understand, that is an issue with several Bugeras). They all take care of them well because we're all broke and can't afford to screw around with amps and potentially ruin them, so we maintain them very well, but I guess the 1990 wasn't meant for long-time use. // 1

Overall Impression: I play punk and ska, and some hardcore and Acoustic stuff, and I wouldn't buy this amp for it. I've been playing for 10 years and have had my share of equipment and this wasn't a favorite. If it were stolen or lost, I'd probably just shake it off. It'd be upset that I lost that money, but I wouldn't go buy a new one. I like that it has the same settings as the Marshall, but I hate that it doesn't sound as good. Obviously I compared it to the Marshall JCM 900 4100 because that's the amp that Bugera copied for this one. I am in no way hating on this amp because it's "not a Marshall" or anything stupid like that, I'm just saying, completely honestly, that this amp is not as good as the Marshall. I bought the jcm 900 4100 used for $500, the Bugera is $450. To me, saving $50 to get the real deal was a good idea. And Marshalls will last much longer than the Behringer-made Bugera amps. // 3

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overall: 3.3
1990 Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 06, 2010
3 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 510

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Features: The amp was made in early 2009. I play lots of random types of music, mostly jazz, classic rock, blues, and heavier stuff too, but unfortunately, this amp doesn't sound very good for any of those. It has 2 channels, and it came with a nice little foot switch that broke after 3 months. It has an okay effects loop, no headphone jack though. I use this amp at shows with my group that mostly plays bars and whatnot (I'm a professional musician, the band is my job) and it's loud enough for those types of places, but loudness is maybe all this head has. It's tube, and runs 5881 power tubes, that astoundingly burnt out around the same time as the foot switch. I feel that's a tube issue though, not the amp, because I just replaced the tubes and I don't want it to happen again. I hear it's a copy of the JCM 900 which I also hear has some valve safety features which I think this amp should have too. // 4

Sound: I have a Gibson Les Paul Custom, a Fender American Jazzmaster, and a baldwin era Gretsch Country Club, which are great guitars for what I play, but this amp doesn't deliver their tone very well. It's pretty noisy all the time, and I've had it looked at and no one's been able to take care of that for me. The distortion is too lo-fi sounding for my taste. I used to have a Fender head that I've had since the early 80's, but it had an accident at a show and I needed to replace it, and I saw an add for this and I figured it would be good for the price and help deliver my heavy stuff, but I was wrong. // 2

Reliability & Durability: Judging by the fact that it burnt out my power tubes and the foot switch **** the bed fairly soon after getting it, I wouldn't say this is a very reliable amp. I've only had it for maybe 10 months so it hasn't broken down which is nice. I do keep it up, and keep it in my smoke free, climate controlled home so these things are not caused my misuse or neglect. // 4

Overall Impression: I play lots of kinds of music, and I think I'll have to sell this to get something better suited for me. I've been playing guitar for almost 30 years and have had lots of really nice and really bad gear, and unfortunately this head falls into the bad gear category. If it were stolen, I'd laugh because that guy would be in for a great deal of grief from that sucker. I wish I played it for more than a few minutes before buying it, because I would've realized how bad it is. I love that it's cheap so it wasn't a huge waste of money, but that's its only redeeming quality. All in all, if you like bad sounding amps, for low prices, get this amp, you'll love it. But if you love your guitar and want it to retain its tone while playing through an amp, I'd avoid this one. // 3

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overall: 3
1990 Reviewed by: Lester_molester, on december 25, 2009
2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 450

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: This amp was made in 2008. Got it new from Guitar Center and waited a while before posting a review. It's been my personal and studio amp for a while. This amp is not very versatile in my opinion. I play metal mostly, anything from heavy stuff to all the random "cores"... You know what I mean. 2 channels, lead and clean. It has a channel switching button, and also has a footswitch. It has an effects loop, but no headphone jack. Although it has these features, I gave it a 4 because they are not very good quality, and the following reasons in addition..some features I wish it had was a headphone jack incase I need to work late at night or something. Also I wish it had valve failure leds like the JCM 900s do. I use this amp at my house, and usually, it's in my studio for my recordings and other guitarists who want to use it. It has enough power, but the 5881 power tubes don't really cut through quite as well as EL34s (but that's purely opinion).it's a tube amp, and has 3 preamp tubes with 4 5881 power tubes (obviously, since I just stated that). // 4

Sound: I have a few guitars that I use with this. I have a Gibson SG Special Faded, and Ibanez rg prestige, ESP eclipse with emgs, and a Schecter c1 for the floyd. I don't like how any of those guitars sound through this amp. Besides the Schecter, those are all pretty decent guitars, and will usually sound pretty good. It has a decent amount of gain, but it's to lo-fi sounding for my taste. It's pretty noisy most of the tme, in my room, and soundproof studio. I guess it makes the basic sounds, haha. Has a fairly small variety of tonal possibilities. The clean channel is difficult to get to high volumes without breaking up which gets annoying when I need to play cleans over entire bands. The distortion is pretty brutal, but like I said, it doesn't sound very good. // 3

Reliability & Durability: I wouldn't say I could depend on this amp. It died on me a few months ago, but I got it taken care of (expensively I might add) and it's been pretty behaved since then. The tubes also needed to be replaced after only 2-3 months. I got it biased after that so hopefully it wont happen again. // 2

Overall Impression: Like I said, I play lots of metal, and this would be a good match is it sounded better, but this amp doesn't seem like it can handle what it's delivering if that makes sense. I've been playing since I was about 5, so I've got some experience, and I've mentioned my other gear in sound. I wished I asked more about the amp's build quality, it seems China's living up to its usual reputation and producing low quality, cheap pieces of equipment. If it were stolen, I'd probably buy something different, maybe the actual JCM 900, I love that amp. There's not much I love about this amp except for maybe its price. I hate lots about it that I mentioned earlier. I didn't compare this before I bought it, but as I progressed in my ownership, I played it with other amps, and it definitely fails in comparison to most other tube amps. There's not much I wish it had, except maybe some decent tone. // 3

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overall: 8
1990 Reviewed by: BrokenDstring, on june 10, 2010
2 of 5 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 400

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: Before I begin I would like to acknowledge a couple a things: One is that I have read the other reviews and I feel like no good review has been given yet. They are either all 10's or all 3's. This amp is DEFINITELY neither end of the spectrum, and it in no way deserves to be given a terrible review (in either direction). The second thing I would like to touch on is that I HAVE played a JCM900, the relevance of that being that the Bugera 1990 is a clone/copy of the beloved Marshall JCM900. Between friends, pawn shops and Guitar Center I've probably given a true JCM900 about 2 hours of scrutiny. So! With all of that on the table let's get on to the review. This amp was made in April 2010, about a month before I purchased it. I consider myself lucky, because the newer the Bugera, the better the overall construction of the amplifier. When you first look at this amp head you might not think Marshall right away, but if you let yourself picture the script writing in white, the metal plating in gold and all of the knobs in that signature textured gold the similarity is there physically. The chassis is the same and so are the power/standby buttons. I think that is really cool. The versatility of this amp is limited, but there is definitely no shortage of sound. I play everything from Boston to Dashboard Confessional to Metallica and the sound is there for each of them. I will say that the 'Metal' in Metallica isn't on par with true Metal amplifiers. However, aside from the lack of super-high gain, the cleans go from shiny and bouncy to gritty and smoky warm. Then, the gain channel (2 channels, clean and gain) is very mid-driven and articulate. The gain channel knob goes from 0 to 22! that's really just comical to me, but around 4 you can get a nice bluesy tone, around 10 a great classic rock tone, and allll the way up to 22 you get a real heavy rock and just nearly a metal tone. There is an FX Loop with a dedicated volume knob. I have yet to test that out, but I will, so that's a nice addtition. I use this amp in my house where I am home alone most of the time, I use it with friends in a garage and occassionally I gig. With 120 watts, yeah there's enough power. Finally I would like to say that with the honeymoon phase of this amplifier coming to an end, I play it no less and I really feel like I got away with something. // 8

Sound: I have two guitars, a good ol' Standard Strat and an Epiphone SG Custom Shop. Pretty much the two ends of the line. One with three single coils, the other with two very chunky humbuckers. These guitars are used for my two musical personalities; one being a blues with a bit of an edge and the other (the SG) being a classic rock like Boston and AC/DC. This amp has produced all the tones I could hope for. This amp can rock, it can get bluesy and warm, it can get very very clean and it can get wild and loud. Very versatile, but the space in between low gain and high gain isn't as varied as I would like... But there really isn't much to complain about (especially for a $400 amp). The only unwanted noise I have found is when my cellphone is in my pocket and near my guitar or when I am simultaneously surfing the web (checking tabs and what not). As for the clean channel being distorted at high volumes, it doesn't distort really at all. It just gets gritty and gets a little more character. // 8

Reliability & Durability: This amp has been reliable so far and I really do not expect problems, but as with most bargain music gear, the risk is there. I won't hold back with it at all because I just don't feel like it will break down. Even if it does go the same way as its relatives, the fix is relatively easy (soldering). The tubes are a bit cheap, but I will change those, as anyone should with ANY tube amp at some point. For now I will stay on average with an 8 because it is a $400 amp, but I won't dock it more than I have to because it really seems as though the days of dying Bugers is quickly coming to an end. // 8

Overall Impression: This amp is a huge improvement over the last Bugera I owned (the V55 which I traded towards this). The agression is there, the cleans are there and the warm tube-filled tones oozes on every note. My styles are not to crazy and this amp keeps up EASILY with my classic, alt and blues rock tastes. I feel like I struck gold here and I got an $800 dollar amp for half the price. I play this through the matching 4x12 cabinet and I feel like they go great together, as if it they were truly meant to be played together. If this were stolen or if I magically lost it (I'm not sure how you lose a 40 pound box...) I would probably just go ahead and replace it. The amount of tone you get from this for the price is really worth it. I am very glad I bought this amp, even though at the time it was kind of an impulse. It has come to be what I think is the best thing $400 dollars can buy. Just my opinion. I really wish they had gone the extra mile and given an EQ for both channels, instead of one global EQ. However, I have found a setting that I like on both channels. Though, for others finding a happy medium may be a little more difficult. The ONLY other thing I wish this amp had was the Marshall look. More gold and white would have just made this amp extra cool. I do somewhat like the fact that Bugera has their own thing going though. I think my favorite feature, aside from the sound, is the bouncy, clear response I get with my Strat on both channels. My strat has really never sounded so good. Yeah, yeah, yeah... one day maybe I'll have the money for a real Marshall or an Orange. But come on, for $400 how much better can you do? I've played the JCM900 and this thing has that British crunch, that middle bite that is so familiar. I don't expect this thing to be leaving my posession anytime soon, but for just a few hundred dollars, in all actuality if this thing lasts me 5 years by then I will surely have the money to step it up again and grab a big named amp. However, if it ain't broke I won't do anything to replace it and I don't plan on it breaking! I feel starnge giving this yet another 8, but I really think that's what it deserves in all areas. Sound, name, reliability, build....everything. I cannot stress how glad I am that this amp is out there and that I got one. Are there better amps on the market? Of course. Are there better amp heads at 120 watts for $450 new? No way. Go try one of these out and you'll see what I mean. It's one of those things that you look at and think, "Ah, hell, why not?" Then you get home and you're tickled pink. Awesome. // 8

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overall: 9.3
1990 Reviewed by: Rio38, on january 27, 2010
1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 499

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: The Bugera 990 features 2 channels with separate gain and reverb for each channel which is great since I don't use much reverb on the high-gain channel. It comes with a footswitch which controls both the channel and toggles the reverb on and off. The standard footswitch is nice since a majority of manufacturers make you pay extra for them. It is a 120 watt head and has more power than I really need, but the pentode/triode switch on the back of the head makes it a great for both practice and gigs. I play mainly classic/modern rock, but this head can do metal in a heartbeat. // 10

Sound: I mainly use an Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top with Seymour Duncan pickups for gigging. The 990 handles these pickups well. The 990 is not a noisy amp at all. I have experienced very little hum from it. It has a very nice clean channel that can become crunchy at higher volumes, but that is the way I like to use it. I normally keep the bass and high frequencies at 12 o'clock and boost the mids a bit so I can cut through the mix and it handles it very well. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I originally ordered a re-boxed 990 from GC and it cut out on me almost right away. I sent it back and got a Brand New one and have had no problems with it. As far as construction goes, it is built like a tank. I also got the Bugera 4x12 cab and that is also built to last. I have had no issues with it in a practice environment where it could be used for 3 hours or more or gigging. // 9

Overall Impression: This amp suits my style of Classic/Modern rock perfectly. If you are looking to get the sound of a Marshall for half the price, you need to buy this head. I have been playing a few years and was in the market for a cost-effective halfstack and the 990 answered that need very nicely. // 9

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overall: 10
1990 Reviewed by: altrocker94, on may 17, 2010
0 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 450

Purchased from: guitar center

Features: I do not know what year this amp made in but thats not very important to me, as long as it works and sounds good. I play punk rock, and alternative rock.. This amp can do those perfectly. This amp has two channels, a clean channel and a distortion channel. It has channel switching by footswitch but it crapped out early on but that doesn't bother me because i just use the gain channel then use my volume control on my guitar for clean or distortion. It has an effects loop but I don't use effects pedal, the only pedal I use is a tuner. It may not have a headphone jack but I don't need that. Theres no features that I need that this amp doesn't have. I use this amp for practicing at home, band practices and gigs. This amp is more then enough power, I just put the gain channel on 6 and play. Oh and did I mention it sounds just like the JCM900 and i can buy two of these for one of those? It's a steal. // 10

Sound: I use an American made Fender strat but it's very hot rodded, it has black knobs, black pickgaurd, black pickup covers, and a Seymour Duncan distortion humbucker at the bridge. My guitar with my amp and nothing else fits anything my band does perfectly which is any punk or alternative rock. It is pretty noisy in small rooms but that's because i have the volume on the gain channel at 6 and the gain is maxed out. It is pretty feedback-y at time but thats part of a punk rock tone which is what I need. The tone though is the best tone for punk rock you will ever hear. This amp can play more then just what I do though, it's clean as any Fender amp and as gain drenched as any mesa rectifier amp and any point inbetween. The clean channel gets crunchy after the volume goes past 5 but I don't use the clean channel. And now to the real topic this amp: the gain channel. This channel can do any type of rock and metal. The gain is so heavy yet clear at the same time. with the gain maxed out I can clearly hear all notes of a full open chord. It is just orgasmic. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I can always depend on this. I would gig with this head any day of the week. The only thing bad about the amp is the footswitch crapped out at the one month mark but it doesn't really matter to me. It can take any use, high volume, low volume, 4 hours plus of constant use. ANYTHING. // 10

Overall Impression: I play alternative rock and punk rock and this is a perfect match for me. Even my bands lead guitarist is considering getting a Bugera now after hearing mine. I have been playing for as little over 2 years and I own my custom hotrodded strat, this head, a Line 6 cabinet, a pedal tuner, and high quality cabled to connect everything. I had no questions before buying and I still don't. It's straight forward, to the point and will fit any need. It it were lost or stolen I would buy a new one in a heartbeat. I love everything about this amp, only down side is it's heavy but meh I deal with it. I compared this side by side to a JCM900 which is the amp its copying and it sounds exactly similar. This amp has everything I will ever need. I suggest everyone try one out. // 10

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overall: 6.8
1990 Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 27, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: Supposedly modeled after the Marshall JCM 900. I have a Marshall and to get the lead channel tone on the Bugera to be equivalent, the lead channel gain should be set around 2 to 4. The lead gain channel goes to 22. The clean channel sounded identical to that of the JCM 900. // 8

Sound: Sounds nice. Has a lot of gain on both clean channel and lead channel. When it did work, the sound was about the same as my Marshall JCM900. It also had a bt more gain on the lead channel. Aside from the problems these amps obviously have, the sound you can get almost covers all genre's of music. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Ok. Here's the kicker. The first Bugera 1990 I purchaased at GC new. After 2 months of playing it. The sound cut out and a high pitch emitted from the amp increasing in pitch. Sent it back under warranty. The new one after about 4 months did the same thing. I sent it back under warranty. So the third amp I received I had my amp tech check the bias and then I stored it in a climate controlled storage for about a year. I pulled it out about 2 months ago and right off the bat, It had that whining sound. Warranty has expired. Can't get and schematic unless you are a Bugera authorized repair center. So. I am considering a Class action lawsuit against The Music Group and Bugera. I am done with this heap of what is supposed to be a guitar amplifier. // 1

Overall Impression: For those of you who are willing to take the risk and try to recoup your money back for your worthless Bugera's. I will be posting about it and hope to have some info up soon and contact info. Tracy Lee acci9@yahoo.com If you want to leave me any info concerning your Bugera... Feel free to email me with any info. // 10

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