Fender has a long history of building great guitar amps. Like Fender guitars, some of their amps have become the standard for popular musical styles. Most of these amps are designed to meet the rigors of performance situations. The Frontman 20G (Sweetwater, Amazon) however, is something different. It’s built as a practice amp like the smaller, less powerful 10G, and, as a result, it has physical features that support easy transport, storage, and set-up for rehearsal – features important for all guitarists, but especially for young guitarists and players just starting out.
The Frontman 20G puts out a robust 20 watts into an 8” special design speaker—more than enough for most practice situations—and features a clean channel with a volume and three EQ knobs. Plus, it offers a separate switchable Drive channel with its own volume. For practice situations, this amp offers a 1/8” auxiliary input and a headphone jack that can come in handy.
A major difference that players will find with the Frontman 20G when compared to other practice amps of similar size is that it actually sounds like a Fender amp. That’s important to get players started with a good sound right away. It does have a small speaker compared to Fender’s larger performance amps, but the Frontman 20G does a good job of retaining the look, sound, and operation of higher-priced classic Fender amps, the ones used by some of your favorite guitarists. And, you can get it all for a very affordable $130.
The Frontman 20G is a light practice amp, but it comes with a Drive channel with its own volume. If you are just starting out, this feature is huge to help you learn how to get your sound on any amp. For practice situations, you have a 1/8” auxiliary input that allows you to play along with your favorite tunes or tracks that you might be working on right from your phone or tablet. Some users might prefer the convenience of a Bluetooth connection, but having a 1/8” input gets the job done. Unlike a lot of the more expensive amps, this amp has a headphone jack for silent practice that apartment dwellers will especially appreciate.
The little Frontman 20G feels much like larger, performance-oriented amps by Fender—just lighter and smaller. Knobs (volume and gain for the normal channel, and volume, treble, middle, and bass) are of similar quality and operate smoothly. As is Fender’s convention with other amps, the speaker is protected by a tough grill cloth. The protective cabinet covering material and grill cloth appear to be of similar quality as other Fender amps.
Sound and Tone
Other than its diminutive size, the sound and tone of this little amp are its best features. For any serious practice, having a good tone—one that is similar to the tone you will want playing live or recording—is very important. The combined benefits of a Drive channel with treble, middle, and bass controls provide the ability to tailor your tone, while the efficient 8” speaker, closed-back cabinet design, and 20-watt electronics provide more than enough sound to see you through typical practice sessions—even with a band at reasonable volumes.
Metal corner protectors and rubber feet protect the all-in-one cabinet design that measures 12.4″ tall, 13.25″ wide, and 7.13″ deep. The amp weighs in at a mere 15 pounds, a great size for a practice amp. There is a convenient collapsible top handle, similar to what you might find on other Fender amps and cabinets.
Perfect size and weight for a practice amp. Drive Select switch and Drive channel option are great for learning about tone and experimenting. Basic controls are intuitive for beginners. Output is true to the trademark Fender amp sound.
No Bluetooth input and the 8” speaker might not be large enough to get the tone you are looking for.
The Frontman 20G is a good, small, well-built practice amp with features that can help beginning players. Its simple and intuitive design helps players – even beginners – get a good Fender amp tone right away. It’s a good choice for practice when you have limited space, and a good combination of size, weight, and power to transport when playing with friends.