Congratulations on getting a Fender Mustang amp. It’s a wonderfully capable, value-oriented modeling amp that should more than satisfy most users. Here are the things you should know.
This is Not Your Dream Amp
… at least, not out of the box. Straight out of the box, just appreciate it’s wide range of capabilities. Don’t sweat that not every pre-set sounds fantastic to you. With time and effort, you can change and save many of the settings to get you very close to a dream amp that can provide a wide array of convincing tones that pass well together with a band or backing track.
You Will Need To Invest Time and Effort
There is a learning curve. Settings will need to be changed and saved. This will take time. You don’t need to do all this at once. In fact, I suggest that you don’t even try to do it all at once.
There is a Learning Curve
- 17 amp models
- 12 cabinet models
- 42 built-in effect pedals organized in 4 banks
- 6 basic amp settings
- 6 advanced amp settings
- 3 amp-specific additional settings
- Up to 100 available pre-sets
Expect to spend a couple of hours learning the Fender Mustang amp and Fuse Software controls. The sooner, the better. If you use Android try the REMUDA App.
The “magic” of the Mustang amp is that, beneath the hood is excellent technology that puts amazingly diverse sounds at your fingertips.
In my opinion, Fender did a good job with the interface and by navigating to this Wiki you’ve demonstrated that you have enough computer-savvy to manage the Mustang/Fuse/Remuda controls down to the “Advanced” settings.
Don’t be daunted by the word “Advanced”. Accessing/using the “Advanced” settings does not require any advanced technical skills; it seems to require an “advanced” ear to hear some of the more subtle differences.
If you don’t like the idea of spending a couple of hours to understand the amp’s controls, you will probably be unhappy with the Mustang. Many people complain that they “shouldn’t have to spend a couple of hours learning how to use a guitar amp!” Fair point, most amps don’t require much of a learning curve. The Mustang/FUSE isn't an ordinary guitar amp. It's more advanced. If you want plug-and-play, you bought the wrong amp.
Start with One Amp Model
Don't get overwhelmed: start your learning curve focusing on just one amp model.
I suggest going to the factory pre-set “basic” models (factory presets 83-99) and find the one that you like best. Use that, together with the information on this Wiki, to start learning about the amp/software’s controls. That way, you quickly have a setting that you enjoy and you can play your guitar.
Expect to Change the Pre-Sets
No one likes the majority of the factory/default pre-sets. The factory presets were designed to demonstrate the extreme capabilities of the amp and software. Expect to “like one or two”.
You’ll want to keep those and the 17 factory pre-sets “basic” models (factory presets 83-99), which are stripped down (i.e. no FX configured nor enabled) versions of each amp model. Expect to change some or all of the other available pre-sets.
You’ll Definitely Want to Change Pre-Set 00
The amp does not power-on to the last Preset used. It powers-on to preset 00. It’s stupid, but that is the way it is.
Even more stupid: the factory default preset 00 (Liquid Solo) is one of the most extreme. Expect to change this immediately. Changing preset 00 to something more your taste will be a good first step in the learning curve. Keep in mind, that this will be the setting that your amp always turns on to, so you’ll want to choose a favorite model/setting.
Change and Save the Volume on the Pre-Sets
You’ve probably already noticed the wide variance in volume among the factory pre-sets. This is easy to change and should be done on all the pre-sets that you use, as you save them. See: Tips and Tricks: Leveling Presets.
I’d like to think Fender had a good reason to ship it like that, but I can’t remember reading what that reason might have been. For the low-tech/low-fuss users, do it by ear. For folks who don’t mind using tech and are more
anal detail oriented, I suggest downloading and using a free decibel meter app for your phone.
Expect to Tweak the Amp’s “Advanced” Settings
There are countless posts on the Web discussing how accurately the Mustang models the actual amps. Opinion is divided. However, among those that take the position that the Mustang compares well, they all have tweaked the amp’s “Basic” and “Advanced” settings. Expect to do the same. Which brings me to my next point…
Take Advantage of FUSE Downloads
Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are many great pre-sets available for download. Take advantage of other people’s good work and then tweak to your tastes. Notably, InTheBlues has shared many very well regarded presets.
Use a Power-Conditioning Surge-Protecting Power Strip
Always a good idea for A/V electronics.
Breaking in the Speaker
Any new speaker needs a break in period to achieve best sounding results. Fender selected Celestion Speakers for use in the higher end Mustang III, IV, and V cabinets.
Celestion's Website explains How to Break in a Guitar Speaker.
- "How to break-in a guitar speaker
- Dr. Decibel gives you some hints about breaking-in your guitar speaker
- January 2, 2014
- A brand new, out of the box guitar speaker will subtly shift in tone over the first few hours of playing as the fibres within the cone start to relax and become more pliable. Don't worry too much about this change, its natural and many people believe that this improves the sound, making it more 'rounded' and pleasing to listen to.
- Some players prefer to speed up this process, this is what is referred to as breaking-in; they deliberately soften up the cone in order to bring the speaker to it's optimum state in terms of tonality.
- You'll hear about lots of different breaking in techniques. Some play random noise through their speakers, others prefer to play music through them for many hours.
- There's plenty of debate over the technique to use for break in and how long to do it for, but they all achieve the same end, softening up the cone and rounding out the sound. Below is our preferred method.
- Important Note! Before breaking it in it's advisable to warm up the speaker gently for a few minutes with low-level playing or background hum.
- Break in a speaker with a fat, clean tone: turn up the power amp volume to full, and control the level with the preamp gain. Use a level that will be quite loud, but not painful in a normal size room.
- Have the bass and mid up full, and the treble at least half. On your guitar, use the middle pick up position (if your guitar has more than one pick up) and play for up to an hour, using lots of open chords, and chunky percussive playing.
- This will get the cone moving, and should excite all the cone modes and get everything to settle in nicely. The speaker will continue to mature over the years, but this will get it 95% of the way there."
The Mustang Amps' built-in Tuner feature is convenient and easy to use. Simply long press the Amp's Tap/Tuner Button (on the control panel) or long press the Mode/Tuner button (on the 4 button Footswitch). Activating the tuner mutes the amp. Press the Amp's Exit button or the footswitch button again to exit the Tuner mode.
All of the Mustang models I-V have a 1/8" (3.5mm) stereo Aux In jack to connect an audio source of your choice so you may play along to Songs. Typically this will be your iPod, Mp3, Smartphone, Tablet, CD, or Computer Audio out. The Mustangs' speakers are designed for Guitar. They are not Full Range Flat Response (FRFR) speakers! For instance, the 12" Celestion Speakers in the Mustang III, IV and Mustang V cabinet have a frequency response of about 80-5kHz with a resonant frequenct around 90Hz. Thus, song audio playback from the Mustangs' speaker(s) is significantly attenuated above 5kHz. The Headphone jack does provide full frequency response, and may be used with headphones or to connect the Mustang to external powered speakers, etc.