Fender Frontman 10G: Portable Budget/Practice Amp
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The Fender Frontman 10G is the quintessential beginner and practice amp. It's tiny, portable, and, most importantly, easy to use. If you're an electric guitar novice and need a decent amp for not much money, you'll enjoy the simplicity of the Frontman 10G. With built-in overdrive and a 2-band EQ, you can squeeze a ton of tones out of this little box. It even has a headphone jack and auxiliary input so you can practice in silence at any time of the day without disturbing anyone! At only 10 watts of power, it's not gonna peel the paint off your walls, but it will provide you with good sound quality at a great price. Keep reading to check out the full Fender Frontman 10G review below.
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The Fender Frontman 10G is meant primarily for beginner guitarists. If you're looking for a good cheap electric guitar amplifier for yourself or a younger musician, then you can be sure it's a great choice. Remember, it only has 10 watts of power, so it doesn't get crazy loud. This means it won't be good for band situations, so this is more of an 'at home' amp. Because the Frontman 10G is really only good for home practice, you will need a more powerful amp in the future if you ever decide to join a band. If you think that might be in your future, it would be worth upgrading to the Vox VT20x or the Boss Katana KTN-50. These amps will serve you well for both home and band situations.
However, if you simply need a low-wattage practice amp, then the Frontman 10G is a great choice. While it may not sound as great as a tube amp or get as loud as more powerful amps, you can take it anywhere thanks to its light weight and slim dimensions. You can rest east while playing, knowing that your neighbors don't secretly hate you or that they're secretly plotting to file a noise complaint against you. Don't think that the low power of the Frontman 10G is a negative - it's actually one of the amp's main selling points!
Though this is a budget amp, the Fender Frontman 10G still looks quite nice. Inspired by the Fender Blackface amps of the 60s, it has sleek black styling, a silver grille, and a giant Fender logo on the front. The cabinet is nicely designed with corner protectors and some reinforced areas that will stand up to light wear and tear and keep the amp in tip top shape. The Frontman 10G weighs in at about 8.5 pounds (3.9kg) and is about 11.5 inches (29.2cm) high, 10.5 inches (26.7cm) wide, and 5.75 inches (14.6cm) deep. It's super light and very compact. It even comes with a convenient carrying handle for easy portability.
You won't find any fancy-pants technology on the Fender Frontman 10G. It's about as simple as a modern amp can be. This is a pure solid-state amp without any modeling or audio trickery. For extra versatility, Fender has included a built-in overdrive circuit that can be activated by toggling the 'OD/Clean' button on the front of the amp. We'll touch more on this in the next section.
A total of four knobs are on the Frontman 10G: a volume knob, a gain knob, and a treble and bass knob that control the EQ. Sadly, there's no 'mids' knob, but that's one thing many budget Fender amps sacrifice. It's not a big deal for a beginner, but if you plan to record with this amp, be aware you might need to some extra post-processing.
The Frontman 10G comes with a standard guitar input jack, along with a very convenient headphone and auxiliary jack for practicing in silence. Plug your phone into the aux jack and jam along to your favorite tracks!
There's an 'overdrive toggle' button on the front of the amp. When it's deactivated, the amp is clean and sparkly. When you push in the button, you activate the overdrive circuit for more grit and drive. With overdrive activated, you can use the Gain knob to control the drive level to fine-tune the amount of distortion. Note that the Gain knob only works when the Overdrive is activated - turning it while them amp is set to 'clean' does nothing.
You get 10 watts of power with the Fender Frontman 10G. Again, it's not a whole lot, so don't expect it to keep up with a drummer or perform well in a band setting. For that, you'll need to upgrade to something with a bit more power like the Fender Champion 20 or the Vox VT20X.
The closed-back cabinet houses a 6-inch Fender-designed speaker. 6 inches is quite small in the world of speakers, so this amp simply can't get super loud. There's no way to connect an external speaker either, so you're stuck with factory default and won't be able to upgrade in the future.
There is no high-quality recording output on the Frontman 10G, but you can use the headphone jack for reasonable recording results. Sadly, this won't be as professional-sounding as, say, an amp with a built-in USB output, but it will be good enough for recording as long as you get the levels correct. You always have the old-fashioned option of miking the amp, but it might be more trouble than it's worth, especially if you don't already have a microphone and audio interface.
Again, this amp doesn't get super loud. It's not meant to be more than an at-home practice amp. However, if you enjoy playing live, you can always work with a sound guy at a live venue to mic the amp up and comfortably play live at any volume! There's no guarantee you can do this at every venue, however, so if you plan to play shows (with or without a band), it would be worth investing in an amp with some more power like the Boss Katana KTN-50, which has all the features of the Frontman 10G and more.
How does the Fender Frontman 10G sound? For such an inexpensive amp, we would have expected it to sound like a tin-can, but we were pleasantly surprised. All things considered, it actually sounds quite good! It's not a Vox AC30, but it's perfectly reasonable for at-home practice. Check out the sound clips below and hear for yourself.
The Frontman 10G is well-reviewed on Amazon and Guitar Center. Most reviewers acknowledge that this amp doesn't sound like a more expensive amp, and that's expected. The Frontman 10G is meant to be 'good enough' for practice and it certainly achieves that goal. Its simplicity and straightforwardness more than make up for its 'good enough' sound quality. You won't have any trouble dialing in a tone that fits the music you're playing. Be aware of a quality control issue related to 'buzzing'. You might receive an amp that buzzes and creates static noise while playing. If you get an amp like this, it should be exchanged as it's a faulty unit.
The Fender Frontman 10G is a very good practice amp. While it's not the best sounding amp on the market, its low price, simplicity, and portability make it very easy to recommend for beginners and guitarists looking for a low-wattage practice amp.