I’ve never been a massive fan of Fender’s line of solid state and tube amplifiers, but like their guitars (which I love, before you flame me in the comments section), they’ve got a dedicated and fanatical fan base of folks that know their stuff when it comes to good guitar tone. I’ve played a Vox AC30 for several years, and I couldn’t be more satisfied, but I decided to check out one of Fender’s offerings, the G-DEC, because it touts itself as a “next generation” amp. That’s a claim that’s worth evaluating, eh? Here’s a review of the Fender G-DEC guitar amp.
Before talking about the tone, I’m going to step out of order and mention the effects, because they’re integral to the idea behind this amp. The Fender G-DEC has an onboard computer with 6 amp simulations and a variety of tweaks to let you sound like basically anything on a recording. Now, you won’t sound quite as good as Page or Frampton, even if you can play like them, because the simulations aren’t perfect, but the ability to snap from one tone to the next is exhilarating and makes it feel like you’ve got thirty amps in one. The tone of the little 15W amp and 8″ speaker is admirable, all things considered. Gimmicky? Sure. Fun? Hell yes, it’s Fender fun, the kind of good time that made you pick up a guitar in the first place.
This amp was made for practicing, and the G-DEC is pretty much exclusively useful for that purpose (not that that’s a bad thing). In addition to the tone variation I mentioned, the amp gives you about 50 types of backing tracks with a drum machine, basslines, and more, to help you practice in a variety of styles. I tired of this pretty quickly in my in-store demo, but I can’t help thinking that as a songwriter, I’d really appreciate the ability to have those fake instruments (especially the drum machine) right on the amp. There are controls to change tempo and key and an easy to navigate menu.
Make no mistake about it, when you’re buying a Fender amp, you’re paying a bit for the name (in this case, the gimmick, too–the cost of the amp is $250, give or take, much more than a typical practice amp), but that doesn’t mean that the G-DEC isn’t a great value, especially that it gets pretty loud and the effects and computer make it a great practice tool. Like I pointed out at the beginning of this article, I’m not in the market for a new practice amp, but if I was looking, I’d certainly consider the G-DEC. It meets the budget and sound requirements of hobbyists, and whether you’re starting out or looking for something to get you enthused for your practices, it’s a good, fun little amplifier and worth recommending.
Have you played the G-DEC? Post in our comments section below.