Australian Guitar - - Reviews - WORDS BY PETER HODG­SON.

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 Mus­tang amp line is de­signed to take new firmware up­dates, which can be as sim­ple as chang­ing the ta­per of the con­trol knobs in re­sponse to player feed­back, right on up to en­tire new amp mod­els; an up­date pushed out in Septem­ber adds a va­ri­ety of new amps in­spired by mod­els by brands like Mesa Boo­gie and Fried­man, as well as a handy tube preamp model for record­ing.


Out of the box, the Mus­tang GT 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, 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 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 for early metal tones of the Iommi va­ri­ety.

But the new up­date adds much more: IIC+ clean and lead mod­els, three Bass­breaker 15 mod­els, an Acous­ta­sonic model for use with piezo equipped elec­tric and acous­tic gui­tars (based on the preamp from Fen­der’s Acous­ta­sonic amps), an Acous­tic Sim­u­la­tor for mak­ing your elec­tric gui­tar sound like an acous­tic through an Acous­ta­sonic, a Dual Show­man model, and the afore­men­tioned Tube Preamp model.

That’s still not all, though. There are two new mod­u­lated re­verbs, Mythic Drive (based on the Klon Cen­taur), Sus­tain, a 2290 De­lay, Me­mory De­lay (in­spired by the EHX Deluxe Me­mory Man) and Metal Gate (in­spired by the ISP Tech­nolo­gies Dec­i­ma­tor II G String pedal).

There are also 10 new cabi­net sims, backup and re­store of pre­sets and setlists via the Fen­der Tone app; ad­vanced tuner view; Blue­tooth icons for tone and stream­ing; tap tempo sub­di­vi­sions; footswitch ef­fects as­sign­ment; quick-save of pre­sets to a setlist; a new setlists short­cut; new FX cat­e­gories; im­prove­ments to the key­board for en­ter­ing text; and a newly re­or­gan­ised menu. Setlists are now lim­ited to 24 setlists and a ‘favourites’ setlist (25 to­tal), and 50 pre­sets per setlist.

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.

There’s also an op­tional EXP-1 Ex­pres­sion Pedal, which lets you con­trol the mas­ter vol­ume or any num­ber of amp and ef­fect pa­ram­e­ters from the ob­vi­ous (like wah) to the out-there.


We’ve re­viewed the orig­i­nal Mus­tang GT re­lease in the past, so let’s take a look at the new mod­els. First up, I have to say, the model based on the Fried­man BE-100 (called FBE-100 here) is so good that it would be wor­thy of be­ing pack­aged separately as its own combo amp.

It nails that chewy up­per-mid, hairy tre­ble, tight bass Fried­man vibe with amaz­ing pre­ci­sion, and can be con­fig­ured to un­leash all your Jerry Cantrell fan­tasies. It’s in­cred­i­bly re­ac­tive to pickup se­lec­tion and gui­tar vol­ume changes, and it’ll adapt to your phras­ing like no­body’s busi­ness. It’s re­ally a new high wa­ter­mark in Fen­der’s amp modelling.

The IIC+ Lead sounds great, too: the clas­sic Me­tal­lica and Dream The­ater sounds are lurk­ing in here, but just like a real Mesa, so is your own sound. It might take some tweak­ing to find it, but all the el­e­ments are here, right down to the weird Mesa midrange vibe that feels a lit­tle bit odd on its own, but sits per­fectly in a band mix.

The Acous­ta­sonic and Acous­tic Sim mod­els are re­ally handy, es­pe­cially for those who use Mus­tang GT amps live with a footswitch and the Setlist func­tion – zip in and out of acous­tic mode and full-on metal may­hem as you please. And the Tube Preamp model is great for those ‘70s ‘clean gui­tar straight into the desk’ tones, but you can also use it for vo­cals, keys and bass with great re­sults.

The Mod­u­lated Large Hall Re­verb is a great stand­out for shim­mery am­bi­ent ef­fects, and the Mythic Drive is very re­spon­sive and de­tailed, as you would ex­pect from a Cen­taur model. The Metal Gate is also go­ing to please a lot of play­ers, since it can help tame the Mus­tang GT’s po­ten­tially lethal lev­els of gain un­der ex­treme metal and djent con­di­tions.

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