Mustang II review by Fender

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (99 votes)
Fender: Mustang II

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: Local music store

Sound — 8
I play through this amp with a variety of guitars: Gibson, B.C. Rich, Fender, etc. Getting a good tone can be slightly time consuming but well worth it. Let me start by saying the clean tone is GORGEOUS and is an exception the previous sentence; it sounds great about any way you set it. It generally stays pretty clean and not distorted sounding, but I've not played it anything above halfway volume-wise. The distortion is probably its only considerable downside. Being the hard rock-metal player I am, I can be extremely picky about my dirty channels. It is very easy to make the amp settings sound "boxed in" and "confined", and the distortion very digital sounding. It is fairly difficult to get a nice, full, natural sounding distortion. The lighter distortion settings sound good, but high gain can be very pain staking. You CANNOT get a good Mesa Boogie-style high gain sound. Many hours of experimenting has produced a cranked-Marshall sort of tone that has a very "alive" feel. It's not perfect, but exquisite for a practice amp. I have used this amp live (mic'd it) and was happy with it. I was using the high gain setting I previously mentioned mostly. For the price the sound of this amp, distortion after hours of work as well, is UNBEATABLE. It's more powerful Mustang III and IV brothers are great amps too if you want more volume and a better sound. I give this amp a 8 because of the difficult high gain settings. Keep in mind I am happy with my high gain setting, it was just difficult getting there and modern extreme metal tones are more it less impossible.

Overall Impression — 9
I play mainly hard rock and metal through it, and have been thoroughly happy. It may not be the perfect amp for high gain settings ever, but it's unbeatable for the price. I've played it for a year now and also use a tuning pedal (Korg Blackout), a Crybaby Wah Wah, and a Phaser 90 by MXR with it. Despite the time needed to get your high gain settings good, it is a wonderful amp. I wish the high gain settings were better, but don't let that discourage you; if you have patience you can make the high gain settings sound good. The clean tones are gorgeous. If it was stolen, I'd replace it in a heartbeat, it's a fantastic amp, especially for the price. Go get one, you'll be extremely glad you did.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I've had no problems, gigs or otherwise, other than that the auxiliary jack quite literally snapped off. It is now practically unusable without applying some form of pressure. I've gigged with it... 6 times? It's done excellent all of them. I give this a 9 because the auxiliary jack breaking, since the auxiliary jack doesn't affect the tone of the amp.

Features — 8
About a year ago I went searching for a practice amp loud enough for a band practice, but also quiet enough for the bedroom, and I found it, and more. This 40 watt amp contains 24 presets, adjustable modulation and reverb/delay, a tuner, a footswitch, input jack, headphone jack, and auxiliary input. Also included is a USB cable to hook up your Mustang II to a computer and fine-tune your settings via the Fender Fuse software. Getting more in depth on the software, it allows you to modify your presents by selecting amp models from a rather large selection (everything from a Fender Twin Reverb to modern high-gain metal amps). Furthering your amp model options, you can select the type of cabinet for the amp. Many effects such as compression, wah wah, overdrive, phaser, reverb, flanger, phase shifting, chorus, and delay can also be applied. An adjustable noise gate is also included. The software also supplies access to a community of other musicians that have uploaded their presets to be available to download, and supplies you the option too, if course. The amp itself is wonderful; more presets than you can ever use, adjustable standard controls like bass and treble for your presets, effect and delay/reverb selection for your presets, and the ability to save all your changes to your presets are nice and straightforward. The limited and time consuming amp-based adjusting of your presets requires you to hook it up to the Fender FUSE software. The auxiliary and headphone jacks are nice too. The footswitch is simple, and only provides two channels. The software is easy to use, and allows you to fine tune your tone. However, because of the amount of freedom available, fine tuning the desired tone can be tedious and time consuming, but well worth it. It gets an 8 because of the cheap footswitch and the difficulty in modifying the amp without using a computer.

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