Maton Mastersound MS500 Electric Guitar Review

Maton Mastersound MS500 Electric Guitar Review

This is the Maton Mastersound MS500 electric guitar.  It’s made in Melbourne, Australia and features a really unique look, design, and tonal options.

The Maton Mastersound MS500 features two pickups.  The neck pick is actually a single coil pickup even though it looks like the size of a regular humbucker.  This neck pickup is a vintage voiced single coil so it’s not a hot pickup.  It’s kind of similar to how a 52 telecaster neck pickup would be wired.  It’s clean, warm, and doesn’t have a lot of guts or extended high end.  While it still does have top end, it’s not the brightest pickup I have ever heard.  Adjusting the height of the pickup has helped the top end since filming this video.

The bridge pickup is where the magic is at.  The bridge pickup features a split coil system so you can run it in either single coil or humbucker mode.  Humbucker mode is by far my favorite mode on this guitar but overall it just rocks.  If you are on both pickups using single coil mode it’s actually a buzz free option which is great.

The Maton Mastersound MS500 has a magical neck! I love how the neck feels in my hand.  It’s around the same depth as my 52 reissue telecaster which I love but it feels unique as well.  The body of the guitar reminds me of a Les Paul but it’s not quite as thick.  The overall finish on the body also looks great.  Overall I am very impressed with this Australian made guitar.  It won’t replace anything in my collection but it stands on it’s own feet as something unique and interesting.

 

Crazy Tube Circuits Pin Up Fuzz Octave Pedal Review

Crazy Tube Circuits Pin Up Fuzz Octave Pedal Review

The Pin Up Fuzz from Crazy Tube Circuits is a hand made pedal from Greece.  I should say this before I say anything else – Greece is responsible for making some of the best pedals on the market right now.  If you’re into handmade pedals, attention to detail, quality parts, and killer tones, you should check out what they have to offer and Crazy Tube Circuits is no exception.

Tones Available:

The Pin Up Fuzz Octave pedal offers two types of tones.  You can run it as a fuzz only pedal or you can also add the octave effect using the left button.   You can only add the octave effect once the fuzz effect is already on via the right button (on/off switch).

The octave effect will go from a higher octave through to a lower octave thanks to the voicing control.  It tracks really well for single note stuff but doesn’t work perfectly for bending.  This tracking option is actually pretty desirable for a lot of folks who don’t want a polyphonic type octave effect and would opt for something a little less perfect.

The Fuzz tones are spectacular to my ear and I am not the biggest fuzz fan in the World.  I would put the fuzz tones up there with the Anarchy Audio Baa-Bzz which is one of my all time favorites.

The Pin Up Fuzz cleans up really well when you turn your volume control down on the guitar as well.  It feels great under the fingers and responds great to your volume changes on the guitar.

Build Quality

10/10! Not only is it built well using excellent components the pedal itself is one of the nicest finishes I have ever seen on an effects pedal.  There’s a super-high gloss finish on this pedal which looks spectacular!  I would put Crazy Tube Circuit pedals up to the top of my list for visuals their designs and high gloss finish look amazing.

Fender Mustang GT200 Guitar Amplifier Review

Fender Mustang GT200 Guitar Amplifier Review

The Fender Mustang GT200 Guitar amplifier is one of three new amps to the Fender Mustang amp line up for 2017.  This review attempts to answer a lot of frequently asked questions as well as to help you work out if you actually need this new amplifier.Fender Mustang GT200 Review

Basic Specs

The Fender GT 200 is a digital modelling amplifier featuring 2×12″ guitar speakers and 200 watts of power.  The Fender Mustang GT200 also comes with a 4 button footswitch and power cable.   Please note: This is the only amp from the range that has the included footswitch.

Weight

The Fender Mustang GT200 is an extremely light amplifier.  It weighs about the same weight as the previous Mustang III V2 amplifier.  That is correct it’s as light as the Mustang III.   The Fender Mustang GT100 is even lighter.  It’s so light it actually feels odd when you pick it up.  This is a double edged sword.  Some people really like light amps while others prefer them to feel heavy because that’s associated with quality.  If you have a bad back these amps are great.

Should I Upgrade from a Mustang V2 Amplifier?

I hear you asking me: “These amplifier are an upgrade right? I’ve seen it all over the internet”.

This is where I am not convinced.  In my personal opinion the connectivity features are an upgrade in many ways.  Updating the firmware of the amplifier without having to use the Fender Fuse software is fantastic.  You now download an app called “Fender Tone” to make, download, and upload patches.

This is where my first gripe with the amplifier begins.  Fender decided to rid the amplifier of the hardware keys for overdrive, mod, delay, etc in favour of having a phone in your hand.  I think the removal of the hardware keys is a huge problem and I will tell you why.  Imagine you’re at a gig or a jam night.  You forget your switch and now you have no way to really control the amp other than using the clunky menu system or the app.  What’s worse is sometimes the app doesn’t stay connected to the amplifier if the screen goes blank.  If your phone battery goes flat and you have no footswitch you’re in for some trouble especially when playing live.

The app itself isn’t too bad considering it’s new. I am sure Fender will update it and make improvements over time.  It’s a shame though there’s no PC/Mac option available.  Most modern computers have bluetooth connectivity and I would prefer to tweak my patches on a computer than always having a phone in my hand.  You can of course use the menu on the amplifier to do everything the app does in terms of setting up the presets but keep in mind it’s a lot more clunky.Fender Mustang GT200 Review

How does the amplifier sound?

Not very good overall.  The clean Fender tones are quite nice on their own but the drive sounds aren’t great.  It feels like this amp is more of a Hi Fi sound than a guitar amplifier.  What do I mean by that?  It sounds flat and scooped compared to a regular amplifier like a Peavey Bandit, Fender Blues Deluxe, or just about anything else.   The good news is Fender actually programmed the stock presets pretty well.  They aren’t perfect but you can easily tweak and save them as you go.

How well does the amplifier take pedals?

In terms of overdrive pedal the quick answer is not very well.  I am convinced that certain YouTube channels do a lot of post production audio editing on their videos to favour sales.  In my experience the Bandit sounds way more 3D in terms of pedal tones than the Mustang GT200.  The new Mustang GT amplifiers are very Hi Fi and very scooped in the mids.  They sound okay for home use but it’s the sort of sound that gets lost in the mix when playing live.  Trust me, I have a good ear for this stuff.  In my personal opinion the V2 amplifiers weren’t great with overdrive pedals either but this is on a whole new level (not in a good way).

Is the FX loop Good?

The good news is the FX loop works great for modulation and delay pedals.  I think this is a huge bonus for folks who want to use external effects.

The footswitch

Don’t get me started on the footswitch.  This is a serious downgrade on the previous version of the amps.  Check this video below for my rant on the footswitch capability.  Unlike the older amplifiers you can only connect one footswitch to the amp.  Not only that but Fender have skimped on providing even a 2 button footswitch for the GT100 and GT40 amplifiers.  This means you need to spend $100+ dollars on a pedal just to use the amp with more “convenience”.

The Looper Function

The looper function on this amplifier is awesome.  It’s a welcomed addition and something they got right.  It’s easy to use and works great.

What’s in the Box?

This unboxing video below shows you everything that comes with the Fender Mustang GT200 amplifier.

What you get in the box

  • The Fender Mustang Amplifier
  • Footswitch & Footswitch Cable
  • A power cable
  • Some instructions and warranty information

Watch my video review of this amplifier here.

 Easy Mods for making the amplifier sound better

The easiest mod you could make to the Fender Mustang GT200 or GT100 would be to change the speakers.  Fender really provided us with cheap, junk speakers that have no push in a live context.  If you were to swap these speakers out for an Eminence Swamp Thang or Eminence Texas Heat for example it would make the amplifier heavier but it would have to sound way better.  The Texas heat speaker would give the Mustang GT200 the mid frequencies it lacks for live use.

Who is this amp for then?

Someone who wants good tones at home.  I wouldn’t use this amplifier live without changing the speakers out. I am going to give it a try live but I already know it’s going to suck based on what I am hearing at home and from hat I know about many other amps.  While it is a loud amplifier it doesn’t have the 3D sound of a real amplifier.  For home use and jamming with friends it will be fine.  I really feel like the EQ system per patch is nothing worth writing home about.  The mids control adds honk and the bass control adds boom.  There’s a night and day difference between what these patches are trying to do and the real amps in terms of how the EQ system works.

The stock presets are pretty nice and I am sure you’ll get a great sound for playing at home.  My opinion is while you “can” use it live it won’t have the same 3D push/knock of a Peavey Bandit, the Mustang V2, or any decent Tube amp.  If you don’t already own a Fender Mustang then you can give it a shot but don’t expect miracles from it.  Think of the Mustang GT as a really loud Hi Fi sounding guitar amplifier for playing at home and jamming along to CDs.

Lasty, here’s why I returned the Fender Mustang GT200 guitar amplifier.

Get the best deal in the US on a Fender Mustang GT here.

 

Achillies Princeton Reverb Amplifier Review

Achillies Princeton Reverb Amplifier Review

The Achillies Princeton Reverb amplifier is an Australian made hand wired amplifier built in Melbourne, Australia.  This is arguably the best sounding Princeton I have ever played.  It sounds rich and warm and responds amazing to your guitars volume control as well as with pedals.

The Princeton Reverb is the most desirable recording amp to date. Mouth watering overdrive and sweet cleans with a touch of vibrato will drive you to have on your most wanted list. It’s no wonder Randall Smith from Mesa Boogie based his MKI on this amp. A Hand wired reproduction based on the AA1164 circuit has been recreated right down to the last component. Focused on commitment to quality to produce the most accurate PR tone, and we have proven to build a true Blackface Princeton Reverb replica throughout. The steel chassis features original pattern stamped ends and correct position component placement including aluminum control panels. Our very own branded Achillies power capacitors for that ultimate tone and stability. Upon building the cabinet, we strictly request (knot free) Radiata pine which provides that perfect balance we need to offer you with the finest amplifier on the market. Constructed with Traditional Dovetail Joinery and wrapped with authentic Fender Black bronco Tolex with the highest attention to detail to match the tone of the amplifier. The aesthetics complemented by the aged grill cloth gives the amp that final touch it needs to call out “vintage tone”.

 

 Princeton Reverb Features:

  • Custom Wound U.S.A Transformers
  • Output Power 15 watts
  • Output Tubes: 2x 6V6
  • Preamp Tubes: 1x 12AT7, 3x 12AX7
  • Rectifier: 1x 5U4
  • Available as
  • Head (8? Speaker Output)
  • Combo 1x Jensen C10R Speaker
  • Combo 1x Jensen C12R Speaker
  • Unloaded (Please note baffle type at checkout)
  • Switchcraft Jacks and Plugs
  • Carling Switches
  • Achillies Caps (Made in Germany)
  • Sprague Orange Drop caps
  • Carbon Comp Resistors (Most Allen Bradley)
  • CTS Potentiometers
  • Aluminum Control Panels
  • Authentic Hand Wired Layout
  • Cloth Covered Solid Core Wire
  • Black Bronco Covering
  • Aged Black/White/Silver grill cloth
  • Pine Cabinet with Birch Ply Backs and Baffle
  • Traditional Dovetail Joinery
  • Proudly Hand Built in Australia