Fender Mustang Series Guitar Amp Review
The Fender Mustang Series
The Fender Mustang Series is an amazing group of modeling guitar amplifiers from Fender. They range in size from a tiny 20-watt model to a powerful 200-watt stereo combo.
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.
I have to say, I am very impressed with the latest iteration of the Fender Mustang Series. They always sounded really good, but one of my main complaints about the earlier models was the distortion, especially high-gain sounds. I feel like they've come a long way with that.
There are pros and cons to modeling amps, but if you are convinced you need one the I think Mustang Series is a great choice.
WiFi and the Fender Tone Cloud
It's important to note that the GT-Series Mustang amps listed above each feature wireless connectivity. You can add amp and effects models, or download new presets through the Fender Tone Cloud.
You'll also want to check out the Fender Tone App, which lets you update and store your presets when you are out in the wild.
If you hate computers, or think they are out to get you, you certainly don't need to use any of this stuff to get your money's worth from a Fender Mustang guitar amp. But for those who are technically savvy, or willing to learn, the wireless connectivity 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.
Fender Mustang I V.2
The is a great little amp from the older 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. Fender Mustang I
In my article on the top guitar practice amps 42% of readers surveyed preferred the Mustang I over comparable 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.
The Fender Mustang Series V.2
Fender Mustang LT25
This is another great practice amp with an 8-inch speaker, though a little more powerful than the Mustang I. The LT25 features 20 Amp Models, 25 Effects and 50 Presets, more than enough to keep you busy when jamming in your bedroom. You also get a chromatic tuner, and a USB port for connecting with your PC.
So, why is this thing called LT and not GT? I had to do a little reading but I think I've figured it out. Along with the Rumble LT25 bass amp, the Mustang LT25 is meant to be a simpler amp for beginners and students. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of the GT series, because it isn't intended for players who need it.
It's a great little amp, capable of impressive sounds. I always advise newbies to start off with an inexpensive modeling amp if possible, so they can experiment with a wide range of styles and sounds. The is certainly a great choice. Fender LT25
Fender Mustang GT40
At 40 watts the Mustang GT40 doesn't quite have the power to be heard over a live drummer, especially one who plays hard. But it does have a a pair of 6.5-inch speakers, so you'll get some surprisingly good sounds out of it. I am usually not a fan of guitar speakers under 12", but Fender does a great job here.
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 GT100
In the Mustang GT100 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 GT100 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 GT100 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 GT100.
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.
Mustang GT Amp Models
Fender Mustang GT200
This 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.
This GT200 is one of the top guitar amps in the $500 range. However, it also suffers from the same issues as the GT100 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.
Which Mustang for Your Needs?
The Fender Mustang Series spans the range from practice amp to gig-worthy 2x12 combo.
- Mustang I V.2: One of the best practice amps around, but you might also use it to jam with friends in low-volume situations.
- Mustang LT25: The perfect amp for at-home players and students who want versatility and great sound, but don't require a lot of volume.
- Mustang GT40: A great amp for hobbyist guitarists at home.
- Mustang GT100: A good choice for the home player, but also good enough for gigs.
- Mustang GT200: A powerful amp for gigging and band situations with a pair of 12-inch speakers.
Which will you choose?