Fender Bassbreaker 30R Amplifier Review
The Fender Bassbreaker is a 30-watt amplifier loaded with a single 12″ Celestion V-Type speaker. The Bassbreaker 30R might be the most versatile amplifier released by Fender in years and here’s why.
The Best Things about the Fender Bassbreaker 30R
It all comes down to tone, but there some additions that make this by far the best version of this amp. The clean channel has the classic Fender chime and sparkle. The Bassbreaker 30R has a bit more bite on the top end thanks to the EL84 output tubes.
The Drive channel features some of the most musical tones I’ve heard in years from a Fender amplifier. I’ve owned the Super-Sonic 60 and this drive channel sounds warmer, fuller, fatter, and just better to my ears.
What is the Bassbreaker closest to?
The Fender Bassbreaker 30R does a very similar thing to the Marshall DSL40CR. After owning a Marshall DSL40CR and being able to compare them both. The Bassbreaker 30R sounds better to my ear than the Marshall did with the same stock V-Type speaker.
In terms of available tones, it is very much the same as the Marshall from nice clean tones to rocking overdrive and distortion tones. While it has similar functionality to the Marshall, it sounds a hair closer to a VOX amplifier thanks to the EL84 power tubes.
What the Fender Bassbreaker has over a VOX amplifier is a much fatter and warmer mids frequency making the amplifier sound fatter for guitar solos without effects pedals. One of the things that you need with a VOX amplifier to kick the mids up is a Tubescreamer. Without one, you can easily get lost in the live mix.
Previous Versions of the Fender Bassbreaker Amplifiers
The Fender Bassbreaker series of amplifiers were really hit and miss. In my experience, the Fender Bassbreaker amps were not only built poorly but the majority of the amplifiers were missing features.
The only one I really liked using in the original series of Fender Bassbreakers amplifiers was the Bassbreaker 15R. The reason I liked the 15R so much is it had different gain stages and reverb options.
It’s pretty well established that some of the older generations of Bassbreaker amplifiers were highly unreliable. I tested 4 or 5 in various shops and every single one of them had issues. Some of the issues were valve/tube rattle, speakers being loose, excessive cabinet rattle, etc. We even had one blow up on us in a shop when we were trying to film a video (see below video).
Is the Fender Bassbreaker 30R good for home use?
Overall, no. Unless of course, you’re able to turn it up. The clean channel sounds are nice at lower volumes but like any valve amplifier, you need to turn it up to get the most out of it.
Is the Fender Bassbreaker loud enough to gig with?
Absolutely! 30 watts is more than enough for most pub/club gigs. I find I never need more than 30-40 watts on for the gigs I do. Any larger gigs like festivals you are usually mic’d up so you will be fine there too.
Direct Recording Options
The back of the amplifier features a single XLR output so you can send the guitar tone to a mixer, sound card, or PA system without issues. These type of plugs are great to save lugging a microphone and cable with you to a gig.
While I prefer the sound of a mic in front of a speaker there are many guitarists who prefer a line out option like on the Bassbreaker 30R.
What Music does the Fender Bassbreaker 30R Suit?
Another great thing about the Bassbreaker 30R is it will work great for almost anything. I mostly play blues, classic rock riffs, and occasionally funk and it works a treat. Having a higher gain channel on the Bassbreaker 30R will work for people who want to seriously rock. Fusion players will also dig the fat and thick tones of the lead channel.
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV or the Fender Bassbreaker 30R?
If you’re a pedal player go for the Hot Rod Deluxe IV. You’ll get a bit more clean headroom and thump thanks to the 6L6 tubes. With that in mind, the Bassbreaker will take pedals beautifully too. In terms of a straight plug-and-play amplifier, the Bassbreaker wipes the floor with the Hot Rod Deluxe IV.
I had no expectations for the Bassbreaker 30R sounding as good as it did. If I was to choose an amplifier based on drive tones and usability, I would take the Bassbreaker unless I wanted a nice clean pedal platform at louder volumes.
How Heavy is the Fender Bassbreaker 30R?
The Fender Bassbreaker is lighter than my Marshall DLS40CR and it’s also lighter than the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV.
|This item: Fender Bassbreaker 30R||Fender Hot Rod Deluxe IV|
|Weight||38 lbs.||41 lbs.|
If weight is a consideration then go for the Bassbreaker 30R over the Hot Rod Deluxe IV.
- 2 channels (foot-switchable)
- 30 watts, variable 4, 8, or 16-ohm impedance
- Tube type: EL84 (output), 12AX7 (preamp)
- 1×12″ Celestion V-Type speaker
- Onboard reverb
- 3-band EQ plus Gain control
- Inputs: 1 x ¼”
- Outputs: main speaker, extension speaker, effects loop send/return, XLR balanced direct out
- Included 1-button channel-switching footswitch
- Rugged meranti ply cabinet construction
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