ZOOM G1on Review

ZOOM G1on Review

Plastic Fantastic - ZOOM G1on Review

Guitar players nowadays have it so good when it comes to reasonably priced equipment and instruments. 

Gone are the days of low price = low quality and gone too are the negative implications of a “Made in China” label.

Times are good indeed for the guitar gear nerd!

However, manufacturers are faced with a problem... how can they make their product stand out from the competition, when everyone is making such good stuff?

The answer of course is to make a product that is even cheaper and even better than everyone’s.

That brings us on to the ZOOM G1on, a little grey box packed with more features and sounds than many products 10x it’s price – I am not kidding. Just keep reading!

Construction

The ZOOM G1on is a low profile, plastic box with 2 “flippers” for foot switching and some knobs and buttons for navigating the presets and changing settings. Obviously a solid metal construction at this price point is not viable, and ZOOM has done a good job at designing a robust pedal that is hard to break. ZOOM have been making low price, plastic pedals for decades and so if anyone knows how to make a plastic pedal that will last, ZOOM do. This reviewer once owned one of the earlier ZOOM G1 pedals made in the early 2000’s and can testify that so long as you don’t wear rugby boots; their pedals can stand up regular use valiantly.

Power

Unusually, the pedal can be powered by bog standard AA batteries, rather than the more expensive 9V batteries that most pedals need. No power supply is included in the ZOOM G1on box, but for a £10 investment, you can pick up a 9V PSU and save the recurring cost of new batteries every few weeks.

Box of tricks

It would probably take up my whole word limit to list every possible feature of the ZOOM G1on, so I will instead pick out a few of the highlights & you can check out the enclosed Youtube video below that highlights the multitude of different sounds you can make. I will also list the comparative products which also offers similar functions. You’ll probably notice these products cost MUCH MUCH more!

  • Amp simulations: Fender, Marshall, Vox... the other ones... they are all there. You can tweak and play with the knobs via the interface and get some genuinely realistic tones.

Comparative product: Line 6 POD HD500X (£359), Fractal Axe FX (£1500+)

  • Pedal simulations: This one blew me away... tubescreamer, big muff, tape delay, pitch shift, tremolo, sequencer, ring modulator... the list goes on.  This pedal has all of them in there and they sound great!

Comparative product: Line 6 M9 (£289), Fractal FX8 Pedal (£1149)

  • Tuner: Umm... it’s a tuner... everyone needs one. This one works well and has an easy to read display.

Comparative product:  BOSS TU-3 (£50), TC Electronic Polytune (£40)

  • Pre-programmed Drum beats: Who needs a metronome when you can jam along to a Funk Rock groove or a Bossa Nova beat. The drum sounds are adjustable in terms of tempo and sound reasonably realistic – just make sure that the amp you’re plugging into is set to a clean tone.

Comparative product: BOSS RC3 (£139), Singular Sound Beatbuddy (£241), Digitech Trio (£149)

  • 30s Looper: The two footswitches make looping a breeze and if you’re timing is good, you can start a drum beat, switch to the looper and then create a loop and play along to your guitar rhythm track + drum beat. This part is so much fun. You can even change the tone preset whilst the loop is going so you can create a clean guitar backing loop and then switch to a lead/distortion sound and shred over the top.

Comparative product:  I don’t think there are any products that do drums, loopers and have different tone presets all in one box!

Bang for your buck

The ZOOM G1on is £45.

The observant reader might have picked up on the fact that the comparative products listed cost much, much more. In fact you could buy a ZOOM G1on for every member of your family for less than one Line 6 POD HD500X!.

As with any digital amp modelling pedal, the sounds coming out of this box aren’t especially suited to a valve amp and this isn’t going to replace your high-end “boutique” pedal board, but for a fun and practical practice tool, the ZOOM G1on is unrivalled for this kind of money.

Plug it into a practice amp and you’re away. This reviewer plugged into a Roland Micro CUBE amp to good effect. You don’t even need an amp as you can plug headphones into the ¼ inch jack at the back.

The target market for the G1on, as was the case with all of its previous G1 pedals, is the guitar gear newbie taking their first steps into gear land. However, this does a disservice to the power of this product and I think every guitarist has room in their life for this pedal, even if it’s just for the convenience of having all of the features in one box.

Final words

Just try one, you’ll thank me later!

Places to buy: Amazon, Musicians Friend & Guitar Centre.

Alex Fixsen

Resident Online Guitar Tutor

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