Last week I excitedly took delivery of my new Fender G-Dec 3 Thirty guitar amp. In this post I'm going to write up a review of my experiences with it in its first week.
I chose this amp for home practice and for playing with other musicians in rehearsals and small concerts. The main features that made my decision are the sound quality and versatility coupled with reasonable power and the built-in backing tracks that I think will make practice with a backing band simple.
Introduction to the G-Dec 3
Just in case you don't already know the Fender G-Dec 3 Thirty amplifier is here's a quick rundown of the main features:
- 30W modelling amplifier with effects – 100 editable presets
- Plays mp3 or wav backing tracks – 100 high-quality built-in tracks – pitch and tempo shifter controls
- Phrase sampler and looper with overdub
- You can download more presets and backing tracks from Fender’s G-Dec web site
OK, now you know what I'm talking about here's my review so far.
Setting up, plugging in and switching on out of the box was really easy. There are lots of features but you don't need to read a manual or fiddle with endless dials to start playing.
The sound quality of the amp is really very good. Purists would say it's not a proper tube amp, but it costs less, is much lighter and smaller, and has many more features that are really useful for practice at home and elsewhere.
The amp is over-powered for home-only use, no need to push the volume much higher than 2, but I knew this and wanted the extra head-room for use in band situations. There’s a 15W model that would be plenty if you’ll use it at home only.
I’ve used the amp at one band practice this week with drums and found that it’s plenty loud enough. I didn’t need to turn up the volume higher than 5.
Finally, the built-in chromatic tuner is really useful and easy to use.
In play mode a dial on the front of the amp lets you select any of the 100 built-in presets and backing track pairs and jam away to your heart's content. Couldn’t be simpler.
The included presets and tracks offer a lot of choice in different styles – I found it quite bewildering at first. I keep a little sheet of paper and a pencil handy to note down favourite presets and backing tracks I discover.
Among the 100 presets there are a number of styles and sounds that I wouldn't normally attempt to play. I know I can replace these with tracks and sounds to suit my tastes so it doesn't bother me; it's even quite fun to experiment with them.
Quick Access Mode
Once I had found my way around some of the presets in play mode I found that I can use the quick access mode to play the backing tracks with a different guitar preset than the one proposed in play mode. This is useful as you can select your favourite guitar sound and then use it to play along with any backing track.
One thing that pleasantly surprised me is the quality of the acoustic models. They sound good with an electric guitar and also make for a great acoustic amp when plugging in an acoustic. There are some very nice acoustic backing tracks to play with too.
This amp is a huge amount of fun, once I start to play I just don't notice time pass. It has lots of great features that are all very easy to use on the amp. I'm looking forward to many happy hours of playing and to trying out more sounds and backing tracks that I will download using the included Fender software.
Strong points of this amp:
- Great sound and range of power
- Features - everything you need is at your fingertips in one box
- Easy to use
Weak points or disappointments:
- None so far