When it comes to different amps, guitar players can get extremely finicky. I know for myself if it isn’t a tube amp then I am not even interested.
However, when we are looking for the best electric guitar amp under 200 bucks, sometimes we need to throw away our huge guitar ego’s for just a minute and consider some alternatives. Typically speaking, when it comes to recording we don’t need to load up our 4 Marshall cabs stacks with the various heads that we have collected over the years. In fact because technology has come such a LONG way, we can now get away with much smaller gear that can sound just as good.
Having said that, today we will be going over the Fender Mustang 1 version 2. This is the Fender Mustang Model Series and this particular amp comes in several variations including the Mustang I – 20 watt combo, the Mustang II – 40 watt combo, the Mustang III – 50 watt combo, the Mustang IV – 100 Watt 2 /12 inch combo and a Fender Mustang V – 100 watt Head and matching cabinet.
We will be looking at the Mustang I – 20 watt combo that retails for $119.99. What’s so impressive about this amp is that any guitar player can use this for a decent practice amp, or this can also keep up with a loud drummer and/or double as a recording amp with its multiple uses.
8 Amps in One
As a model amp it models 8 different amplifiers along with several effects and a chromatic tuner. Some amps around $200 won’t give you many options but this Fender Mustang offers 8 different amps that covers everything from your ’57 deluxe to your metal 2000’s.
These model amps have 4 of the Fender models that includes a ’57 Deluxe model, a ’59 Bassman, the ’65 Twin Reverb and the Fender Super Sonic. Adding to that there are choices of the British 60’s, the British 80’s, the American 90’s, and the Metal 2000.
After doing some research I discovered that the 4 models I mentioned are actually:
British 60s – this is modeled after the VOX Amp
British 80s – this is your Marshall
American 90s – that is modeled after the Mesa Boogie
Metal 2000 – is your Peavey 5150
Pretty cool that Fender went outside of its own amplifiers and modeled 4 others that I would never have though they would try to model. This gives you an awesome array of different sounds that you can play with. Along with that, there are 8 different effects that are also adjustable and can be saved.
Why would you need all these options?
You probably don’t but when it comes to tube snobs like me, you might need to hear a distinctive tube sound and surprisingly this amp delivers. You can hear how the amp handles the strumming dynamics of the guitar much like a tube amp when you are on the ’57 deluxe and especially the ’59 Bassman. If you play many styles like I do, this amp delivers on the different sounds of different amps as well.
And if you ever play this amp live and you get the foot switch (not included), and have the many options of switching between amps without lugging a bunch of gear around, you just need to buy the floor peddle switch.
Adjustable Presets & Guitar Effects
As I mentioned earlier the other cool thing about the Fender Mustang series are the many guitar effects built right in. The effects are: the Delay / Reverb, Chorus, Flanger, Tremolo (Vibrotone), Octaver / Pitch Shifter, Phaser, and Step Filter.
The factory presets for each amp model do have the guitar effects on them, but you can remove those effects or adjust them accordingly. You can also change the volume, and the treble and bass to your liking.
Now what I really like is that the distortion or the gains are on the channel. In other words, the gains are not built into the effects so you can adjust the gains according to the amp model that you are using.
As well, the effects are pretty easy to use. And you can choose what effects go with what amp model you want, as well each amp model you can save up to 2 different presets. You can actually save 3 but that’s for the fuse software which I will discuss in the next section.
So not only do you have access to 8 different amp style you can also preset each with 2 different presets. This is great for say a rhythm and them lead preset, like a clean and dirty preset with some delay, or even a dry and then wet preset, where you can have just the amp mod you like, and then have some effects on the next preset.
That gives you 16 different options to choose from, and along with that there’s a 3rd preset that goes the Fuse Software.
Fender Fuse Software
The Fuse software is where things REALLY exciting! Now please understand that this software comes with all the Mustang series. The software allows you to add 4 different virtual pedals or stomp boxes that really adds some fantastic dynamics to the 3rd preset.
As well, when you are USB connected to your computer and connected online you can download “Jam Tracks”. You can also down load amp modulations and stomp box presets.
The Jam tracks are awesome because you can jam right along with the recordings (its best to have good computer speakers, and then just play through the amp). You can spend hours really fine-tuning the sounds that you are look for, you can practice along with the jam tracks, it really opens up to all kinds of things.
Once you have messed around with the presets, added some stomp boxes and really get what you look for, you can down load the presets straight into the amp and have them ready for your next live performance.
Down Load Drum Tracks
Along with the Fuse software, you can also down load drum tracks all kinds of different styles. There’s jazz style, blues, funk, rock heavy metal you name it!
After researching the Mustang Series I have to say I am pretty darn impressed. I am big Fender Tweed Amp fan and after listening to the tweed amp models I was blown away on how authentic they sound. Along with the free software that comes with these amps there is really no style that cannot be emulated.
And then to have the jam tracks that you can download off the fender website, well that just added icing to an already delicious cake!