I just started playing around with a Fender Frontman 10 W amplifier and I find it hard to use consistently.

First, the biggest annoyance is the constant hum and static. I've read that the static occurs from environmental interference and "ground loops"... So perhaps this is unavoidable.

My second concern is that the amplifier just arbitrarily drops nearly all sound. All I did was turn the treble up and then back down or the volume up and the amp doesn't seem to be producing any sound anymore. A quick fix is found by shutting off the amp and turning it back on. The sound is often different between me turning off and on the amp with the same exact settings.

So my question comes down to - is this just what is expected from an entry level practice amplifier that comes bundled with a starter electric guitar pack?

Would I be better off separately purchasing, perhaps an even cheaper guitar such as a Squier Bullet Stratocaster, and a slightly better amplifier such as the Marshall MG15CF or the Fender 20 W Champion?

I ended up returning the amplifier and getting a Fender 20 W Champion amplifier. After hearing the difference, I'm convinced that the amp, as suggested below, was faulty! The new amplifier is near silent and works really well. So ultimately, a new amp should not hum :)

2 Answers 2


Even a really cheap guitar and cheap amp these days should work consistently, from new. If not, back to the shop! If second hand, you don't know its history - it may have been dropped, have a dry joint (prime suspect) etc. Always also consider the humble lead - often a poor quality example in packaged kits. The wattage of the amp is no guarantee of quality, either way. Obviously, usually, the price of a guitar reflects its value and quality.

  • NB, "lead" (pronounced "leed", not "led") in this case is British (or at least non-American) for "cable". Jun 9, 2017 at 20:57
  • @ToddWilcox Thanks, I was interpreting as "jack" until reading your note. Jun 12, 2017 at 4:37
  • @luserdroog - always been 'lead' this side of the pond, and indeed, does include two (often cheap and nasty) jack plugs.
    – Tim
    Jun 12, 2017 at 6:00

From the "second concern" paragraph, I would say the amp is faulty. If it's under guarantee, get it replaced. If you bought it second hand, complain loudly!

There is not much point trying to sort out the "hum and static" issues until the amp is at least working in a repeatable fashion when you operate the controls. "Switching it on and off" shouldn't make any difference at all to the sound, whether the amp cost you $5 or $5,000.

  • probably, there is a cold solder joint etc. that expands when the amplifier warms up. Faulty, exchange it.
    – Yorik
    Jun 9, 2017 at 14:28
  • A 10W solid state amp like this shouldn't get "warm" to any significant extent, even if you left it on 24 hours a day. And trying to track down a cold solder joint on a modern solid-state printed circuit board isn't as easy as an old-school tube amp where the circuit was hand soldered originally. To attempt to do it yourself, the tools and test gear you need would probably cost you more than the amp did.
    – user19146
    Jun 9, 2017 at 17:21
  • 1
    that's why I said "exchange it"
    – Yorik
    Jun 9, 2017 at 17:28

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