Zoom G1X Guitar Effects Pedal – review

Bargin beginners processor with a great batch of effects and amp sims.

Zoom have come a long way from the average processed sounds of their older budget effects processors like the 505. When the G series floor processors were launched a few years ago Zoom blew apart previous qualms about their products. The top of the line G7.1ut and G9.2tt processors boast hybrid tube technology that really makes a difference in the tones their respective processors create. The amp and effects models were top-notch too.

I owned a G7.1ut for a few years, and loved the tones I got out of my unit. I especially loved the Marshall JCM 800 model, which provided amazing hot-rodded Marshall tones when combined with the booster effect and compressor. The digital and analogue delays were a particular favourite of mine, along with the flanger and phaser effects.

In fact the only reason I got rid of the G7.1ut was because it didn’t hook up so well with my newly purchased Blackstar HT-5. The G9.2tt was capable of working in the effects loop of an amp, providing access to the effects and such, but the G7.1ut was able to do this. I really wished that I’d saved a little more and bought one in the first place. I’m back to pedals now though, as I have a great idea of the effects I want.

So when Better Music offered me a Zoom G1X Guitar Effects Pedal I was pretty excited to see what was on offer with one of the lower line, stripped down Zoom products.

The G1 and G1X are the basic bottom tier in the G series processors, aimed directly at the beginner market.  Being predominately plastic, they aren’t as solidly built as the higher end G series, which offer metal casing and switches. But they provide the same basic chipset, and some of the effects. They also don’t offer as much room to play around with settings.

For the beginner guitar player this is probably perfect though. There are just enough amp sims and effects to whet their appetite.  And there aren’t too many buttons and dials to confuse. Reading the manual makes operating the G1 series quite easy.

Powering the G1X is a breeze, as it can use a standard Boss-style power supply, or even 4 AA batteries. The batteries probably wouldn’t last too long, but a 9volt negative tipped power supply with enough juice to run the pedal wont cost too much, and if you are lucky your store might even just throw a supply in.

The difference between the G1 and the G1X is a built-in foot pedal. The foot pedal is extremely basic, and only offers a standard sweep. There is no “on-off” switch underneath, so the effect for the most part is “on”, and if the pedal is in the lowest position the effect is pretty much at “0”, up to 100% in the top position.  Unless you are using the wah effects, and then the pedal provides the wah sweep.

I’ve always thought that effects processors in the same category as the G1X are designed to provide beginners a basic well-rounded package of amp sounds and effects to give them an understanding of what all of the common tones guitarists can have sound like. None of them are perfect, otherwise why would experienced guitar players purchase higher end effects, amps and processors?

The Great thing with the G1X is that it does a pretty damn good job of creating acceptable tones. Running through the effects loop (bypassing the preamp) of a reasonable solid state amp like my Kustom KGA 65 allowed the G1X to provide the tones as Zoom intended. Playing through my Blackstar HT-5 just coloured the tone to its detriment, even when bypassing the HT-5’s preamp.

I particularly found the higher gain amp sims like the Peavey 5150  and the Marshall JCM2000 quite nice, and gave a great rock to metal tone. Unfortunately my favourite from the G7.1ut, the Marshall JCM800 wasn’t present, but I could still find some nice rock and metal tones. There are a nice range of clean amp sims too, such as the Fender and Vox clean ones in particular.

I wish that the effects had slightly more control over them. In particular the delay settings. It was a little annoying that I could only select a set amount of delay times, and the rate, but couldn’t have complete control over the delay times, or the overall level of the effect. I don’ think that a little more control over them would have really been detrimental to the sales of Zooms higher end G series processors, nor would have it cost any more to build these features in to the G1X.

A great feature that’s been thrown in to the G1X is a basic drum machine. There are a range of standard drum beats, and the tempos can be changed within a range of beats per minute. This is fantastic for practicing, and even coming up with new song ideas.

For home practice use the Zoom G1X is a great choice for beginners, or even experienced guitar players on a tight budget. The plastic construction probably wouldn’t stand up to heavy gig use, but should last a good few years at the very least when used in a home environment. The effects are above average for its price point, and give beginners a great taste of the effects and amp tones available out there.

A big thanks goes out to Better Music in Canberra for allowing me the privilege of borrowing gear from their store. There are a great bunch of knowledgeable guys there.

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