Inside the first-ever WiFi-enabled guitar amplifier, and an amazing app made to pair perfectly with it.
By Mike Duffy
Having a digital amplifier loaded with a ton of amp models and effects can open an infinite amount of options when it comes to creativity and inspiration. But imagine if that amp could pair with an app that would allow you to control it easily and fluidly from your mobile device.
The original Mustang Series of amps was known as one of Fender's best-selling amp series, and the WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled Mustang GT Series takes that to the next level, with enhanced Generation Three onboard modeling, with 21 amp models (including Fender classics such as the '59 Bassman and '65 Princeton), over 45 effects and a functional looper that is controlled by an available expression pedal. You can also connect via a USB output for recording and XLR line outs.
From the onboard controls and color display, users can manage thousands of presets created by Fender sound engineers, notable artists, as well as players from the Mustang community. But the Mustang GT models have even more accessiblity when paired with the revolutionary Fender Tone app. Artists who contributed personal presets include the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Josh Klinghoffer, Gary Clark Jr., Scott Ian of Anthrax and Grimes.
"Each artist had a very unique approach into dialing in their presets," said Fender Amplifier Product Development Manager Rick Heins, who worked directly with the musicians to chart their presets. "Some wanted a preset that would be their sound for the majority of a set. Some wanted to craft something that went after a specific sound for a rhythm or a solo or something like that.
"What I did, if they were feeling tech-savvy, I’d let them get in there and find something that spoke to them. You start to see this shift happen when the artist starts talking less and playing more. That’s when you know that we were getting somewhere."
Fender Tone offers real-time control of your tone when connected via Bluetooth or WiFi, with an ultra-responsive design that can modify a multitude of pre- and post-amp effects—like reverb, delay and compresion, to name a few—and a multitude of different amps from Fender's rich amp history and beyond.
“Fender Tone is the second release in Fender Digital's suite of applications, and the first hardware companion application we have developed,” said Fender Chief Product Officer Ethan Kaplan. “It, alongside Fender Tune, aims to accompany players at every stage of their musical journey."
"As you become a guitarist, you go through the process of not knowing anything to getting advice from others," Heins added. "You can try so many different things with the Mustang GT and the app. It literally takes a second to figure out if something sounds good or adds the texture you want. The idea is to take it to outer space. My dream is that young guitarists will take this amp and push it in ways we never imagined."
The WiFi capability also ensures that any Mustang GT will receive automatic updates of the latest firmware and directly connects the user to a community of players to share presets, playing tips and more. Additionally, the Bluetooth connection means these amps can also stream music to play along with or just listen to, via services like Spotify or Apple Music.
Models include the Mustang GT 40, which is perfecly suited for practice and recording, as well as the Mustang GT 100 and Mustang GT 200, both of which can bring power to the stage or studio in a lightweight package.