No Boundaries: The Creative Potential of the Mustang GT and Rumble Series
Nick Reinhart on the creative vistas possible within Fender's digital amp selection.
By Adam Brent Houghtaling
There are many reasons you should consider a digital modeling amplifier from the Mustang GT Series or Rumble Series. They are stacked with amp models and effects, are affordable, lightweight and portable, and they are the first amps with Wi-Fi connectivity, which is great for learning new songs and elevating your practice.
Those are all very real reasons to consider a Mustang GT or a Rumble, but perhaps the most important aspect of the amps are what they allow you as a player to bring to the table: boundless creativity.
“There are things you’re supposed to do as a gmusician,” said Fender Amplifier Product Development Manager Rick Heins. “You’re supposed to put your overdrives in front of the amp, and you’re supposed to put your delays in effects loops and do this, but don’t do that. These amps just say, 'Do whatever you think sounds good to you.'
"Put an effect in front of the amp or behind it, or stack effects and see how the sound changes. It just takes a second to rearrange everything.”
When creativity strikes and you want to work your way toward a new sound or experiment with the arrangement of your pedal board, having to re-route an entire chain can be so time–consuming and involved — depending on your setup — that it could wind up as the death of that initial spark.
“The ease of routing is incredible,” agrees guitarist and effects guru Nick Reinhart. “When you spend hours putting together a pedal board, but then you want to see what it sounds like if you move your reverb, you have to think about all the different changes that one move necessitates, but this amp allows you to move things around quickly.
“The ease of being able to re-route your signal path is incredible. You can immediately hear what the difference is between hearing a reverb before a fuzz or after a fuzz.”
But the ease of re-routing a signal path is only one creatively freeing aspect of the GT series. Another is the ability to stack effects.
Want to know what three phasers sound like stacked on top of each other? Just add three phasers to your preset. Then move them around in the chain to see how the sound changes.
“Being able to stack effects — including multiples of the same effect — blew my mind immediately," Reinhart says. "Stacking and then rearranging. It’s really intuitive and easy to rearrange the effects.”
And one final point that seems perhaps too obvious to mention: the Mustang GT and Rumble are amps.
“The other thing is that this is an actual guitar amp that sounds really good,” says Reinhart. “So, instead of a multi-effect and having to plug that into an amp, this is actually a nice sounding guitar amp with real controls on it. There’s something about it being one complete box that’s really fun.
“It’s weird to plug straight into an amp and get all these interesting sounds. Because all the effects are built in there’s really no point using a pedal board with it. I normally would have a looper at the end of my pedal board, whereas on the GT if you had a loop pedal before the amp, affecting all the loops, and then you could loop that with the loop section of the Mustang.”
Reinhart believes that if he had a Mustang GT as a kid, it would have unlocked many more creative doors.
“Twenty years from now, an 11-year-old kid learning to play with all these effects will end up as the Stephen Hawking of guitar effects,” said Reinhart.
And Heins agreed, noting, “Someone young who isn’t bogged down in the rules of guitar playing and sees what’s possible with something like this amp, will change the rules of the game."
Nick Reinhart's Mustang GT Presets
“Whenever I get a new pedal or someone wants me to check out something they built, I’m always interested in pushing it,” says Reinhart. “For some reason, I have an intuition for finding unintended things in new products.”
“Someone like Nick has already been pushing the boundaries of pedals and can do the same with this amp,” says Heins.
Nick Reinhart Preset: 'Uh Oh'
Uh Oh is built on the foundation of a Fender ’57 Deluxe. Reinhart then added a ring modulator and sine chorus to create something not quite of this world.
“I like to tune a ring mod to something whacky, something non-musical, and then it’s just wherever it lands," he says. "Sometimes you get these deep, buzzy low-frequency notes. I’m really into tuning them so that you can get percussive sounds out of them, and then I can loop rhythms.”
NICK REINHART PRESET: 'Dot Dot Dot'
Chorus, a pitch shifter and a multi-tap delay built on the bed of a ’65 Twin Reverb make up this strange preset, which is a great example the new sounds you can create in the Mustang GT. “It’s definitely exclusive to the amp,” says Reinhart.
The Mustang GT features a tap button on the amp controls that allowed Reinhart to experiment with the multi-tap delay in new ways. “Woah,” Reinhart recalls when he discovered the feature. “I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to get that sound before.”