I hope that by reading my “Bugera v55 Review” – you might be convinced (as well) that these are some of the crappiest budget amps on the market today. Go on down to your local guitar center and you’ll find a new budget priced amp on the all called “Bugera”. Looks like it’s a German company – but the amps are made in China. I’ve nothing against Chinese made equipment, if it’s made right. They’re doing pretty good at making guitars now (Ibanez), some Korean makes are better. I haven’t yet, however, seen a good Chines made tube amp (of nearly ANY kind).
Here’s the story…I have a Carvin Legacy 100w Steve Vai head that is awesome. I wanted a backup amp (and something new to play with). I had already tried an Egnator (that crashed and burned – story for another day), and I didn’t want a Crate, a Peavey, yet another Marshall, or a Fender. What does that leave besides oddball used crap at GC – just this new Bugera thing. I plugged in at Guitar Center with an Ibanez Artcore, and the Bugera v55 head was on top of a cheap Crate 4×12 half stack – and I fired it up through those speakers.
The clean channel was pretty stellar, the overdrive wasn’t the greatest – but I honestly thought it was the sh*tty Crate speakers! It was only $349, so I bought it up and took it home. I plugged the v55 Bugera head into my Avatar 2×12 cab with 2 Greenbacks – and tested the thing for several hours.
It’s a 55 watt head (hence the “v55”), and supposedly a Fender clone. It has 3 – 12AXT’s in it, who woulda thought you could mess that up? I started with the clean channel and some reverb. It was ok, but didn’t break up very well at high volumes. Pedals didn’t help much, distortion, overdrive – I didn’t like any of the combo’s, and when I ran through the effects loop instead of the front, it was even worse – like a volume drop or something.
You get the standard mid, treble, and bass controls + presence. I switched over to the overdrive channel and that’s where I just started to hate this amp altogether. I couldn’t get a decent sound from the overdrive channel NO MATTER WHAT! I didn’t matter, more mid, less bass, all presence, low or high volumes – the overdrive channel SUCKS on this amp! It’s muddy – there’s no clarity AT ALL, there’s no definition in the notes. I expected the amp to be not as good as say a Mesa or Fender because it’s cheap, but I didn’t expect it to be “Wal-Mart First Act” bad!! I would buy a solid state Vox, or even (God forbid) one of the cheaper Marshall MG solid state models before I ever touched a Bugera amp again! I forgot to mention that I took the “footswitch” pedal out of the box to test it when I tried the amp (to switch from clean to dirty channels), and that thing was the cheapest piece of plastic garbage I had ever seen! It wasn’t metal at all, and the button for switching looked like some kind of 80’s organ pedal or something. Such awful cheap garbage!
So the last part of this story is – I took it back to Guitar Center for a refund later that week – and the clerk (who happened to be the manager) told me that the #1 returned item to the store was Bugera amps, and the #2 was Egnator amps (BOTH Chines made tube amps!)
I have since moved on to custom made amps hand built by a local builder in my area. My advice to you is – if you want an amp in this price range that doesn’t suck, there’s quite the buzz around “Jet city” amps – check them out:
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