Fender Mustang Series V.2 Guitar Amp Review

Updated on January 7, 2017
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Guitar Gopher is a guitarist and bassist with over 30 years of experience as a musician.

Fender Mustang IV Guitar Amp from the Fender Mustang V.2 Series
Fender Mustang IV Guitar Amp from the Fender Mustang V.2 Series

The Fender Mustang Series

The Fender Mustang Series V.2 is the second wave of an amazing series of modeling guitar amplifiers from Fender. They range in size from a tiny 20-watt model to a powerful 150-watt head and matching 4x12 cabinet.

Since its arrival the Mustang series has gotten positive reviews from musicians around the world, this writer included. Mustang amps are flexible, versatile, powerful and, most importantly, they sound great.

If you're a working musician who needs to cop many different sounds during a show you'll find a Mustang may be all you need to lug to a gig. Besides your Strats, of course.

If you are a hobby player, or an up-and-coming guitarist, the Mustang is the perfect tool for jamming and practicing.

I'll admit I'm a big fan of the Peavey Vypyr Series, a comparable amp lineup. But the Mustang has also really impressed me. In this article I'm setting my Peavey love aside to give you a solid overview of the Fender Mustang Series, and help you decide which of these amps is right for you.

Mustang Basic Specs

Before getting into the individual amps here's a chart comparing the features you can expect to see throughout the Mustang lineup. At a glance, you can see the difference in the amps, and get a pretty good idea what kind of guitarist each is intended for. You can then go ahead and scroll to the amp that seems like it would best meet your needs.

Mustang Model
Amp Models
Built-in Effects
Custom Presets
4x12 (cabinet)

Fender FUSE Software

It's important to note that the Mustang V.2 amps listed above each feature a USB port for hooking up to your computer. Fender has a free software package called FUSE that provides some added benefits to Mustang owners.

Through your computer you have access to backing tracks, additional effects, recording tutorials, the Fender FUSE Media Library, a great online community and other cool bells and whistles.

If you hate computers, or think they are out to get you, you certainly don't need to use the FUSE software to get your money's worth from a Fender Mustang guitar amp. But for those who are technically savvy, or willing to learn, the FUSE software opens up a whole new array of possibilities.

Be aware that the specs listed above as well as the specifics of the FUSE software can change, so be sure to visit Fender's website for the most up-to-date info.

Hear the Fender Mustang Series V.2

Fender Mustang I V.2

The Fender Mustang I is a great little amp from the V.2 lineup. It's only 20 watts with an 8-inch speaker, but it would serve well for practice or even jamming with friends. It's size makes it easy to carry around, but it still packs many of the same amps models and effects as the big boys.

In my article on the top guitar practice amps 45% of readers surveyed preferred the Mustang I over similar amps from other big brand names.

Mustang I owners across the web give this little powerhouse solid reviews, so it's clear most buyers are very pleased with this little Fender. One complaint is the difficulty in nailing a perfectly clean sound, which is strange to hear about a Fender amp. I suspect this is more a limitation of the speaker rather than the quality of the digital processor.

Personally, I would use the Mustang I as a practice amp, but I'd also consider toting it to small, coffee-house-type gigs where not a lot of volume is needed. It has a huge amount of flexibility for such a small rig, and sounds better than it ought to for its size.

Fender Mustang II V.2

At 40 watts the Mustang II doesn't quite have the power to be heard over a live drummer, especially one who plays hard. But it does have a 12-inch Fender Special Design speaker, so you'll get some great sounds out of it.

In my article on the top guitar amps for under $200 I found that 32% of my readers would choose the Fender Mustang II over any of four similar amps.

As I read the opinions of other guitar players around the web, there are few complaints. However, in amps at this price point factory errors can sneak out. Quality control appears high for the entire Mustang Series, but better safe than sorry. Always make sure you buy from somewhere with a good return policy!

If you are a guitarist who needs a great-sounding amp for practice and jamming alone in your basement, or the aforementioned small coffee-house gig, this may be the perfect amp for you. That's how I see it, anyway. This amp is small enough for the bedroom or basement, but has features good enough for any hobby player.

If you have any inkling that you may want to join a band with your new Mustang, you should probably move up to a bigger version.

Fender Mustang II V.2 Guitar Amp Top Panel
Fender Mustang II V.2 Guitar Amp Top Panel

Fender Mustang III V.2

In the Mustang III we finally move up to an amp with some gig-worthy firepower. At 100 watts it should be loud enough for most band situations, and with a single 12-inch speaker it has the projection you need.

I think the Mustang III represents a kind of cut-off point in the Mustang series. Up until this point, these amps were best used for practicing and playing at home. The Mustang III would be great for those purposes as well, but you can also use it in a band.

When many guitarists get to this point they are looking for a powerful combo amp that's easier to use, and that they can use with their analog pedals or a good digital effects processor. Those players may have little use for the Mustang III.

However, if you are one of those players who would rather carry one amp around, instead of an amp plus a case full of effects pedals and patch cords, or if you play in a cover band, this amp ought to be perfect for your needs.

Well, almost perfect. I think the next amp in the series might be even better.

Fender Mustang IV V.2

The Fender Mustang IV blasts 150 watts through a pair of 12-inch speakers. This amp has the power, projection, headroom and versatility to get the job done in any gigging situation.

The Mustang IV is an amp especially useful for guitarists who make their living in a cover band. With an array of amp models and effects at your command you can go from Metallica to Pink Floyd to Bon Jovi in a few clicks of a footswitch. It's a solid combination of portability and functionality that will make setup and breakdown easier, plus still allow you to sound great.

I wrote about the Mustang IV in my post about top guitar amps in the $500 range. Many readers felt it was the best of the lot when compared to similar amps from other brands. However, it also suffers from the same issues as the Mustang III in some respects: Many guitarists looking for a gig-worthy amp want a one-trick pony they can add their own effects to rather than something so complex and flexible.

But at such a reasonable street price it's hard to imagine a better deal for a guitarist in a cover band looking for one amp to do it all.

Fender Mustang IV V.2 Guitar Amp Top Panel
Fender Mustang IV V.2 Guitar Amp Top Panel

Fender Mustang V V.2 Head

McDonald's might not Super Size anymore, but the Fender Mustang Series does! The Mustang V is a powerful, 150-watt guitar amp head intended to be paired with a matching Fender Mustang V 412 speaker cabinet.

Truthfully, I don't know what you'd do with this amp when there is the awesome 2x12 version above that would get the job done. But if you know what to do with it, you are exactly the guitarist Fender is thinking about with the Mustang V.

Personally, I'd prefer to carry aound a 2x12 combo rather than a head plus a 4x12 cabinet. However, the Mustang V does have one thing going for that I can't deny:

Where else can you get a powerful, flexible, great-sounding half stack for around $600?

If you want the projection of a 4x12, and don't mind carrying it around, this is the amp for you.

Which Mustang for Your Needs?

The Fender Mustang Series V.2 spans the range from practice amp to gig-worthy half-stack. To sum up:

  • Mustang I: One of the best practice amps around, but you might also use it to jam with friends in low-volume situations.
  • Mustang II: The perfect amp for at-home players who want versatility and great sound, but don't require a lot of volume.
  • Mustang III: A great amp for hobbyist guitarists at home, but also has the power for a band.
  • Mustang IV: A powerful amp for gigging and band situations with a pair of 12-inch speakers.
  • Mustang V: A head and cabinet designed for performance. Perhaps the ultimate Mustang!

Which will you choose?

Your Opinion on the Fender Mustang Series V.2

Which Mustang will you choose?

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