Frontman 15R Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 02/15/2011 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Fender: Frontman 15R
Dual Selectable Channels.
Features: Reverb, 3-Band EQ, Headphone Jack, Auxilliary Input for CD, Tape or Drum Machine, Closed Back.
Controls: Volume Normal Channel, Gain, Drive Select Switch, Volume Drive Channel, Treble, Mid, Bass, Reverb.
 Sound: 7.2
 Overall Impression: 7.4
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Features: 7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (13) 30 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 5.5
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: Fuzzy1823, on april 30, 2004
14 of 25 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Musciansfriend

Features: This amp has two chanels (not footswitchable). It also has spring reverb (sucks major ass). The reverb never gets used on my amp because it gets a lot of feed back. Headphones-yes, effects loop-no. I use this amp in my room ONLY. This amp is solid state, and solid crap. // 4

Sound: I have a Fender strat with a Seymour Duncan SH-8 in the bridge. I play from blues(SRV) to punk(AFI) to rock(Ac/Dc). I don't like the sound quality at all. The clean distorts at loud settings and the distortion...well fuzz's. It lacks "ohmmp" in all catigories. The distortion lacks brutality all together. The amp lacks tone to say the least. // 4

Reliability & Durability: I've droped it, kicked it, and rolled it down the stairs...and it still works. This is the only highlight of the amp. It is a fairly dependible amp however I would never gig with it, only because its to small and sound terrible. This amp has never broken down and I doubt it ever will. // 8

Overall Impression: This amp is a poor buy. I own a (Marshall) JCM TSL100 and when you compare the two, the little 15 sounds like a beat up cardboard box (but com'on what do you expect from a little practice amp?) If this amp was stolen or lost I surely as hell wouldn't buy a new one, I would buy a floyd for my guitar. I wish this amp had...QUALITY. Everyone else who has posted a review for this amp must be deaf or something because this amp blows. // 6

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overall: 8
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 06, 2004
5 of 8 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 90

Features: Purchased 2004 for a practice amp. The amp has 3 tone controls, a clean channel and a distorton channel with seperate gain and volume controls, and a reverb control. There is an earphone jack, a line input, but no pedal or external speaker connectors. // 8

Sound: I use the amp with a "Les Paul" style guitar with two series humbucking pickups and two tone and two volume controls. The guitar has a high output and sounded better through the amp after lowering both of the pickups. This removed distortion on the clean channel with the guitar and amp at max volume. The amp has good volume, It can get very loud on the distortin channel. I could hear some 60 cycle hum on all channels, especially with headsets. This was corrected by adding a larger rf shield over the circuit board. It comes with a small shield just over the input jack and this is not adequate. There is still hum on the reverb channel at high gain and some white noise hissing on all channels, but noticeable only with headsets. The distortion channel distorted as soon as the gain was turned to 2 with my guitar. I reduced the gain of the distortion op-amp by adding a 56k Ohm resistor between the gain pot wiper and the distortion op-amp's inverting input. Now I can turn it to 5 before it starts distorting heavily. The max distortion is still there but I get a lot more non distorted volume on the channel. The reverb is fairly weak, even though it has a good reverb unit in the bottom of the amp. I lowered the resistance of the summing connection from the reverb op-amp by 50 % and it now gives good reverb volume and the reverb can be heard without turning it's volume all the way to 10. The 3 mods improved the amp and only use two 10 cent resistors and some tape, cardboard and tinfoil. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The amp looks like it is well made. The pre-amp circuits inside the amp are very similar to Fender's higher power solid state models. // 8

Overall Impression: The amp is adequate as a practice amp and gives a good range of sound. I like the looks of the amp and like Fender products. I play primarily rock and roll. // 8

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overall: 7.8
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: ooblah, on march 10, 2006
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 180

Purchased from: Local Music store

Features: Going from the 10w amp my starter pack came with to this was a huge changed, almost euphoric at first. However, this amp is strongly made for warming up Backstage before a gig but not to actually play a gig. It has your basic controls, clean, overdrive, treble, middle, bass, and then reverb. Although this is a wonderful amp for the price and purpose I have found after years of experimenting with it that it has a very limited tone. If you want to get all typed of unique sounds to actually come out of it you need an effects pedal. However the reverb on this amp is extremely good quality and the overdrive is also nice and clean. // 8

Sound: At first I used my squire through it and it fed back and sounded horrible. I thought that it was all the amp and that it was a big waste of money, but when I got my Ibanez, all the feedback went away and it sounded awesome. The biggest complaint I ever found with this was that you only get so many tones and theres not the biggest variety. However it is extremely quiet when the guitar is cranked but your not playing, and can get really really loud for how little it is! The distortion I would say at the most metalish settings can sound really hard, but it just doesnt have the balls to pull anything as far as live shows. It workes for me though most of the time because its just convieniant to practice with. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Although this is a semi sturdy amp, it is a bit delicate because of its size. I have also had a problem with the input connection insert getting lose and not getting a signal from the guitar. In other words, this thing is not meant to be stepped on and thrashed at gigs. However it has never malfunctioned in any way for me and so far has held together pretty good. But since this isnt as durable as some of the other amps I have seen, I'm not going to glorify the rating. // 6

Overall Impression: The thing is a decent amp, especially for guitarists who are going on their second or third year of playing like I was. Although it doesnt make you sound perfect like some amps, it gives you the honest sound comming through your guitar and helps you to practice and improve that tone. I really wish it would have more features on it such as two distortions (gain, lead) and maybe a couple nice effects to work with. The reason most people by this amp is that its unique price, its just some of the best you can get for what it is. For how much it costed, and its main purpose, I would say Fender did a good job with designing it. It has fit my style decently over the years and I am sure it will make any guitarist transitioning from beginner to intermediate a very happy person! // 9

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overall: 10
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 17, 2004
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 90

Purchased from: Richardson Music

Features: Versatile amp, good for rock and punk and anything else that requires distortion. It has two channels, clean and drive, also includes one reverb dial. Has a headphone jack, but I don't have any headphones to use it with. It has all the features I expected it to, great for a practice amp. I don't use the reverb effect very much, probably because I can't hear it, but I think I just need to turn the volume up a bit more, an extra effect never hurt anyone though. I only use the amp for practicing, it's pretty loud, 15 watts but sounds like it's more. If I had a gig to play at, I'd probably go with something louder, but for practice or maybe a tiny show indoors for your friends it'd be great. // 10

Sound: I use a *****y Ibanez guitar with an SSH setup, the distortion sounds great on a full humbucker. Works perfect when you need to play punk with high treble, and even works excellent when you need louder bass and more of a crunch for heavier rock. The amp isn't noisy, you get the hiss, as would any amp you ever use on high power. The clean channel sounds nice, even if it's loud, I've never had any problems playing it loud, it keeps steady and doesn't give out if you're playing anything too high or too loud. The distortion is loud as could be, great for any blow-your-pants-off music. // 10

Reliability & Durability: The amp is REALLY durable, has great casing and it can take hits. Not sure if I'd use it at a gig, only because I might want something a little louder, but hey it's all preference! Amp hasn't EVER broken down on me, once I thought I burned it out, but I just didn't have the volume up, great amp that will last anyone a long time, you don't even need to turn it up to full power to get good volume, so it shouldn't blow out anytime soon. // 10

Overall Impression: How many times do I have to say I play general rock music, I don't know, but it sounds great. I love playing "older" music like AC/DC or Guns 'N' Roses, and it has a great sound, when used with punk music it couldn't be better. I've been playing for about a year and a half, I don't own any better guitars due to lack of cash. If this amp were stolen or lost or ANYTHING, I'd definetly buy it again, it's got all the tone I'm looking for. I love the distortion, couldn't ask for more with the clean, my favorite feature, like any other, would be the drive button. Only thing I don't like is the wattage, I'd go for the 25R next time, the extra volume could be good enough for a gig. I used a B.C. Rich Body Art cheap guitar on this same amp and still got a great sound, if not a better one, anything could sound better than my crummy Ibanez. I tried another amp, too, it was a 15 watt Ibanez GTX-10 something or other, and the Frontman just blows it out off the stage. I'd take the Frontman over any other 15 watt anyday. If you're gonna get this amp, I say go for it, it's great, and if you don't think you'll use the Reverb, then get the 15G. It's the same great amp, 10 bux cheaper, no reverb dial. I personally like the reverb though, just in case I ever want a little extra sound in there. // 10

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overall: 8.3
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 11, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 114

Purchased from: Billy Hyde Music Parramatta

Features: The Amplifier, since it's designed as a practice amp has all pots switches and input/output jacks on the same face as the speaker itself which allows for easy setting up/adjusting if you're practicing in your room. For gigging purposes however, depending on how your amplifier is set up (as a standalone speaker as opposed to miked up with in a PA system) this can prove to be a hassle. The amplifier offers your usual treble middle and bass adjusting pots. But the amp and speaker itself are so small and put out such a naturally high sound that turning down the bass all the way while leaving the treble and middle at the same level, has a very small effect. It has two standard channels, "drive" and "normal" with no footswitch and a small click in button to Switch in between. Both channels have a separate Volume knob and the "drive" channel has a Gain knob, although at high Gain the volume knob becomes extra sensitive as the Gain adds on a lot of volume as it is. It has standard mono input jack and an "aux in" RCA jack (i.e. the jacks you would find on a DVD player, for instance) to plug in a CD player or drum machine to play along with (although the speaker well and truly was not designed for hi-fi). It has a "headphone" output jack that automatically switches off the main speaker when a lead is plugged in not allowing you to say, record into a computer and listen to the amp at the same time. The 15R is equipped with an actual spring reverb and an easily usable knob to adjust it. // 8

Sound: I use an Epiphone Dot (copy of the Gibson ES 335) with two standard Epiphone humbuckers. I find that the clean channel very much suits the versatility of my guitar, having a nice bursting tone on the bridge pick up and a very smooth jazzy tone on the neck pickup and all in all it is a very nice clean amplifier with lots of balls, given the right guitar. That said, the Drive channel, as with most solid state/tranisistor amplifiers, is very tinny and eliminates whatever versatility your guitar ever possessed, having the same tinny quality on either pickup and turning down the tone knobs on my guitar having only a very small effect. While this sound isn't bad for trying to recreates sounds like Justin Hawkins uses in his solos in the Darkness, it's not versatile and basically eliminates your hopes of playing smooth blues/jazz with Drive. This problem can be very easily solved if you're willing to spend some extra cash on an overdrive/distortion pedal. I use a Boss SD-1 and that solved my problems completely. The reverb is an authentic spring reverb and sounds amazing, however some design flaw within the amp itself adds noise and an annoying hum when the reverb is turned up. The cool thing is though, when the volume is turned up the hum isn't turned up and so the loudness of your guitar basically overpowers the hum anyway. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It is very solid and has survived numerous bumps as I've been carting it around to my mate's houses. The only thing that would concern me is the placing of the pots on the face of the amplifier juts out just a little bit from the protective outer layer of the amp making them slightly prone to being damaged. There are various parts that I can hear jingling around though which make me cringe every time it's not placed down gently. I don't gig as of yet, but the amp is a very reliable and loud sonofabitch if you're just looking for practicing or having all day jam sessions. // 8

Overall Impression: I play old school rock, blues and jazz (that is to say Clapton, see Cream & Derek and The Dominoes), Zeppelin, B.B. King, Oasis, and even Radiohead and the Darkness). There is no doubting the power of the clean channel of the amplifier with the quality of tone that it has and the power of its volume. The drive channel was a disappointment but the quality of the amp otherwise made me have no qualms about spending an extra 80 bucks on an SD-1 to compliment the amplifier. Good stuff if you're a beginner, looking for something you can fit in your bedroom or want to cart around to jamming sessions. // 8

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overall: 8.5
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 12, 2004
0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Tom Lee Music

Features: The Fender Frontman is a pretty big amp with everything you need if you're a beginner like distortion and, a control over treble, and bass. It has a reverb nob which I like to use to substitute my lack of a foot pedal. It has a headphone jack which is extremely useful for me because I live in a flat. Mainly I use this amp at home, but occasionally I take it over to my friend's and jam there. It's a really loud amp, sometimes a bit too loud. // 10

Sound: I use an Ibanez SR470 DX with 5 pickups and it sounds really cool with all the distortion and the tone settings. Perfect for the hard rock, and the old school songs I play. The clean setting on this amp is really sleek and makes a nice sound but I don't use it as much. the amp is actually quite clear but only hums on its higher volume settings like all amps do. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I don't have another amp to rely on but this amp is extraordinarily durable. On my way to my friends, I dropped this amp down a hill. Not even a single scratch. I've only been using this amp for about a month and I don't expect it to break down any time soon. I'm pretty sure it'll last me for another 2 years at the least. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, this is a great amp for beginners and you can't wish for anything better if you're a beginner. It really does have everything, and a little more (the reverb nob). It was a great bargain. I only wish it wasn't as heavy, and it could've done with some extra features like flanging.... but maybe I'm just a crazy dreamer. // 8

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overall: 10
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: Butters, on april 30, 2004
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 91.5

Purchased from: ESE music Maidstone

Features: This amps packed full of features, considering the price it covers alot of things, it's got a two channel selector, drive and normal volume, It's got a standard three band equalizer. The reverb sounds amazing and really makes a difference, it's got a headphone jack and aux in ports for hooking it up to varying sound systems. Despite being 15 watt it's phenomenally loud, it's twice the power I need for just practising in my room. // 10

Sound: I'm playing a strat copy with single coil pickups through it and it sounds really impressive, I mostly play bluesy rock (aerosmith,G'n'R etc) and it suits it really well, it's also great for more seventies style rock (rainbow, thin lizzy) it's clean tone is really warm, rounded and nice, the distortion is easily variable from quite low for bluesy licks to really heavy distortion for more metal songs. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've had the amp for about a year and a half now and it's never once broken down,it's not lost any of it's quality and I've taken very little care of it, I haven't even cleaned it and it still sounds as good as the day I bought it, I'd definitely feel safe using this to perform. // 10

Overall Impression: I really love this amp, it suits my playing styles really well and covers all the tonal basses, it wasn't expensive at all and still does everything I want from an amp. The distortion is brilliantly adjustable and the reverb works amazingly well, It's capable of being really loud without losing the sound quality, if this was stolen I'd definitely buy another. I do get a bit of buzzing from it from time to time but that's because I've got a pretty cheap single coiled guitar at the moment. I'd recommend this as a beginners first amp or a really experience players practise amp, it's really small and easy to take to mates houses etc for practising and it does pretty much all you could want from a big amp but on a smaller scale. // 10

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overall: 8
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: zx7r, on january 30, 2006
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: The amp is a solid 15 watt amp from Fender it's a tough little amp but it still can hurt your ears if you want it to. I think the amp was made in 2003 because on the back it says it passed the safety test in 2003. At least it's a safe amp and it ain't gonna blow up on me. The Frontman is a versatile amp that can withstand a kicking because of its solid back. I'm not too bothered about its effects and that because I've got an FX Pedal so I pretty much leave my amp settings alone. I use the amp at home and it could definitely do with a bit more power. // 7

Sound: It's just an ordinary amp, nothing special I use my FX pedal all the time so as I said earlier I leave my amp settings alone. It's quite loud if you switch the gain on but you have to sacrifice a lot of tone. The tone controls on the amp are hard to use because they either give you no tone or a whole bunch more than what you need. The distortion is well, distorted, a lot. The clean channel gets distorted if you put the volume past 7 so thats annoying. But overall it sounds pretty good, Fender have made it well. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Very reliable amp no breakdowns thus far I've only had it 15 months though. I'd use it at a small gig with no backup but its not powerful enough to handle anything bigger I'd use it a big gig if it was louder. Tough amp. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall I'm happy with my amp. I'm thinking about upgrading to a big Marshall amp but first I need to get the money and all that. I'd like to buy a top of the range Fender amp but they're just too expensive. If it were stolen I'd hunt down the thief and take him down. If I couldn't find him I'd probavly buy a cheap Fender amp possibly another Frontman. I wish the amp was louder, louder is good! // 8

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overall: 8.8
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: JaKeIM, on august 14, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 99.99

Purchased from: Samash

Features: This amp features reverb and has basic two channels, clean and distortion. It does include a headphone jack and a very simple amp. It would be nice if it had better distortion. The output is 38 watts, so it's good for practicing at home. The amp is pretty versatile because you can get that metally bouncy clean sound with reverb up, and that smooth Frusciante in Under The Bridge. // 7

Sound: I use this amp with a standard stratocaster, and I play mostly classic rock and hard rock, occasionally heavy metal. The clean channel sounds very smooth when the guitar's in neck pickup. The distortion of this amp is not thick enough to generate sounds of let's say pantera or something. This amp is not made for doing gig and such, so don't expect too much. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I cannot comment on the durability of this amp because I only owned this amp for about three months. However, as of right now, it sounds the same as when I first bought it new. As I mentioned before, this amp is not recommanded for doing gigs. // 9

Overall Impression: The overall impression of this amp is that it is more of a starting amp. For only 100 bucks, you get what you pay for and more. However, if you can save 40 or 50 more dollars, you can get a Marshall MG15CDR, and it is better. Right now, I have enough money, but I am not in a hurry to buy a new amp. I think this amp is very good for it's price. // 9

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overall: 5
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: Zapfire, on july 03, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitarcenter

Features: My amp was made in 2007 and I got it with pack that included a guitar, amp, and several other accessories. If I had to say only one thing about it, don't get it. You have 2 options with this amp, clean, and a really annoying buzz distortion. Although it can go very loud and blow you out of the room on only about level 3 volume, the buzzing on the overdrive will Drive you crazy. // 5

Sound: I use this amp with my Squier Strat. At first I thought it was my guitar making the buzz on overdrive, but on my Dad's amp it sounded great. It is very loud, which would be good if it wasn't such a bad amp. The clean channel is great, it sounds good on any clean song. The overdrive, well, I just can seem to get it right. I have tried tons of settings for it but you just can't get a decent sound out of it, but it is a very cheap amp. // 5

Reliability & Durability: I would never, ever use this amp for any kid of show that involved any distortion. Every once in awhile it will just cut off on me while I'm playing and then come back on (the amp is on, just no sound). I have taken in it, and they said nothing was wrong with it, it's just a bad amp. // 5

Overall Impression: I play both classic and modern rock such as AC/DC or the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I use a different amp at my dad's place for both. I have been playing for 5 months and it's the only amp I own. The amp came in a pack which was on sale, very cheap, so I can't really say I should have asked beforehand. To tell the truth, I would pay someone to steal it from me. // 5

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overall: 5
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: Poglia, on may 21, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 112.14

Purchased from: eBay

Features: This amp is a simple one. It has a clean and a distorted channel and a few controls: volume, high, mid, basses, gain and reverb. Clean channel is ok, distorted one is pure crap. I never use it, I bought a DigiTech Metal Master (it rocks! ). I never use the crap reverb too, only the clean channel (wich isn't very good but even not so bad). This is a practice amp, I use it in my room, but's VERY loud for a 15W, I NEVER turn the amp volume above 2 and the guitar volume above 5! You can even play in small pubs or bars with this (crap sound, but good volume). // 5

Sound: I have tried 3 guitars with this amp: a Jackson RR3, an Ibanez GIO and a Squier Strat. They all sounds not so bad on clean channel, but, trust me, never use the built-in distortion. Buy another pedal, I suggest DigiTech Metal Master. I play mostly Metal, so I use the pedal 70% of the times and 30% the clean channel. Never tried this amp at very high volumes, so I don't know what happens with clean channel. I know only that there are LOTS of buzz and feedbacks, even at low volumes. // 4

Reliability & Durability: "Would you use it on a gig without a backup?" well, no, but not because it's easy to broke, simply because it has a crap sound! Good for practice, but definitely not for playing Live or recording. However it's a tank, never broken and I own it since a year and a half. Except for the sound, I have never had any problem. // 6

Overall Impression: I play Metal, and, no, this is not a good match. Worst distortion ever, so, don't buy it if you like distortion (or just buy a good pedal). If it will get stolen or lost, I will not buy another one: there are many better practice amp, choose carefully. However if you are a blues/jazz beginner and don't want to spend a lot of money you can buy it and use the clean channel. // 5

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overall: 5.3
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: AJH0014, on october 20, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: A$ 200

Purchased from: Guitar Factory

Features: This amp was made in 2010. This amp is good for low gain with low volume and little bass because the speaker cannot handle higher levels of bass and high volumes without the speaker sounding crakley or just plain bad. It is good for any style but just for practice only! I also wish it had more reverb, or at least a better reverb other than that horrible springy sound it makes when you use it. // 4

Sound: This amp is being used with a Fender Stratocaster, a Cole Clark culprit, a sunburst strat, and a Gibson SG. These are all awesome guitars, and this amp does do them justice to some extent* This being said these are good guitars and an average guitar may not sound good at all through this amp. This amp does suit my music style when I'm practising but my Marshall Valve State is alot better. It is noisy with the volume turned up, but on the same note does not sound good. It also does not have much of a variety but is good for soft quiet rock, and blues. The clean chanel also sounds distorted, and I would not buy another one. // 3

Reliability & Durability: This amp is solid state so is extremely reliable and I have never had any issues other than the way it sounds. The amp does not give off much heat. However due to the way it sounds I would not use it for a gig unless it could be connected to a PA system because I think it might sound decent if no reverb is used and also if the lame speaker is not used either. // 10

Overall Impression: This is Strictly a Practice Amp and is versatile for any style of music from strictly a practice point of view. This amp is compact and 15 watts is great for any bedroom. I've been playing for four years with many great guitars as stated above, and I wish I could have gotten an Orange crush instead of choosing this!. Infact if it was stolen I would go out and buy an orange, probably the Tiny Terror 15 watt by orange. The only thing I love about this amp is the the way it looks with the black vinyl, silver grill and the chrome Fender logo Hurah! Everything else I Hate but being said it does not sound as bad as what I make it out to be. Also there is no comparison only that is sounds better than the Marshall amps in the same class they are worse its true!. The only thing I wish it had was better reverb. // 4

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overall: 6
Frontman 15R Reviewed by: EddieOwen, on february 15, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: Two selectable channels, normal and overdrive. Auxiliary input, Reverb, headphone jack, treble, mid, bass, volume, gain and Drive controls. I never use the reverb, you can only hear it when you turn it to full and sounds crap when you do. The Drive is ok, I normally only have it on about 6. Any higher and it starts making this horrible grainy sound. I only use this amp as a practice, it's only got 15 watts. // 5

Sound: I'm using it with a Washburn WI200 with Humbuckers, It sounds great on Clean at low volumes, around 4-5, louder and it starts to distort. It's surprisingly quiet when not being used. There is not much variety to what sounds it can make, overdrive is a bit of a let down, it sounds horiible at too loud. // 6

Reliability & Durability: I can depend on it only as a practice, 15 watts is no where near enough for a gig. It broke down a couple of weeks ago, just from old age. It had served me for over 3 years. I think the reason it broke was the plug into the mains. It just stopped turning on so I guess it wasn't getting any power. // 7

Overall Impression: I play metal, and classic rock. It kind of sucks for the metal but sounds good for the classo rock. I've been playing for a Acoustic for a while now, around 8 years and electric for about 3, this was the first amp I bought (I got it with a begginer pack along with a Sqier Tele). I love the clean, it sounds awesome but I hate the overdrive. Fender should stick with making guitars. // 6

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