Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Features — 9
This amp is a copy of a Marshall 1959 SLP... nonmaster volume version. Bugera rates it at 150 watts but I think it's more like 100 watts. It has an fx loop which is a plus. It has the standard vintage eq - presence, trebble, middle, bass with low and high volume. It has four input jacks for guitar just like the Marshall SLP. It came with a good printed manual with copies in English, German, Russian, French Spanish and Japanese provided. Features wise it has what is expected of an SLP clone.
The only other thing I would add is this amp is very loud. If you want to play it and get that Angus Young or Slash tone you are going to have to turn the volume up very high which will shake the foundation of your house. You must invest in an attenuator. There is no other way. Once you learn how to manage the volume and get your tone, these amps are lots of fun.
Sound — 9
I have the following amps in my studio - model year 1977 Marshall 1959 SLP, Marshall JCM 800 (mid '80s), Marshall JVM 210H, Marshall JCM2000 DSL 401, block letter Peavey 5150. Carvin MTS 3200 2x12 combo, Carvin Legacy III, Carvin X100B reissue, Engl Steve Morse, Engl Ritchie Blackmore, Mesa Rectoverb 25, Orange Rockerverb MKI 2x12, Orange CR120H, Ampeg SVT52, Fender Twin 2x12, Marshall 50th Anniversary DSL-1 and a late '70s Earth Original. I've been playing for 30 plus years.
For the review I compared the Marshall SLP to the Bugera 1960. I used a Gibson Les Paul Standard. Both amps were attenuated with a Marshall Powerbrake (SLP) and Gibson Power Stealth (a rebadged Hotplate/Bugera). I used a Vintage 30 4x12, a Greenback 4x12 and a 2x12 with WGS ET 65s (Creamback clone). To push the front end I used a Fulltone OCD, Tubescreamer and Vox Joe Satriani Saturator. I used an A/B switch for real time comparisons.
I play classic rock in the styles of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Clapton, Whitesnake, CCR, Journey, Bon Jovi, etc.
Now that the stage is set, on with the review. The Bugera achieved very convincing SLP tones. The Bugera is interchangeable with the SLP. The SLP with one of pedals in front produced more distortion but the Bugera distortion sound was more articulate - you could hear every string on cords for example. The Bugera through the V30 cab produced great AC/DC tones. Turning off the pedal and rolling off the volume, both amps clean up nicely. The SLP's cleaner tones were outstanding and noticeably more pleasant than the Bugera which was definitely adequate. On the dirty side, I was able to get very similiar tones out of the amps. Which sounded better - preference. I then used a PA and jammed to some classic tunes playing all the guitar parts. I played Deep Purple's "Burn," "Cocaine," "Fortunate Son," "Stairway to Heaven," "Summer of 69," "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Since You've Been Gone" by Rainbow. I went back and forth between the amps and the Bugera more than held its own. I played over 4 hours so the amps got very hot but both sounded great.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I bought the 3 year warranty because of the horror stories I heard. The amp is brand new. I was expecting a disaster when I powered it up but nothing happened but great tones. The fit and finish is very good. The head is sturdy. Inside, everything looks good and is marked. I'm sure the Bugera tubes are cheap but for now no complaints. I doubt it will last 40 years like the SLP which is still going strong. But for the extremely low price it's highly recommended. To save wear and tear on my SLP, this Bugera will be my go to amp when I want that Plexi tone. It does not look of feel cheap. I'm giving it an 8 only because it's way to early to tell but I don't expect a problem anytime soon.
Overall Impression — 9
It has the features of a NMV SLP. The updated version has a master volume and a few other features but this one has what I expected. I play '70s to late '90s classic rock and this amp delivers. To be clear, when I gig I would most likely take one of my ENGLs and the JVM (or either the Legacy, Rockerverb, JCM 800 or X100 depending on mood). The SLP and this Bugera are beasts that need to be tamed. Very loud! My other amps are more versatile and easier to manage. The 1960 and SLP require some time to get your tone. These are not easy amps to use and get a great tone. However, the great tones are there and the SLP AND 1960 sound great and are lots of fun to play if you are looking for that plexi growl ala Blackmore, Young, Slash and Page.
I have read reviews saying they could not dial in a tone or the amp had no distorted sound. It's not the amp folks. It took me weeks to learn how to dial in my SLP when I got it. I was able to get great tones out of the 1960 quick only because I knew how to manage the beast. These amps at very loud and to get a nice dirty tone you have to use a lot of volume. Unless you get an attenuator the amp will be too loud - keep that in mind. You need to be able to manage the incredible amount of volume theses amps produce.
I bought this on impulse due to the closeout price. I now have more confidence in Bugera and would buy from them again. Overall, a good product, a great value with great tones. Bugera delivered on tone... we have to wait to see if it will last but it looks promising.