If you're going to learn to play electric Guitar, you need a Guitar amplifier. Unlike an acoustic guitar, the sound that an electric makes requires amplification. Whether you're playing to yourself in your front room or in front of thousands.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of Guitar amplifiers. Solid state and tube amplifiers. The first type is cheaper to make and represents the bulk of the low and middle range markets. Tube amplifiers are usually expensive, though hybrid amps do also exist.
An electric guitar has pickups. Devices which capture the vibration of the strings and converts them to an electrical signal. It is this signal which is passed through the lead between the electric guitar and the amplifier. Additional devices can be brought into play, normally through a whole host of electric pedals, but this review is going to concentrate on the amp that I have.
Design and functionality
My Fender G-Dec Junior is (unsurprisingly) a solid state amplifier. Although Electric guitars will produce principal sounds based on their construction and the type of pickups they have, any amp will have a number of ways in which they can provide greater ranges of tones by further modifying the electrical signal passed through to them.
It has one channel and provides an output of up to 15 watts. If you are wondering how powerful that is, your neighbour would shortly be calling the police. In terms of a first practice amp, you will not need to turn the knob to 10, let alone 11.
The amp has a number of control knobs, namely Gain, Volume, Tone, Amp Type and Effects Select. Backing: Volume, Tempo, Key, Loop Select, Start/Stop. All very confusing, right? Here's the thing. You don't have to know what every button and widget does.
I used just the first four for a long time. Gain controls the level of distortion, Tone adds "cleanness" to the sound. Amp type is incredibly useful as it will imitate the sound of a number of historical Amplifiers. It won't do them as well as the originals, but it will give you the facility to dial in something that sounds a damn sight like your favourite artist.
It will imitate 16 Amp Types, including Tweed, Blackface, British, Hot Rod, Metal, Jazz, and Acoustic. This does include several settings on the same type; i.e. British 1 and British 2. The first setting is typically a softer sound of that type, the second louder and harsher.
Moving onto special effects. There are 15 Presets that will add a further dimension to what comes out of that front speaker, things like Flange and Tremolo, Reverb or Delay. The best thing to do is experiment. You will have that "click" when you recall a song you've heard that uses one of these.
There are also a number of loops available. These are drum or bass accompaniments. Sound patterns for Rock or Jazz or Blues, Latin, Hip-hop, metal. As an example, the drum pattern for rock will provide something you can happily jam along to.
You will also find an electronic metronome that can be set to different timings to help you improve your picking timings (plucking strings) which is very, very useful as different tracks will be written specifically for those tempos (i.e. 119 Beats Per Minute).
There is an electronic tuner that's actually the only function on here that's not very good. I would recommend buying a dedicated headstock tuner separately. Output is very good. This is a proper Fender amp, though there is sone hum and harshness at the high end. Considering the price, it is certainly acceptable.
Lastly, the amp itself is well built with a solidity that is very reassuring. I got mine as part of a pack with my strat, but these amps can be bought separately for as little as £99. I can think of few better choices to find your way around your first amp than this one.
Model Name: G-DEC® Junior
Amplifier Type: Solid State
Electronics Inputs: One
Auxiliary Input: AUX input for CD or MP3 play-along capability
Headphone Jack: 1/8" Headphone Jack
Channels: One Channel
Power Handling: 15 Watts
Hardware Cabinet Material: Black textured vinyl covering
Handle: Molded Black Handle
Amplifier Depth: 7.25" (18.41 cm)
Amplifier Width: 13.25" (33.65 cm)
Amplifier Height: 12.5" (31.8 cm)
Amplifier Weight: 15 lbs (6.80 kg)
Effects: Digital amp modeling & DSP effects
Speakers Speaker: 1-8" Fender® Special Design Speaker
Impedance: 8 Ohm