GEAR 2021: Fender's 2021 amp lineup has been unveiled and it sees two new combos join the ranks of its Silverface '68 Custom series, the Vibro Champ Reverb and the Custom Pro Reverb. Joining these vintage-inspired valve combos is the more future-forward Mustang Micro – a personal guitar amplifier you can put in your pocket and take anywhere with you.
The Mustang Micro uses the same amp and effects modelling tech as seen on the rest of the series but scales it down into a unit that's around the size of a personal mobile device. There is a quarter-inch plug for your guitar, a headphones out, and a USB output for sending your signal to a DAW, charging the amp, and applying firmware updates.
The fascia of the Micro is dominated by one large volume dial, with your amp models, EQ, effects and Modify buttons arranged down the side of the amplifier. Tone-wise, this takes its cues from the superlative Mustang GTX, its DSP brain allowing you to choose from 12 amp models and 13 effects.
You can stream audio via Bluetooth and play along with your favourite tracks or your band's demos and the rechargeable lithium battery will give you over four hours of continuous playing time. As practice amps go, they don't get any more portable.
- NAMM 2021 is cancelled, but we'll be covering all the big January gear announcements right here on MusicRadar.
The '68 Custom series is borne of older technology, and joins a very popular series of all-valve combos that have found a contemporary fanbase among guitarists looking for classic Fender tones and a pedal platform on which to build their own sound.
The ‘68 Custom Pro Reverb is the larger of the two models. It is a single-channel 40-watter with a 12" Celestion Neo Creamback speaker. Its silver control panel has two instrument inputs, dials for Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble and Reverb – plus Speed and Intensity for the amp's grid-bias tremolo and a Bright switch.
Both the tube-driven reverb and tremolo can be switched on and off using the accompanying footswitch.
Under the hood the ‘68 Custom Pro Reverb has a quartet of 12AX7s and a pair of 12AT7s in the preamp, with two of 6L6s in the power amp. The transformer has been tuned for some rectifier sag so it should react nicely with your picking dynamics and when you roll the volume back and forth on your guitar.
As for the Vibro Champ Reverb, it revises the 60s model with a larger 10" Celestion Ten 30 speaker with improved bass response. Its circuit has been revised also but it remains a compact format, ideal for home and studio use with a manageable 5-watt power output.
The front panel is as the Pro Reverbs only without the middle control. It has a pair of 12AX7s in the preamp and a single 6L6 in the power section. Once again, its reverb and tremolo is footswitchable.
All three amps are available from April. Though preorders are up online at most vendors.
The Mustang Micro is priced £99 / $99 / €99. The '68 Custom Pro Reverb costs £1349 / $1299 / €1499 while the Champ retails for £799 / $749 / €899.
See Fender for more details.