Price paid: $ 30
Purchased from: ebay
Features: This little 38w ss amp came with a Korean Squier Strat that I just got on the eBay, and honestly, I didn't pay any attention to it when I bought the guitar. I knew that it was a Frontman, but pretty much just assumed that it was like a 10 or a 15 that was going to be a give-away when I got it. I've already got my share of amps around, and don't need another one, but it came with the guitar, so there you are.
So today I'm getting ready to take a few pictures and throw the thing on craigslist and just for fun I plug into it and fire it up. All I can say is "HOLY S***!" This little bugger is a BEAST! Granted, a solid state beast, but that being said, the tones that were emanating from the 6 1/2 inch speaker (which I was SURE had to have been replaced at some point with a Celestion or something, until I pulled the back off... Nope, just a stock Fender 8 ohm speaker!) were not to be believed, on both the clean AND distorted channels. The reverb is clean and crisp, and it's as quiet as any ss amp I've ever used, and that's been a few, lemme tell you. No footswitch, no built-in effects, no bullsh-t, just one kicka-s little practice amp. I love that it has an output for an external 8 ohm speaker, I'm going to look around for a cab that I can plug into just to see what this thing's REALLY got to say! Headphone out, too, for when the baby's sleeping. // 10
Sound: Believe it or not, the guitar that I had plugged into it when it left me breathless was a Korean Synsonics Pro series Strat copy, which, laugh all you want, is actually a great little guitar for the money if you can find one (you can usually get 'em for about $50). I'm no brand-name snob, I play what plays well and sounds good regardless of the name, hence the search for the Korean Squier Strat that brought us here in the first place (which, btw, is freaking AMAZING). Clean channel is warm and toasty, nice and smooth with a good Fender feel to it (I used to play through a '68 Fender Bandmaster 2x12, so I know from whence I speak), and the distorted channel ranges from crisp and chunky to screaming hot. Of course with something of this size, if you crank the clean channel it's going to distort some, duh. I would have to say that it fits my musical style in that, when I want to hear myself practice, it helps to have AN AMP, and this is definitely one of those. // 10
Reliability & Durability: Since I just got it, I really can't speak to it's long-term durability, although I think that these were made in the late nineties, so for being over a Decade old, it's obviously held up well. It's built like a tank, metal grille and all, but, like any ss amp, it could crap out at any moment. But you can get 'em cheap! Go out and buy another one! Would I use it on a gig without a backup? That depends - where is the gig? It really couldn't be in a space bigger than the average bedroom, 'cause it's got A 6 1/2 INCH SPEAKER! Alright, I suppose that you could mike it through the P.A., in which case, go out and spend another $35 on a spare one for a backup, carry them both in under one arm and your girl on the other and you're good to go. // 10
Overall Impression: This is a good fit for my style of music which is typically guitar, amplified. Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, occasionally acoustic, but then it wouldn't fit my style at that point I guess. I've been playing on and off for about 35 years, I play mostly '80s hard rock and write and record a lot of my own stuff as well. I now have 7 guitars in the herd; Samick Greg Bennett FB3 Fastback, Korean Squier Stratocaster, Synsonics Pro Series strat copy, Squier X-155 Full-depth hollow body, Washburn bass, Telluride TD-5CE ac/el and Olympia OD-5 acoustic.
At present I have 4 amps; Fender Frontman Reverb PR-241, Marshall MG15DFX, Crate GFX65 and Crate BT100 bass amp. If it were lost or stolen, I wouldn't bother replacing it, but that in no way takes away from it's balls. Didn't compare it with anything else, it just fell into my lap and I am highly impressed. How great to actually be surprised at the quality of this thing. If you can get your hands on one that's in good shape, buy it. // 10