1990 review by Bugera

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  • Sound: 2
  • Overall Impression: 3
  • Reliability & Durability: 4
  • Features: 4
  • Reviewer's score: 3.3 Poor
  • Users' score: 7.5 (31 votes)
Bugera: 1990

Price paid: $ 510

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Sound — 2
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.

Overall Impression — 3
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.

Reliability & Durability — 4
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.

Features — 4
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.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    First off, I have owned many amps. You know, GAS buy and sell. I bought a like new Bugera 1990 for $325 shipped, was used approx. 1-2 hrs. I just got kicked off of HC forums trying to tell the snobs that the sound of a Bugera isn't the same, but is close enough to Marshall to warrant owning one. Said I was "harassing them" when they attacked me first. Poor snob babies. I just stated an opinion. Anyway, my only concern is with reliability and time will tell. I will say it is the first amp I've owned that had bolts and blind nuts to attach the back cover/tube protect with. All others have been stripped out screws. Transformers have chrome side covers. Hmmmm Very heavy as are most well built heads. Guys/Gals, if you want a good sound and don't want to pay for name, try these amps. At their price it's not the end of the world if you have to make a repair. High end amps fail too. Read what Bob at Eurotubes says about Marshall amps and some of the breakdowns he's seen and how to fix them. The snobs never post that! I'm sure they're not for everyone but I would play one at a gig before I would listen to what some brand loving fruitcake has to say. Blindfold them and they probably couldn't pick out which amp is which anyway!!!!! You know they are selling a lot of them. How come you hardly ever see used ones for pennies on ebay if they are so bad??? Think about that.
    the only question i have for the reviewers is why would you buy the amp if it sounds so bad?
    personally, i bought it because it was tube and cheap. thinking if it was tube, it'd sound good, and when only playing for 15-20 minutes at guitar center, it sounds fine, and i assumed it sounded like that because it was brand new and not broken in.