Frontman 212R 100W Review

manufacturer: Fender date: 06/15/2015 category: Guitar Amplifiers
Fender: Frontman 212R 100W
Not the best for metal, but for anything from jazz to blues to hard rock it does great.
 Sound: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 8.1
 Reliability & Durability: 8.5
 Features: 7.9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (8) pictures (2) 47 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 26, 2011
7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Features: Made in China, don't know what year. The amp has two channels, one clean and another overdrive with a boost on the footswitch, and independent 3-band tone controls and vol. It has a master reverb that isn't that great but useable. 100W of power that in practical terms are loud as hell. two 12" speakers made by Fender. Total sold state. I give it a 9 because the reverb isn't that great. Also, it doesn't have an external speaker out. This is instalable though. // 9

Sound: The sound on the clean channel is superb. I think it is the best sounding clean channel I've heard aside from all-tube Fenders I've played. Now, I am a Fender amp nut, so I'm partial obviously. On the other hand, the Drive channel isn't that great. It can be used for a crunch to a mellow bluesy overdrive just fine, but past 6 on the knobb it starts to get really harsh and muddy. I compliment it with a Boss overdrive/distortion pedal and get really great results though. The boost channel isn't very smooth, but does boost the volume a lot. But again, if you already have the overdrive set high than the boost will only take it into total screachy mayhem territory. I mainly rely on the Boss pedal for more gain. The other problem is the treble isn't nearly good enough for most hard rock. I think the makers voiced this for a strat and I play a much less tinny PRS. Maybe with a strat it's just right, but for my mahogany humbucker guitar it sounds a little lacking. Again, the Boss pedal allows me to tweek in some extra treble and the final result is just awesome anyway. Finally the reverb tank just downright sucks. It is weak. But a replacement is simple. However since I don't use much reverb I haven't felt the need. I have to mark down to 8 because of the drawbacks of the Drive channel and reverb. But if you add a good pedal, this can be a centerpiece in a badass rig. As for the volume, man is this thing loud. And plently of headroom, while still allowing for a little crunch if you use a guitar with hot pickups. With my PRS If I'm at rehearsal volume I have to roll a tad off the volume for total clean. But with a hollowbody I have with softer pickups, I never get any crunch at all until the thing is just too loud to be in the same room with. By then the hollowbody with feedback uncontrollably anyway. // 8

Reliability & Durability: It's tough as hell. Nothing wrong has happened to it and I gig all the time with it. I don't see why anyone would bring a backup amp to a gig. It has really solid input jacks, a sturdy burch frame and general Fender quality (as for their amps, I actually dislike their guitars). The fact that it is solid state makes it inherently reliable. This, and the price factor, is why I got a solid state in the first place. Having previously owned a DeVille, I thought this would be a serious step down, but in reality it isn't all that different. Yes, a tube amp will sound better, but it will be much less reliable and for me, there are so many other factors that contribute to a musician's sound other than the amp, that I chose for reliability of the tube's single and solitary benefit. // 10

Overall Impression: I think it is an excellent value and has reaffirmed by believe that Fender makes the best amps around. Combined with a couple of good pedals and this baby can sound incredible in a variety of styles. Not the best for metal, but for anything from jazz to blues to hard rock it does great. Finally, I really dig Fender's classic looks. Makes me feel like I'm playing a Vintage tube amp from the 60s. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.3
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 02, 2011
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 299

Purchased from:

Features: This amp features 100W through two 12 in speakers, which is about par for larger combo amps. The amps has two channels, and is switchable through the supplied foot Switch as well as on the front. The amp has 'scoop' and 'drive/more drive' settings on the dirty channel- presumably aimed at boosting metal tones. // 9

Sound: The first thing I noticed about this amp, is that it is a through and through a Fender amp. This means several things: 1.The amp is especially loud, even on the lower settings. 2. The amp has a naturally bright sound to it. Great for a Les Paul, but you might want to watch your EQ with that Telecaster. 3. The overdrive channel- what can I say? Great for blues and classic rock, it just doesn't cut it with the metal crowd. However, if you get an external distortion unit with decent Drive to it (especially one with an external preamp as in, say a multi-effects proccessor)this thing changes attitudes completely. What was once a friendly, classicly designed amp is now an crushing monster! Plenty of output, this thing fired up has drowned out a Marshall half-stack- no small feat, and should not be taken lightly! The clean channel, of course, is sparkly, jangly and sounds beautiful with any guitar you may own. Adding a quality chorus really makes it shine. // 9

Reliability & Durability: So far, so good. I only play about an hour or two a day, and I rarely gig more than once or twice a month. It's gota few scratches and dings, but it's holding up just fine. On a side note, this thing is impossibly heavy. I wish Fender installed casters on the bottom like they did with the CyberTwin, as the little handle on the top is almost like a sick joke when you have to Park far away from your venue. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall this amp rocks. It faithfully reproduces your signature sound, given you keep the following in mind: any effects really do sound better from an external unit. Also, make sure you have the space for this combo, because given the size and weight, its basically another piece of furnature when not in use. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.5
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: GibbardWalla, on march 28, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 180

Purchased from: GAK

Features: This amp is perfect for any styles of playing. Blues, Indie, Rock, Jazz Funk Fusion? I play mainly Indie but occasionally stray as far as some other genres and this amps suits them all perfectly well. For a start there is the Fender clean channel, which is perfect. The sound is beautiful and suits any type of clean music, I play a Yamaha Pacifica mainly which yeah, is a pretty un-cool guitar but I love it and it sounds stunning with this amp. The distortions channels or the 'drive' and 'more drive' channels are perfect for any style of playing from Kings of Leon style stadium rock to Arctic Monkeys indie. The Mid Contour button allows you to change from stadium rock distortion and creates a much more modern style tone. I have used this amp at a few small gigs at small venues and it has lived up to them perfectly well, its performance hasn't changed at all. There is no issue as to the quality of the amp, I think it may be bomb proof! // 10

Sound: This amp will suit any types of music you play, at any venue. I have used it a few small gigs, but the venues are all decent sizes and I have never had to turn the volume up to beyond 3. Which is perfect. I mainly play a Yamaha Pacifica, which I wouldn't change for the world and it sounds brilliant with this amp. The clean channels sound perfect on both the bridge pick-up and the humbucker, you get a really warm feel with the bridge pick up! I also have a Stagg Les-Paul style guitar which I use rarely but it sounds brilliantly warm with the clean settings on the amp. It makes any guitar sound beautiful! Also the reverb on the amp is brilliant, no need for any reverb pedals. As for distortion and brutality? I guess I am yet to find out how 'brutal' it really is. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Firstly, this amp is extremely heavy. Which is a good thing, I don't think it could ever break! It has a bomb-proof solid feel about it which is great. The only thing about the durability is that you may need to have a cover for the front of the amp as it could get kicked in if you are playing at a particularly violent gig. As for reliability, my amp is 100% totally reliable, like a dog really, a really heavy dog that makes beautiful music. // 9

Overall Impression: My overall impression on this amp is that it is wonderful, I don't think I'll ever require another one. I love the clean and the distortion channels and very much doubt I require any clean or distortion pedals. I play this amp with a DigiTech RP80 which I only really use for tuning but I occasionally use the delay at home whilst practicing, the amp has no problem with this effects at all but I haven't really used any separate pedals or a pedalboard so I'm not 100% sure on that one. If this amp was lost or stolen I would definitely buy it again, everyday. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 7.5
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: rickypiola97, on april 22, 2014
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 200

Features: This amp was made in China but I don't know the year. It has a clean and an overdrive channel with a "more drive" option that's not great in my opinion, but we'll talk about that later. Those 3 modes are switchable through a footswitch provided with the amp. The cones are connected to the amp directly so you don't have the possibility to use the speakers as a cabinet with another amp as well as you can't connect this amp to another cabinet. There's also the reverb effect that I all I say is that they could have made it better. // 7

Sound: It's a solid state amp so you won't get the sound of a fender all tube obviously but I got really impressed, especially by the clean channel is very clear and warm. The overdrive channel is a little less impressing but it's still good for the price, but if you're planning to use it a lot I recommend to buy a pedal for the distortion, and if you play metal you must buy one. Because I think the solution that Fender's engineers found for the Metal sound was the "more dive" channel but it was simply unusable to me because of the noise it makes even when you're not touching the cords. It may be because of my Stratocaster's single coils (I haven't had any issue with those before), but I assure you that the noise almost covered the sound! There's also a problem with the volume: it absolutely lacks of sensitivity it'll sound loud anyway. // 8

Reliability & Durability: When you see this massive amp you think it'll never die, at least that's what I thought. I used it with my band a couple times like 4 months ago and it worked just fine, now and it hasn't leaved home since then. But one night suddenly it broke, I stopped hearing the sound and all it emitted was a continuous loud noise, I don't know what happened and I don't want to know, for me this was just a temporary accommodation. Now I'm going to use it as a cabinet for my new tube head (after having done some wiring work). I think mine is an isolated case but I really can't give more then a 6 for reliability and durability. // 6

Overall Impression: When I had to choose an amp for this price I had no doubt, I went straight to this one, and I would do it again if you ask. In this price range I tried the Marshall MG100 (the combo) and all I can say is that it is more expensive and it sounds definitely worse (with the cleans there's no match at all). The lack of sensitivity in the volume makes it not perfect for home usage but if you have the right neighbours you can also afford to play it at home. So, in the end the Fender Frontman 212R comes at a very affordable price and sounds really nice and I'd recommend it to anyone. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 8
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 17, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 300

Features: Don't know when it was made, but it was in China. It has two channels with independent EQ and vol. And master reverb. Effects loop, no speaker out or headphone jack. Because it doesn't have those things and one of the two channels, the Drive one, is pretty much useless, I can't rate it any better than 6. // 6

Sound: I'm only going to discuss the clean channel after merely saying that the Drive channel sucks, bad. I don't use it and have a totally different amp, all-tube, for my dirty sounds. Now the clean channel is about the best I've heard on an SS amp short of a Roland Jazz Chorus or Fender Jazz King. It sounds nice and crisp, very characteristic of Fender, full, warm and powerful with more than enough headroom to play clean at least a midsize venue with no mic. This alone makes the amp worth it for me. There is just a slight breakup after 5 on the vol. Knob if I use my solidbody with a really HOT pickup. But with my hollowbody with softer pups, not a bit of breakup, which is exactly what this amp is good for, nothing else really. Now obviously a tube Fender will sound much better but for the price and well beyond, in the SS arena, I haven't found better. It takes pedals reasonably well. But as with any other SS amp I've ever tried, a dirt pedal will sound like crap. But it doesn't reject them with strange hissing sounds or whatnot. Pedals work. The reverb is pretty crappy but if you keep it below 5 it works fine enough, that is if you're like me and only like a bit of it. I'm going to rate it 8 because this is a clean only amp marketed as a two-channel amp that covers everything from jazz to metal. Gimme a break, it's just a good discount clean amp. // 8

Reliability & Durability: It's pretty tough. I've taken it all over the place and it's rock solid. It's also light, which is a huge plus. And, although it really is totally unimportant, on a dark stage it looks EXACTLY like an ol' Twin Reverb. Nobody can tell it's just a Frontman. // 10

Overall Impression: If you only want a good, loud clean solid state amp, for the price you probably won't find better and might be hardpressed to find better even hundreds of dollars higher. But if you expect anything more than that, don't buy this. Now if you A/B this with a nice British-voiced tube amp for dirty sounds, you have a really nice rig. Just don't expect this to fulfill all your needs if you want to sound really good. // 8

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 6.3
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: iamfasteddie, on april 03, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: inheritance

Features: Not sure when it was made. I inherited it when my ex died and she forgot to change her trust, leaving everything to me.

Good: It is loud. The clean channel is very clean. I have Strats and Teles that are noisy on everything, but almost whisper quiet on this. Probably because it is solid state. Great for clean playing, which I have drifted towards as I have gotten older. You do need to roll off some treble on single coil guitars or it tends to get harsh and brittle sounding. Hook up a couple of delay pedals and you can get some great Hank Marvin like tones.

Bad: The overdrive channel is basically useless. Too harsh and muddy. I don't care. My Mesa and my Orange are what I use when playing my Ibbys anyway.

All in all, a decent clean amp, even at reatil price. // 7

Sound: It works well for all clean playing. So far I have used a couple of Boss delay pedals. The amp is whisper quiet. With humbuckers you can go full on the tone. With single coils, roll it off to at least 6 or so. Sounds great with my Cabronita Telecaster. Sounds really harsh with my Esquire except in position one. // 8

Reliability & Durability: It seems really solidly built. I would use it at home and maybe for recording. Might even try an electric synthesizer through it. For gigging I would stick with my JC120 for clean sounds just because I know how reliable it has been. Maybe as a backup, but if I started gigging a lot again I would probably get a second JC120 instead. // 5

Overall Impression: I play everything from Brad Paisley type country to Joe Satriani type instrumental. This amp is great for clean playing. Useless for metal or even harder rock. Some of Jonny Lang's stuff like "Breakin' Me" or "Goodbye Letter" is about as hard I would feel comfortable trusting it with. Anything harder would push it into brittleness territory. It is great for what it is, but it is not a Mesa. // 5

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 7.3
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: guitar-name, on april 10, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 100

Purchased from: Private

Features: I don't know when this was made but it was made in China and I'd be surprised if it was ten years old. It has a clean channel and a drive channel which can be boosted via the footswitch, There's bass treble and mid on the clean and a shared eq between the two switchable drive settings which includes a mid scoop type button named as "contour." FX loop on front panel. Presentation is good with traditional fender styling and speakers badged up as Fender. The amp is extremely light even for a solid state.

// 7

Sound: I can get a good clean country sound out of it on the clean channel but it wont "bite" or sound nicely driven even at high volume without a pedal. It does a decent jangle and takes a chorus pedal well, so it's easy to get a Johnny Marr type sound. The bareness and lack of even a slight bite makes it hard for me to approach playing blues on it, though a very skilled player might get something decent out of it. Deals with my humbuckers well but my single coils sound a little thin. Overall the clean channel is approaching a good old Fender valve amp, it's not as good but it's a great way of approaching learning to use and work with the Fender clean tone considering the money.

Drive channel is passable but from AC/DC type distortion onwards, I personally found it unworkable, I couldn't make it sound convincing. It'll give you a bit of an SRV sound for the quicker stuff and the riffing but getting the feedback nice and warm like on a Fender valve amp will take a lot of work. Metallers should maybe forget about this amp unless they intend to use a lot of effects through the clean channel but be warned, this amp is BRIGHT so you'll need to mess about with the eq's on your multi-fx. I'm still working on that one.

For what it is and what it cost though, I'm ok with it. If I want metal I have a Randall and this "Frontman" does have the Fender sound in shovels full and like I said it's a great way to learn what can be done with a Fender amp for a beginner or a great bit of nostalgia for someone like me, playing 30 years on and off that's just started practicing again. // 7

Reliability & Durability: It's solid state and the build quality seems ok, so I kind of trust it not to fall to bits any time soon. Every now and the tightening the screws on the amp mounting will stop a lot of problems with vibrations by the way.

// 8

Overall Impression: I play old fashioned hard rock, '70s British glam, '80s American glam, blues, pop, easy listening, country and a bit of avant-garde. I've been playing about thirty years on and off. This amp on clean is ok for country lead, pop rhythms and easy listening leads (cheat jazz the way I try it). The drive channel I find ok for rapid Texas blues styles and kranky buzz saw '70s glam rythm and soloing. I'd be nervous playing a slow blues that needed warm valve feedback but a better player might pull it off, seems almost there but not quite, a little thin perhaps. If it were stolen, I'd look for a Fender valve amp because this amp has done a nice job of re-introducing me to what Fender amps are about but it does have limitations. As I said though, for the price, it's great. // 7

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9.3
Frontman 212R 100W Reviewed by: bradleyard, on june 15, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 275

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: This amp was made about six years ago. It has three foot-switchable channels (Clean, Drive, More Drive) with independent EQ's between the Clean and Drive/More Drive. 100 watts, 2x12 cabinet, reverb, effects loop, all the standard stuff you would expect. One thing about this amp is the weight. It's HEAVY! Seriously. If this thing ever died, I would use it for a boat anchor. For a large boat. Like a battleship. It seriously weighs a LOT! If there was a way to put it on a "diet," I would. // 8

Sound: I play punk, progressive rock, and blues. It isn't the greatest for pure metal, but most Fender amps aren't. If you're looking for an amp for metal, buy a Mesa, a Line 6, a Randall, or a Marshall. That's not to say it can't do metal (More Drive + Mid Scoop button = pretty good metal tone), but it's not what it was necessarily built for. For punk, blues, or even progressive rock, though, it works pretty well. I do use some effects with it (DigiTech RP200, DOD Stereo Chorus), and it plays well with those in the effects loop. I was worried when I got it, because most solid state amps can sound "fuzzy" and "sterile" when overdriven, but this amp is surprisingly warm. I like it enough that all I use the DigiTech multi-effects unit for anymore is some delay and modulation effects through the effects loop. Also, this thing is very, very LOUD! I have to be really careful to not annoy my neighbors with it. What I don't understand is everyone's gripe with the reverb tank, since mine is almost too strong, but I'm not going to complain about that. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I'm very confident that this amp would hold up playing live. I don't crank it a lot, but when I go to jam sessions, it holds up nicely. I get a lot of positive comments about how good it sounds. I've stood on it, spilled beer and pop on it, kicked it, loaded it into car trunks, and it just asks for more. It's like a poor man's Twin Reverb, but without the added fragility of tubes. The tolex cover isn't even showing signs of wear yet, the speakers sound excellent, there's no noise. I did blow a fuse once in it (my own fault, never EVER plug a cable into the effects return with it on and touch the tip!), but even that was, relatively speaking, was easy to change. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, this is a very good amp, much better than just about any other amp in this price category. Is it a "metal" amp? No. It can do metal, but that's not its strong suit. Can it do blues, punk, hard rock, country, jazz, pop, progressive rock, or just about every other genre you can think of? Yes, and it can do it very well. If it were stolen, I'd find another one and buy it, since this isn't the most expensive amp, and they're really a dime a dozen on eBay. I've had it six years now, and it hasn't let me down yet. Is it perfect? No, but for $275tax, I wasn't asking for perfection. That said, this keeps up with other amps that cost four times as much. I'm very pleased. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
Only "https" links are allowed for pictures,
otherwise they won't appear