The Fender Mustang GTX 100 is not a new amp by any means, but it is often overlooked in the world of modeling amps. Today we take a look at what makes this amp perfect for people that gig regularly.
The Fender Mustang GTX 100: Where Have You Been?
I can think of a lot of ways to spend your Christmas money this year if you are a guitarist. For the price of a few pedals though, you can buy a fantastic “all in one” solution for dialing in your tone. But maybe you have never even heard of the Fender Mustang GTX 100. Why have we not heard of this thing if it’s so great?
The Fender Mustang GTX 100 is technically part of the Mustang Series of amplifiers that have been hugely popular since the initial release 10 years ago. These small modeling amps started out as a great tool for bedroom guitarists, but then became something else all together when the high wattage versions were released. I had one of the original 40 watt versions, and I used it a lot for practice.
Of course, modeling technology has come a long way since 2011. Now we have some of the best modeling tech around, whether it’s a plugin or a product like a Line 6 Helix. While those are great options for recording and home use, there are also great options for gigging like the Boss Katana. The Katana seems to pretty much dominate the medium-sized modeling amp world, but then… there is the Fender Mustang GTX 100.
Fender has never been a brand that is shy to market a new product ad nauseum. I see maybe 5 ads a day for Fender just using social media. That’s why it is so weird that this amp went completely under the radar for a lot of people. I personally don’t remember any big marketing plans from Fender regarding the new GTX 100/GTX 50 amplifiers. Which is weird, since this is one of the best amps Fender has ever made in my opinion.
What makes it so great? Well today we are going to take a look at all of the features that make this not just a fantastic amp for home use, but also a wonderful amp for gigging. Fender does make a smaller, 50 watt version of the GTX, but today we are only going to be talking about the 100 watt version. I think the 100 watt is more than enough for gigging when it comes to power output, even being solid state.
For a lot of guitarists, I think the Fender Mustang GTX 100 might be the most affordable option for gigging. In fact, you might not even need your pedalboard anymore! It is also perfect for recording, but I think this is a crazy deal for a live amp.
Fender GTX100: Features And Design
There are a myriad of features to talk about when it comes to this amp, so we are going to try and talk about all of them. I had a couple of days to play with the Fender Mustang GTX 100 and I was utterly shocked that this amp is not more popular. This thing can do a bunch of different things really well, and we are going to look at it from the perspective of a gigging guitarist.
- Power: 100W
- Speaker: 1×12″ Celestion
- 200 tonal presets
- Stereo XLR balanced line outputs
- Stereo FX loop
- Bluetooth audio streaming
- Editing via Fender TONE app for iOS and Android
- Built-in Wi-Fi for firmware updates
- Built-in 60-second looper
- Stereo Aux In
- Weight: 22 lbs.
- Comes with footswitch
Before we get into the sounds and effects, I want to to talk about how sexy this thing looks. The Fender Mustang GTX 100 looks a whole lot like a more expensive Fender classic-style amp. The grill cloth and all wood construction make the amp look like something like a Fender Super Sonic, or Blues Jr. Aesthetically, this amp just looks nice.
To test this amp, I used my Schecter Nick Johnston to get some single coil Strat sounds for clean tones. But I also used my Schecter Hellraiser to try out the high gain tones. The EMG pickups in the Hellraiser were ideal for dialing in the high gain stuff. Both guitars worked great with the Fender Mustang GTX 100. I wanted two guitars that were sonic opposites to try out the amp.
The Fender Mustang GTX 100 has a big selection of Fender classic amplifiers that have been popular for decades. You get sounds from amps like the Bassman, The Twin, Princeton, and Super Sonic. You can dial these in however you want either using the software with your phone/computer, or you can use the color screen and front panel knobs. But it does more than just Fender sounds!
When you get into the editing, the Fender amps are labeled by name. But the other amps have the appearance and sound, but they are just called something different. Like a Mesa Boogie would be called a “Tread Plate” since Fender does not have the rights to Mesa Boogie. But the tones are what matters, and the tone is definitely present and ready to rock!
The updated Mustang GTX is a better, bolder guitar amp with an impressive feature set and great performance. A wide selection of accurate and versatile amp models, dozens of effects and 200 onboard presets give you the guitar tones you need for almost any type of music. Modular signal path flexibility lets you move effects anywhere in the chain, while the crisp full-color display lets you know what’s going on under the hood. Footswitch Included!
How Does It Sound?
Since we already know that the Fender amp models are going to be stellar (they are amazing) I really wanted to focus on the amps that are not made by Fender. The high gain amps are all really well done, and the Marshall and Mesa models are fantastic on the Fender Mustang GTX 100. The older Mustang amps had a tough time with high gain tones, if I remember correctly. Not here, though, these amps sound huge!
The “Marshall Style” amplifier was more of a modern Marshall than something like a Plexi. But even fully saturated with gain, it didn’t fizz out like the old Mustang amps used to. If you put the gain at about noon, you get an instant AC/DC sound from this setting, but I liked it with more gain of course. So the Fender Mustang GTX 100 has passed the test where older Mustang amps would fizzle out.
The “90’s American” amplifier model was the one that I had the most fun with. This is a full-on Metal tone, that you can scoop out to get the classic Pantera type of sound. But if you dial in a little bit of midrange, you get more of a Metallica tone. I added a little bit of delay/reverb and it gets this beautiful liquid-sounding solo tone. But you also get Orange, Mesa, Marshall, and just about everything in between to choose between when it comes to high gain.
Just to touch on the Fender amps a little bit, these are amazing on the Fender Mustang GTX 100 and they sound better than ever. I always say that if you’re recording/playing Metal then you need a good clean tone, and a good distortion tone. Live, I used a Fender amp for my cleans and a Mesa Boogie for my distortion tones. It was a huge pain to drag both amps around 20 years ago. You get the best of both worlds here, which is perfect for live gigs.
The full color screen is absolutely awesome for being able to see what sound you are using. The LED screen can also be used to edit the patches manually. But there is really no need if you use the app. But the screen is bright and has a high resolution, which is way different that the original Mustang Series that took forever to load.
You can also make a layout for your pedals and effects when you plug into the Fender TONE App . You have a full visual representation of how your amp setup is laid out. You can put effects in front of the amp, or in the rear of the amp in the effects loop (virtually). Since the amp has Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi you can control all of this from your phone. This can even be used live, if you need to make any last minute tweaks. This is awesome, depending on the venue and soundman you may need to change your settings at a moments notice..
The Fender Mustang GTX 100 comes with the footswitch you will need if you plan on gigging with it. The footswitch is easy to use and is laid out perfectly for the stage. You can bank through the different presets that you have made, as well as turn the effects on and off. The way I set it up for gigging, I programmed three channels back to back. I had a clean, dirty, and high gain setting for the three channels, as well as effects for each channel. This way, it was just a tap away to change during songs.
The first patch was just a clean Fender twin, with reverb and delay. The second was a cranked up Fender Bassman for the dirty crunch sound, with chorus and reverb. Finally, the high gain tone was the 90’s American that had delay and reverb. These three patches were all next to each other, and the footswitch does a great job to move through the settings for the stage. I can easily turn off each individual effect as well.
The footswitch also features a bright red LED screen that lets you know which patch you are on. This would be perfect for dark stages, where you might have a tough time seeing a small pedal. You also have LED lights that let you know which effects are on, and what mode you currently have the pedal operating in.
So can the effects on the Fender Mustang GTX 100 replace your pedalboard? In my case, I would say yes! The footswitch controls up to four effects at a time. But the quality of the effects are excellent. I literally cannot live without a tap-tempo delay in my rig, and this amp has that covered! You have classic modulation like chorus, flange, reverb, and delay. But you also get all kinds of overdrives, octave fuzz, and full-on distortion pedals.
So as a gigging amp, the Fender Mustang GTX 100 has a little bit of everything that you would need. But if you wanted to record with it, then you have some really versatile options. You have the regular 1/4” L/R outputs that you would plug into an interface. But you also have a stereo XLR output as well. This means that you can plug into any mixing board or interface and get the same tone that you use live.
Now of course, if you you need to use your pedals for a live situation, you have a full stereo FX loop. This is rare for a modeling amp, and after trying a couple of my favorite modulation pedals, I can say that it works great. If you have a stereo delay or chorus, then you can easily add it to any patch you create. But again, to be fair, the built in effects are pretty spot on.
Let’s talk about the Fender Mustang GTX 100 and it’s speaker. You don’t often see a Celestion speaker on a modeling amp, but here we are! I think that this has a lot to do with the huge bass response you get out of this amp. Other modeling amps like the BOSS Katana seem to lack bass response on high gain sounds. The bass is very full, and it seems like the Celestion dials out the “honk” that some modelers have as well.
The Bluetooth function allows you to stream audio directly to the Fender Mustang GTX 100. This can be great for practicing your setlist at home and dialing in the perfect tone for your live sounds. This is amazing if you are in a cover band! You can dial in the exact tone of the song that you are covering with your band and program the amp before the gig. Each of the presets can be renamed as well, to organize your setlist on the amp.
If you don’t want to dial the tones in yourself, then Fender has tons that you can download with the TONE App. Some of these are made by users, while others are programmed by some really famous guitarists! You can also upload your own patches and tones that you have made to share with other users. It only takes one button press to save the tones to the amp.
Fender Mustang GTX 100: The Perfect Budget Gig Buddy?
If you are a pro guitarist that is just starting out, you probably aren’t rich. When I first started playing shows, I would have loved to have a tube amp stack and a massive pedalboard. Unfortunately, my minimum wage job in high school did not pay enough for that. My first gigging amp was a Peavey that cost $500 and it was as bare bones as you can get. I would have loved one of these!
So a question you might have about the Fender Mustang GTX 100 is: Is it loud enough?
It is definitely loud enough to play a big gig with. You wont have any problems being heard over your drummer. I tried this amp out at 50% of the total volume and that was easily enough power to be heard over the loudest drummer. So don’t let the smaller size fool you, this thing is loud!
I mean, this amp can just about do it all when it comes to playing a gig. You can use it in your original band by dialing in your own tones. But you can also use this for cover bands, and either download or dial in the tone of the original song. If you play in a worship band, this is also perfect and definitely loud enough to rock the steeple off of your local church.
At just 500 bucks, you have potentially everything you need when it comes to amps/effects. You could easily spend thousands of dollars on a tube amp the same size as the Fender Mustang GTX 100, but then you would also need pedals for effects. You really cant beat this amp for being an all in one solution for gigging and studio use.
Can I Use The Fender Mustang GTX 100 Live?
You can definitely use this amp to gig with. It has more than enough wattage to be heard in the mix with a band.
Can I use The Fender Mustang GTX 100 For Recording?
The amp is perfect for recording since the Fender Mustang GTX 100 has both standard recording outputs (1/4”) and balanced stereo XLR.
Does The Fender Mustang GTX 100 Come With A Footswitch?
Only the 100 watt model comes with a footswitch. The 50 watt model does not. If you plan on playing live shows, the footswitch is going to be pretty important!
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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