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  • #16
    Awesome write up

    Can you run a bass through this? On MF site it says it has another input for keyboards or bass. A bass guitar won't damage this amp at high volume?
    Guitar Jam is an uncomfortable place. Full of satan worship and vulgarity.

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    • #17
      Thanks for the clip, Jon. I guess my big question is, "Will it hold my attention long-term?" IOW, will it get boring or tedious quickly, or can you foresee using it as a practice aid for quite a while into the future? I appreciate your work on the reviews-it's nice to hear things from a player's point of view.


      Thanks for the kind words, Larry.

      There's something to be said for the ease at which the amp lets you jam--instantly and without any other hardware or setup. Musically, the grooves are quite good. I think you can hear that in "Cajun Blues," the medium-funk 12-bar blues. (I can't write bass lines that good--even with a decent drum loop to work off of.)

      The one thing that computer-based groove solutions have over this is that you can change keys w/o changing the tempo. (Think ACID, Ableton Live, ReCycle, etc.) That is NOT the case here. Going up or down in half steps changes the tempo. So in a worst case situation, you'd be a tritone (half an octave) away from your intended key--assuming the default tempo was the desired one. (You can transpose up or down, so that's why a half-octave is the worst case.)

      So there; you have the worst of it. Otherwise, the Line 6 folks are so dang clever at interfaces and programming that I just keep coming back to this--when I have to reboot my computer, when I'm on hold on speakerphone, when I'm waiting for a video to render, etc.

      I thought at first that I wouldn't like my guitar and backing tracks out of the same source. A combo amp speaker isn't suited for full-range material, and there's no separation of guitar and band. But truthfully, this is a jamming instrument. Often as not, I'm on headphones anyway. It works. I'm constantly dialing through the grooves, playing through a couple of choruses to get the arrangement, and then hitting Record.

      Will you tire of it? If it remains a closed system, then possibly. I don't even jam to some of the grooves (e.g., death metal), so not all the grooves are usable for everyone, and that reduces the inventory of usable material. I'm curious to see if you'll be able to import grooves the way some L6 gear accepts firmware updates, but I'm not sure how that would happen as there's no USB or network port.

      The other issue, other than "tiring" of the existing grooves, is not being able to find a close-enough groove for your particular situation. For example, I have to work on a country two-beat thing in C (I, IV, V), and I can't quite find anything that will help me here. I don't expect a pre-programmed groove to be exactly what I'm looking for, but I can't find anything remotely close to this eight-bar phrase: [2/2]||:C///|////|F///|////|C///|////|G///|G7///:|| For that, I have to turn elsewhere. (There's not even the most rudimentary means for pattern arrangement.)

      But that said, I haven't begun to scratch the surface of the existing grooves. To put a positive light on it, if I worked out with the grooves L6 has here, I would be forced to learn some new tunes and go in directions my normal instincts wouldn't take me.

      Shopper's hint: When auditioning this amp at the music store, first go through the grooves. Don't even plug in the guitar. (Do that on another day, if necessary.) Check the musical efficacy of the grooves, and play around with the transpose feature to make sure you can brook the whole key/tempo thing. Remember, you can selectively turn off the bass or the drums and you can mix the balance. Make written notes of the grooves if you're inclined, because L6 (as yet) doesn't provide a sheet of the grooves.

      Then on another day, plug in the guitar and check out the recording/looping features, and just see how you respond on an emotional level. This is important to do, as my attitude completely changed when I did this, and this is where I truly appreciated the interface and the concept: in situ.
      Jon Chappell
      Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
      Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

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      • #18
        Awesome write up Can you run a bass through this? On MF site it says it has another input for keyboards or bass. A bass guitar won't damage this amp at high volume?


        Excellent question. Theoretically, you can plug in a source other than a guitar, including full-range material like a band mix (via iPod or DiscMan) or a bass. If it were me, and I was plugging into an input that accepted a line in jack (iPod, DiscMan, etc.), I'd use a D.I. box. Can't hurt.

        But just because it will handle the frequencies doesn't mean it can be used as a bass amp at a gig. But because the Spider Jam allows you to turn off the bass in the grooves, you can certainly use a bass as well as a guitar for creating and recording your own grooves. (After you lay down your bass part, the guitar can overdub over that.)

        For practice and for low-volume rehearsal (acoustic duo or trio, etc.), yes. For high-volume bass work at a gig? Not advisable.
        Jon Chappell
        Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
        Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

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        • #19
          Awesome. Thanks Jon. So for recording on DAW or a standalone; does this thing have what it takes to replace a POD?
          Guitar Jam is an uncomfortable place. Full of satan worship and vulgarity.

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          • #20
            Awesome. Thanks Jon. So for recording on DAW or a standalone; does this thing have what it takes to replace a POD?


            No. But not because the Spider Jam is inferior to the Pod. It's just an apples-and-oranges thing. They're two completely different animals serving two completely sets of needs.
            Jon Chappell
            Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
            Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

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            • #21
              Thanks for the review! I had been considering trying this amp out, it has loads of options.
              2000 Jackson DR3
              1995 Fender Strat

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              • #22
                Thanks for the review! I had been considering trying this amp out, it has loads of options.


                It does have loads of options--something Line 6 is well known for. But I like the raw guitar sound too (when I'm not using the grooves or recording features).

                Also, it's loud and lightweight, two attributes that don't necessarily go together. So if you check it out at a music store, try going high gain with a clean sound (if only for a moment so you don't get kicked out of the store!) and of course, lift it up off the ground.
                Jon Chappell
                Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
                Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

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                • #23
                  I have been made aware that the company will very soon send out patches for the SD card and allow us owners to do even more with the Jam amp.
                  Don't fix it if it aint broke.

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                  • #24
                    The Line 6 JM4 looper is now available. It is the stompbox version of the Spider Jam.

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                    • #25
                      The flash patch is out ...best to use a 1 or 2 gig sd card, download patch, put it on card, insert card into the amp,turn amp on while pressing the save button. It takes a few minutes for the amp to reregulate itself and you will be left with (after formatting the card) a place to send your jams so as not to overstuff the built in ram besides the ability to change keys of the songs and slow down the drum effects etc...
                      Don't fix it if it aint broke.

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                      • #26
                        The flash patch is out ...best to use a 1 or 2 gig sd card, download patch, put it on card, insert card into the amp,turn amp on while pressing the save button. It takes a few minutes for the amp to reregulate itself and you will be left with (after formatting the card) a place to send your jams so as not to overstuff the built in ram besides the ability to change keys of the songs and slow down the drum effects etc...



                        Here's a screen shot (followed by the live link) from Line 6's website on the firmware update:





                        _
                        SpiderJam/JM4 version 2.07 Update Instructions

                        http://line6.com/support/entry.jspa?categoryID=127&externalID=4768
                        Jon Chappell
                        Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jon_chappell
                        Check out my website: http://jonchappell.com

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                        • #27
                          Here's a screen shot (followed by the live link) from Line 6's website on the firmware update:


                          hi ,

                          yeah i own a line6 podxt and one of the great things that ive learnt is that line6 seems to be very willing to listen to their customers criticisms, complaints , and opinions , or suggestions, and then respond to those suggestions with never ending patches and upgrade downloads to their products..

                          my advise to anyone here who owns or is thinking of getting a line6 spider or any line6 gear is to log onto their user forums and comment on the things that you like or especially dislike about their gear, they are one of very few companys out three that actually respond to customer suggestions or criticisms, and they dont seem to pull posts just because its a negative comment about their product, they actually seem to take it all in to try and give the customer what they want to see in their products. ....in fact i think the line6 bogner collaboration came about because of comments made by line6 customers on their websites forums..

                          oh BTW, i dont work for line 6, although it does sound like im brown nosing big time..lol...i was just very impressed as a pod owner with their customer relations and numerous frequent updates/'patches etc...and their willingness to pay company reps to answer questions on their forums..gee still sounds like im brown nosing....lol... i better shut up before i dig myself in deeper

                          my brother is thinking of buying a line6 amp, possibly a spider, im gonna direct him to this review...well done review, very informative.
                          cheers.

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                          • #28
                            Wow. Buy this amp for your kids. You will end up playing again!

                            I remember buying racks of gear in the 80's to do what this little amp does. Want Beatle's revolution or Rocky mountain way? Just spin the wheel and up comes the patch sounding just like the original recording! The amazing tones plus the great songs and beats are truly impressive. Oh, and this little amp is LOUD! I have had it up to 6, and I have only played one note at 10, and that made the household jump and yell at Dad to turn it down.

                            Forget needing a VOX and a Mesa, and a Marshall, and and and. This little amp does it all, AND replaces the sequencer for loops and practice jams. I'm glad I'm not in the guitar amp business!
                            Very highly recommended! On musician's friend the price recently also went down below $400.

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                            • #29
                              Couldn't have said it better myself, Jon.

                              I actually prefer Spider Jam.

                              It's like the difference between a Mac and a PC.
                              San Diego Independent Living
                              Paid Surveys

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                              • #30
                                The latest software download (now up to version 2.09) has a fix that permits changing tempo and key independently, which is a nice feature. But doing this uses up its single "engine", so if you change the key and record something, you must save that recording and then do any overdubs on your recording. It can't do overdubs and speed (or pitch) changes at the same time.

                                (As a matter of personal preference, if I put a cord with a stereo 1/4" jack on one end into the headphone out, with a mono 1/4" jack on the other end that I stick into my Fender Deluxe power amp in, I can get a tube amp sound out of this setup. As with most practice-oriented amps, the Spider Jam's headphone socket disables the speakers when in use.)

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