Amp heads have always had a certain type of appeal to them compared to combos. Most guitar players like both the aesthetic as well as the inherent versatility of that design. Finding an affordable one is where it gets tricky. Bugera’s G5 5W makes it twice as interesting by giving you a pretty reasonably priced head that is all tube. If you’re looking for a great amp for less than $300, this Bugera should be on your shortlist.
As you would imagine with this being a rather basic tube amp, the controls are pretty conservative. The layout will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen a tube head before, aside from one feature which we will cover shortly. Going from left to right, we first see a reverb knob followed by the tone stack. Here’s where your three-band EQ is, with the addition of Bugera’s Morph control. Much like Blackstar’s ISF, it lets you go from US style tone to a more British one. However, unlike Blackstar’s solution, Morph doesn’t replace the EQ. That is pretty neat. Next are your overdrive controls consisting of gain and volume knobs, followed by clean channel controls. Finally, you have your power and standby switch at the far left end of the amp.
Bugera G5 is a pretty straight forward rig. They’ve installed a single 12AX7 in the preamp stage and one 12BH7 in the power stage. These puppies combined offer some 5 Watts of juice. What really makes this head stand out is the fact that Bugera went the whole nine yards. They’ve included power attenuation, allowing you to cut the output from 5 Watts to 1 Watt and ultimately 0.1 Watt. This makes it fairly easy to push those tubes into that optimal power band even in your own bedroom. Moving down the list, we see a footswitch that comes as standard and a fully functional FX loop. In other words, this head is complete and ready to rock from the moment you take it out of the box.
The tone you can expect to hear from the G5 is a mix of several well-known flavors. You have a pinch of Marshall’s Plexi in there somewhere, combined with a full blooded 5150 crunch. However, you can still hear that this is a completely different type of a beast. For what it is, Bugera G5 5W offers a great sound, no matter how you put it. The built in reverb is digital and nothing you’d want to write home about. A good reverb pedal will be a much better solution. Whether or not you would want to go gig with it is completely up to you although it might be a bit underpowered for this application. Solely as a practice amp, or something to have in a studio, G5 is a straight up solid choice.
Bugera has definitely had a hard time bringing back their reputation after taking a few hits. The G5 head is a perfect example of what this brand is capable of delivering at the moment. The price is extremely attractive for what you get, making the G5 a very competitive model on the market.