Australian Guitar - - Reviews -

I’ll ad­mit to hav­ing a lit­tle bit of a brain jam over the fact that Fender of­fers a very tra­di­tional, long­stand­ing gui­tar model called the Mus­tang, as well as a very mod­ern dig­i­tal mod­el­ling amp of the same name. But the Mus­tang gui­tar has its roots in Fender’s early stu­dent gui­tars, and the amp line has a bit of the same ‘ make it easy for ev­ery­one’ spirit. So, in an­other way, it to­tally makes sense. The 40-watt GT 40 is the most stu­dent-y of th­ese amps, ow­ing to its tiny size and dual 6.5” speak­ers. It’s de­signed to be the per­fect table­top work­sta­tion for learn­ing and record­ing. This se­ries also in­cludes the Mus­tang GT 100 with a sin­gle 12” Ce­lestion speaker, and the Mus­tang GT 200 with two cus­tom Ce­lestion speak­ers.


The Mus­tang fea­tures 21 dif­fer­ent clas­sic amp mod­els, based on leg­endary Fend­ers like the ’59 Bass­man, ’65 Twin, Prince­ton and Deluxe, right on up to high-gain and metal-voiced mod­els like the Metal 2000 (based on the EVH 5150III) and ‘90s Amer­i­can (based on the Mesa Dual Rec­ti­fier). There’s even one of my favourite Fender amps, the Su­per-Sonic, which of­fers some in­trigu­ing cas­cad­ing gain op­por­tu­ni­ties. There are also over 45 dif­fer­ent ef­fects cover­ing all of the ex­pected cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing de­lays, re­verbs, cho­rus, spe­cific over­drives and dis­tor­tions based on clas­sics like the Ibanez Tube Screamer and MXR Dis­tor­tion+, and even a Ranger Boost based on the Dal­las Range Mas­ter tre­ble booster – a key in­gre­di­ent in early metal tones.


Al­though there are only a few on­board con­trols, Fender has made it easy to go into deep edit­ing via Blue­tooth and the ex­clu­sive Fender Tone app. It’s also equipped with WiFi, so you can down­load artist pre­sets and soft­ware up­dates and con­nect with other play­ers. The con­trol panel has knobs for Gain, Vol­ume, Tre­ble, Mid­dle, Bass, Re­verb and Mas­ter, and there’s a dis­play win­dow for in­stant read­out of pre­set con­tents and pa­ram­e­ters, plus but­tons for wad­ing your way through menus. There’s also a USB out­put for record­ing, a quar­ter-inch stereo head­phone jack, aux in­put, dig­i­tal chro­matic tuner and a ‘ setlist’ fea­ture. Both the GT 100 and 200 have stereo XLR line outs, and they each also add a stereo ef­fects loop with in­de­pen­dent left and right send and re­turn jacks (note: in the case of the sin­gle-speaker GT 100, you’ll need to use the line outs, USB record­ing out or head­phone jack in or­der to hear your ef­fects in stereo).

Fender has also de­vel­oped new al­go­rithms, tak­ing ad­van­tage of tech­no­log­i­cal leaps to im­ple­ment even higher fidelity and more re­al­is­tic re­sponse than the orig­i­nal Mus­tang amps could muster, along with more flex­i­bil­ity in the sig­nal path so you can move ef­fects any­where in the sig­nal chain. The holy grail of amp mod­el­ling is the abil­ity to have the amp re­ally clean up when you lighten up your pick at­tack, or for more gain to be produced when you re­ally dig in – both have been very spe­cific goals of Fender’s lat­est Mus­tang R&D.


The op­tional MGT-4 footswitch gives you four special Mus­tang GT modes: Quick Ac­cess, Pre­sets, Ef­fects and Looper. On first glance, it looks like a pretty com­pli­cated footswitch, with mul­ti­ple la­bels in or­der to al­low the switches to mul­ti­task, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. There’s also an op­tional EXP-1 Ex­pres­sion Pedal, which gives you the op­tion to con­trol the mas­ter vol­ume or any num­ber of amp and ef­fect pa­ram­e­ters from the ob­vi­ous – like wah – to the re­ally out-there.

On the sur­face, th­ese two amps have a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties. After all, they both have the same preamps and gen­eral brains. You’ll find the same

sounds in each, and if you’re us­ing ei­ther one through head­phones or with their USB record­ing out­puts, you won’t no­tice a dif­fer­ence with the other. Where the dif­fer­ence comes in is in how the speak­ers in­ter­pret those preamps. The GT 40 sounds nat­u­rally smaller and thin­ner, al­though it’s still im­pres­sively full-range for such a small am­pli­fier. Some will even pre­fer how its warm mids brighten up some of the darker, heav­ier voic­ings and lend au­then­tic­ity to the ‘small amp’ sounds.

The GT 100 is a beefier-sound­ing af­fair, and def­i­nitely has a ‘real amp’ feel in ev­ery way apart from its phys­i­cal weight. There’s a real growl to the har­monic over­tones and a punch to the at­tack, and it sounds bet­ter the louder you crank it (just make sure to apol­o­gise to your neigh­bours). The edit­ing process can get a bit intense on ei­ther amp, but you don’t need to dive too far to find great sounds: if you never go fur­ther than sim­ply scrolling from fac­tory pre­set to fac­tory pre­set and sav­ing lit­tle changes, you’ll be good.


The GT 40 is a re­ally great desk­top amp for a gui­tar-friendly of­fice, a study or mu­sic room at home, gui­tar teach­ers, univer­sity stu­dents who can’t take a full stack with them, or tour­ing bands who would like some­thing re­li­able and son­i­cally flex­i­ble to warm up with in the dress­ing room. The GT 100 takes those same sounds and re­casts them as big­ger, bolder, punchier and, most im­por­tantly, louder, so it’s a great choice for cover bands, home recordists, orig­i­nal bands whose ma­te­rial cov­ers a lot of ground, or sim­ply those who like to have a lot of dif­fer­ent sounds at their dis­posal to han­dle what­ever might come up.„

RRP: $499 (GT 40) $799 (GT 100)

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