Frontman 212R 100W Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 04/22/2014 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Fender: Frontman 212R 100W
Not the best for metal, but for anything from jazz to blues to hard rock it does great.
 Sound: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 8.8
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Features: 8.2
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reviews (5) pictures (2) 42 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 26, 2011
6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Features: Made in China, don't know what year. The amp has two channels, one clean and another overdrive with a boost on the footswitch, and independent 3-band tone controls and vol. It has a master reverb that isn't that great but useable. 100W of power that in practical terms are loud as hell. two 12" speakers made by Fender. Total sold state. I give it a 9 because the reverb isn't that great. Also, it doesn't have an external speaker out. This is instalable though. // 9

Sound: The sound on the clean channel is superb. I think it is the best sounding clean channel I've heard aside from all-tube Fenders I've played. Now, I am a Fender amp nut, so I'm partial obviously. On the other hand, the Drive channel isn't that great. It can be used for a crunch to a mellow bluesy overdrive just fine, but past 6 on the knobb it starts to get really harsh and muddy. I compliment it with a Boss overdrive/distortion pedal and get really great results though. The boost channel isn't very smooth, but does boost the volume a lot. But again, if you already have the overdrive set high than the boost will only take it into total screachy mayhem territory. I mainly rely on the Boss pedal for more gain. The other problem is the treble isn't nearly good enough for most hard rock. I think the makers voiced this for a strat and I play a much less tinny PRS. Maybe with a strat it's just right, but for my mahogany humbucker guitar it sounds a little lacking. Again, the Boss pedal allows me to tweek in some extra treble and the final result is just awesome anyway. Finally the reverb tank just downright sucks. It is weak. But a replacement is simple. However since I don't use much reverb I haven't felt the need. I have to mark down to 8 because of the drawbacks of the Drive channel and reverb. But if you add a good pedal, this can be a centerpiece in a badass rig. As for the volume, man is this thing loud. And plently of headroom, while still allowing for a little crunch if you use a guitar with hot pickups. With my PRS If I'm at rehearsal volume I have to roll a tad off the volume for total clean. But with a hollowbody I have with softer pickups, I never get any crunch at all until the thing is just too loud to be in the same room with. By then the hollowbody with feedback uncontrollably anyway. // 8

Reliability & Durability: It's tough as hell. Nothing wrong has happened to it and I gig all the time with it. I don't see why anyone would bring a backup amp to a gig. It has really solid input jacks, a sturdy burch frame and general Fender quality (as for their amps, I actually dislike their guitars). The fact that it is solid state makes it inherently reliable. This, and the price factor, is why I got a solid state in the first place. Having previously owned a DeVille, I thought this would be a serious step down, but in reality it isn't all that different. Yes, a tube amp will sound better, but it will be much less reliable and for me, there are so many other factors that contribute to a musician's sound other than the amp, that I chose for reliability of the tube's single and solitary benefit. // 10

Overall Impression: I think it is an excellent value and has reaffirmed by believe that Fender makes the best amps around. Combined with a couple of good pedals and this baby can sound incredible in a variety of styles. Not the best for metal, but for anything from jazz to blues to hard rock it does great. Finally, I really dig Fender's classic looks. Makes me feel like I'm playing a Vintage tube amp from the 60s. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 02, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 299

Purchased from:

Features: This amp features 100W through two 12 in speakers, which is about par for larger combo amps. The amps has two channels, and is switchable through the supplied foot Switch as well as on the front. The amp has 'scoop' and 'drive/more drive' settings on the dirty channel- presumably aimed at boosting metal tones. // 9

Sound: The first thing I noticed about this amp, is that it is a through and through a Fender amp. This means several things: 1.The amp is especially loud, even on the lower settings. 2. The amp has a naturally bright sound to it. Great for a Les Paul, but you might want to watch your EQ with that Telecaster. 3. The overdrive channel- what can I say? Great for blues and classic rock, it just doesn't cut it with the metal crowd. However, if you get an external distortion unit with decent Drive to it (especially one with an external preamp as in, say a multi-effects proccessor)this thing changes attitudes completely. What was once a friendly, classicly designed amp is now an crushing monster! Plenty of output, this thing fired up has drowned out a Marshall half-stack- no small feat, and should not be taken lightly! The clean channel, of course, is sparkly, jangly and sounds beautiful with any guitar you may own. Adding a quality chorus really makes it shine. // 9

Reliability & Durability: So far, so good. I only play about an hour or two a day, and I rarely gig more than once or twice a month. It's gota few scratches and dings, but it's holding up just fine. On a side note, this thing is impossibly heavy. I wish Fender installed casters on the bottom like they did with the CyberTwin, as the little handle on the top is almost like a sick joke when you have to Park far away from your venue. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall this amp rocks. It faithfully reproduces your signature sound, given you keep the following in mind: any effects really do sound better from an external unit. Also, make sure you have the space for this combo, because given the size and weight, its basically another piece of furnature when not in use. // 9

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overall: 9.5
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: GibbardWalla, on march 28, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 180

Purchased from: GAK

Features: This amp is perfect for any styles of playing. Blues, Indie, Rock, Jazz Funk Fusion? I play mainly Indie but occasionally stray as far as some other genres and this amps suits them all perfectly well. For a start there is the Fender clean channel, which is perfect. The sound is beautiful and suits any type of clean music, I play a Yamaha Pacifica mainly which yeah, is a pretty un-cool guitar but I love it and it sounds stunning with this amp. The distortions channels or the 'drive' and 'more drive' channels are perfect for any style of playing from Kings of Leon style stadium rock to Arctic Monkeys indie. The Mid Contour button allows you to change from stadium rock distortion and creates a much more modern style tone. I have used this amp at a few small gigs at small venues and it has lived up to them perfectly well, its performance hasn't changed at all. There is no issue as to the quality of the amp, I think it may be bomb proof! // 10

Sound: This amp will suit any types of music you play, at any venue. I have used it a few small gigs, but the venues are all decent sizes and I have never had to turn the volume up to beyond 3. Which is perfect. I mainly play a Yamaha Pacifica, which I wouldn't change for the world and it sounds brilliant with this amp. The clean channels sound perfect on both the bridge pick-up and the humbucker, you get a really warm feel with the bridge pick up! I also have a Stagg Les-Paul style guitar which I use rarely but it sounds brilliantly warm with the clean settings on the amp. It makes any guitar sound beautiful! Also the reverb on the amp is brilliant, no need for any reverb pedals. As for distortion and brutality? I guess I am yet to find out how 'brutal' it really is. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Firstly, this amp is extremely heavy. Which is a good thing, I don't think it could ever break! It has a bomb-proof solid feel about it which is great. The only thing about the durability is that you may need to have a cover for the front of the amp as it could get kicked in if you are playing at a particularly violent gig. As for reliability, my amp is 100% totally reliable, like a dog really, a really heavy dog that makes beautiful music. // 9

Overall Impression: My overall impression on this amp is that it is wonderful, I don't think I'll ever require another one. I love the clean and the distortion channels and very much doubt I require any clean or distortion pedals. I play this amp with a DigiTech RP80 which I only really use for tuning but I occasionally use the delay at home whilst practicing, the amp has no problem with this effects at all but I haven't really used any separate pedals or a pedalboard so I'm not 100% sure on that one. If this amp was lost or stolen I would definitely buy it again, everyday. // 9

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overall: 8
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 17, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 300

Features: Don't know when it was made, but it was in China. It has two channels with independent EQ and vol. And master reverb. Effects loop, no speaker out or headphone jack. Because it doesn't have those things and one of the two channels, the Drive one, is pretty much useless, I can't rate it any better than 6. // 6

Sound: I'm only going to discuss the clean channel after merely saying that the Drive channel sucks, bad. I don't use it and have a totally different amp, all-tube, for my dirty sounds. Now the clean channel is about the best I've heard on an SS amp short of a Roland Jazz Chorus or Fender Jazz King. It sounds nice and crisp, very characteristic of Fender, full, warm and powerful with more than enough headroom to play clean at least a midsize venue with no mic. This alone makes the amp worth it for me. There is just a slight breakup after 5 on the vol. Knob if I use my solidbody with a really HOT pickup. But with my hollowbody with softer pups, not a bit of breakup, which is exactly what this amp is good for, nothing else really. Now obviously a tube Fender will sound much better but for the price and well beyond, in the SS arena, I haven't found better. It takes pedals reasonably well. But as with any other SS amp I've ever tried, a dirt pedal will sound like crap. But it doesn't reject them with strange hissing sounds or whatnot. Pedals work. The reverb is pretty crappy but if you keep it below 5 it works fine enough, that is if you're like me and only like a bit of it. I'm going to rate it 8 because this is a clean only amp marketed as a two-channel amp that covers everything from jazz to metal. Gimme a break, it's just a good discount clean amp. // 8

Reliability & Durability: It's pretty tough. I've taken it all over the place and it's rock solid. It's also light, which is a huge plus. And, although it really is totally unimportant, on a dark stage it looks EXACTLY like an ol' Twin Reverb. Nobody can tell it's just a Frontman. // 10

Overall Impression: If you only want a good, loud clean solid state amp, for the price you probably won't find better and might be hardpressed to find better even hundreds of dollars higher. But if you expect anything more than that, don't buy this. Now if you A/B this with a nice British-voiced tube amp for dirty sounds, you have a really nice rig. Just don't expect this to fulfill all your needs if you want to sound really good. // 8

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overall: 7.5
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: rickypiola97, on april 22, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 200

Features: This amp was made in China but I don't know the year. It has a clean and an overdrive channel with a "more drive" option that's not great in my opinion, but we'll talk about that later. Those 3 modes are switchable through a footswitch provided with the amp. The cones are connected to the amp directly so you don't have the possibility to use the speakers as a cabinet with another amp as well as you can't connect this amp to another cabinet. There's also the reverb effect that I all I say is that they could have made it better. // 7

Sound: It's a solid state amp so you won't get the sound of a fender all tube obviously but I got really impressed, especially by the clean channel is very clear and warm. The overdrive channel is a little less impressing but it's still good for the price, but if you're planning to use it a lot I recommend to buy a pedal for the distortion, and if you play metal you must buy one. Because I think the solution that Fender's engineers found for the Metal sound was the "more dive" channel but it was simply unusable to me because of the noise it makes even when you're not touching the cords. It may be because of my Stratocaster's single coils (I haven't had any issue with those before), but I assure you that the noise almost covered the sound! There's also a problem with the volume: it absolutely lacks of sensitivity it'll sound loud anyway. // 8

Reliability & Durability: When you see this massive amp you think it'll never die, at least that's what I thought. I used it with my band a couple times like 4 months ago and it worked just fine, now and it hasn't leaved home since then. But one night suddenly it broke, I stopped hearing the sound and all it emitted was a continuous loud noise, I don't know what happened and I don't want to know, for me this was just a temporary accommodation. Now I'm going to use it as a cabinet for my new tube head (after having done some wiring work). I think mine is an isolated case but I really can't give more then a 6 for reliability and durability. // 6

Overall Impression: When I had to choose an amp for this price I had no doubt, I went straight to this one, and I would do it again if you ask. In this price range I tried the Marshall MG100 (the combo) and all I can say is that it is more expensive and it sounds definitely worse (with the cleans there's no match at all). The lack of sensitivity in the volume makes it not perfect for home usage but if you have the right neighbours you can also afford to play it at home. So, in the end the Fender Frontman 212R comes at a very affordable price and sounds really nice and I'd recommend it to anyone. // 9

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