I was elated when we received the Fender Mustang GTX 50 amp in for review. Modeling amps keep getting better and better, and the folks over at Fender have always set their bar high. The new GTX line delivers an easy to use amp loaded with a wide range of versatile tones for every playing style and situation.
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As a studio producer and live performer, it’s imperative that I have ample power and easily accessed, recallable guitar tones at my fingertips. The GTX-50 features a 12-inch Celestion speaker with 50 watts of power, weighing in at a beauteous 20 lbs. It has 40 quality crafted amp models, dozens of effects and over 200 presets. Finding a great-sounding, usable tone is easy and efficient. Onboard, the GTX features an LCD color display and a familiar Fender knob layout. You’ll want to download the Fender Tone app, though, as this amp really shines with this functionality. This iOS or Android app allows you to dive into the amps, pedals and effects as if they were the real thing, in the room with you. You can save and load presets through Fender Tone as well and might find yourself not even touching the amp (like me).
Connectivity and footprint
This amp predominantly lives as a centerpiece in my home studio. With the help of the stereo XLR line-outputs on the back of the amp, I have it patched in and fired up at all times, giving me the chance to use it as soon as the inspiration hits. Though I’ve mic’d this amp up before, the line outputs have a great cab and mic IR loaded up on them, giving it the feel of an amp being in the room despite being plugged directly into your system. The compact size of the amp and app flexibility lets me place it out of the way in my studio, yet still being able to control every single sound at my fingertips. Further, I’m able to mute the sound so I can just hear the amp through my studio monitors or headphones and not create anymore unwanted room noise.
Versatility and controllability
I love that this amp gives me the versatility and variability of many VST amp modelers, without taking up any CPU power from my computer. I had thrown the amp through the fire as soon as I took it out of the box, loaded up a session and the desired tone I wanted within a few minutes. The app interface is great. It’s reminiscent to some of my favorite VST amps that I have in other in-the-box units, which gave me a good starting point when it came to loading sounds. All the amp models globally sound amazing and react just like they would if they were the real deal. The dirty amps clean up and with the roll back of the volume, there’s none of that unexplained “hiss” in the top end that modeling amps have had in the past. It is super reactive to my playing and accurately tracks my picking with no hint of latency.
As you would expect, the Fender models are where this amp shines and sounds the greatest. I have a couple of the real models in my studio, and for the sake of continuity and ease I’ve since put the GTX in place of them. It sounds and feels so close to the real deal and even easier to “mic” up and get in the mix. The onboard stompboxes virtually got rid of the ginormous pedalboard that was living under my desk. Everything I had on the board has a model in the amp, with a very accurate sound and feel to them as well. There are even a couple studio effects including a compressor that alleviate added DSP on my UA Apollo on the way in.
I spent a whole day loading up presets of all my most used tones- sifting through them in a session takes literally seconds. The app sends the info to the amp (and vice versa) in real time, which is so important in the moment.
I’ve gotten to take this amp out a handful of times live, mostly to a couple church gigs which really put this amp to the test. I only brought the amp, purposely forgetting my pedalboard, and was able to control all the effects and preset changes between songs from the app itself. From tap tempos to shimmering reverbs, I was able to get it all. The sound man was rather happy with the line outs on the back of the amp, freeing up some of his 57’s and giving him the sound and feel that he desired. The amp, despite its small footprint, is way loud enough to cut through an entire band. I barely had the master volume at half at any time I used it live. I’d also recommend getting the GTX-7 7 button foot switch to control your show like a pedal board would. It is included with a GTX-100 but not the GTX-50.
Modeling is definitely the way of the future, and Fender delivers their trusted quality with a great set of amps. Versatility, affordability and flexibility puts this amp in my top five.