#1
I currently have a Fender MIM Strat which I love to death. I started out with a Squier starter pack, but the guitar broke and I got my money back but got to keep the amp, so I have a Fender Frontman 15g (it was actually a great deal, I got $300 towards a brand new guitar).

I would class myself as an intermediate player, but on the lower end of intermediate. I've been seriously playing for about 6 or 7 months and fooled around for a year or 2 before that.

I like to play mostly bluesy classic rock, but also older alternative (pixies, smiths, etc)

I mostly play at home, but I also jam occasionally, for home playing the Frontman is perfect for me, it can give my untrained ear some tones that I like. That being said, I want to be able to get some effects too (reverb, sustain, maybe some fuzz, others).

Money is an issue, so my question is would it make more economic sense to get a fairly cheap amp with some built in effects, or start assembling a pedal board (I won't be gigging in the forseeable future)?
#2
With $300 I suggest looking at some sort of multi-fx unit, possibly the Line 6 Pod HD300. Take a look at that, or you can look into some modeling amps such as the Peavy Vypyr or Fender Mustang. You would have greater control over the effects you would want to use in something like the Pod, but of course the amps would be easier to use.
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#3
Id replace the frontman with a better amp.
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#4
I'm sort of leaning towards the amp because I feel like the frontman wouldn't do well with a multi-fx unit, it can hardly handle "overdrive mode" which a bit more gain. I'm not sure if that is an irrational fear though.

Do you guys have experience with the Mustang, because I am seeing some pretty good deals for it on craigslist.
#5
Quote by qaz923
I'm sort of leaning towards the amp because I feel like the frontman wouldn't do well with a multi-fx unit, it can hardly handle "overdrive mode" which a bit more gain. I'm not sure if that is an irrational fear though.

Do you guys have experience with the Mustang, because I am seeing some pretty good deals for it on craigslist.


That is an irrational fear. MFX can improve the tone of any amp, or at least make it more versatile. The Frontman's built-in amp has crappy distortion, that's why it "can hardly handle 'overdrive mode'".

For under $300, I'd go for a Digitech RP-355. The only Line 6 I'd get would be an HD-500. The cheaper ones are too much of pain in the butt. The RP-355 is also a pain, but better for the money than the low-end Line 6s, IMHO.

Mustangs can sound great, but they aren't very versatile for live performing, even with the optional foot switches.

If you must do the Mustang, then go for the Mustang III. The I & II controls are way too lame, and the IV and Vs are overkill on watts. The III is more than loud enough and if you need louder you'd be micing the cab anyway.

BTW, this is coming from a guy who plays a 100w Marshall all-tube through a 4x12 cab, but rarely has the master volume over 2. It's only been over 3 once, and that literally shook tab books off the shelves. No venue has let me even put it up to 3.

I've heard unmiced Mustang IIs cut through the mix to play over acoustic drums, keyboards, and 200w bass rigs that tickled the inside of your feet between the tendons and the bones. So a Mustang III would be loud enough.

But your money is better spent on MFX until you can afford an all-tube amp to play that through. (I run my Marshall through a Digitech GNX4). If you ever get rich, then real pedals are cool, too. Everything is a compromise, it's up to you to choose and set your priorities.
#6
Quote by jetwash69
That is an irrational fear. MFX can improve the tone of any amp, or at least make it more versatile. The Frontman's built-in amp has crappy distortion, that's why it "can hardly handle 'overdrive mode'".

For under $300, I'd go for a Digitech RP-355. The only Line 6 I'd get would be an HD-500. The cheaper ones are too much of pain in the butt. The RP-355 is also a pain, but better for the money than the low-end Line 6s, IMHO.

Mustangs can sound great, but they aren't very versatile for live performing, even with the optional foot switches.

If you must do the Mustang, then go for the Mustang III. The I & II controls are way too lame, and the IV and Vs are overkill on watts. The III is more than loud enough and if you need louder you'd be micing the cab anyway.

BTW, this is coming from a guy who plays a 100w Marshall all-tube through a 4x12 cab, but rarely has the master volume over 2. It's only been over 3 once, and that literally shook tab books off the shelves. No venue has let me even put it up to 3.

I've heard unmiced Mustang IIs cut through the mix to play over acoustic drums, keyboards, and 200w bass rigs that tickled the inside of your feet between the tendons and the bones. So a Mustang III would be loud enough.

But your money is better spent on MFX until you can afford an all-tube amp to play that through. (I run my Marshall through a Digitech GNX4). If you ever get rich, then real pedals are cool, too. Everything is a compromise, it's up to you to choose and set your priorities.

Thanks so much, I'm not going to be doing any gigging, just jamming with acoustic drums at most, so the frontman can probably get loud enough for that, plus my buddy (drummer) has some big amps that I can use when we are at his house jamming. Obviously I'll test it out, but if I can get some good sound out of my frontman with MFX, that would be ideal.
#8
^I think the insane channel might be lacking some gain for his taste, don't you agree?
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#9
qaz923 - hey man. I've got a MIM Strat too.

I stated off with a Fender GDEC and then got a Fender Frontman/Digitech RP250. I didn't keep either for more than a year and traded up. The GDEC was ok but kind of a toy. The Mustang is a step up from this but still. The Frontman on a clean setting is not a bad platform if you are going to strictly use a MXF pedal (like the RP250).

After this, I got a Peavey Valveking and a Blackheart Killer Ant. The Peavey was versatile and could do lots of stuff but needed some upgrades to sound its best. The Killer Ant is only 1 watt and 1 knob. Not versatile at all but it has great tone. You might like something like that. I honestly suggest you get a tube amp. Especially for what you are playing and such. I can't explain it in words but a tube amp sounds much different from what you are used to and you deserve to hear one for yourself.

After those I got a Splawn Quick Rod. It is a custom made high gain Marshall clone. sick sick amp. It is on a completely different level.

Then I got a Line 6 UX1 interface (mainly so I could use a microphone) but it came with Pod Farm emulation software. Works really great and I can just use my laptop and headphones. Another angle.

Recently, I got a Peavey Vypyr 60. Mainly I wanted the versatility of the different amp models. I don't really use the effects. It doesn't sound as nice as the Splawn but I love the versatility and it has a tube power section (Vypyr 60) so it is the best of both worlds. If you are into that - check them out.

For you - I'd look at the Vox AC4TV and the Night Train, Bugera V22, Fender Blues Jr, Peavey Classic 30 or Valveking, Marshall Class 5, Blackheart BH1 or BH5, Egnater Tweaker, Jet City, stuff like that.


Edit: That's real professional of you Tim
#10
Quote by Ghold125
^I think the insane channel might be lacking some gain for his taste, don't you agree?

I know this guy, who is atrocious, but always wants to play me his latest chugging power chord riff on the insane channel. I wish it made my face literally melt.

edit: @311ZOSOVHJH
So you think an amp, with some settings would be better than the frontman with a MFX unit?
Last edited by qaz923 at Jan 18, 2012,
#11
Quote by qaz923

edit: @311ZOSOVHJH
So you think an amp, with some settings would be better than the frontman with a MFX unit?


I know you're talking to 311ZOSOVHJH, who is deservedly highly respected around here. It comes down to your priorities. Do you want great tone? Good luck for $300. Do you want to be able to independently use more than one effect in the same song?

I've heard better tones with less effort out of a Mustang II than I've heard come from even the tube Vypyrs even with a lot of tweeking. But then again the Vypyrs were at ear-friendly volumes, perhaps you need to crank them to get them sounding good.

BTW, my solo practice rig is an RP-355 through a Vox DA5 set on .5 watt solid state. Sure, the tone won't involuntarily make you smile like my Marshall will (at any volume), and it can't keep up with the versatility I need on stage, but it's good enough to learn new songs on, and the amp was loud enough on the 5 watt setting at an open mic one time when guy running it complained about the half-stack taking too much space on stage. --Since then at that venue I just bring an old 30-watt MG with the speaker disconnected and plugged directly into the Marshall head.

Bring your guitar to a store one of these days and just spend the whole day messing around with different modeling amps and different MFX pedals. Usually Guitar Center has their MFX plugged into some crappy Raven or Roland Cube solid state amp anyway. Not significantly different than your Frontman (flame shield up). It's all a matter of your preferences. But until you try it a lot, you won't really know how to prioritize.

BTW, you really don't need more than 1 watt if you're using tubes.
#12
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH



Edit: That's real professional of you Tim


mojostompboxes.com
#13
Quote by jetwash69
I know you're talking to 311ZOSOVHJH, who is deservedly highly respected around here. It comes down to your priorities. Do you want great tone? Good luck for $300. Do you want to be able to independently use more than one effect in the same song?

I've heard better tones with less effort out of a Mustang II than I've heard come from even the tube Vypyrs even with a lot of tweeking. But then again the Vypyrs were at ear-friendly volumes, perhaps you need to crank them to get them sounding good.

BTW, my solo practice rig is an RP-355 through a Vox DA5 set on .5 watt solid state. Sure, the tone won't involuntarily make you smile like my Marshall will (at any volume), and it can't keep up with the versatility I need on stage, but it's good enough to learn new songs on, and the amp was loud enough on the 5 watt setting at an open mic one time when guy running it complained about the half-stack taking too much space on stage. --Since then at that venue I just bring an old 30-watt MG with the speaker disconnected and plugged directly into the Marshall head.

Bring your guitar to a store one of these days and just spend the whole day messing around with different modeling amps and different MFX pedals. Usually Guitar Center has their MFX plugged into some crappy Raven or Roland Cube solid state amp anyway. Not significantly different than your Frontman (flame shield up). It's all a matter of your preferences. But until you try it a lot, you won't really know how to prioritize.

BTW, you really don't need more than 1 watt if you're using tubes.

At this point I really trust anyone's opinion more than my own hahaha. I think clean tone is the most important thing to me right now because hearing a nice clean just makes me smile. That being said, it sucks having no versatility. I think I'll head down to guitar center to check out what they have to offer