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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Fender Mustang MS4 Footswitch (and the EXP-1 Expression Pedal)

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by TwangyWhammy, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    Just got the 4 button footswitch for my Mustang III v2 amp. User-configurable as I understand it.

    My biggest concern was that the buttons were too close together, but I need not have hesitated. As long as I don't use the middle of my foot all the time, it's no problem.

    I still don't know how to use it fully, but the idea is to slowly re-train myself to see if I can bond with it enough to replace my simple pedal board. Will still keep the volume pedal though, but it is a passive-type so I can do away with lugging around a 9v power supply and the extra wirings.

    [​IMG]

    What took me by surprise is that the cable for this footswitch is just a simple mono-jack lead (I expected a multi-wire connector considering all the functions it can do). The biggest drawcard for me is the LED digital floor-display that shows which channel (pre-set) I'm on. I usually play away from the amp, and it's a pain to keep coming back to the amp to take a peek at the LCD screen (great for menu-diving when making presets, but not so great when playing in the dark).

    I do have the 2-button Mustang footswitch and could plug that in as well to get 6 footswitching combinations, but I think I see if I can make do with just the MS4 to keep things simple. The idea is to simplify things as much as possible without missing out on the floor switchable effects that I need. :)

    -

    If other MS4 footswitch users out there have set-up tips - and would like to share specific configurations that are especially useful, I'm all ears. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014

  2. garytelecastor

    garytelecastor Poster Extraordinaire

    I just got my M III V2 out of the shop. Put the 4 switch on and it is very user friendly.
     

  3. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    TW,

    I think as time goes by, you'll gradually work up to using all six buttons. The possibilities of getting this set up to your liking is mind boggling for what your capabilities will be.

    Being able to check your presets and having that tuner out front on stage with you is a huge benefit. You'll get to a point where if you didn't have it, it would be like going back to the days when you had to get up to change the channel on your TV, before we had remotes. Most younger people, I think, would have a hard time imagining that life was really that primitive.
     

  4. 9fingers

    9fingers Tele-Meister

    151
    Nov 11, 2012
    WV
    A plug for the expression pedal too:
    The dual mode EXP1 expression pedal plugs right into the 4 button switch. It is a great zero-tone-suck volume pedal + it is switchable to a second mode to control any parameter you choose. It is awesome controlling amp drive; you can go from clean to saturated lead & everything in between on one preset. Or you can control delay repeats or level, wah, etc, etc. Between the expression pedal & the 4 button switch it becomes a very versatile setup.
     

  5. Tle4

    Tle4 Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 28, 2010
    Warrington, Pa. USA
    I use the 4 and 2 button switches together with no extra pedals and gig in a classic rock cover band with it.

    I set the 4 button switch to lock in the mode where you can choose between 3 different presets and the button that changed modes on the 4 button pedal becomes a dedicated tuner pedal button. I use the 2 button switch to turn on stomp and delay fx.
    The reason I locked the pedal was because I would hit the mode change switch by accident and I would be tap dancing to get back.... Or I would try and hold the first button to tune and it would change modes.

    My 3 modes are clean, crunch and solo. I usually have an od stomp and tape delay set up for each preset also . This works great to gig with, I have lots of pedals and feel no need to bring any. The amp can do everything I need.
     

  6. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    Man, you guys are making me want to get one of these Mustang exp. pedals !

    This one really got me " It is awesome controlling amp drive; you can go from clean to saturated lead & everything in between on one preset.

    I hadn't even thought of this. I know I can use my guitar's volume knob, but it's not exactly the same thing. This would give me hands free control. whoa ! :)
     

  7. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    Thanks for the encouragements guys. So far so good… I'm liking it more and more as I use it.

    I have yet to re-model my presets (add the appropriate effects modules) so that I can use the MS4 to it's full potential.

    I'll start eyeing the Mustang expression pedal now! :eek:

    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014

  8. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    • OK, zero-tone-suck - check.

    Plugs into the 4 button switch: Can you elaborate? So you plug the EXP-1 to the MS4 but how do you plug these to the back of the Mustang?

    Pedal throw: I use a volume pedal to mimic strings or violin sounds (both clean or with distortion, depending) and not just slow swells but fast ones too. For this I prefer volume pedals with a short pedal throw. Whats the Mustang EXP-1 pedal-throw like?
     

  9. 9fingers

    9fingers Tele-Meister

    151
    Nov 11, 2012
    WV
    The Exp1 actually goes between the 4 button switch & the amp. From the left side of the Exp 1 I have a 6" patch cable (dual right angle) to the 4 button switch, and a cable goes from the right side of the Exp1 to the 4 button switch jack in the back of the Mustang. I use the short cable from the pedal to the 4 button as I like them close. You could use any length.

    The "throw" or travel of the physical pedal is about medium I would say. I do the violin swell all the time with it, both slow & fast. It is nice & smooth.

    Jim, the ability to control amp drive with the pedal is unreal cool. I use a lot fewer presets since I found that. I can do so much within one preset with that.
     

  10. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    Thanks for that. Now that just totally blows me away because you're saying that the only thing between those two and the amp is ONE MONO JACK cable?? I mean the MS4 Footswitch has a tuner function, a user programable preset selector bank, an up-down preset selector bank, an effects selector/on-off bank, AND an LED display without any power supply or battery compartment. But then you can piggy-back to that all the stuff that the EXP-1 Pedal can do as well. :confused: Wow, technology has really come a long long way! :eek:

    Nice! I can get rid of the extra cable when my usual volume pedal is connected between my guitar and amp input.

    When doing rapid swells, I'm a little bit concerned that I might push down too hard and activate that switch I can see underneath the pedal plate. Does it have enough resistance to prevent that from happening too easily? My volume pedal doesn't have a switch, so I'm used to leaning on it hard.

    Sorry to be a pain… the EXP-1 isn't available in my country and so I have to import one without any chance of testing it first.



    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014

  11. Danomo

    Danomo Tele-Holic

    894
    Mar 31, 2014
    Chicago
    Twangy,

    You won't accidentally activate it, it's very "tip of toe" push required. Step one of setting it up is calibrating the toe tap (you can't even use it until you do that).
    I've had the exp1 since Xmas 2012, and while I do like it, it's the one I pull out the least. If I was gigging, it would be a different story.

    I was hoping it would replace using the WHAMMY from my Digitech RP 255 (it's the only effect I use from it since I got the Mustang (well... That and the drum machine). It's one of the few "close but no cigar" features of the Mustang... Just not as predictable a response as the Digitech. Since Digitech created Whammy, I suppose it's logical they do it better in their stuff.

    I do have the Exp 1 programmed for specific effects on multiple presets, but mostly for volume or drive.

    On the footswitch cabling: You're thinking "signal chain" or "keyboard matrix" and that it should have at least 4 wires to do the job, instead, think USB, you only need two signal wires, all that matters is you connect them correctly. You won't break anything if you connect them wrong, it just won't work correctly (device is not where it's "expected").
     

  12. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder

  13. sulaco

    sulaco Tele-Meister

    270
    Aug 24, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    question for EXP1 users

    let's say I want to set it to be amp gain and wah

    The button that switches between which one the EXP is controlling is at the toe of the pedal?

    so, that means I can only use wah when the amp gain has been pushed to 10? what if I wanted to keep amp gain where it's at (clean or mild gain, instead of full gain) but use wah?

    or what if I'm using it for gain and volume? when I'm going to the toe to switch modes, I have to max out whichever one I'm currently on before I can switch to the other one? like if I wanted to suddenly switch to gain so I can back it off a bit, I have to push it all the way forward on the vol control and push vol to max, then hit the switch and start rocking the gain back down?

    that seems like a crippling design flaw. please tell me I'm wrong about all this.
     

  14. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    ^ I thought about that too, sulaco. Although in the way I'm used to doing things, depressing an expression pedal to switch-in or out isn't going to be an issue.

    -

    However, in setting up my MS4 Footwitch I ran into a major snag - that's making me rethink this whole exercise (of getting rid of my effects pedals entirely). I just found out last night that I absolutely dislike the built-in Chorus effects in the Mustang :(

    Every other effects module in the Mustang is great - I love the Overdrives and the Delays are OK. Reverb selection is fantastic - but boy, I can't get a decent sound out of the Chorus. The chorus effect is either under-cooked or bizarre. :eek:

    If I'm still gonna have to bring my fav Chorus pedal (and 9v supply) then it kinda defeats the purpose. Still trying to find a way around this.

    Is there a way to import a better sounding Chorus module into the Mustang??
     

  15. Tle4

    Tle4 Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 28, 2010
    Warrington, Pa. USA

    I don't really use the effects much but I find sometimes moving the fx in fuse after the preamp helps them out a lot
     

  16. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    I agree about the placement of the onboard Mustang pedals too.
    I discovered that Mustang's compressor sounds better after the preamp too,
    at least for me and how I've got it set up.

    Even so, I wouldn't be bothered by dragging along one or two of your favorite pedals. It beats bringing a whole pedal board.

    I've got a couple pedals that are too unique sounding, that I wouldn't expect to try an emulate with the Mustang. It's possible, that with the right set up, EQ and placement that I might be able to get very close with what's onboard the Mustang, but it's so much easier for me to just to hook one or two pedals that I'm already very familiar with.

    I do see your point though. Ultimately, it would be nice to have the Mustang's capabilities take away the need to hook up ANY pedals.
    I'm not there yet. :)
     

  17. sulaco

    sulaco Tele-Meister

    270
    Aug 24, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    So my fears are correct about switching between modes on the EXP1? I have to max out one to get to the toe so I can switch over to the other? God, that's a complete and total deal breaker. Severely limits the pedal's usefulness in my book. They could just have easily put the switch off to the side to let me select modes manually without having to go to maximum-heel.
     

  18. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    [​IMG]

    Yeah, doesn't look like the switch can be relocated either (there's no room).

    I've had a look at wah wah pedals, and just about all of them seem to have the switch in the same configuration. Other expression multi-purpose pedals don't seem to have any switching at all (not even off to the side). Maybe Fender followed existing convention to keep wahwah users happy. (Not me, I could never get the hang of the wah :lol: I'm strictly volume pedal only, ha) I suppose for those used to having the switch under the pedal, it would be equally distracting to lift off to hit a switch and then return back.

    I discovered that the MS4 footswitch (when switched to the third row down) will activate the effects modules available on the current preset selected. So I'm wondering if the wah, overdrive, pitch shift, etc., capabilities of the EXP-1 can be switched on and off from there? I'm guessing the switch under the EXP-1 pedal itself doesn't turn it on and off but rather swaps user-defined effects instead?

    Hopefully an EXP-1 user can chime in and clarify...
     

  19. 9fingers

    9fingers Tele-Meister

    151
    Nov 11, 2012
    WV
    Here's a new wrinkle: I have the 4 button switch & Exp pedal & find them quite useful. I recently picked up a used Floor for less than I paid for the 4 button & Exp. I plug it into the effects return on the Mustang III (v1 in my case so I'm not losing anything), so I'm using M III as power amp & speaker. The tones are the same excellent tones from the Floor and the switching is way easier and more flexible.
    There is a lot more space between switches on the Floor, the Exp pedal is right there, the switches do more and I have an actual text display right at my feet.
    Plus if the amp goes down I have a backup right there with the xlr outs of the Floor. (Or if the Floor goes out I have the MIII with spare switches for backup)
    I think I have a "new" rig!
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014

  20. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    GAS Alert!

    OH, you're such a TEASE!! :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
     

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