Review: Zoom G1Xon Guitar Multi-Effects Processor

I’ve spent piles of cash and countless hours chasing down various stomp boxes over the years.

So when I got my hands on Zoom’s G1Xon Guitar Multi-Effects Processor, I was tempted to moan, “Oh, I’ve wasted my life,” like the Comic Book Guy in a certain “Treehouse of Horror” episode of The Simpsons.

For probably less than what I paid on batteries to power one vintage fuzz box, the G1Xon provides a lifetime’s worth of effects and amp models (105, to be exact) plus built-in rhythm patterns, a looper and a tuner. All this power is packaged in a compact foot controller that’s about the same width and length as an iPad and features an expression pedal.

FEATURES The G1Xon provides 22 amp simulation models and five different groups of effects: Dynamics/Filter (16 models), Overdrive/Distortion (18), Modulation/SFX (24), Delay/Reverb (20) and Pedal, which includes wah, pitch and three other settings. Users can program patches that employ up to five simultaneous effects and amp models, all of which can be arranged in any order, and patches are stored in 100 available patch memory locations.

The rhythm section has 68 different drum and metronome patterns in a wide variety of styles. The looper section records loops up to 30 seconds long. The G1Xon even includes a built-in chromatic tuner, which has settings for standard tunings (including seven-string) and five open/alternate tunings. In addition to mono 1/4-inch inputs and outputs, the G1Xon has an auxilliary input for connecting external audio sources, like an iPod, and a mini USB jack for downloading firmware updates.

PERFORMANCE The Zoom G1Xon may be a powerful multi-effect unit, but it’s as easy to use as a stomp box. Programming and other operational functions are facilitated by a rotary selector knob, four switches and four cursor buttons. Two large footswitches let users scroll up and down through the entire preset library, and banks can be selected with the up and down cursor buttons. The same footswitches also control looper functions like record, play, stop and clear. You can also use an Allen wrench to adjust how tight or loose you want the expression jack’s action.

The sound quality of all of the effects is impressive. The amp models deliver rich clean tones and dynamic, expressive distortion, and each effect provides a wide variety of parameters that can be tweaked in fine detail. Note that the G1Xon provides no bypass function, so the processor is always part of your signal chain unless you place it in a separate loop.

MANUFACTURER Zoom North America,

Any five of the G1Xon’s 105 effects and amp models can be used simultaneously to create incredibly sophisticated tones and textures.

A built-in looper records loops up to 30 seconds long, and the rhythm feature offers 68 patterns that you can jam along with.

THE BOTTOM LINE Costing less than most single-effect stomp boxes, the G1Xon is an incredible bargain that provides versatile multi-effect processing power and impressive performance and practice capabilities.

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Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.