In vintage Fender vernacular, “Mustang” is synonymous with “student model,” which to most guitarists also means “basic features,” “competent-but-limited performance” and “affordable.”
This certainly applied to Fender’s Mustang-branded guitars and basses of the '60s through the '90s. However, when Fender introduced its first Mustang amps in 2010, which featured digital modeling technology, “Mustang” took on entirely new definitions, still meaning “affordable” along with “outstanding bang-for-the-buck,” “versatile” and “powerful.”
Fender’s new Mustang GTX100 guitar combo amp is the most advanced model in the company’s current Mustang amp lineup, providing impressive professional-quality features and performance at a price within the budgets of most beginners.
The Mustang GTX100 is a 100-watt, single-channel digital combo with a specially designed Celestion G12FSD-100 12-inch speaker.
The selection of models includes 40 amps (20 classic and modern Fenders, EVH 5150 IIIs, various Marshalls, Mesas, Bogners, Friedmans, Gibsons, Hiwatts, Rolands, Silvertones and Voxes), 33 speaker cabinets and 73 effects, consisting of a comprehensive selection of distortion/overdrive/fuzz, modulation, delay, reverb, dynamics, EQ, filter and pitch effects.
Standard amp control knobs (gain, volume, treble, middle, bass, reverb and master) are located on the top-facing control panel along with a large display, layer (menu) buttons for preset, signal path and controls, a large multi-purpose rotary encoder knob, utility buttons (FX bypass, save, menu, tap/tuner), a ¼-inch input jack, 1/8-inch auxiliary input and an 1/8-inch headphone output.
The rear panel provides stereo XLR line outputs, stereo ¼-inch FX send and return jacks, a footswitch jack for the included GTX-7 footswitch (or optional footswitch or expression pedal) and a micro USB port to connect the amp to a computer for direct digital audio recording.
Firmware can be updated via WiFi, and the free Fender Tone app for iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices allows users to edit presets in detail via Bluetooth. All of this is packaged in a surprisingly compact cabinet that measures 21 inches (width) x 18 inches (height) x 10 inches (depth) and weighs only 22 pounds.
The '60s-style Fender logo, black vinyl covering and dark gray “salt and pepper” grill give the amp vintage styling that conceals the powerful modern technology within.
While most previous Fender amps bearing the Mustang name best used for practice, rehearsal or recording, the Mustang GTX100 is loud and powerful enough to use for live performance as well as all of the above.
The Celestion speaker provides flat, uncolored tonal response that is ideal for replicating various amp models, but it’s satisfyingly responsive and dynamic instead of sounding stiff and sterile.
The amp, speaker cabinet and effect models are all outstanding and compare with many of today’s leading digital modeling processors, albeit without those products’ vast selections but also at a much more affordable price.
The clean tones are brisk, dynamic and full-sounding, while the overdrive and distortion tones have the harmonic complexity and responsiveness of the real deal without the hassles of tubes and expensive maintenance.
While it’s easy to dial in sounds via the top control panel, the ultimate power and ease-of-use comes courtesy of the Fender Tone app, which allows users to dig into finer programming details and access a huge library of over 10,000 presets. The Mustang GTX100 is well-suited to live performance applications thanks to the GTX-7 footswitch controller, which controls presets, effects and looper functions.
This is a sophisticated controller that goes well beyond the simple channel-switching and effects loop on/off functions of the controllers for most amps in this price range. The Mustang GTX amps should maybe be classified as “post-grad models,” meaning still on a budget but a lot more advanced and professionally qualified.
- PRICE: $499 / £449
- ORIGIN: China
- TYPE: Digital modelling combo
- OUTPUT: 100W
- DIMENSIONS: 18" (457mm) H x 21" (533mm) D x 10" (254 cm)
- WEIGHT (kg/lb): 9.88/22
- LOUDSPEAKER: 1×12 Celestion G12FSD-100
- CHANNELS: 200 user presets, 40 amp models, 73 effects, 33 speaker cabinet emulations
- CONTROLS: Gain, bass, mid, treble, master volume, reverb, preset select, menu, effects select, bank, tap tempo/tuner
- FOOTSWITCH: GTX-7 Footswitch included
- ADDITIONAL FEATURES: Stereo XLR out, stereo line out, FX loop, aux in, headphones out, micro USB, Fender TONE app iOS/Android, Bluetooth audio streaming
- CONTACT: Fender