Price paid: $ 99
Purchased from: Music & Arts
Sound — 9
I have used this amp with a variety of guitars (Schecter Diamond, Epiphone Les Pauls, Squier Jagmaster, Entry Level Ibanez). Amongst those that I just listed, there's a preset that fits all of those guitars very well. As I said earlier, I play alot of metal type stuff but I'll also throw in some jazzy/fusion sounding riffs. The American 90's setting is perfect for me. It gives me a fair amount of reverb/delay and the perfect amount of crunch; I can still outline chords but when I shred it sounds phenomenal. I guarantee that you will find a setting on this amp that fits you. If you weren't a fan of the generic Fender amp that came with your strat pack, fear not. This amp is a great replacement in terms of sound and diversity. Most beginners won't need distortion and the like, so they'll enjoy the clean settings that can be found on this amp, but for those of us who like to turn it up to 11 you won't be disappointed. Like I said earlier though, this is a 15 watt amp, so it's not made for gigs. But for us wannabe Dave Mustaines, this amp will give you the perfect metal setting. Trust me on this.
Overall Impression — 9
This amp is a great 1st or 2nd amp. It's an upgrade from your typical strat-pack amp but beyond that it's not worth picking up. The Mustang II is a carbon copy of this amp but 30 watts so that might be a better buy for you if you've been playing a while and need something for a band practice environment. For what it is though, this is a very good quality amp, and at $99 you won't get a much better deal. I found almost every model/setting/effect to be useful with one lone exception; a somewhat robotic sounding flanger. I wasn't a big fan of that; neither I nor my coworkers could make it sound very good. Of course, if you have an actively creative mind I'm sure you could put it to good use. This is an ideal beginner amp and I typically recommend this above the Line 6 and Vox amps of the same power.
Reliability & Durability — 9
My experience with this amp has mostly been from a salesman point of view, so it's not like I've been beating up the same amp over and over again. When I sell this amp, a new one comes in within a few days. I will say that Fender's production quality is very consistent; we've never had any problems with new amps coming in, and I have yet to see anyone bring one in with a problem in the amp. This is a well constructed amp and unless you're throwing it around or leaving it in the trunk of your car you shouldn't need to worry about it breaking on you.
Features — 9
I am an Employee at Music & Arts (in the Northern Virginia district). I had been a big fan of the Line 6 amps, mostly because of the artist presets that were built in (the "Pull Me Under" and "Stellar" settings being my favorites). When this new amp arrived in my store, I was excited because it was a Fender but didn't really pay too much attention to it; I already have an amp at home that I liked and an amp in the store that I used for demos. However, when I was asked to test it out, I was absolutely blown away by how well this amp played. It is a modeling amp so obviously you won't be able to get a "signature" tone out of it, but for what it has to offer you will be very impressed. I play a mixture of heavy metal (Megadeth, Revocation, and Marc Rizzo of Soulfly being my main influences there) and jazz (Guthrie Govan is God) and was very impressed by this amps diversity. There are 7 different amp models, and three different modes for each (red, green, orange). Here are the models: 57' Deluxe 59' Bassman 65' Twin Reverb British 60's British 80's (think Iron Maiden) American 90's (this setting is AWESOME) Super-Sonic Metal 2000 There are also 24 other effects that can be added (I believe 2 at a time can be used). 12 are various forms of delay and reverb, and the other 12 are sound mods (Chorus, Tremelo, Flanger, Phaser, that kind of stuff). Overall this amp is perfect for a beginner trying to find their style. As a modeling amp it's not made for someone playing shows or someone looking to expand their skill set, but then again if you've progressed to the point of playing shows you really don't need a 15 watt amp for anything other than at-home jamming. One other important note is that this amp comes with a cable to plug into your computer, so it is possible to record into your computer with this, as well as download additional presets and effects (such as auto-wah).