Review of Fender MustangTM I (V2) 20 Watt Digital Practice Amp
We've already reviewed practice amps by Vox and Marshall, so now we move on to another big name in both guitars and amplifiers, Fender. The Fender Mustang practice amp also has the added benefit of being a modelling amplifier.
What are the main features? How easy it is to use? Is it any good? What do people who have purchased the amp actually think of it?
These are just a few of the questions we'll hopefully be able to answer for you.
Fender are certainly well known for their guitars, but they also make some pretty fantastic amplifiers too. In fact, Leo Fender actually started building amps before moving into the manufacturing of guitars. The Fender Mustang is a very well-known guitar, but here, we will be reviewing the Fender Mustang practice amp.
The Fender Mustang I (V2) 20 Watt Digital Practice Amp is an extremely versatile piece of kit and is ideal for guitarists at all levels.
Note: the Fender Mustang II is the same as the Fender Mustang I but with a 40w output instead off 20w and a 12 inch speaker as opposed to an 8 inch.
The modelling technology used gives you access to an awesome array of different sounds, including models of some classic amplifiers such as the 57 Fender Deluxe, 59 Fender Bassman and even one that sounds remarkably like a Vox AC30! There are also a great range of amazing built in effects.
Without doubt, the main attribute of this Fender combo is the authentic sounding amp modelling on board.
With intelligent pitch shifting, USB connectivity and a built in chromatic tuner, this is ideal for any guitarist on the lookout for a great little practice combo. Who needs a collection of amplifiers when you have a whole range at the touch of a button?
Specification & Dimensions
- Circuitry: Solid-State
- Output: 20-Watts RMS
- Speakers: x 1 (8", 8 ohm Fender Special Design Speaker)
- Input: Input Jack / USB
- Outputs: Headphone / Aux
- Effects: Chorus, Phaser, Reverb, Delay, Tremolo and more
- Programmable: Yes
- Chromatic Tuner: Yes
- Width: 400mm
- Height: 368.3mm
- Depth: 193mm
- Weight: 7.7Kg
When you consider the cost, this Fender amp is absolutely jam packed with features. Basically, you have an assortment of amplifiers at your fingertips (amp modelling), along with a wide range of fantastic effects.
Top Panel - This includes the input jack, gain, volume, treble, bass, master, FX, master, preset select (this is your amp modelling and includes the 57 Deluxe, 59 Bassman etc.), modulation control, delay / reverb control, aux out, headphone out, USB and more.
Let's take a closer look at some of the key features.
Amp Models - Without doubt, the main attribute of this Fender combo is the authentic sounding amp modelling on board. Is it any good though?
Fender Mustang I - V2 Amp Models List
As you can see below, there are eight basic amp models to choose from.
- 57 Deluxe - (1957 Fender Deluxe)
- 59 Bassman - (1959 fender Bassman)
- 65 Twin Reverb - (1965 Fender Twin Reverb)
- British 60's - (Vox AC30)
- British 80's - (Marshall JCM800)
- American 90's - (Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier)
- Metal 2000 - (Peavey 5150)
- Super-Sonic - (Fender Super-Sonic)
We've also included the amplifiers the models are based upon in brackets. Some are rather obvious!
So you want to play blues? Turn the selector to 57 Deluxe or 59 Bassman and away you go. How about classic rock? No problem, just select British 60's and jam away. Maybe grunge or metal does it for you? Just dial in American 90's and you're ready to rock. I'm sure you get the picture.
Basically, whatever style of music you are into, be that blues, rock, metal, grunge, jazz, country etc. this Fender combo will probably have a model or preset that will be just the thing.
Presets you say? Oh yes, there are 24 of them!
24 Presets - Each of the eight amp models we have listed come with three presets with wonderful names such as 'Black Hole Vibe', 'Chimey Deluxe' and, for all you Beatles fans out there, 'British Invasion'.
Here is a full list of presets from the Fender website.
If that's not enough for you, it is also possible to store more on your PC, which brings us nicely onto ...
Fender FUSE Software - You can connect the Mustang to your PC / Mac via the USB port. You can then use the Fender FUSE software to add another 12 presets. It is also possible to download presets other members of the Fender FUSE community have created. Furthermore, the user interface on the software allows you to alter the various amp controls on your PC. There are even additional parameters you can edit via the interface that you can't alter on the amp itself (it's great fun!). All this makes the Mustang an extremely versatile amp with a wide range of tones and effects available both online and via your computer.
Here are some of the good points ...
- Authentic sounding amp models
- USB Connectivity and free software (Fender FUSE)
- Incredible Fender tone
- Great for guitarists who are into digital recording
The pre-loaded amp models and 24 presets included seem to have most people praising this little Fender. The fact that you can then connect it to your PC and customise the sounds further with the FUSE software are an added bonus. Some users reckon you can get pretty much any sound you are looking for once you are hooked up to your computer!
... it looks like the Fender Mustang I (V2) is an affordable little modelling amp ...
The bright fender tone you would expect to hear is present, until you start altering the settings and dialling in some of the amp models that is! The extensibility of this amp also makes it great for getting started with digital recording. In fact, one user review alluded to the fact that this is more of a 'guitar system' than an amplifier.
Now, some of the not so good points ...
- Only a basic user manual supplied (isn't that usually the case these days?)
- No middle control knob
- Some amp models could sound better
Some users aren't too pleased with the complexity of this combo. (It doesn't help that you only get a very basic starter manual with the amp). However, a piece of equipment with so many settings and tones is bound to be slightly more complicated than a very basic amplifier. It is also possible to download the advanced manual from the fender website. (We've included the link below).
Another problem a lot of guitarists have pointed out is the lack of a middle control knob on the amp. This does seem like a bit of an oversight on Fenders part. In their defence though, Fender have kindly added a virtual middle control on the Fender FUSE software interface.
The quality of some of the amp models available was also called into question, particularly some of the metal tones. Some people found it difficult to find a good clean tone they were happy with. It has to be said that only a small minority are unhappy with this practice amp but we like to bring both the good and bad points to your attention so you can make an informed decision.
To sum things up, it looks like the Fender Mustang I (V2) is an affordable little modelling amp that comes with some great built in amp models but is also relatively simple to connect to your PC or Mac. The amp is extremely versatile, portable and loud. If you are looking for your first modelling amplifier and would like to get into digital recording, this might be just the bit of kit you are after.
Right then, where's my cheque book?