Solid-state technology has allowed for some pretty significant advances in what a guitar amp can provide. Most major amp manufacturers have integrated this technology across their entire product lines in one form or another. The iconic Fender is no exception. The compact Mustang 1 V2 is a popular choice in the practice amp market with plenty to discuss, which is why we’re giving it some time in the spotlight today.
First up, nobody is going to mistake the Mustang 1 V2 for a gig-ready combo amp. Weighing in at just 17lbs and housing a single 8” Special Design speaker in a 14.5” x 15.5” x 7.6” package, it’s a compact and portable amp, that’s the perfect size for home practice. Yet, it’s more than just another cheap practice amp.
The range of features found on the Mustang 1 V2 rivals some of the larger, more expensive amps on the market today. Amp modeling is the name of the game, with eight factory presets ranging from a ’57 Deluxe to a Fender-unique ‘Metal 2000’. On top of this, there is storage for 16 user presets along with a 2-band EQ section.
The Mustang 1 V2 also shines with a multitude of onboard effects, including everything from chorus to tremolo, pitch shifting to phasing, delay to reverb. Also included is a handy chromatic tuner, which is great for practice as you don’t need to fuss around with external devices to keep in tune.
Rounding out the Mustang 1 V2 is USB connectivity – allowing you to modify patches with the respected Fender FUSE software – along with a headphone jack and an aux input. As for aesthetics, this would look great in any living room, with traditional Fender style complete with silver grille cloth and that distinctive logo.
The controls on the Mustang are knob-driven with no screens or menus to scroll through. It has a single knob each for gain, volume, treble and bass, as well as a master volume. Amp models are changed via a rotary switch that doesn’t click, but it lights up individual LED’s for each model type.
Not having extensive menus typically isn’t a bad thing but, because of this, the process for manipulating the factory presets to make them your own isn’t extremely intuitive.
You have to be aware that any parameter you may try to change (be it an amp model, a particular effect, a tone setting, or the overall preset volume) could have a huge level jump. That’s based off how the preset was originally programmed, compared to where the setting of the knob truly is. Once you get used to it it’s not hard to deal with, but it can be a bit confusing at first.
The Mustang 1 does pack a punch, despite its ‘practice amp’ size. Having 20 watts of solid-state power gives you volume levels that are quite a bit louder than you would expect – but it still shines at the lower volumes you may typically use with an amp in this category.
The quality of the amp models and effects selection is evident. The cleaner sounds are nice and warm when compared to the heavier rock and metal tones, which – when the volume is cranked – could start to peel the paint of your walls.
On the flip side, the Mustang 1 does support the use of a footswitch, but unfortunately it does not come with one. That’s a bit of a bummer as having one out-of-the-box would be a big plus in our book, although it’s not a big deal at this affordable price.
Fender’s Mustang collection of solid-state amps has been on the market for some time now, and continues to grow in popularity. The Mustang 1 V2 includes a good portion of the features found in the larger and more expensive models in the series. In our opinion, it’s a great practice amp that’s suitable for players across all styles and genres.