Maestro Mini Amp review by Gibson

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 4
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Features: 5
  • Reviewer's score: 5.5 Decent
  • Users' score: 3 (9 votes)
Gibson: Maestro Mini Amp
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Price paid: $ 15

Purchased from: Online Dealer

Sound — 6
The Maestro by Gibson Mini Amp is NOT a versatile amp. The Mini Amp DOES NOT take pedals well at all. As a small battery powered amp, this is for busking and/or dorm room type situations. Unfortunately, the Mini Amp does not get loud enough for busking and if you push the volume the speaker sounds horrible. With a clean tone you get almost no volume at all out of the amp, and on the overdrive channel the volume is much higher but also quicker to make the speaker sound bad. There is, however, a sweet spot you can find with the volume about halfway up and overdrive channel on that is a very solid classic rock tone (AC/DC) or gritty blues tone just mess around with the tone and volume on your guitar. This amp has only one trick, which is a gritty classic rock/blues tone and only at a moderate volume for this amp which is pretty quiet. The amp really sounds much better through decent headphones than the stock speakers. Comparatively speaking, the classic rock tone you can get out of the Mini Amp sounds better than what I could get out of a Line 6 Spider III 15 watt combo. For the very usable gritty/classic rock tone, I will rate this amp as a 6 for sound this rating is also taking into account the super cheap price of this amp, etc.

Overall Impression — 4
It is hard to rate the Maestro by Gibson Mini Amp, but recently I purchased an Orange Stereo Micro Crush, which is a small Orange battery powered amp. The Orange amp really stomped this in tone, volume and battery life, but the Orange Amp is also $89 new, which is almost the cost of 6 of these Maestro Mini Amps. Comparing this to the Danelectro HoneyTone, I would say the Maestro is very solid for its price. It isn't great but it isn't useless would be good for someone with very limited space and the tone is good for that very specific gritty classic rock/blues tone. The main strength of this amp is its small size, and to capitalize on that strength it should also have a built in tuner and an aux in to play along with your MP3 player. It is much more useful if played through headphones instead of the speaker, but really it seems like a better speaker in this amp would make it Shine above the competition in this super low price range of battery powered amps under $50. As is, it is usable in a very limited way and not complete trash and therefore I give it a rating of 4.

Reliability & Durability — 7
The Maestro by Gibson Mini Amp is built surprisingly tough. I know it can survive drops off the back of the roof of my SUV onto the cement driveway unscathed from several past experiences. It isn't super heavy but you can tell it is solid. The rubber feet are a great feature. Corner bumpers would have been nice but not included on this amp (I don't know what they are called, but today I am calling them corner bumpers/corner caps). I have had this amp for about a year now, and it has lived in my suitcase, in the floorboard of my car, on my front porch for a few days, etc., and this thing is in the same condition as it was new. You got to give this little Mini Amp credit, it is really built tough for what it is.

Features — 5
The Maestro by Gibson Mini Amp is a 4 watt solid state amp that originally is included with some Maestro by Gibson guitar models. The model I am reviewing was bought out of a new packaged guitar when it was opened. They seem to go for $15 - $20 dollars used online, and that includes the AC adaptor and the thin canvas shoulder strap. This amp has no competition at this price and size except possibly the Danelectro Honeytone amps, which I believe, go for about $30 dollars, and some speaker-less pocket amps run for about the same price. There is an instrument input, a microphone output, a volume knob, a treble knob and a Function Switch (basically the on/off Switch which also has a third position for Over Drive). The built-in overdrive is nice for a dirty blues tone. The Mini Amp has what appears to be a 3 to a 3.5 speaker. There are small screw heads protruding from each side to put the shoulder strap on. The Mini Amp has a single band EQ (treble), but really needs a full 3 band EQ. The Mini Amp should have come with a built-in tuner. There is no Gain control and no built-in reverb, and I believe that every amplifier needs gain and reverb. There is no aux-in to play a backing track through the amp. The Mini Amp does have 4 small rubber feet on the bottom, and comes with an AC adaptor and strap included, which are nice touches for a battery powered amp. Some much more expensive battery powered amps do not come with an AC adaptor, which makes this a big plus for the Maestro Mini Amp.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    TheBlackening91
    An honest, although unnecessary review Most battery powered solid state amps are going to be about the same, hell most solid state amps under 10 watts are going to be the same
    milwaukeerocker
    yeah, the review is honest with it's ratings, unlike everyone else who gives a 10 for every category even when reviewing pieces of $h!t. So basically it's a review showing us a product to stay away from for the most part. Also, could've used some different adjectives other than "dirty, gritty, rock/blues tone." Those are so overused on this site that when i see that written in someone's review, i tend to wonder if they even know what they're saying. I'm not suggesting this is necessarily the case with this reviewer. Just a bit repetitive.
    ProgJazzMath
    milwaukeerocker wrote: Also, could've used some different adjectives other than "dirty, gritty, rock/blues tone." Those are so overused on this site that when i see that written in someone's review, i tend to wonder if they even know what they're saying. I'm not suggesting this is necessarily the case with this reviewer. Just a bit repetitive.
    Those are commonly used amongst any reviewer because those are necessary for describing tone. What other adjectives would you prefer him using?
    NathanRobbins
    @ProgJazzMath: He could use a few more comparisons as far as tone goes (other than mentioning AC/DC once - I'm sure they'd be so proud) It's like reading a review for a metal pedal, amp, or guitar and someone uses the adjective "crunch" because you have no idea what their definition of crunch is. They could be totally retarded and have the treble all the way up and the bass and mids on 0 for all you know. lol. Same case here but who cares, remembering that it's a 4watt piece of $h!+.
    Damaged Roses
    TheBlackening91 wrote: An honest, although unnecessary review Most battery powered solid state amps are going to be about the same, hell most solid state amps under 10 watts are going to be the same
    But there are good ones, especially the Roland MicroCube and the VOX Mini3... both 2 watts
    milwaukeerocker
    Thank you Mr. Nathan Robbins for understanding my comments. I suppose some of us have a bigger vocabulary when it comes to describing guitar tones. This, again is not a knock on the reviewer. Dark, girthy, punchy, cutting, muddy, thin, warm, transparent, u know, simple 1-3 syllable words. Sorry for those who don't know what those words mean. i wasn't trying to be a jerk, just some constructive criticism is all. it makes for a better review to all of us when there are more than 4 words to describe what a piece of equipment can sound like. If you find that only 4 adjectives are "NECESSARY" to describe guitar tones in general, well, i suppose that's your problem, clearly not mine.
    warbeast19
    lol this came with my first blue flying-v maestro guitar by gibson. that amp was pretty rough. There is other amps like mentioned above, like the microcube (which i had), that are low wattage and are dirt cheap. better to go with those
    ProgJazzMath
    milwaukeerocker wrote: Thank you Mr. Nathan Robbins for understanding my comments. I suppose some of us have a bigger vocabulary when it comes to describing guitar tones. This, again is not a knock on the reviewer. Dark, girthy, punchy, cutting, muddy, thin, warm, transparent, u know, simple 1-3 syllable words. Sorry for those who don't know what those words mean. i wasn't trying to be a jerk, just some constructive criticism is all. it makes for a better review to all of us when there are more than 4 words to describe what a piece of equipment can sound like. If you find that only 4 adjectives are "NECESSARY" to describe guitar tones in general, well, i suppose that's your problem, clearly not mine.
    You mad bro? What I'm saying is don't try to rag on the guy for using common adjectives in describing tone. Not everyone is out there to make themselves seem smarter than they really are. It's a review for people to just get a general idea of the product they may or may not be buying. Those four that he used, are perfectly fine and by necessary, meaning for those who don't have the extensive vocabulary you claim to have, it makes it easier for them to get an image in their head of what it would be like. And I mean, girthy? someone's been using their thesaurus lately. (or watching penis enhancement commercials.)
    NathanRobbins
    ProgJazzMath wrote: milwaukeerocker wrote: Thank you Mr. Nathan Robbins for understanding my comments. I suppose some of us have a bigger vocabulary when it comes to describing guitar tones. This, again is not a knock on the reviewer. Dark, girthy, punchy, cutting, muddy, thin, warm, transparent, u know, simple 1-3 syllable words. Sorry for those who don't know what those words mean. i wasn't trying to be a jerk, just some constructive criticism is all. it makes for a better review to all of us when there are more than 4 words to describe what a piece of equipment can sound like. If you find that only 4 adjectives are "NECESSARY" to describe guitar tones in general, well, i suppose that's your problem, clearly not mine. You mad bro? What I'm saying is don't try to rag on the guy for using common adjectives in describing tone. Not everyone is out there to make themselves seem smarter than they really are. It's a review for people to just get a general idea of the product they may or may not be buying. Those four that he used, are perfectly fine and by necessary, meaning for those who don't have the extensive vocabulary you claim to have, it makes it easier for them to get an image in their head of what it would be like. And I mean, girthy? someone's been using their thesaurus lately. (or watching penis enhancement commercials.)
    No, making it easier for someone to get an image of what a tone would be like is not accomplished by using words like gritty or chunky or girthy (yes I've heard all 3 of those used). A more effective tactic is using anchor points for comparison i.e. listing a certain tone that a certain guitarist used for a specific song on a specific album.
    Islandoutfitter
    UG Team...are you freaking kidding? For what they charge for this thing, this is the greatest small amp deal in history. It's sounds AMAZING fully cranked if you have loud output pickups in your guitar (like my Charvel or my Ibanez FP77) You can get awesome sounding crunchy metal tones out of this thing!! I LOVE THIS STUPID LITTLE AMP! You guys point out that it doesn't have reverb or more preamp controls..LOL...what the F do you want for $15.00?. Yeah, it doesn't have tubes or a 4X12 bottom either but it SOUNDS LIKE IT DOES!! You guys were WAY to critical of this amp...whoever designed this and decided on that tone was a GENIUS!!