I’m in the process of putting together the package for the Huntersounds Fender Mustang patchset v1, which will include dozens of amped blues and rock setups for harp players. I’m really happy with this set. It includes a wide variety of distinctive amped blues harp sounds, from tinny screeches to big-bottomed roars. I think that a lot of harp players will find it convenient and easy to use one of these setups on stage and in studio, and the sounds are great. I’d go so far as to say that Fender’s amp models nail nuances of tube amp sound that other modelers I’ve worked with don’t, and the ability to turn familiar rotary dials numbered 1-10 in performance to tweak tones is something plenty of players will enjoy.

Mustang II and III-patchsets from Huntersounds coming in the next couple of weeks

The whole shebang goes through another round of beta testing, and then out to the public in a week or two. In the meantime, I need to prep my online store, create patch lists and samples of the sounds for people who come to the store, etc. etc.

A few observations on the Fender Mustangs in the meantime:

They’re loud

The Mustang III in particular is pretty damn loud when you want it. Once you’ve set a patch up to sound good and not feed back at moderate volume, you can crank it to near-insane levels before it feeds back. The Mustang IV has a 2×12″ cabinet and 150 Watts instead of the 1×12″ and 100 Watts in the Mustang III, so it moves a whole lot of air. For serious stage work, I recommend either one of those. A Mustang II is okay for coffeehouses, and a Mustang I is fine for practice and recording. (All of them are fine for recording, for that matter.) Given that any of the Mustangs will produce the same sounds at whisper or jet-engine levels as you choose, there’s no point in owning two; a III or IV is just as suited for recording or playing quietly as a Mustang I, so can serve equally as well on stage and at home.

They sound good

I’m really impressed with the quality and variety of the basic amp models in these Mustangs. Even before you add do-dads like reverb, delay, and mod FX, the thing sounds and feels like a “real” amp. When you turn it up, the physical sensation of the sound waves hitting you is very gratifying and familiar.

For most people the learning curve is going to be near zero

I had to go up a learning curve with these things because I had to know the nuances of every modeled piece of the signal chain. Anyone who buys my patch set for Mustang won’t need to know any of that. When you need to tweak a sound, familiar amp controls are all there–gain, volume, treble, middle, bass, reverb (on the III and up–did I mention that I recommend the Mustang III?). You can turn FX on and off with a finger push on a button. (Again, on the III and up.) The only new control is the rotary dial that moves you from one patch to the next. That dial turns in a circle. (Um, it’s a rotary dial.) You turn it clockwise to move up the patch list (e.g. from patch 0 to patch 1), and counterclockwise to move it down the patch list (e.g. from patch 99 to patch 98). That’s the whole story. Congratulations on ascending the entire learning curve–you’re ready for a Mustang amp.

Mustang III v.2 patch display showing amp model and FX settings

Summary: Design intentions achieved, product coming soon

I set out with the Mustang amps to create a palette of sounds for blues harmonica players who want the feel and convenience of working with a traditional amp plus the added value of a much wider range of quality amped tones than any single traditional tube amp could ever produce, all within easy reach. The new Huntersounds Fender Mustang patchset does all that, and I’m really looking forward to putting this one on the market. Stay tuned.