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

Joyo BanTamP Atomic Amplifier Head Review

Joyo BanTamP Atomic Amplifier Head Review

JOYO ATOMIC 20 Watt Mini Tube Head New banTamp SeriesThe Joyo BanTamP Atomic amplifier head has 20 watts of power and is loaded with a single 12AX7 tube.  The Atomic amplifier is based on the classic British tones of the Vox amplifiers.  To keep things simple the Atomic features three main controls including a Gain, Tone, and Volume control.  The amplifier has two channels including a clean and overdrive channel.  The clean channel is extremely clean even with the gain up close to maximum.  The clean channel seems to take pedals extremely well too so if you’re looking for a clean platform this will do it.   Where the Joyo Atomic amplifier shines in my opinion is the dirty channel.  The Atomic amplifier will do anything from off-clean to blues and classic rock tones.

Overall, I am very impressed with this amplifier and I think these will be a hit for Joyo.   Get the best deal these amplifiers on Amazon here.

VS Audio Royal Flush Dual Overdrive Pedal Review

VS Audio Royal Flush Dual Overdrive Pedal Review

The Royal Flush dual overdrive pedal from VS audio is my favorite dual overdrive pedal ever.  To put it simply both channels in this pedal are awesome. Not only can the channels be used on their own with extremely good results they sound killer stacked.

Both sides of the Royal Flush are very similar except the left side of the pedal has more gain.  So you could essentially set the pedal up for off-clean and then a solo tone or you can use it as I use it which is leave the right side on and use the left as a volume boost.

What I really like about this pedal is it retains a lot of the character of your guitar and amplifier but what it adds it adds in a musical way.  It cuts the mix no problems without sounding like your tone has dramatically changed but if you wind up the gain it really get overdriven and thick!

The pedal runs on 9v so you can power it with just about any regular 9v power supply.  The pedal does look pretty unique but don’t let the graphics put you off, this is a total beast of tonal proportions.

The videos below show both myself and Ric using the VS Audio Royal Flush overdrive pedal with different guitars and rigs.

 

 

Kink Guitar Pedals – The Charlie Fuzz Pedal Review

Kink Guitar Pedals – The Charlie Fuzz Pedal Review

Here’s something you don’t see everyday! A fuzz pedal with a “killer” inspired design.  Actually, I don’t know if Charles Manson actually killed anyone or if his group of followers did the deed but either way, this pedal looks and sound really great.

The Charlie Fuzz is made in Cranbourne (which is a suburb of Melbourne) in Australia and I have a lot of good things to say about this particular pedal.

The first thing you’ll notice is the dual LED lights on the front as the eye. This design element is really amazing and very unique so a huge congratulations to Kink Guitar pedals for doing something out of the norm.

Looks aside, this pedal actually sound really great.  If you know me and my reviews – you’ll know I am not the biggest fan of Fuzz pedals through testing so many substandard fuzz pedals.  This particular one stands out for a number of reasons including it’s simplicity.  Not only does it only have one gain/volume control on the front but internally you can set the bias of the pedal from really hot (as seen in this video) to more mellow thanks to a trim pot inside of it.

I personally really love simple pedals.  That said though, the only drawback could be some folks like to have an added tone control.   I should also say, in the video above the bright switch was off in the intro and on in the demo.  Listening to it again I kind of like the more mellow tops by turning the amps bright switch off.  Depending on your rig, you’ll most likely be able to dial in a great fuzz tone without any problems.

If you’re into fuzz pedals check out their Facebook page (no official website yet).

Peavey Silver Stripe Bandit 112 Review

Peavey Silver Stripe Bandit 112 Review

Recently I picked up a Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube Amplifier Silver Stripe Amplifier.  This particular model is made in the USA and features a non-sticker version of the 12″ Sheffield Speaker.  I had a number of requests to review and demonstrate the Peavey Bandit 112 silver stripe amplifier so here we go.

Like most Peavey Bandits from the 1990’s onward this amplifier is branded with the “TransTube” logo which means it has a setting called “T-Dynamics” which allows you to set the sag/dynamics of the amplifier.  The further right you have the t-dynamics the louder and cleaner the amp will be.  The further to the left you have this control, the easier the amp will break up and sag will be increased.

The silver stripe Peavey Bandit also features a single clean channel as well as three different gain stages of drive channels.  I either live on the clean channel with pedals or I would just use the overdrive channel on its own.

What I did notice about this amplifier at louder volumes is it doesn’t seem anywhere near as loud as the newer generation of bandits.  I have a suspicion this drop in volume is related to the speaker efficiency.  That said, it’s still loud enough to play live without any effects (just if your band is really loud), and it sounds very warm and kind of “vintage” in tone.  I currently own a red stripe bandit 112 and I feel like while they share a lot of similarities on paper – tonally, they are very different.  There’s also some other differences with the silver stripe bandit in comparison to the red stripe for example.  The silver stripe amp cabinets are actually pretty big.  They are maybe 1/5 larger in dimensions than the red stripe.  This means the box is bigger both in depth, width, and height.   I think if you changed the speaker in the silver stripe amplifier to something like an Eminence Texas Heat 12″ Guitar Speaker, 150 Watts at 8 Ohms or Eminence Patriot Swamp Thang 12″ Guitar Speaker, 150 Watts at 8 Ohms speaker, you’d have a much louder amp.  That said, the silver stripe is probably loud enough for most bands and situation in smaller clubs and bars.

Below is a video from Dan Lopez explaining the timeline of the Peavey Bandit amplifiers and it’s well worth checking out.

 

Eminence Patriot Series Swamp Thang Speaker Review

Eminence Patriot Series Swamp Thang Speaker Review

The Eminence Swamp Thang has been my go-to speaker in my Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue guitar amplifier for almost 2 years.  The reason I went for the Swamp thang was for three main reasons.

  1. It keep the Fender top end chime in tact
  2. It’s a very clean speaker with very little break up
  3. The Eminence Swamp Thang is a very loud speaker rated at 102 dB

The stock Fender speaker sucks unless you like a speaker that has ice pick high end and an uncontrolled low end. I have no idea why Fender continue to put these speakers in their amps. While they can work “okay” in a 2×12 cabinet, in a single 12 cabinet they are very lack lustre.

The Swamp thang is pretty heavy on the low end so you won’t need a lot of bass dialled in. I very rarely get it up past 9 o’clock on the EQ control.  I tend also to push the mids on the amp to about 1 to 2 o’clock to fill out the sound the way I like it and the treble is generally set to about 12 o’clock.

The first video below shows how the speaker sounds in the Fender Blues Deluxe on 10.  I know most people won’t run it at that volume but I thought it would be fun to share how it sounds.  The second video shows the speaker at regular volumes against another great speaker called the Eminence Texas Heat speaker.

The Texas Heat is a nice speaker but it’s very different to the Swamp Thang.  If you’re looking for more speaker breakup and a fatter mids with less high end it would be the choice over the Swamp Thang.  If you want a very Fender sounding speaker the Swamp Thang is the way to go. You can get them to sound pretty similar by tweaking the EQ controls but I found the Swamp Thang is a better amp for my sound because it kept the Fender high end in tact.

Greenchild K818 Dual Overdrive Pedal Review

Greenchild K818 Overdrive Pedal

The K818 dual overdrive pedal is the latest release from Greenchild pedals in the USA.  This is both a vintage overdrive pedal on the left and a Klon style overdrive on the right.  One of the great things about this pedal is you can use the pedals independently or on together for singing lead tones.  The idea for this pedal was this – keep it simple and usable without a million controls and switches and that’s exactly what you get.  The right side of the pedal is based on a Klon without as much noise as the original thanks to a few special innovations in design.  The left side is based on clean and open vintage overdrive tones found in early Maxon pedals.  The great thing is with the vintage overdrive it’s not a stock Tubescreamer for example. You can actually dial in the centre control to add or remove warmth,  mids, and presence with ease.

Check out the video below for an in-depth review of the new Greenchild 818 Dual overdrive pedal.