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

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

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

  1. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    This whole issue would've been avoided with a Morley licensed pedal enclosure. Switches on the side and a nice long sweep.

  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    I spent some time last night setting up my pedals to the 4 button switch locked in mode 1 and the 2 button switch for modulation/reverb. Seems like it should work well for me this way, I also set up trem and reverb on my main presets on the amp in such a way that the preset is dry but I can switch on trem or verb. The trem took some fiddling with to avoid level loss when engaged.

    I'll just switch out the three main presets depending on what band I'm gigging with,which will mainly be either my honkytonk band, or my punk band.

    Honkytonk= "Rockabilly Train" factory preset (modified quite a bit), Dumble preset snagged off the fuse site, and Cranked Deluxe.
    Punk=AC/DC(modified "Aussie Rock"), Cranked Bassman/Rat, and the Basic 90s stack. I am thinking of adding the pawn shop model with fuzz on it, for those real trashy Wray-esque musical(?) moments
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014

  3. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    I was thinking of getting an EXP-1 and then this:

    If there's a weakness in the 2/4 button footswitch setup, it's trying to remember what preset number is what.

    Also I do love the idea of rolling to a venue with just the Floor under my arm, and my guit over my shoulder.

    Dang. I can get a Floor used for less than twice what I can get the EXP-1 for, new.
    Getting the Floor seems to be the no-brainer thing to do, here (assuming they sound the same, which obviously depends on what you run the Floor through)

  4. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    Whoa! Thanks for this great suggestion!

    I'll be looking for a floor model now! :)

  5. 9fingers

    9fingers Tele-Meister

    Nov 11, 2012
    It makes switching & controlling really easy Jim.

  6. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Friend of Leo's

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    Hey guys, I just got an EXP-1 pedal!

    Man, I'm so impressed with the build quality and how smooth and light the pedal pivot action is… and oh, the volume transition is very nice and even indeed. And just like you guys said - NO tone-suck whatsoever!! Perfect size too (for my feet anyway), not too big - and smaller than what I expected actually, from the photos I've seen. I'm so glad it not made of plastic (for some reason I thought the upper foot pedal was) - it's a weighty solid metal unit that stays planted on the floor.

    At first I was horrified because the the volume transition was just too abrupt - until I remembered ux4484 mentioning something about calibrating the pedal first. Thanks for the heads-up! I was actually thinking of sending it back - so I'm glad I remembered your comment, and I did a google search.

    Not something I could've figured out on my own. If anyone else wants to try one of these, you really do need to follow the advanced manual (page 10 and 11). Here's a link:

    What's even more impressive is that I can programme the volume sweep characteristic - the minimum and maximum volume levels and where they begin and end within the pedal stroke, wow! I've set the expression mode to off because I just want to use it as a volume pedal for now (so no accidental switching). When the light is green, I know the volume pedal is on - and when it's red, I know it just acts like a by-pass.

    I'm really pleased with the EXP-1 as a volume pedal! Thanks for all the input guys… probably the best volume pedal I've ever tried so far.

  7. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    TDPRI Member

    Join Date: Nov 2012
    Location: WV
    Posts: 40

    Originally Posted by Jim Dep View Post
    Whoa! Thanks for this great suggestion!

    I'll be looking for a floor model now!
    It makes switching & controlling really easy Jim."

    Yep, I've not touched my 2 or 4 switch since I've acquired a floor. I had been considering the EXP 1 pedal but I found a floor used for only slightly more than what the pedal would have cost me. The Floor has some limitations, but it gives you I'd say 90% of the sound options that the MIII does, minus the actual speaker of course. And the ease of useability/control/access of the Floor is exponentially greater than running the MIII just with switches

  8. garyd5158

    garyd5158 Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 8, 2008
    I use the MS4 with my G-DEC 3 thirty. It made the amp much more usable and enjoyable. It's made practice sessions more fun. They should just include the pedal with amp. I had the amp for over a year without the pedal. After getting the pedal, the amp became a practice tool, easy to access channels, backing tracks and parameters without having to put my guitar down.

    I may just get a Mustang III when I see one at a discounted price.

  9. Danomo

    Danomo Tele-Holic

    Mar 31, 2014
    Glad to be of service TW!

    I don't know about yours, but mine had THREE labels/inserts that said something about calibrating it before the first use (one stuck right to the pedal face), though I got mine two years ago for Xmas.

    Since it's part of a USB control chain (not a signal path), there's no tone/volume suck possible. A week or so ago, I recall seeing on the Fender Fanatics FB page, a nice platform someone made for their MIII's pedals, he added a A/B switch to switch cabs.

  10. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Friend of Leo's

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    No stickers on mine for some reason. :neutral: :confused: I did read the leaflet that came with the box, but I didn't see anything about pre-calibration (just warranty guff).

    I also discovered this morning that I can also pre-programme the red light expression channel to be a Volume Pedal too. So that way, even if I press too hard and I accidentally switch over from green to red channel, it still works as a volume pedal! :D

    Anyway, I'm stoked! I've now gone from this…


    to this…


    …and the new set-up pretty much does the same thing - BUT with no clutter, no tangled-up cables all over the place, no 9V power supply… and most of all no tone-suck and no noise!

    I didn't know what you meant before, but yes… I get it now. The cable from the amp to the 4 button footswitch and EXP-1 pedal is NOT a signal chain. The EXP-1 pedal actually has all the positive characteristics of an 'active' volume pedal - BUT the circuitry is in the motherboard of the amp itself. The cable from the back of the Mustang III to the pedals isn't even shielded - it's just an ordinary duplex wire cable! Just brilliant...

  11. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Friend of Leo's

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    There might be ways around this because the pedal is so versatile - due to the transition sweep characteristic being programmable. Here's what I've discovered so far:

    • The sweep direction is reversible - you can have the toe-down to be the max and the heel-down position to be minimum - OR visa versa.

    • The intensity levels are programmable - you can nominate if the sweep begins from zero (or at any level above zero) - AND if you want the sweep to end at maximum (or at any level before maximum).

    • You can programme the min/max sweep to occur at any part of the pedal "stroke" - let's say the full range (from heel down to toe down) - OR just from midway to toe down (which will make the sweep quicker obviously).

    • The pedal characteristic can be set as universal (will work the same for ALL amp preset channels) OR can be set to be 'channel-specific.' Meaning you can dial-in totally different pedal sweep functions that will be specifically activated when you switch from one amp pre-set to the next.

    I haven't had time to figure it out fully yet, so I'm not sure if you can programme the red and green channels to be any expression effect (amp gain, delay, stomp, pitch shift, wah-wah, reverb). If this is possible, then you can programme the pedal to max-out at mid-gain for example (on toe down) in order to switch over to wah-wah - which would leave your amp gain at mid-way as it exits and enters into the wah channel. You can also save the exact same amp preset - but with a completely different pedal configuration. So switching from one amp preset to another would be the exact same amp sim - BUT with an entirely different pedal effects and sweep set-ups.

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014

  12. garyd5158

    garyd5158 Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 8, 2008
    And I'll have to get an expression pedal too. Thanks guys I feel GAS coming on.

  13. John Thigpen

    John Thigpen Tele-Meister

    May 10, 2003
    Hendersonville, NC
    I got the four button switch to use with my GDEC 3 Thirty. It worked great at first, but now the far right button sticks pretty badly, and the switch works pretty erratically as a result. What can someone suggest to repair it? I'm afraid that these are so inexpensive that it may not be worth repairing, but that seems like such a waste.

  14. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Friend of Leo's

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    Why not trying spraying the neck of the faulty button with electronic contact cleaner (the ones with a light lube, not the dry-freeze ones). WD40 or CRC might even work??

    Otherwise open the MS4 and see if the switches are replaceable types and easily re-soldered. If not, they're pretty cheap like you said, so just buy another one (even a used one) and you can keep the old footswitch for spare parts.

  15. Scott57

    Scott57 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    May 4, 2008
    I just purchased the Mustang III v2 this past Saturday but I know it's definitely a keeper. So much so, I just ordered the 4 button footswitch and the expression pedal for it. The more I keep reading about what these items can do, the more excited I get.

  16. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Friend of Leo's

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    Easy does it...

    Hey, congrats Scott!

    One of the things I felt intimidated by (at first) is the seemingly endless scope of what my Mustang III v2 can do - without even bringing the MS4 and the EXP-1 into the mix.

    Young players these days seem to have no trouble taking-in all of these things, all at the same time. I'm old school :neutral: :oops: so I made a conscious decision to ease myself into it. I made sure I was well versed and comfortable with what seems to be the fine-art of creating really good presets - I kept at it, until I absolutely adored what I was hearing. I'm a bit slow, so this took a while. Only then did I start messing around with footswitching various channels and effects. I also deliberately held back on the EXP-1 until now.

    This way, every time the Mustang III boggles my mind... it's been a positive experience (I get to admire it, rather than get overwhelmed by it).

    Enjoy your new rig mate! And don't let anyone tell you the Mustang III isn't a 'real' amp...

  17. flipintheuib

    flipintheuib TDPRI Member

    Aug 30, 2015
    balearic islands
    Modding the EXP-1

    I took apart the expression pedal to determine if I could detach the switch an relocate it. What I found was that it's directly connected (soldered) to the main circuit board so I think is not a good idea to try to detach it.

    However, I noticed that it would be possible to solder two wires to the main circuit board in order to add another switch outside the expression pedal. This is, I would be able to switch between the volume function and the "expression" function without touching the pedal and also -and this is the important part- without changing the volume or the "expression".

    My main worries are that by doing that, perhaps the pedal will misbehave. Do you know if anyone has tried to do it?

  18. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles

    Yes ! I'm shocked to hear someone had the exact same idea but I did that exact thing ! I can still use the EXP as normal, but i have a footswitch housing i took for another amp and stuck it in there so i can simply hit a switch and go a given degree of volume boost. I set the EXP so the expression function is turned off and the volume function is set so both heel and toe are the same value, just a bit less than full. So when i hit the switch i get a slight volume boost when needed. Thats the way i always had a setup with my tubes amps and gigged like that for years so i wanted the same thing. Plus i can use the pedal any way i want with other patches. I rarely gig anymore but i wanted that for the rare instances i do.

    I also did a few other things. I put a LED in the housing for that button and paralleled it with the LED in the EXP the same way i did with the switch. Then i hacked up the 2 button switch and put it in that housing. Lots of issues with how to do that and it was a bit complicated so i'm not going to try and describe it. I also took the stomp function button out of the fender 4 button and put it in that footswitch housing because thats the only function on the 4 button i need all the time. Main reason for this extra footswitch housing with fender functions from the 2 and 4 button switch installed in this housing was to get room between the buttons because the fender buttons are much too close. The other reason was to have all the functions i used regularly up front and easily accessible.

  19. TwangyWhammy

    TwangyWhammy Friend of Leo's

    Jan 10, 2014
    Under the DownUnder
    Your mind is both fearfully and wonderfully made, F4L! ;)

  20. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    And in a few minutes it will be wonderfully inebriated. :D

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