Mustang III (V.2) review by Fender

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 7.8 (30 votes)
Fender: Mustang III (V.2)
3

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features — 10
Bought Dec 2014. Been amazed with it's versatility, tones, FXs, sheer SPL, and control software! I also bought the sibling MIV (v2) 2x12. Althpugh I definitely prefer the richer sound and fuller tone from the 2x12, the MIII is plenty loud, crisp, clear and full! I typically use either model at no more than Master Volume 2 or 3 and rarely higher than 5 or 6. The MIII's 100 Watt Power Amp hasn't been pushed in my use. Only when using the built in Basic Studio PreAmp will I turn the Master Higher, as the inherent drive level and gain of this Preset is lower than the other internal amp models.

The variations and control via the on board LCD and Data Wheel give easy access to the 17 internal Amp Models and the 44 FXs, each with multiple easily adjustable parameters via the LCD and Wheel! On the Deep Amp (Page 2) settings is where most of the magic is! This allows each Amp to be configured for SAG, BIAS, NOISE GATE, CABINET SIMULTION, and more. This does vary by amp! Adjusting the Sag, Bias, Noise Gate, and Cab Sim for those model Presets that have these parameters has a dramatic and far too often overlooked feature set by many considering or using the Mustang Amp!

The 100 factory presets provide a spectrum of possible combinations of amp models and FXs. Some you may like others perhaps not so much, YMMV. Each Preset can be overwritten, changed and edited as you wish. There are also thousands more available via Fender's FUSE software (PC & Mac only) online User Community! Fender FUSE is free!

The Amp also has a built in Tuner and comes with a multi mode two button footswitch, that can be configured to Navigate the Presets or Toggle any of several predetermined pairs of FX. This is configured easily via the Amp's UTIL Menu. The Amp alsl has a built in Tuner, that mutes the Amp's Audio and displays on the LCD panel. The optional 4 button footswitch is very useful and hoghly recommended! It can be used with the 2 btn fsw! The 4btn Fsw is multi mode. The first Mode provides Quick Access to any three dedicated presets (of the 100) on the amp that you wish to designate. The next mode provides Navigation through the Presets Up/Dn, one at a time or in jumps of ten. The third mode provides On/Off toggling of the Stomp, MoDulation, and Delay FXs. The Tuner display of the Fsw shows Red LEDs for Flat or Sharp and a Center Green LED along with the Alpha character of the Tuned Note. The fsw allows On/Off activation of the Tuner, or you can do same right on the Amp. Adding the optional EXP-1 Pedal provides Volume and Expression mode configuration for each of the 100 presets!

Sound — 10
From cleans to classic, country to rock, dirty, distortion, overdrive, you name it. Very quite. I use it with Les Pauls (solid and semi hollow, humbucker, coil tapped, phase reversed), Sheraton II Pro, and Strat (Custom Vintage Noiseless). Only a very few of the higher drive and gain level Amp models and FX will push the DSP's to breakup, distortion, or clipping. When that occurs, it is very easy to simply gain stage the several level control parameters to either retain the grit just shy of breakup, get a more buttery sound, or clean it up entirely!

Reliability & Durability — 10
Seems to be very well made and durable. No wear nor damages in the first 10 months. For the price, if it breaks and Fender can't/won't fix/replace it within the 5 year warranty, I'll buy a new one! If corner exposure wear is a concern, Fender sells, metal corner reinforcement cover caps that screw into place. You can also mount a set of Fender Kick back arms to the sides of the unit if desired. Some have even mounted Casters to the bottom. The unit is not that heavy so unless the casters are for minor repositioning, I felt it is unnecessary. The Fender Dust cover is also well made and reasonably priced. Some have reported problems with the knobs seeming loose. I have had none. Others have broken the instrument jack or Aux or USB jacks due to their vertical position. I can only see this being a problem if you don't use a 90 degree plug or fail to strain relief the cord before plugging it into the amp.

Overall Impression — 10
The free Fender FUSE Complete Amp Control and Editing Software is very useful but requires a tethered PC or Mac! This allows full amp control, editing of all Presets and FX parameters, backing up your Presets, and uploading and downloading Presets via the Internet to the Fender FUSE online Community. Fender FUSE does not work with Android nor iOS tablets nor Smartphones! For the first months I had the Mustang amps, I did not have them connected to FUSE, as my Desktop PC is located in another room away from the Amps. I recently got a long 32' Active USB repeater Extension cable that now allows me to connect the amps. FUSE is very nice, works well, and has a long history of users that have encouraged Fender to enhance and improve FUSE. For years, Fender has not done so!

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Carltone60
    I played an outdoor gig this past summer. There was some inclement weather on the horizon,the stage manager asked us if we would mind using the gear alread setup on stage,. The back line was already setup and mixed. With the I ending rain I didn't mind not dragging my gear on stage. The amp was a mustang, I asked for a clean sound I had a tube screamer and chorus pedal to connect in front. I was impressed with what I heard on stage. I normally use a matchless chieftain head and 2 cabs with 12,s in them ( all for weight portability. I picked up a used V5' yes it a ver 1 and does have the low freq decay issue, but you never hear that in a band environment. I built a few of my equivalent matchless tones using the vox model. It's reasonably close.. Don't use any pedals any more. I play a strat and a Ernie ball Hh guitar. The matchless stays at home now
    kampion998
    I wanted to test my new mustang iii v2 in a large venue - a live band, drummer, electric guitars, etc. I play pedal steel, and unless I use my 200 watt peavey session 400, I'm unable to reach out even in small halls. I used the iii in a outdoor venue, not mic'd or into the system. I had the master volume as high as 8 but the mustang did fine. The tone was good and i did not have any noise issues. Our roadie thought it worked fine when he strolled about. I doubt the iii can fill a ballpark, but it is a very capable amp. The gt100 is out so maybe the iii will drop in price, making for a very good deal.