Fender Mustang Floor Multi-Effects Pedal Review
- Pros: The Fender Mustang Floor is 2ell-constructed, accurately modeled and extremely easy to use. Fender Mustang fans will feel at home straight away.
- Cons: Doesn’t stand up to the competition in the number of amps or effects included. It’s not easy to tweak the parameters in a live setting.
- Overall: A great pedal for recording buffs and lone bedroom rockers, but not the best for serious gigging musicians.
Fender’s Mustang series of amplifiers are digital powerhouses, coming equipped with amp models and in-built effects to play around with. The success of this series has led Fender to fully enter the world of digital multi-effects with the Fender Mustang Floor. It’s essentially the disembodied processor of the Mustang III/IV/V shoved into a sturdy metal chassis that looks like it’s designed to survive a nuclear apocalypse. It might not have the sheer number of effects as units such as the Zoom G5, but it still has plenty of options open for the effects-hungry axe-wielder.
The first thing you notice about the Fender Mustang Floor is its relatively minimalistic design. The vast majority of the pedal is taken up by nine well-separated footswitches, and an expression pedal runs parallel to the right edge. Between all of this, nestled between two metallic handles, is a small LCD screen with a push-able knob and a handful of buttons top control its operation. The message is very clear: simplicity is the name of the game. Plus, the layout will be instantly familiar to anybody who has used one of the Mustang series amps.
The chunky unit has plenty of options for connectivity. It’s got a 1/4 inch input for your guitar and a 1/8 inch auxiliary input for an MP3 player. There’s a headphone slot and stereo 1/4 inch outputs, as well as two jacks for a mono effects loop. A USB port, MIDI connectivity and dual XLR outputs complete the package.
The number of amp models, effects and pre-set locations on the Fender Mustang Floor isn’t mind-bogglingly impressive like some of the pedals on the market, but there is still a wealth of options open to you. There are 12 amp models, largely based on classic Fender amps like the ‘57 Deluxe and the ‘65 Twin Reverb with some additional, generic-sounding models like British ‘80s. You also get 7 stomp-box effects, 11 modulations, 9 delays and 10 reverbs, and you can store your creations in any one of 100 factory and user preset locations. These specs don’t really compare to competition in numerical terms, but that doesn’t relegate the Mustang Floor to the scrap-heap.
You also get Fender’s FUSE software, which is downloadable for free, which essentially gives you unlimited storage of presets, and gives you a greater degree of control over the effect parameters, including some which can’t be altered otherwise. The USB connection makes connecting extremely simple, and you’ll be greeted with occasional firmware updates if you use the software.
The footswitches which stretch along the bottom of the unit are either used to select a specific preset or activate and de-activate different effects. The “Mode” switch toggles between the two options, and you can use the up and down “Bank/Preset” buttons to switch between banks (in “Preset” mode) or presets (in “FX Select” mode). You can also choose a preset using the dial located beside the LCD screen. If you want to edit any parameters, you can do so using the buttons found underneath the LCD. Parameters can be assigned to the expression pedal, and it can also be used as a straight volume pedal. You push the toe end down to select a mode.
Fender Mustang Floor Photos
Quality Over Quantity?
The biggest benefit of the Fender Mustang Floor’s minimalistic design is that it’s much easier to operate than most multi-effects pedals. The advanced manual is only 12 pages long, which for anybody familiar with these inarticulate tomes is a huge relief. Multi-effects pedal instruction manuals usually weigh more than a small child and are stuffed with so much esoteric terminology that you feel like you’re studying for a degree in Boss-onomics or Line 6-ology. The Fender Mustang Floor is so simple that many people won’t even need to bother with the anemic manual in the first place. You don’t need to spend years of your life home-studying Fender-onomy to get an awesome sound out of this unit.
Although Fender hasn’t joined the inane, unspoken competition between the major manufacturers regarding who can fit the most amp models and effects onto a single pedal, they’ve assured that the ones they’ve included are well-modeled and responsive. They aren’t perfect representations of the original models, of course, but aside from some minor issues they are on the whole of fantastic quality. The only real problems arise on the more overdrive-laden “American ‘90s” and “Metal 2000” amp models, which have somewhat overpowering undertones. You can counteract this by reducing the bass, but the sound still isn’t ideal. The stompboxes and effects, on the other hand, virtually all sound awesome and are highly adjustable.
The abundance of footswitches on the Fender Mustang Floor should make it well-suited to live applications, but you might encounter problems if you want to do any tweaking. To make any changes (for example, increasing the gain a little on an amp model) you have to use the buttons and dials around the LCD screen. Up on a dim stage and in the heat of a performance, this isn’t exactly easy. You can make the changes, but there’ll be a lot of stooping and squinting at the relatively small display. If you have everything set up before-hand, it could work much more effectively, but it would better if you could make changes on-the-fly.
Overall, the Fender Mustang Floor is a well-made multi-effects pedal that focuses on the quality of the effects and models instead of joining in with the childish “my pedal has 4 trillion stompboxes!” back and forth that the industry seems obsessed with. There are flaws, of course, but the realistic amp modeling and potential for use in the studio mean that this pedal should be seriously considered. If you’re looking for something to record with or to just practice with in your room, this might be the best option, but serious live players should consider something with a simpler interface when it comes to making adjustments.