Mustang IV review by Fender

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (54 votes)
Fender: Mustang IV
3

Price paid: € 420

Purchased from: Pentagram

Sound — 9
Let's get it straight: this is no tube amp! Yet, if you had your eyes closed, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between say a '57 Deluxe FM-IV is emulating and an actual '57 Deluxe! Great modelling sounds from a brilliant chilly clean or warm Vintage tube overdrive to the mud and filth of high gain modern goodness! It just has it all! Any music style you play, Fender Mustang's got everything you need. I play a variety of styles, though I prefer blues-rock to metal these days. Sounds great with humbuckers: driven and spanky in the bridge position, warm and juicy on the neck. There's not much to be desired, the Mustang is nearly perfect for me as it is for many other good men who already purchased it and were simply dumbstruck by it's authentic sound, power and versatility. Many experienced guitarists agree that this amp is everything a modern guitar player (either a noob or a pro) needs. The technology moves on and one day we're gonna be remembering with mere amusement the old days when we all used our beloved tube amps and dozens of pedals and rack fxs.

Overall Impression — 10
I've been through a lot of amps both solid state and valve and there's one peculiar thing I've noticed some time ago after many debates with my fellow guitarists: THERE ARE NO GOOD AMPS OR BAD AMPS... THERE ARE ONES THAT YOU LIKE. So if you're new to the modelling technology I'd suggest that you go and check some sweet gear in your local guitar store! IMHO the Mustang series amps are the best modellers you could find on the market! PS: After I first heard its sound I couldn't believe it was a solid state amp and when they said me how much it cost I bought it straight away!

Reliability & Durability — 10
It's a Fender! What else is there to say... "Would you use it on a gig without a backup?" Yes, without a second thought! And don't forget it's solid state, no tubes burning on you!

Features — 10
Fender Mustang IV 150W 2x12 Solid State stereo combo (open back). About $500 in the US. FM-IV first introduced at the NAMM 2011 in LA and is the most powerful amp of the Mustang series (along with the FM-V 150W head). It is a next gen Solid State digital modelling amp loaded with 2 12" Celestion G12P-80 8 Ohm speakers. It has one channel with 100 presets; stereo effect loop (send-return); 1/4'' instrument input; 1/8'' aux input; 1/8'' headphone jack (doubles as speaker emulated line out); USB port for HQ low latency recording; included 4-Button footswitch for quick access, preset/bank select, or effects On/Off, and tuner. All Mustang series amps ship with Fender Fuse software + Fender Amplitube + Ableton recording software. This amp features 12 Amp Models, 7 Stomp Effects, 11 Modulation Effects, 9 Delay Effects, and 10 Reverb Effects. Mustang IV amps pack some serious punch with their 150W, they have a great bottom-end blasting sound and sparkling cleans that Fender amps are so famous for! It is a very loud amp so it's great to gig with. As there's a variety of fxs and amp models (easily scrolled trough/modified/saved thx to a great backlit lcd display), you can get any tone you want out of it, access any preset you want also with the included 4 button f.switch. If you're a computer guy like me :) you will definitely appreciate the Fender Fuse software for it's flexibility in the deep editing.

22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ciadude2
    Tube amps aren't ALWAYS better. Like if the guitarist is new and just starting out and wants to be able to learn and experiment a modeler is fine. My first two guitar amps were the Vox VT-30 and then the Peavey Vypyr 75. I have no regrets at all, because they were fantastic learning tools. I know play out of a 6505+ head with a JCM900 Cabinet. Hell of an upgrade. Yeah tubes generally sound better but for a learner, modelers are fine.
    Seref
    Most cheap tube combos are low gain/low volume one trick ponies. A Blackstar HT-5 or Vox AC4 won't be heard over a drummer, and are not the amps you want if you're playing anything heavier than hard rock. Modelling is for beginners for a specific reason, and that reason isn't affordability. It's so they can figure out what they like, experiment, and then later on down the road they can buy a real tube amp. Not to mention that you would need to add an extra $150 to the price tag of a cheap little tube amp for a multiFX unit to make up for the lack of effects that are present on a modelling amp. You guys have to remember that just because an amp is a tube amp doesn't mean it's good. A cheap amp will sound like shit whether its SS or modelling or tube. With that in mind, a 212 combo that is as versatile as the Mustang IV is a good investment in my book. And lastly, the latest line of Mustangs are killer amps. Sure, they're not tube and blah blah. But for small casual gigs and even some limited recording work, they get the job done. So what if it's not a Twin or a AC30 or a JCM800? Boo hoo.
    Gizzit
    I've been playing guitar a bit over 47 years, and used lots of tube and ss amps. I think the latest Mustangs are simply great amps. period. I used to "worry" about if an amp was a tube amp . . as that's what we have been led by the nose over many years, to believe - is the 'Holy Grail" of tone. And yes, I would agree with that of years gone past. Not now though. Technology has come a long way. For me its just simply a matter if it sounds good - or not, and I don't care what's "under the bonnet" I mean . . . who really cares HOW you get the tone you like to hear ??? Why is what the amp is made of, or contains inside to achieve it's sounds, matter ??? I now ONLY own SS amps. That's a choice I made about simplicity, weight, reliability, value, reliable tone, extras built in, sound quality . . . (add what you like). It means I don't have to lug around a heavy amp, worry about tube bias, tube replacement and the cost of that. It's a matter of CHOICE. I get annoyed with people who simply put down SS amps, because they don't contain "glowing glass" to achieve their tone. Get over your selves. Become individuals, rather than sheep (an animal that blindly follows the one in front). Viva le difference !!! Good tone is simply that - no matter how it is achieved. Now . . . must go and buy a Mustang iv to go with my Bandit and couple of Cube amps . . .
    cspene
    Hey people! Have owned my share of tube amps. Presently play a Joey modded DSL 100 most of the time. I recently bought a Fender Mustang v head. All I can say is it kills! The versatility and just down right fun of playing the amp is worth the price alone. Find/download your tone or close to it. You have amp front controls, just like on tube amps, to make on the fly changes on stage. And....I will say 90%+ tube players cannot tell the difference in a blind taste test. I'd say 100% of the crowd could not tell. It has all of the nuances of a good tube amp. Light, very versatile, unlimited tones, no stomp boxes, no tube replacement expense, no bias' to maintain, stereo outs, loud, live sound adjustments (like any tube amp), costs a little more than a good set of tubes, and just plain fun to have more options Don't get me wrong; if you're hung on tubes, knock yourself out, God bless you. But if you have a more open mind and like to experiment with options and have fun doing that, the Mustang v ( that's all I can vouch for) can compete with any tube. And something else never mentioned; don't flatter yourself by thinking you are all that if you're not that good anyway. In that case tube verses model is a mute point!
    SARNUS
    You guys have to remember that just because an amp is a tube amp doesn't mean it's good. A cheap amp will sound like shit whether its SS or modelling or tube. With that in mind, a 212 combo that is as versatile as the Mustang IV is a good investment in my book.
    I agree! Seref, you're like the only sound person ever to express their opinion on such a delicate argument! SS doesn't mean it's sh*t, same way as tube doesn't mean it's super awesome. THUMBS UP! Man, you made my day!
    Georgei130392
    anyone think this amp is better then a peavey vypyer tube 120?? was planning on gettin that till i sore this beauty.
    Meebles_1
    Tubes can burn up yes, but so can microchips. And there is no way that you can fix a Mustang amp yourself.
    In order for components on a board to burn up, there has to be a static discharge from an outside source. So as long as you don't touch the board witout being grounded, the amps "microchips" wont burn up.
    bustapr
    this is a pretty good amp. its range of tones is pretty good and the sound is pretty good. Sure you wont get the tube awesomeness thhat good tube amps have, but its tone possibilities are handy even for experienced players to have. and having a good 2x12 modeler is WAAAAAYY better than having a tiny 5W tube amp
    hmmmmmmm
    a good tube amp that can be used for a gig is not going to cost $400 ... a second hand 5150 head (that is probably ready for new tubes) is still going to need a cabinet $$$, it is not going to come with a delay or flanger/chorus $$$ ... the whole argument for tubes is based on ideal finances ... i've had a jcm 900, fender blues deluxe +more , played a gretsch chet atkins, ibanez jem, tele deluxe, and a ibanez prestige + more through them ... i sold them to come to the u.s. to marry my girl. now i just need a decent CHEAP amp and sadly a decent CHEAP guitar to be able to play something other than my acoustic. setting up a home is not cheap, but i still want to play what i play best. i also need to be not so selfish as to just blow my whole budget on three good guitars and three good amps, which is what would be needed to play everything i like to play.
    mofomillerman
    I have a fender eighty five for clean and crunch and then a amp switch into the fender mustang IV. Seriously the amount of "rack" effects built into this amp makes it seriously versatile- check out the quality of the delays etc- serious fun and I aint running a tube through a head and into 10k worth of rack. On the downside, you really cant get away from the "processed" sound,and the footswithc is thin and wide making mistakes for me in terms of channel switching frequent. that being said I gig at least twice a week and it gets me through a set list that comprises of Billy Idol to the Travelling Wilburies Via Hot Chocolate and it does the job- and my drummer loves the sound. One thing I have done for my lead sound is run a boss eq through the input and that crazies things up a little. This aint no marshall head, but the types of gigs I play require versatility and at the end of the day- ITS ALL IN THE FINGURES DUDES.
    RampageousPete
    How would the Mustang IV stack up against a Peavey Transtube Bandit 112, any comments would be welcome.? Cheers Pete Mac West Australia
    a drummer
    ^ yes modeling amps are ideal for beginners, but for 450$ you should just buy a nice tube combo, or even a decent solid-state. Blackstar has an all tube combo for around the same price that sounds wayyyyy better than this.
    Mike from CT
    I spent 1650 on a Mesa Boogie TA15 and a 2 x 12 Rec cab, and the reason I bought it was because it was made in the USA. Turned out I did not care for the sound, and in my 24 x 16 room, I could never get it really loud enough to hit the sweet spot. I also have a Marshall MG30FX, and most of the time, I just plugged in my guitar and flipped the switch and was ready to go. The MB had to be uncovered and then let the tubes warm up...So I only used it for 2 hours total. I sold the cab on CL and only lost 160 bucks and yesterday I traded in the amp for the Mark IV, and so I lost about 650 total because of a desire to buy something made in the USA and not the SOUND, which is much more important. That I played the 50 dollar pawn shop marshall over the 1650 MB, shows that my ears just could not hear the difference. My hearing is shot from being in the Army back in 72, but I did buy about a dozen pedals and had some fun with the marshall. I look forward to receiving the Mark IV.....I tried out the Mark V with the 4 x 12's, but I felt the Rocket 50's did not sound as nice as the G12P-80's. The space that the 4 x 12 took up was too much as well.
    hazuing
    Would this amp be any good as a third-time buy? My previous two amps have been basic bedroom practice amps, and I want a decent, basic amp (not one with loads of different dials to use) that I'll be able to start gigging with. Would you recommend it? Or should I get a tube amp? (which?)
    StorsvedE
    what if I want to play ex. Metallica or any other metal, does it provide a sound that can compare to a metal sound?
    Seref
    To be fair, there are good tube amps in the $450 range. A Fender Blues Junior or a Jet City JCA20 are some pretty sweet amps, but they are flawed in the way that modelling amps aren't--those amps are very limited and not versatile at all. A Blues Junior is a great little amp but to play more than two Blues and Classic Rock, you're going to need to invest a lot of money in pedals.
    ciadude2
    The local guitar shop had a 5150 head up for 400$ and there was nothing wrong with it.
    SARNUS
    Dennis_SG wrote: 450 is enough to get yourself some bugera.
    Man, I payed for my microwave more than that! And to get all the tones and fxs the Mustang is loaded with you'd spend a fortune on pedals alone...
    Dennis_SG
    SARNUS wrote: . 450 bucks?! loool maybe $1400? for a decent amp+a few pedals...
    450 is enough to get yourself some bugera.
    VicVanity
    When i use to gig regularly, i would use a solid state amp to play clubs. i loved the Peavey special (bandit)and i did not have to worry about it getting banged around. for recording i used tube amps
    SARNUS
    a drummer wrote: ^ yes modeling amps are ideal for beginners, but for 450$ you should just buy a nice tube combo, or even a decent solid-state. Blackstar has an all tube combo for around the same price that sounds wayyyyy better than this.
    450 bucks?! loool maybe $1400? for a decent amp+a few pedals...
    Sakke
    I think it's a waste of money.. Tube amps are always better than solid state or modeling amps. Tubes can burn up yes, but so can microchips. And there is no way that you can fix a Mustang amp yourself.I do agree that the Mustang amp is good for a modeling amplifier, but they can't replace the feel and sound of tube amplifiers. This review is far too opinion-based, you should look on the bad sides too..