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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Scathing review on lower priced Fender amps

Previous 20 Messages  


Apr 17th, 2007 05:19 PM   Edit   Profile  

Here's what I heard about this "Plastic Jack" phenemenon. I don't know if it's true or not. Apparently California has a law that says they have to be plastic because they're safer, and won't short out as easily. The companies can keep them as all metal if they want, but as a result, will not be able to sell them in California. That's a big market to dismiss.

Contributing Member

Bay Area / USA

Apr 18th, 2007 09:20 PM   Edit   Profile  


squier special
Contributing Member


Apr 30th, 2007 07:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'll check out the California law on jacks, if I can find it!

My 1990 SK-20 Chorus came with two plastic-nutted inputs. The downfall was my toddlers making a game of shoving a cable plug in and out, over and over, faster and faster.

Fender should have hired them as destruction testers.


U.S. Mississippi

crawfish and beer
May 2nd, 2007 06:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ihave a new champion 600 it came with a metal jack but I just bought a carvin vintage 16 it has a plastic jack albiet a very firm feeling plastic jack

Contributing Member


Jul 6th, 2007 05:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

Jaylizan, the champ jack looks good on the outside, but inside it's plastic & board mounted.




Aug 23rd, 2007 12:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

I believe European Union has some similar laws what Haig is stating above, plastic jacks are there for safety purposes. I would not be surprised if Fender goes that route to standardize the parts regardless of the markets and their laws.

3 chord


I don't have anything clever to say
Aug 27th, 2007 06:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

I don't get it. There is a lot more than the jack construction that can cause a safety hazard on a guitar amp.

And if this is the new direction for Fender, there are stronger materials and methods of construction available that could be used.


Western Mass

Jan 5th, 2008 06:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

It's not just a materials issue, it's also the way most of them are soldered directly to the board. That's a more expensive solution to engineer a way around, of course.

From my marketing perspective, having a beefy input jack would translate nicely into feature/benefit. An ad might even sway me if it stated: "All METAL input jack NOT directly attached to PC board"

Van Winkle 12

So Orange County, CA

All edits are for spelling!
Jan 9th, 2008 05:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

After several failed jacks in different amps, I will no longer buy amps with plastic jacks. Done, finito kaput!


Contributing Member


Jan 24th, 2008 08:40 AM   Edit   Profile  

"I don't get it. There is a lot more than the jack construction that can cause a safety hazard on a guitar amp."

If the jack's negative is connected only to the audio negative of the amp and not the chassis, connection to the power supply ground is difficult, at best. That's the safety concern and using a plastic ferrule on the input jack accomplishes this. Same reason as eliminating the polarity switch and using a grounded AC plug.

Duff B

Winfield, Pa.

The wind began to howl . . .
Nov 30th, 2008 07:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

My inexpensive Fender Super Champ XD has metal input and speaker out jacks. This is a nice amp, needlesstosay. It has the Ragin' Cajun installed by me. Great little amp.

I have other amps with the plastic and can see where it could be a potential problem but fixing them in some cases might be relatively easy; however in some other cases they are soldered, by parts molded on, directly to PCB boards etc. And in these cases these jacks are not easy to replace. Modern cost cutting designs often employ some ignorant engineering that results in some highly unfriendly user interaction. It would be nice if some practical experience was required of the engineers; however, Leo Fender, one of the greatest couldn't play guitar but intuitively knew how to design and produce a high quality guitar and amp. I have a G&L Tribute ASAT classic tele semi hollow body that is very well built and uses the American made MFD or whatever pickups and they sound great really vintage type craftsmanship in the modern pickup.

I agree that it is true that a significantly higher quality instrument or amp could be mass produced in a way that would not cost the consumer much more money. Quality is something that all but the most novice players, or people buying for someone else, consider important. Little things like switches and jacks get constant use and are things that consumers see and use all the time. That little extra attention to high profile details would probably have a big payoff for the manufacturers.



Athens, GA

Mar 4th, 2009 02:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Your answer from Shane Nicholas...


mark bjorke
Contributing Member

Annapolis, MD

wah...refuge of the unpracticed
Mar 19th, 2009 09:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

I had a Soldano HR 50 with plastic jacks. Not a cheap amp.

Contributing Member

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Apr 5th, 2009 11:58 PM   Edit   Profile  

There are other ways to comply. The vintage series amps still have the quality metal jacks. The cheaper (not these days) amps including the Hot Rod series could be equipped with better jacks by changing the way the jacks connect to the circuit. That would result in a better constructed amp overall as well as eliminating the crapjack issue, on that model anyway.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Shoot, Winter's over already?
May 27th, 2009 08:54 AM   Edit   Profile  

There is nothing about the EU rules that add anything positive to a guitar amplifier.

EU compliance aside, the main issue IS saving money. Leo Fender used the cheapest components available that would do the job. Savings in choosing a component were measured in fractions of a penny. A change that would have cost $6 would have been laughed at.

Plastic jacks are used on nearly every amp brand. What makes me nuts as a tech is how many different types of non-interchangeable jacks are used by even one company. We literally carried dozens of different types of plastic jacks, and still didn't seem to have the right one when we needed it.

There was a phrase tossed about liberally in the 70's. "Planned obsolescence."

Many if not most of these things were meant to be of limited life. Look at all the Fender amps that are "replace only", like the entire Frontman series. One breaks, you don't repair it...you replace it. If it breaks out of warranty, will repair be worth it?

Amp companies are in business to sell amps. They make no money on the 45 year old Fenders you own. They need to sell amps.

When working with solder, for example, the teaching is, "you have to have a good, mechanical connection first. Solder IS NOT an adhesive."

Now entire surface mount amps are made, with solder being the adhesive. And not with good ol' Kester, but lead free junk.

What is the working life of the new solder?

What do you expect when politicians and environmentalists make the rules on what type of solder must be used? Their goal is not to make the best, longest lasting amplifier possible.

But that would keep a lot of these throw away amps out of the landfill.



jw dawson
Feb 28th, 2010 09:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well here's my take....once the manufacturer ship's the amp and has their money they could care less if it break's. They probably hope you break the damn thing. Kego has a great solution and I will be doing that from here on out....tie cord around the handle....if I'd a thought of that I wouldn't of had the problem's I've had....

Contributing Member

W.Warwick R.I.

I brake for 'da blues baby!
Nov 4th, 2010 08:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

@1946dodge; bullseye! Just the reason why I dumped my h.r. deluxe back in '97. It was the 1/st tube amp I ever brought, and damm if the input jack didn't crap out within months. Traded it on a '99 epi lp with flame to die for.

(This message was last edited by jimijamfan at 08:39 AM, Nov 4th, 2010)

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member

Merrill, Wisconsin

Shoot, Winter's over already?
Nov 25th, 2010 03:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

I wouldn't pass on an amp because it has a plastic jack. Marshall has used them as long as I remember and I've been playing since '67.

I'd use the amp until the jack breaks, then replace it with a Switchcraft and isolating washers, and never have to worry about the jack again.

Contributing Member

I tried to think

but nothing happened!
Feb 4th, 2011 11:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

Wrap your cord around the handle and then plug in. Reduces the chance of putting a lot of stress on the jack.

Contributing Member


RonHalen Jokingly He Says
Oct 15th, 2011 12:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

Amen! I only have1 a GDEC- JR. It will in time break. First it was the pico fuze. Fixed with a wire jumper. Of course you need wire jumpers to install switchcraft metal jacks.

Previous 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Scathing review on lower priced Fender amps

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