Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

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Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby blues stringer » Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:51 pm

Okay, I've learned enough here and elsewhere to know I'm going to want a good tube amp, eventually. But I'm starting from square one and need something that will help me practice effectively. And something I can play at low volumes in the house.

I've been reading about the little Fender G-DEC that has a lot of presets, including several blues progression loops with drum and bass accompaniment. Anyone here used one of these and have an opinion on whether it will help me climb the learning curve any quicker?

Any other comments about practice amps would be appreciated, as well.

Thanks in advance for your input...
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RE: Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby telemonkey » Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:08 pm

I've only tried one in the store. A friend of mine bought one for his daughter and she really liked it.
Personally, I allready have a drum machine (with bass) and a 8 track digital recorder so I can make my own backing tracks along with some backing blues tracks I've bought on CD.
Anyway, my opinion is yes, it's kind of nice and useful and practicing along with it will to a degree probally help a beginner out quite a bit. It's reasonably priced and super portable.
The only thing I didn't like was that for me, more than 75% of the backing track stuff would never get used. Just didn't like them.
Another route (that I use a lot) is the Behringer V-amp and a drum machine (and sometimes portable cd player). The v-amp, besides being just a really useful gadget and lots of fun, has a stereo input with a seperate volume knob for mixing in your guitar with the cd/drum machine/DVD, whatever and works great for practicing along with headphones.
It also (when you turn of the cabinet simuations, or put it in mode "L1" of "L2", (read the manual)can give you some really good sounds live through your amp (or better yet, a PA). Also works great for recording, has mono or stereo out.
It has nice, reasonable amp sims good effects, really nice reverb etc.
Not saying that the GDEC isn't a bang for your buck, just saying that as just an amp, it's lacking and as a amp modeler/effect box it isn't as nice or flexible as other products. Really the only thing it has is backing tracks, most of which sound weak.
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RE: Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby blues stringer » Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:38 pm

Thanks, telemonkey. I'll look into the V-amp. What kind of drum machine do you recommend and what would one expect to pay for one?
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RE: Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby cllvt » Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:11 pm

Stringer,

I have heard good things about the little Fender. I think I will probably get one at some point, as I do think it will help climbing the curve. People that have one tell me they use them a lot, and find they are playing more than they did before getting one.

I have a X V-amp - the floor/pedal model. I like a lot of things about it, but it has some annoying habits (like the volume not returning to previous levels after using the pedal sometimes, etc.) and to tweak the effects isn't real straight-forward. I use it mostly alone (not plugged into an amp) with a set of earphones plugged in, and it sounds really great like that (which some amps with earphone plugs don't). It was worth the $70 for that alone.

I could create some backing tracks, and buy a drum machine, etc. but I have not, and I think it would just be simpler for me to turn on the G DEC and play. Everyone has their own preferences, no rights or wrongs here, but the less time I spend getting ready to play/practice, the better it works for me. I try and keep everything accessible, ready to go so if I have a few minutes, I "hop onto a guitar and go". I think the Fender would suit that best for me.

ZOOM has a floor model multi-effects pedal deal (the ZOOM G2.1u) which Guitar Player reviewed recently. It's similar to my X V-Amp, but it has drum tracks on it. It got a pretty good review, you might want to check that out if you are leaning towards that type of set-up. I think they go for about $170 but there may be better deals out there.

Another option would be something similar in the Digitech line like the DigiTech RP50 Modeling Guitar Processor which has effects, onboard drum, and is only $60.

I guess I better shut-up, as I am starting to feel like a salesman, but I guess the point is that there are a lot of options out there, it's a kind of personal thing to figure out what will suit you best.
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RE: Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby telemonkey » Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:40 pm

I use an old out of production yamaha drum machine that I've had for about 8 years or so. It suits my purposes, though I'll probbally move up to a nicer one soon as I've been using it a lot lately. It sat unused for about three years and before that I used it on and off.
The main thing I like about it, is the bass programming is easy. The thing I don't like is not a lot of dynamic control. Most new machines these days have velocity sensitive pads and such. My old yamaha has work arounds, but it's annoying. This is my third drum machine, started with the old Roland Tr505. Honestly, the more experience you get with programming drum loops, and bass loops, the easier it gets. I can whip up a track pretty quick, store it and it's there when I want.
Look for a drum machine that has bass.

Musicians friend has the Dr. Rhythm DR3 for 179.99
[http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Drums/Percussion/Electronic/Drum/Machines?sku=700510]

also the V-amp 2 (which is what I have) for 99.99
[http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Guitar/Effects?sku=480674]

so together your talking 280 bucks. The Gdec goes for 269.99, so we're only talking 10 bucks more.

There are some who will say that always playing with a drum machine (or metronome) can be counter productive to developing your own internal timing and your ability to play in time with others (who will be less precise than a drum machine). I kind of believe this a little, so balance is the key. Having said that, I still beleive practicing to a steady beat sometimes (whether a metronome, a drum machine, a recording, whatever) will deffinetly improve your playing and timing.
here's a recording I made with my V-amp and Drum/bass machine...sorry it's not really blues, just something I was fooling around with.
[http://media.putfile.com/secret89] I'll post some blues later.

As for the GDEC, it's still a nice option. Very straightfoward and easy to use. Nice to have everything in one package. You should really try one before you decide or buy. Find a shop carrying it and spend a little time playing with it.
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RE: Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby cllvt » Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:14 pm

Yup, as telemonkey says, try one out. Seems like some basic decisions here... do you have any amp now? If not, you might want to go ahead and get the G DEC, and have it for a practice amp for now, and maybe hang onto it for fun, and back-up/travel. I still hang onto my little practice amp for when I travel, it's easy to pack and if it were to get damaged somehow, it's not a big deal.
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RE: Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby ofcluke534 » Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:44 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-23-06 AT 11:47 AM (EST)]I found the Digitech Rpx-300 (guitar center around 250) is a good pre-amp with 120 realistic pre-sets and comes with pro tracks is a good "sit around the house with headphones" deal. It has the drum machine, mic plug ins, and every setting is "wah friendly" I tried out quite a few Fender amps, and for some reason they don't suit my primary guitar, which oddly is a 78 Fender telecaster deluxe. Maybe it's the double coils?
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RE: Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby jellyroll baker » Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:37 am

I take it you have a computer. Now, thee are scads of free software drum machines floating around on the net that you can use for backing tracks. Just go to google or shareware.com and do a quick search. Might save you a few dollars.
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RE: Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby blues stringer » Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:43 am

Guys,

I was out all day and I'm just now catching up on your comments. I appreciate all the input, which is very helpful.
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RE: Fender G-DEC, Anyone?

Postby guitarsmurf » Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:56 pm

As a practice amp it should do just fine.

Fender now has some cool soundclips, played by the wonderful Greg Koch.
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