Diary of a Madman - A 21st Century Modelling Amp Tale

So no doubt some of you have been wondering where The Madman moniker came from ?
Well it all started here and I am not convinced I ever recovered but the amp did !!

Or A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Recording Studio

Fender Mustang – Handy Hints Sound Loss - Part 1 October 26, 2020

So I thought I’d share some helpful recovery tips I’ve accumulated by dogged experience as an owner of a Fender Mustang III v 2 and the now unsupported Fender Fuse software and interface. I suspect these would be equally valid for the new Mustang GTs and Fender Tone software or for that matter any other modelling amp with a software interface. I’ll leave that to the experts though. But the hints come with a hopefully amusing tale of me losing even more hair this weekend.

So after an up and down year lacking regular practice and the nagging thought that I really need to get back on the horse and nail this pony (yeah Mustang puns galore), Friday night I sat down and watched a rerun of a BBC Peter Green documentary and thought right, this weekend, forecast is rubbish, gonna spend some time improvising over some good slow blues backing tracks. Nothing special just get slowly back into the groove.

Chucking it down Saturday afternoon as expected. Decided on backing track, decided which guitar (SG………its nearest my audio/pc desk set up………lazy wot me ?). Plug in power up. NADA !!! So I check all the usual suspects, as amp is USB’d to PC with a 3” speaker cable in its phones jack to shut it up and not blow the windows out. XLR from Amp goes into AI into PC back out through AI and my Shure headphones. All looked ok. Amp powered off unplugged and guitar repluuged into AI. We have sound Yeehaaah. But……………we also have dead amp !!

Pulled the little speaker cable out of the Amp phones jack and powered up the amp and the speaker is chucking out a wall of static like no one’s business. Here we go again the integral FX firmware has got its knickers in a twist again. It will need to be a factory reset. Bummer (we’ll come back to that).

Now this happened a while back but I could not remember how to do the reset and as usual when the wotsit hits the fan, thinking straight goes out the window. So after long moments of Googling later, aha solution. Hold the Exit button and power on, keep holding until Exit light goes out. Ah yes remember now.

Did all that Nothing. Worked last time. Now ? NOTHING !! Wash rinse repeat = NOTHING. Aaarghhh. Tried same several more times, gave up and thought about options. New amp ? Visit shop at Rennes which is Covid hotspot mmmmmmm nooooooo. Popped up to see missus, “what’s all the hollering and cussing”. Initial brief Anglo Saxon explanation that amp don’t work !! “Well just buy a new one” yeah ok not quite that simple. Started explaining essence of modelling amps, 2-3 years to find right sounds etc etc ahh eyes glazing over moment. Ok says I will think about it but will bank initial answer for the future.

Open beer or three then bed.

Skip to Sunday afternoon, all chores done and a sudden eureka moment. Reinstall independent Firmware on the Amp. So may be a bit tricky as Fender took the Fuse website down a while back but hey ho. Don’t forget I’m thinking on my feet here. So, I plug in SG, fire up amp, fire up Fuse on PC. Found Firmware Update in Utilities menu and great cooking on gas, cushty. Logic said go for update but no deal as now website is unavailable non starter. Doh. But other option is to reload the OE firmware, of course dummy its on your PC double doh. So I do the dirty deed and hey presto I have working amp ………………with all those crappy FX provided by Fender’s comedy installations department. Here I go again, cue Whitesnake anyone.

Now I knew this would happen and its where Handy Hint #1 and #4 comes in, see below.

Last time I lost all the FX functionality and sound output I did the Factory reset and spent about 2 weeks rebuilding my FX library close to what was on the amp before it crashed. As said above bummer big bummer , actually really bigger big bummer. Hey but that was when the Fuse website was still up and I had I reasonable idea of the Fuse and Intheblue FX I wanted. But it took ages to get near to the pre-crash FX library. Then when I was done and tidying up my PCs Fender folder, I noticed that all of the 100 reloaded FX effects that I had put on the amp was now in the Fender/Preset folder,

And that discovery is what made this crash quicker to recover. The folder lists the presets 00-99 as they appear on the amp, so I created a new folder called Current Amp Preset and date stamped with the install day and copied over all the newly installed FX from Prests to the new folder. And that is what saved me oodles of time recovering the Amp from this last crash !!

Ok but it still a ball ache but using Fuse I opened each of the 100 FX in the amp, then using the Amp Media Library found the newly opened FX, right clicked and saved to amp in the appropriate FX slot. Sounds like an onerous task and took close on two hours but better than reloading from vague memories or sites that are no longer available. But I got there.

Upside of all this is when I told the missus I’d recovered the amp, she asked what did I have to do next ? Well, said I, I will have to check that each of the reloaded 100 presets are working ok, so I have to test each one by playing over a backing track to make sure they are ok one by one ;).
Well if that’s what you have to do ………….says she. ;D

So life is good after all………………….anyone still awake out there ?


For those with Mustang/Fuse set up that have suddenly lost or are yet to lose all FX output here’s the abridged version. As I said in the intro may work for Fender GT/Tone or other modelling amps with software interfaces…may. Ask someone more knowledgeable than me.

  1. If you have replaced your factory FX items, look in Fender/Presets folder on your PC and copy the contents to a new folder called something like Current FX ddmmyy. Does not matter if the new folder is in the Presets folder, it will be easier to locate. This is your rebuild insurance policy,

  2. If your Mustang suddenly loses all output and you have verified everything bar the amp is ok and a power off and on does not resolve, you will need a Factory Reset. Power on the Amp while holding the Exit button and keep holding Exit until its light goes out. There is also a restore option in Fuse but I have not used that. If you then have sound and FX but they are the crappy OEs, see step 4.

  3. If the amp is still dead after the Factory Reset, its likely that the onboard firmware has had a hissy fit and is not playing ball. Fire up Fender Fuse on PC and sync to amp (ie power amp up as well ‘k). Go to Main Menu / Utilities and select Update Firmware and select the Reload option that will reinstall the Firmware from your PC. All should be well bar those crappy 100 FX. Go to step 4

  4. Now you have the semi onerous task of reloading all the FX that were on the Amp before it followed the Leamings off the cliff. Heck if you liked all the OE FX and did not changed them you are good to go, so plug in (please power off first) and let rip. So ok who keeps it stock FX. Really ? Its reload time.

Open the Media Library option on the Fuse app and the select Open from the top left corner commands and go to the folder that holds your saved FX. They should be prefixed with their previous FX slot, so select 00 for starters, which will then load to the amp. In the Media Library Amp section use the right hand scroll bar to identify the newly loaded FX, it will be highlighted dark blue. I say this as some of the internal labelling does not match the external file name but the one highlighted will be the one you just loaded.
Right click the highlighted entry, select Load FX To Amp and assign slot 00. Wash rinse repeat for FX 1 to 99. Once done you will be back to where you started. Simples.

  1. If you change the parameters on any FX in the future and want to keep them, select Save on the Fuse menu. This will update the file in the Preset folder BUT copy that updated file to your Current Preset folder in case it all goes tits up again.

  2. If none of the above recovers your amp a) please don’t blame me this is purely advisory I am no expert b) go here and remember what my missus said
    Electric Guitar Amps – Thomann UK

Hopefully, if any of you get in this same nightmare, the above may help. If you are still here, I hope this has met its primary task of being of help, has kept you amused or it will be put forward for the 2021 Nobel Prize Health Innovations Award (should there be one) as a world class cure for insomnia.

Time to test FX 00.

Fender Mustang – Handy Hints Sound Loss - Part 2 or Part DOH !! as we say in France October 30, 2020

Anyway, after a couple of days away from playing, prepping for Confinement II was doing my head in, I sat down to play tonight and wham (no not Micheal and Riggley) GROUNDHOG DAY. Wot the fudge more Whitesnake !!!

So I went through the factory reset, same. And reloaded firmware same. Looked for something to kick or a wall to bang my head against. Powered it all off, rebooted PC as Fuse now had its knickers in a twist and was hanging. While it was coming up, dragged my old Behringer Virtube GX110 out from under the deskside table, dusted it down, plugin and powered up. Cushty, working after 8 years dormant, with as many capr presets as the Mustang arrived with. But hey ho contingency and I always have my DI → AI into Waves GTR as a fall back.

PC back up, Fuse and Mustang up and zero sound. Dragged Expression pedal out from side of amp to check pedal chain and whoa sound, loads of it !! Nearly blew me eardrums out. You know when those thought bubbles defy gravity ? Yes one of those moments…backed off pedal from fully down to off/upright. No sound. Pressed it down a little…sound. Something like dunkin doughnut sprang to mind, as I hastily brought up the EXP-1 manual, to check what the green light means, as I say not used in ages and not very much at that. Green = volume Red = Expression ::) Stomp down to change.

And I did, so friggin hard it bounced from green to red to green again. Drew breath and stomped in a more controlled manner. Red, sound, across the many FX I stomped up during the next 5 minutes.

So groundhog day came to an end and I am a complete wassack !! Damn school boy error. Laugh ? I could have cried.

Now, all of the above recovery steps are all valid and will work equally well should you lose the sound on your Mustang and need to reload the software. But can I quickly add Step Zero to that 5 step program

  • If using an Expression Pedal, makes sure it is a) not set to volume and b) that the volume is not at 0.

Another practice/playing session goes out the window and I have 100 FX to reload once more. But before that I am going to grab a Grimbergen or two before the fun begins, as Groundhog Day is not quite done yet.

Have a wonderful weekend folks where ever you are. Be safe and be well and have a good laugh at this stoopid old sod who should know better. Remember folks GAS can seriously damage your health.

As to my good lady, she’s now insisting I buy a second amp just in case !!! Now I know she does not understand all my contingency options, even dragging my very old 30W Marshal out of the loft. But …

If I unplugged that wee headphone cable from the Mustang and played sans AI phones, I some how doubt she would be as agreeable or understanding. Expect the money would then be better spent replacing the patio windows in my den/music room……'onest luv it said everything louder than everything else. I didn’t think it would blow the windows out.

Yes all is good and I am looking forward to having a play this evening ;D

Chin chin

Cheers

Toby
:sunglasses:

And that folks is why I took on the Madman title !