Finding a reliable portable guitar combo isn’t easy, but it’s possible – and Fender Mini 57 Twin Amp is a great proof of that. I recently bought it and although I don’t think it’s flawless, I quite like it.
The Mini 57 is very functional – you can take it pretty much anywhere with you. It has nice clean tones, but the overdrive could be better. Cheap and great for home practice – who needs anything else?
The world of tiny amps is very saturated. There is A LOT of different combos out there. But I think that this one really stands out, especially when you consider its low price. Hopefully today’s review will help you learn more about this cool-looking small amp.
We’ll start with a quick demo (of course all sound samples and photos are real and made by me).
About Fender Mini 57 Twin Amp
This is one of the cheapest tweed amps that you can possibly find on Fender’s offer. It’s VERY tiny – you can pretty much fit it in the palm of your hand. You’d think that amp of that size can’t sound good but the truth is completely different.
It seems that it’s a very popular model and although people generally agree that it’s not ideal, it’s definitely worth the money. I mean, come on. That price is ridiculously low in my opinion. And it looks so cool!
Since it’s a compact piece of gear, it’s not packed with a huge amount of features. But you should definitely know that:
- it has 1 Watt of power
- it has two 2″ speakers
- there’s a headphone output that allows you to practice quietly
- it’s battery-powered (but you can use an external power supply too if you want – it’s not included though)
As you can see on the photo, it’s very simple to use due to the fact that it has only a few controls. That includes Volume, Tone, Drive and On/Off. And that’s it! It’s probably one of the simplest combos that you can find in the world. When it’s on, you’ll see a red light.
The Mini 57 Twin Amp comes with a lot of advantages. That includes:
- very low price
- pretty good tone
- ability to use clean and overdrive
- it doesn’t take too much space
- it allows you to practice anywhere you want
- vintage aesthetic makes it one of the best-looking compact amps out there
So think about it – if your room is very small and you just don’t have space for any new gear, this combo may be the ultimate solution. And since it’s powered with batteries, you can take it to your friends house (or to your crush to show her your amazing guitar skills).
And even if you stop playing (which is not recommended), this tiny combo will still look fantastic on your shelf.
Unfortunately, you have to keep in mind that this is a low-level gear. It’s cheap and small, so you just can’t expect it to be amazing. The main cons include:
- pretty unimpressive overdrive
- a lack of batteries or power supply (you’ll have to get that stuff separately)
- no built-in effects
Now the overdrive thing is a bit subjective. Some may say that it’s absolutely terrible, while others will think that it’s not bad at all. For me, it kind of sounds like 60s fuzz. But if you’re looking for a classic and punchy overdrive and distortion – this combo is simply not capable of delivering that.
I’d give this combo 10/10 for overall build quality. The look of that combo is just AWESOME! For real. I’m sure that some of you will say that it actually looks better than it sounds.
The amp is made of solid materials and it genuinely looks like a real tweed amp from that era. The attention to detail is surprisingly good and it doesn’t feel cheap at all.
I honestly don’t see any major quality problems here. Well, the grip handle could’ve been made from a bit better material, but come on. It’s a budget piece of gear in the end.
And as you can see on the photos above, the combo comes with a small white box. There’s also a manual included, but since this amp is extremely simple to use, you probably won’t need that.
If you’re a huge guitar nerd like me and you want to know every little detail, here’s a short table with the most relevant info in regards to specifications.
|Number of channels||One|
|Inputs||1 x 1/4″|
|Headphones||1 x 1/4″|
|Dimensions||5″ x 6.75″ x 2.68″|
I took some time and I recorded a few quick demos for you. It should give you a brief idea of what exactly you can expect when it comes to tone. So here’s the clean tone, overdrive and a bit of fun with reverb pedal (it was Walrus Audio Slo).
Sample 1 – Clean
Sample 2 – Overdrive
Sample 3 – Reverb Pedal
Sounds pretty good, right? You can also check out my in-depth video review here.
Who Should Get It?
I’m pretty sure that any guitarist will be happy with having this tiny combo in their collection. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a noob or a pro.
If you’re a complete beginner who’s looking for their first amp, the Mini 57 should get you going. You’d probably benefit from getting something bigger and better, but it will definitely allow you to practice.
On the other hand, let’s say that you’re an advanced musician who needs a simple and portable amp for practice outside of the bedroom. This combo will work extremely well for that matter!
Obviously, you’ll never use it for performances or recording – it’s way too small. But if you’re looking for functionality (and you don’t want to pay too much), it seems that this combo may be potentially an excellent choice for you.
But if you’re not impressed and you want something better, that’s not a problem at all! Like I said before, there are A LOT of small amps out there. It all depends on your budget though.
Here’s two alternative options – I tested both of these combos and I can guarantee that they offer a great value for the money.
This is probably one of the best-sounding portable amps out there. It’s bigger and louder than Mini 57 by Fender and it has a few extra features such as EQ and built-in delay.
But.. it’s not as cheap. Want the best quality of there? This is probably the way to go. But if you don’t want to pay too much, you should stick to the Fender.
My review features a few sound samples (and an in-depth video review), so I encourage you to check it out if you have time.
The Crush 12 is an another cool option. I had a lot of fun with that one! But it’s a solid-state amp, so it’s not battery-powered.
I’d say that this is my go-to amp for bedroom practice. So whenever someone asks me for gear recommendations, I always mention that one. It has pretty much everything you need – a great tone, low price and quite a lot of volume.
If you want something even more powerful, there’s also a bigger brother of that amp – the Crush 20. But generally, I can 100% recommend that gear.
Summing up, Fender Mini 57 Twin Amp is a very cool combo. Yeah, it’s not ideal. And yeah, the overdrive could be better. But for that amount of money? Man, that’s a really good deal.
Obviously, it will never sound as good as a real tweed tube-amp, but come one. It’s not only about the tone, it’s also about the functionality. And this one gets 10/10 for that!
Thanks for checking out this review, hopefully it was helpful. If you want to read more posts, check out the gear reviews section on my site. I only write about the stuff that I actually tested in real life.