Fender first revealed its mobile software plans back in August of last year when the guitar maker's digital arm debuted a tuner app for iOS. In November, we learned the company had guitar amplifiers in the works that would wirelessly sync settings with its library of apps. Today, we finally meet the pieces of Fender connected guitar gear: the Mustang GT amps.
In line with previous reports, the Mustang GT series features both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity to get presets from Fender engineers, notable artists and a community of fellow pickers via a companion app. Of course, you can also edit effects, create and share presets, setup a set list for your live gigs and download updates. The company says you can also simply play music through the new amps via the Bluetooth connection should the need arise.
All of those sounds are available inside Fender's second mobile app: Fender Tone. Here, you can expect the unique sounds from guitarists like Gary Clark Jr., the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Josh Adam Klinghoffer and Anthrax's Scott Ian. The company promises any changes you make inside the app are beamed to the Mustang GT line of amps in real time. Like the Fender Tune app that debuted last year, there's also an educational component: Beginners can read up on amp models, learn about effects loops and more.
Guitar amps with built-in effects aren't really a novel concept. Companies like Line 6 and others have been putting a range of effects options and modeling sounds inside amplifiers for years. Fender is banking on the fact that we're glued to our phones nowadays and that guitar players in 2017 would rather reach for their trusty handset to change up their sound rather than walking over to an amp. And yes, you can use on-board controls to make your changes if you'd rather. Mobile software that allows to tweak your guitar tone have been around for a while too, including AmpliTube that offers the sounds of Fender, Mesa Boogie, Orange and other popular amps on your phone or tablet.
Fender says the Mustang line of compact amps has been some of its best sellers, so it makes sense for the company to carry the name through this new gear. In addition to Bluetooth and WiFi, the Mustang GT amplifiers have USB output for recording and access to the sounds of 60 different Fender amps. The new trio starts at $299 with the 40-watt Mustang GT 40 (2 6.5-inch speakers) followed by the 100-watt 1x12 Mustang GT 100 ($399) and 200-watt Mustang GT 200 with 2 12-inch speakers ($599). All three models pack in Celestion speakers, if that's a deal breaker.
If you're looking for something to use on stage, the company says you'll want to consider the pricier two models while the $399 option is more for practice and recording at home. All three are available to purchase now and the Fender Tone companion app is ready for download on both Android and iOS.