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Mustang III getting swallowed up in live situation...any advice?

Discussion in 'Modeling Amps, Plugins and Apps' started by StrangerNY, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Tele-Afflicted

    I bought a used Mustang III a few weeks ago, and I really like the modeling and effects options. But I'm having a problem in live situations - it just seems unable to cut through the rest of the band.

    I read up here a lot on the amp before I took the plunge, and just about every comment I saw said that the MIII had plenty of power to keep up in a band situation, and now I'm mystified.

    Am I in a band that's playing way louder than the rest of the world? Does everyone else mic up their amp? Am I missing something as far as optimizing output of the amp?

    Any advice would be appreciated. I love the sound of the amp, but I'm a little disappointed that it just doesn't seem to have the muscle to get the job done. Thanks in advance.

    - D
    Kevboss likes this.

  2. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

    Jun 24, 2004
    Anderson, IN
    This is just one of the reasons people use tube amps. I won't list 'em all, I type too slowly...

  3. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    You should have no problem routing it thru PA.
    I gig with less than 20 watts against 200 watts of bass with no issue. I would probably want more if 'clean' didn't mean acoustic guitar time.
    Tony Forman likes this.

  4. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2011
    los angeles
    I never had that problem, but it's impossible to say if it;s your band being too loud since i never heard you. But if thats the case you must be damn loud, and if so my advice would be mic it. The other and probably more likely reason is mids. If you aren't using enough mids your sound won't cut thru no matter how loud you go. What model and settings are you using?
    privatesalt, Jim Dep and Tony Forman like this.

  5. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Tele-Afflicted

    I've got a few tube amps, so I'm covered there. But I gig a fair amount with a few different bands, so the MIII serves a couple of different purposes - it covers a lot of ground sonically, and it doesn't weigh much.

    Giving the choice between doing three gigs a week with either a Marshall half stack or a Super 60, I'd rather be lugging the MIII around.

    - D
    privatesalt and Staypuft1652 like this.

  6. jenos

    jenos Tele-Meister

    Mar 28, 2012
    Columbia, SC
    It should be loud enough. Do you have other guitarists in the band competing in the same frequencies as you? What Style of music do you play? Higher gain stuff with this amp on its own will struggle to cut through without a lot of added mids.

    I would suspect the answer lies somewhere in the volume of amp model you are using and the EQ. Some models at max volume won't be as loud as others do to their programming and whatnot.

    I hope some of this was useful, good luck.

  7. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Tele-Afflicted

    Not always an option. I play theaters and casinos with a couple of bands, so it's not a problem there. But other gigs are in smaller clubs where micing up isn't really an option in those situations.

    - D

  8. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Tele-Afflicted

    It depends on the band. I'm using the Deluxe model most of the time (in those situations I'm the only guitarist), and it gets by in those bands. My rock band has a second guitarist and I'm using the 70s and 80s Marshall models with relatively low gain (and lots of mids), and that's where it struggles. I don't use the more modern high gain models at all, because they turn to mush pretty quickly.

    But overall, there's not a whole lot of headroom to be had. I really wish Fender would have put an extension cabinet jack in, that might help if I could move a little more air.

    - D

  9. 9fingers

    9fingers Tele-Meister

    Nov 11, 2012
    Hmm, My MIII v2 gets scary loud and has no trouble cutting through. Are you talking about on-stage volume or FOH volume? How much reverb are you using? A distortion tone will not cut in a dense mix like a cleaner tone. Maybe try less gain still on the Marshall models? Or try the Fender4life thing: a Bassman model and 4x12 cab sim. Drive the Bassman with an OD or Greenbox with the drive set low and the level high - gets great Marshall type tones. Just some ideas.
    A 1x12 is obviously not going to move as much air as a Marshall half stack if your band is really loud and dense.
    SaintSilas, Dismalhead and StrangerNY like this.

  10. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    Do you have an acoustic amp? Mic to that?
    I should think it simple enough to to add the $8 Jack and run a 2-12 extension, also.
    I bet your band mates are getting their OD thru preamp saturation, they could throttle back with some pedal ODs instead.
    StrangerNY likes this.

  11. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    I'm gonna say either something's wrong with the amp, you guys are SUPER loud, or you're using a setting without any balls that's clashing with someone else's frequencies. My bandmate uses a Mustang III and it can reach ear busting levels if he wants it to. Does one of you have a decibel meter?
    privatesalt likes this.

  12. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    You shouldn't have any problems using it live. Boosting your mids, like F4Life said helps it stick out in the mix. For example, a Peavey Classic 30 / Delta Blues has a BOOST button intended for players to use live. A popular misconception was this button boosts the volume, but what it does is boost the mids. It doesn't sound that great with it on when practicing by yourself at home, but does get the amp to cut through when playing live. You can get the same result with the Mustang by making separate presets for live work with the upper mids boosted.

    I have a few friends that use the Mustang 3 as their primary amp for gigging. One is the lead guitarist in a band featuring 2 guitars, bass, drums, multi keyboards and a percussionist with a full set of congas / timbales , and the Mustang cuts through no problem. He only mics it for playing larger rooms.

    Try using the 4 x 12 cab for all presets or keep the cab sim off. Have you played around with the BIAS and SAG settings ? Another suggestion and one that will get you over the top is to use an EQ pedal in your effects loop to boost the frequencies you like and pull down the ones you don't and use the level boost. If you play with a lot of distortion, the EQ pedal will clean up the mids and boost the bottom end, making the power chords very full without being muddy. The EQ pedal will absolutely work if boosting the mids on the presets isn't enough.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017

  13. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 2, 2006
    You can get free Android db meter apps, I'm sure iPhone has the same. Might be worth measuring.

  14. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    This is what I use nearly all the time on my MIII, no problems cutting through
    rburd2 likes this.

  15. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    I have the same issue with my Modeling amp Vox VT40+

    60 watts, through a 102dB speaker, Mids dimed. Here's the thing... It sounds extremely loud, on its own, but ends up getting lost in a live mix so easily, even when I added a second amp, in stereo. My tube amps dont have this problem for whatever reason.

  16. rburd2

    rburd2 Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 13, 2016
    Georgia, US
    Another vote to try out the Bassman model with a 4x12 cab. It's one of the first settings I made. The 60s British (Vox) seems to cut through okay in my experience.

  17. SaintSilas

    SaintSilas Tele-Meister

    Live you will need to EQ differently than in home I have found...a bit less gain and reverb as well as upping those mids. The Mustang 3 should have enough balls unless your guys playing volume is like The Who.
    privatesalt, Jim Dep and JasonKingsX like this.

  18. JasonKingsX

    JasonKingsX Tele-Meister

    May 15, 2017
    Something else I've found I've found useful is to hook up a drum machine in the Aux In. Get a beat going, crank up the amp and play along. It'll give you some idea of how it'll sound live with other stuff going on. The busier the beat the better. I've had killer sounding presets that were created/played solo fail this simple test.

    It would be nice if someone created the equivalent to the Fletcher-Munson based loudness used in stereo gear but geared toward guitar amplifiers. I'd like to see it variable like on old Yamaha home stereo preamplifiers. That way you could make it sound great at normal practice and preset writing levels and at a late night whisper levels too. Turn it off when playing live/loud and get consistent tone throughout. Sure would make things easier.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
    privatesalt, Jim Dep and SaintSilas like this.

  19. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

    May 23, 2010
    New York
    That's a clever idea, I'll have to try that. :)
    JasonKingsX likes this.

  20. brobar

    brobar Tele-Holic

    May 30, 2017
    Do you still have the stock speaker in your Mustang? I swapped out the stock speaker in my Mustang MIII v2 with an Eminence Swamp Thang and not only does it just sound better overall (which it already sounds great stock), it is noticeably louder! I can't quantify how much louder (I never tested with a decibel meter), but I do find myself having to use a whole level or level and a half less on the master volume.
    StrangerNY and JasonKingsX like this.

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