Price paid: $ 269.99
Purchased from: guitar center
Sound — 9
3 guitars. '05 Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded, bone stock. This amp really lets the mahogany bottom crunch right thru when I dial up the volume and let the tubes go to work. '04 Fender Fat Strat, bone stock. Back off the volume a bit and let it jangle and scream. '98 Epiphone AJ18SCE, acoustic/electric. This amp has an Acoustic tone voice. It is designed to give your solid body that tone, but when I plug my epi in and set that voice up, wow! I haven't used my Trace Elliot amp in a while now and am considering selling it all together. Yup, it sounds that good. The metal channels really scream but I don't play that style so they don't get used at all. Just enough breakup at high volume to let you know you have a tube amp, but not so bad you take an axe to it. (ala an old bandmate and his peavey) I usually just keep it on clean, use a Vox wah, Boss compression and tube screamer on stage. I have a few other effects I play around with when I'm writing or just foolin around but I keep it pretty simple on stage. The speaker could use an upgrade, but when I plug in my cab, you can't hear it anyway so I will hold off on that for a while.
Overall Impression — 9
This amp will handle everything I play with no issues at all. My bandmate is a shredder at heart and tried out the metal settings. He was wincing the whole time. I've played and heard a million fenders and they are just not made for that style of guitar. But for blues, rock, country, rockabilly, even some alternative, they are amazing amps. If it were lost or stolen, I would probably replace it (unless I had the $ for my super reverb). I love Fender amps, always have. They just sound golden in my ears. That being said, everyone's ears hear different. Play 'em all, find your sound and go with it. For a bridge amp (I had a Fender Frontman 25R before, and am heading to a super reverb) I found nothing better in the price range I was shopping in. Rock out with your cock out and grow old not up!
Reliability & Durability — 10
I have been the victim of unpreparedness at a show and will never suffer that embarrasment again. I went and bought a spare set of tubes immediately upon purchase and carry them with me wherever the amp goes. Holding up a show for 5 minutes while I change a tube is a shitload better than having to walk off after an hour and not get paid or borrow some crappy First Act from a strange cat in the audience. Bad juju, let me tell ya! I've had it about 4 months now, I've played 18 gigs from 30 to 1200 and had zero issues. No service needed yet, but I bought it new so there is the 5 year Fender warranty if it conks on me.
Features — 9
2010 model made in China. This is the best amp on the market for the money. I spent the better part of a month at various shops trying every amp I could get my hands on (under $300). Budget being what it is, it sounds great! I am really saving up for a super reverb but untill that day comes, this amp does evcerything I ask it to do. In fact, I haven't had a use for my reverb or vibro pedals because this amp sounds better than my pedals. Two channels, clean and a multi-voiced second channel. The voicings are sufficient. Actually, they are amazing considering the price. I play mainly blues rock and classic rock, the Fender settings sound almost identical and the "british" settings are pretty darn close. I suppose they are trying to model Marshall because I've been unable to get anything close to a Vox tone out of it. 15W output, all tube output, the only solid state (I believe)is the modeling circuit. By itself, it has enough volume to hold up a small bar or club. I had built a homemeade jensen cab for my last amp, and this amp sound fantastic through that. I played a 1500 seat club with this setup and had no issues what'soever. No headphone jack but I am lucky enough not to need to headphone myself during practice. It would be nice if they made a 30W or bigger version of this amp, I might be saving up for that instead. The effects options aren't the best, but they do. The reverb is better than most I've heard, but I'm stuck on the super reverb and I suppose my ear just wants to hear that sound. Most impressive to me is the Acoustic voice, I will put more detail on that later. I wish it came with the footswitch instead of me having to buy it seperately after the fact but for $300, what do you want?