Hi it’s Brian from World Music Supply again, and I’m back to talk to you about Fender’s line of Mustang Amplifiers. Fender has long been a major power in the amplifier world, with powerhouse amps like the Bassman and the Twin reverb, not to mention their lesser known wonders like the Vibrolux, the bandmaster or the Princeton. Now though, with the new wave of modern modeling technology, Fender has begun to move into the world of modeling amplifiers with amplifiers like the G-Dec practice amp and the more powerful Mustang series of amplifiers. Armed to the teeth with powerful Fender DSP, all featuring your favorite vintage and modern Amplifiers and effects, and it comes loaded with extremely useful presets as well as USB connectivity to not only download more presets, but also to record direct into a computer with.
Rather then review the Amplifiers separately, I have decided to review them as a family, as the technology and the tones of the I, the II, the III, the IV, the V and the floor unit are completely identical. The only real difference between the units is the lack of the LCD screen interface and the 65 Deluxe model on the Mustang I and the Mustang II. The first thing you notice after turning on the amplifier is that a lot of the tones are Fender oriented and that is to be expected as this is first and foremost a Fender amplifier, sure they have different models vaguely disguised behind names like “British 60s” and “American 90s” but by and large you get fantastically accurate models of Fender models like the Fender Bassman, and the equally famous Twin Reverb.
Reviewing an amp like this is semi-difficult, as you are in effect reviewing literally a dozen amplifiers, and almost forty fully editable effects, but I will do my best to phrase and explain this varied pallet of tones and features. Using the included Fender Fuse software I was able to assemble large complex rigs very quickly, full of rack effects and plenty of pedals all to help shape your tone. there are twelve amplifier models, which include a 57 Deluxe, a 59 Bassman, a 57 Champ, a 65 Deluxe Reverb, a 65 Princeton Reverb, a 65 Twin Reverb, a Fender Super Sonic, The British 60s, 70s, and 80s which are rather well detailed models of a Vox and 70s and 80s era Marshalls, as well as the American 90s and Metal 2000 which are modeled on more high gain modern amplifiers.
All of the Fender Amplifiers are dead on accurate models of their name sakes, and as someone who loves the snappy clean tones of old pre-CBS Fender amplifiers I feel I can make that statement with confidence. The models seem to sound slightly more realistic on the higher Watt variants of the Mustang, but the I and II still sound amazing, they just lack some of the high volume characteristics of their big brothers. Out of the Fender models the most impressive was the 59 Bassman on the Mustang IV which sounded so much like my real Bassman that it was almost kind of frustrating that I saved so much money to buy a real Bassman. All of the Fender amps had their signature charms and characteristics, the twin reverb was sparkly and smooth, the Princeton was shimmering and had a nice bark at higher volumes, the champ had all of the classic Layla vibe that made it so famous, and the Bassman and Deluxe have all of the big body, big tone that made them so famous.
The spring reverbs also felt very Fender-y on their respective amps, feeling like a real amplifier reverb and less like a reverb you would get from a pedal. The other cool feature is the Fender Fuse software allows you to edit the Amplifiers much more than most other editing softwares, allowing you to hook up different amps to different speaker cabinets, change the bias, even down to adjusting the power amp sag. So you could have a Champ running through a tight sounding big 4×12. But if you’re looking for tight 4×12 tone, the British and American models sound equally impressive, with tones that really “speak” for the tone their aiming for. The British 70s has that big AC/DC tone, the British 60s has as very Beatles and Queen vibe to it, and the British 80s has a nice classic NWOBHM style vibe to it. The American Models remind me of the Randall I reviewed a week or so back, with the big, dark saturation that you expect from late 90s metal.
The pedal models that come with the Mustang are equally impressive, with everything from classic Tube Screamer style overdrives, to big fat Ring Modulator noises. They sound close enough to the real thing that with the optional four button footswitch, you could probably do a whole set with just this amp, and a laptop. The flexibility that having a laptop as your control module for an entire rig is just amazing, its like you own rack after rack of gear, and you have your own personal guitar tech who switches armfuls of gear for you.
When it comes down to it, the Mustang series of amplifiers is just fantastic. They have all of the classic fender tones, in one easily affordable package, and a whole slew of “British” and modern metal tones to fulfill those of us who might not like the classic Fender twang as much. For its ability to do everything in one little package, and making it feel like you have racks and racks of gear backstage the Fender Mustang series of Amplifiers scores a well deserved 10 out of 10.