Fender Mustang III speaker upgrade | Warehouse Guitar Speakers

Fender Mustang III speaker upgrade

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07/11/2011 6:14pm

I just bought a Fender Mustang III and am thinking of putting in a Retro 30 as an upgrade. It comes with a Celestion 12T-100. The 

Retro 30 is rated for 75 watts and the amp is 100 but they are solid state watts not tube so I'm thinking it's OK but would definitely

like some input. Thanks

07/12/2011 8:54am

I'd agree that the Vet 30 would probably hang just fine with the 75 SS watts.  You didn't mention your desired sound and/or music style ... do you want a somewhat marshallesque tone? Then the Vet 30 will help head you in that direction!  Another SERRIOUS consideration should be the new Liberator 80, I've been playing around with one this past week, and I've really been digging it!  It takes the warmth of an ET65, and adds the more urgent nature of a vintage Britt speaker ... the result is a very satisfying experience in a single 12!  Oh, and it'll easily handle the amps power, too.

07/12/2011 4:07pm

I'm leaning towards the Retro 30 purely based on sound samples, I like the low end and crisp highs that seem to balance out the mids. The Liberator sounds great too, just more aggressive mid-range. Clean sounds are pretty important to me so I'm trying to find a speaker thats balanced tonally.

07/19/2011 5:57pm

Hey Vaughn, I took your advice and looked into the Liberator and decided to give it a shot. Holy cow! I'm completely blown away!

The Celestion can't hold a candle to this speaker. Detail, sensitivity, tonal balance, girth, and presence - just amazing! It truly liberated the amp and made it sound much more expensive. With this speaker the Mustang III is the Manny Pacquiao of small combos. Pound for pound, very hard to beat. Thanks again for pointing me in this direction, I couldn't be happier! Sincerely, Jim Carter

02/08/2014 5:09am

I too am interested in a replacement of teh stock g12T100 speaker. To me it sounds very harsh. I'm looking for a speaker that will warm up the sound, and that will get rid of the harshness. I was wondering if the 100 watt version of the blackhawk would be a good choise. Of not, what would be?



02/08/2014 4:40pm

Hi Ronald,

It's hard to argue with the great results Jim had with the Liberator!  But, yes, I believe the Blackhawk HP would be an even better choice, if you can afford it, as it will also add that subtle yet beautiful top end smoothness that only Alnico has.

Another great option that was not available when this thread started is the ET-90 ... super big & warm sounding speaker for a 1x12!

Oh, and thanks for NOT starting a NEW thread on this amp ... hopefully more will follow suit :-)

02/10/2014 2:15am


Thank you for your reply.

As I understand you correclty, there are three options: Blackhawk HP, Liberator or ET-90. When I look at the wattage, the Liberator is 80 watts. The mustang III is 100 Watt. Is the speaker not underpowered for the amplifier?

Can you tell me the tonal differences between the three speakers? The main objective for me is to reduce the shrillness/harshness of the current G12T100 speaker. There is a certain metallic/digital harshness in there that I don't like. I'm looking for a smooth and warm sound without the shrillness.



02/10/2014 8:25pm

I can't find any real reference from Fender ... BUT ... WGS speakers are rated the old fashioned way, in true RMS wattage from tube amps ... whereas solid-state amps are generally given a rating much above what they actually deliver compared to classic tube amps.  For instance, a 100-watt 4-EL34 Marshall can easily maintain 100-watts continuous power with peaks well above.  Usually (but not always) a SS amp rated at 100-watts would only roughly compare to that of a 50-watt tube amp.  ... all that to say, any of these three should be safe.

Of the three, the Blackhawk HP would probably be your best bet at battling the "certain metallic/digital harshness" that you are hearing, followed by the ET-90 and then the Lib.

02/26/2014 9:40am

Well i finally made my desicion and bought the Blackhawk HP. 

Installation was quite easy. The only thing that is different with the mustang is the extra ground wire attached to the speaker housing. According to Fender this wire must not be electricaly conneced to the minus lug of the speaker. Fortunately this is not the case. The minus and the plus lugs are not connected to the housing.

The speaker is in there for a couple of days and is starting to break in. Not that ot sounds bad right out of the box. It sounds lovely. But after a while the highs become even more rounded. The sound of the speaker is thick,but not dar. Just warm. The highs are still in there and are very rounded. The metallic sound of the mustang is gone now. Very good.

Overall I'm very pleased with the results. Although a pricey spreaker it is a good choice. I'm just wondering how the ET-90 would have sounded. maybe WGS can send me one to try out????

Vaugh, i would like to thank you for your advice. Very helpfull and fast responces.



02/27/2014 1:08pm

Cool ... thanks so much for taking the time to post your results!

And, for the record ... isn't that Blackhawk HP the most GORGEOUS thing??? What a cool color powder-coat!

03/07/2014 1:08pm

For anyone who is courious, I bought a Mustang iii for practice upsatairs. (My studio is downstairs). I placed a new ET-90 in there, and boy did the lights finally come on. I don't get much use out of the  stock presets. But the price for a Mustang iii w an ET-90 in it, set to a beautiful Twin Reverb clean w slight Mono delay, 63' Reverb is worth the price and then some. My wife (who gets annoyed very easily) even commented on the sound. She thought a bought a very expensive practice amp. The cone cry from the Stock Celestion is pretty bad in certain circumstances. The Et-90 will warm it up, and it will tame those spikes that cause the perverbal cone cry. I highly recommend it. 

04/02/2014 6:45pm

Just installed an ET-90 in a Mustang III v1 & Holy Cow what a difference! I haven't tweaked any of my presets & the difference in tone & just the overall fullness is absolutley amazing & we're talkin' right out of the box not even close to being broken in. It's just so much more articulate than the stock Celestion. This took a pretty decent amp & tranformed it in to a great amp. I'll be back for any amp I want to replace the spreker(s) in ...guaranteed!


12/12/2014 12:20pm

This thread has been very helpful. I love my Mustang, but I thought a speaker upgrade would help me get a lot more out of this amp.

I play primarily instrumental surf and like the classic Fender black face amp sounds.

I was almost settled on the ET-90 when I came across the G12C/S.

Which do you think would give me closer to the Fender sound- or would the ET give me more versatility and better power handling overall?


12/18/2014 1:08pm

Man ... I'm gonna say stick w/the ET90!  The smooth-cone will probably be a little too woody/tweedy ...

01/08/2015 6:37pm

Hello all,

After seeing vaughns reviews and all the positive comments on this site re: the ET 90 - I took the plunge and replaced the stock Celestion Speaker in my Mustang III with the ET90.  

Wow am I impressed.  The improvements noticed - much more transparent, great articulation on clean and even slightly gritty settings, Improved output (volume level).  Sounds much more open now. Sounds fantastic on Marshall settings too- much thicker tone than original speaker.    

Really if you are sitting on the fence- it is a tremendous upgrade - at a quite reasonable price.  In fact I am so happy with the ET 90 that I am wondering about purchasing one for my other amp.    

Thanks WGS for the recommendations, the online reviews and especially for the great american made product! This is my second speaker purchase from you all and I will be back.  

Vince in Kentucky

02/22/2015 3:10pm

Another Fender Mustang III owner here, glad I found this thread.  I was considering purchasing a new amp soon but now after reading this I might try a speaker upgrade first to see what kind of improvement it makes.  I've found the same harsh/shrillness issues others have mentioned on the high freqs when turning this amp up to gig volumes.  I tend to use it on the 65 Twin Reverb setting to try to get that classic sparkly Fender clean tone and use OD pedals for dirt.  I play mostly blues & classic rock (SRV, Zeppelin, Black Crowes, Pearl Jam, etc).

The Blackhawk HP is a bit out of my budget for this but it sounds like several people are having good results with the ET90 speaker.  I'll probably follow that recommendation but since I'm a complete novice when it comes to this (never changed an amp speaker before), I'm curious what the difference would be or pros/cons from some of the other higher watt speakers.  For instance, how would the British Lead compare with the ET90?  Thanks!