Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: Crate GX-30M Guitar Amplifier Review


It seems that I have been on quite a roll lately with finds at the local flea markets, and today we are looking at another one of my finds – a 1990s Crate GX-30M guitar amplifier. I was not super interested, but the seller was highly motivated, and it is always great to have a loaner amp around for friends who think they might want to take up the guitar.

The Crate GX-30M is an entry level combo amplifier that puts out 30 watts through a 4 Ohm 12-inch Crate speaker. It is the usual practice amp size, measuring approximately 19 by 20 by 12 inches, and weighing in at 29 pounds according to my scale. It was made in the USA and it feels sturdy, with the usual black Tolex and hefty plastic corner protectors.

For a 2-+ year old budget amp, there are a surprising number of features available. There is a clean channel with a 3-band EQ, an overdrive channel with gain, shape, and level, a reverb effect, and a chorus feature with depth and rate. A single input is provided, and there are also jacks for a footswitch, headphones and a speaker out. If anything is plugged into the headphone jack or speaker out the internal speaker is bypassed.

I gave the GX-30M a bit of a workout with a Tele, Strat, and Les Paul, and it did ok. There is a light hum all of the time, but it does not get much worse at higher volume levels. The clean channel sound is probably the best feature of this amp, but there is an unpleasantly muddy distortion if reverb is elected at higher volume. The distortion channel has an ok tone but no bottom end and it also does not like higher volumes, so it is nothing special when all is said and done, The chorus is pretty good, though it does take some fiddling to get a good combination of rate and depth.

This is middling praise, at best, but this Crate does have enough volume for practicing out in the garage, and would probably be ok for busking or doing lower volume gigs. Like I said, I will keep the GX-30M around as a loaner, as even if it does not sound super-awesome, it is durable and should get the job done as long as there is not too much expected of it.



  1. Thanks for that. I'm due to pick one up with a Les Paul jr that has a broken high e sting, stand and cable for 100 bills. Now I know whet to expect.

  2. I got mine about 15 years ago, and all I did to get the best sound I could, out of the overdrive channel, was to first plug into a Boss Compression/Sustainer CS-3 I do believe is the letter/number for that pedal. Anyway, it made ALL the difference in the world, for me at least! I tried my tried and true, Boss Super Overdrive with it, that I used to use with my JCM 800 back in the day, which totally made my sound in that combo…it’s sucked with the Crate lol. I tried several other distortion and OD pedals, but nothing gave me near the sound I was looking for, until the salesman said ‘try this’, and handed me the CS-3, or whatever the proper name for it is lol. Anyway, made all the difference for me. Hope this helps someone!

  3. This was my first Amp. I got mine around 1993. It was loud enough that I used it for several different small garage band type gigs. I found that I liked lower distortion with a phaser and the guitar volume backed of just slightly on an ES335 clone.

  4. If you ran a speaker cable from the speaker out to a 4x12 for example, would this essentially function as an amp head?

  5. I had this amp in the 90s and used it for gigs at small bars and it was great. And it still works today - 25 years later!

    1. save it forever !!!!!!!! your grand kids will thank you

  6. Saludos, tengo ese amplificador que me lo regaló un amigo hace como 17 años, un día estabamos haciendo la tesis en la casa de él ya para graduarnos en la universidad y vió el amplificador como yo entonaba la guitarra me dijo para que haga un poco de ruido, se veía un poco gastado lo lleve a mi casa lo probé y funcionó bien, ahora que tengo más tiempo estoy haciendo de sacarle el jugo con todas las funciones y leyendo u. Poco de las reseñas e historia y veo q es un amplificador muy bueno.

  7. i think they are a rare excellant lil grunge amp.... the 12 inch speaker has to be thee cheapest les speced 12 out there...... and it is perfect here :). i say buy one if u can, they are going to be rare because nobody respected them...... 30 wats is perfect size for recording

  8. Tengo uno desde 1992,hace un año le hice el gabinete en pvc exactamente como d fabrica y le cambié la bocina por una de mejor calidad.No m arrepiento,fue el primero y será de mis generaciones.🤟🇵🇷