Gear Review: Fender Mustang Mini-Amp

Fender’s been making great combo amps since day one. Their new Mustang Mini keeps that tradition alive in a whole new way, specifically for the modern musician.

In this little package sits eight digital amplifier models and a plethora of digital effects. It can be powered by an AC adapter or by six C cell batteries. It won’t blow out windows as it’s only pumping 7 watts via a 6.5″ speaker. A 1/8″ headphone out jack can be used for headphones or as a line out for recording, while the 1/8″ aux input allows for playing along with a CD or MP3 player. The metal handle also doubles as a mini stand, angling the speaker up.

The interface is sparse. Gain, volume, treble, and master knobs control the tone section of the amp, while a preset knob allows selection of the amp models. The effects knob controls exactly that, the selection of effects, and the tap button allows time-based effects to be calibrated to the tempo. Fender has also included a built-in tuner – a nice touch.

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Out of the box, the amp has some good tones – everything from a ’57 Champ to a Metal 2000 model. With a bit of minor tweaking, some realistic tones can be easily generated: from sweet and clean, and from saturated to high gain. The effects are good and musical. Chorus, delays and reverbs are nice and rich. The downside is the single knob for tone shaping.

After downloading Fender’s FUSE software, the editing capabilities expand tenfold. Full editing of each model, EQ and effects, as well as the ability to save the presets and download new patches really give this amp more bang for the buck.

For bedroom use or smaller recording applications, it’s fantastic. This is an ideal amp for guitar teachers and students looking for realistic tones. A computer will be needed to really tweak and edit sounds, but it gives the player a great selection to choose from in a tiny package.

PRICE: $129

PROS: Small size. Tons of useable sounds.

CONS: Refining the presets requires a computer.

Inputs: One
Auxiliary Input: 1/8″ Auxiliary Input Jack
Headphone Jack: Yes
Controls: Preset, Effects, Gain, Volume, Treble, Master
Unique Features: 7 Watt digital amplifier, AC power or battery operation, 8 amp models, 24 presets, Digital chromatic tuner, USB connection for FUSE application and digital recording output.

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