Fender Mustang Micro Review: The Perfect Portable Amp

We don’t have flying cars yet, but we do have miniaturized gadgets that can fit in our pockets and are as good or better than their larger, more cumbersome counterparts.

Gone are the days where you had to shell out cash and muscle to get a hefty practice amp to learn guitar. With tools like Fender’s Mustang Micro amplifier, you can practice, record, and mess with wildly different effects anywhere you can bring an electric guitar. As far as ways to practice on a sunny lounge chair without annoying the neighbors—or to lay down a quick lead line on a friend’s laptop—there’s probably never been a better way to spend $100.

Tiny Tether

The Mustang Micro isn’t much to look at, mimicking the wireless guitar packs you may have seen your favorite pro musicians rocking on stage. It‘s a bit like a pager with a foldable quarter-inch instrument connector nestled into its top. That connector is designed to swivel so it can fit everything from angled Stratocaster inputs to straight-sided Gibsons.

The controls are among the easiest to understand (and find) of any tiny amp I’ve tried. It has a big volume knob on top and four sets of buttons on the side that let you adjust amp, equalizer, and effects settings. A power and Bluetooth pairing switch sit on the opposite side, should you want to pair up and jam along with your smartphone or tablet. The only downside is these controls are a little tough to see in the dark.

 

As far as listening to yourself, the amp has a 3.5-mm stereo output as well as USB-C for both charging and digital output, which makes it double as the tiniest audio interface I’ve ever used. The USB output is solid enough that I was able to easily track a few rhythm guitar parts into my computer, though I’d probably use my “real deal” tube amp setup on actual studio recordings.

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You’ll get about 4 hours of playtime, which is enough to last most home guitarists a week. And for pros, it can easily suffice a day of being out and about.

Photograph: Fender

Portable Practice

Grab whatever electric guitar you have laying around, throw the Mustang Micro and some headphones in a pocket or a backpack, and you really can play—with surprisingly good tone—anywhere. It has a dozen different amp models, from cleaner options like Fender’s iconic Twin Reverb to grittier amps like the Metal 2000.

I quickly settled on the ’57 Twin model, which had very nearly the same punchy grit I typically get through my early ’60s Fender Bassman but at about 1/100 the weight and size.

 

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