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Gear Review: ZOOM G1J - John 5 Signature Pedal PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 February 2009 15:06

By Laura Valk  - GJD Contributor 

The G1J is based on Zoom’s immensely popular G1 effects pedal and features 32-bit processing and 96 kHz sampling with a built-in drum machine. Designed with sounds to inspire and plenty of room for your own creativity, this new signature pedal combines the style and feel of a rock prodigy with the effects expertise of Zoom.  Guitarist John 5 has compiled one of the most impressive resumes in rock. One of the earlier highlights of John 5’s career was the gig with Marilyn Mason.  In addition to his own solo work, his commanding riffs combined with his composition skills have most recently earned him a coveted spot playing with rock icon Rob Zombie.

When I first unpacked the Zoom G1J John 5 Signature Pedal I’d say it took me about a few seconds to plug in and start getting some sounds going.  You’ve gotta love that… But after I really dug into this pedal, I hit a bit of a wall.  It took me a little while to dissect the instruction manual and get a better grasp.  Don’t get me wrong, the pedal is jam-packed with interesting features, it’s just that one tiny LED screen and two tiny knobs might not be enough to act as controllers for all of the options.  I already found myself a bit frustrated with the pedal’s refusal to be 100% user-friendly.

I realize though that it would be unfair to judge this pedal strictly based upon my personal frustration with its set-up; and so, after giving it some more time, I started to understand it more. First off, I found a few of the distortion patches that really had punch and a few that felt a bit hollow. Now I understand that any pedal is by no means a fair substitute for a high-powered tube amp, so you need to be realistic with your expectations. Medium gain tones were rather pleasing although when backing off my guitar volume I did hear some digital artifacts on the decay of the note.  Most of you know that is pretty common in the world of digital amp simulation. 

Even though John 5 does play with a lot of gain, he is also known for playing with many great clean sounds and you will find them in this pedal. Keep in mind that at first I was not running this pedal in conjunction with a huge amp or a high-quality PA system.  After I did that, I found more gems in the G1J, as I was able to get more aggressive and realistic high-gain tones. 

I must admit that I did not have a lot of time to really dig in to all the presets. There dozens of different patches to choose from, and, if that’s not enough, the user has the ability to edit any patch to his or her specifications, whether it be by changing the EQ, Delay, Reverb, etc. Additionally, the user has the ability to store patches in a personal bank in any order they please. This gives the pedal the capability to work with live performances. However, I think the pedal would best be used as a practice tool, as it has rhythms and settings that one can sit down and play around with. Overall, the pedal has plenty to offer but it might be too complicated for the average guitarist who is not a big tweaker. With that said though, this is a great pedal in terms for a lot of bang for the buck.


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