I was a pretty good guy this year, and Santa brought me a Zoom G3. I did some work a little while ago with the Zoom G2, and ultimately decided…

I was a pretty good guy this year, and Santa brought me a Zoom G3.

Zoom G3 multi-FX top view

Zoom G3 multi-FX top view

I did some work a little while ago with the Zoom G2, and ultimately decided not to offer patches for it, because it didn’t seem to produce sounds on a par with the Digitech RPs–and whatever else I do, I’m not going to offer harp players sounds that don’t make the grade. The G3 uses a new-generation chip, and Zoom talks a good game when it comes to the things it can do. My problem with the G2 was that the amp models had plenty of crunch in them, but very little nuance; it sounded more like playing through a distortion box than an amp. Distortion boxes slather on the grind; amps change tone depending on your playing technique. The latter give you a lot more expression than the former. (I noticed that my brother Mark’s G2 has the same effect on his guitar; it’s like night and day when he plays through the G2, then follows it with a Tech 21 Character Series pedal like the Blonde.)

Ultimately, it’s about the sound the thing produces, meaning both the quality of the FX (which Zoom traditionally does very well) and the quality of the amp models (which wasn’t so good in the G2). I’m looking forward to hearing whether Zoom got it right this time. If so, the G3 becomes a viable alternative to the Digitech RPs–even more so when you consider that a G3 can run on batteries, which the RPs can’t.

So stay tuned for more news on this box, including–maybe, depending on the sounds–a patch set for G3 and harmonica.

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