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Fender’s G-Dec 3 Thirty Blues Guitar Amp

The ultimate practice tool or just plain fun? (Or both?)

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Fender G-DEC 3 Thirty Blues

Play-along technology has always evolved with the times-from well-worn Jamey Aebersold LPs through cassette playback and the digital and online revolutions. Over the past half-decade, Fender’s G-DEC guitar amps-the name stands for Guitar Digital Entertainment Center-have presented yet another paradigm shift. In one tidy, solid-state-drive-toting box, the company offers a seemingly endless selection of tones and jam-along loops, and piles on even more possibilities via included software. This year’s special-run Blues edition of the G-DEC 3 Thirty ($400 online), with its focus on American roots styles and their ilk, is the model most JazzTimes readers will want.

There’s a lot going on with this machine, so let’s cover the basics. The Blues pumps 30 solid-state watts through a 10-inch speaker encased in a cabinet covered in blonde vinyl. A front control panel includes input and headphone jacks, skirted knobs that control tone and volume, a mini-USB port and a slot for an SD storage card. (More jacks are around back: second guitar, line out, optional footswitch, aux.) In the center of the panel are a display screen, the much-used encoder knob, and soft buttons that do everything from tweak guitar sounds and backing tracks to control phrase sampling and overdubbing and operate a chromatic tuner.

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