It’s been a long time coming, and it’s almost here. I will offer my first patch set for a non-Digitech device within the next few weeks: my ultra-cool setup for the Zoom G3.

The Zoom G3: it runs on batteries!  Need we say more?
The Zoom G3: it runs on batteries! Need we say more?

Amp modelers don’t all sound the same, and the Zoom G3 doesn’t sound exactly like a Digitech RP. The amp models in the Zoom tend to sound a little bit tougher than the RP’s, which is a plus for some people, and the Zoom also offers a sound designer (e.g., me) more flexibility in the sequence and type of FX than Digitech’s RPs do. You can only use one modulation effect–for example, a pitch shifter, or a phaser–at a time in the RPs, but you can string up to four of them in a row in the Zoom and still have room left over for an amp model and a delay or reverb. The FX in the Zoom aren’t quite as brilliant-sounding as the RP’s, but they’re decent, and when you stack them up they make a pretty big roar. One of the patches I’ve set up for the G3 has 3 pitch shifters, a vibrato, and an auto-wah in it; it can produce 8 simultaneous pitches from a single note, and it can make those 8 pitches wobble and quack too. That’s some heavy artillery when you want it, and did I mention that it runs on batteries? Yup. It runs on batteries, which means that you can take it to a jam session and set it up onstage in the amount of time that it takes to run a 1/4″ cable from the G3 to the PA.

I’m taking the G3 with me to London when I visit that town on June 9-10, and I expect to use it onstage when I sit in at the blues jams at Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, which venue I’ve always played with my Tech 21 Blonde pedal up to now. The Blonde sounds nice, but it doesn’t do reverb, delay, vibrato, or anything other than amp modeling, and it doesn’t do amp modeling any better than the Zoom. What can I say? Sometimes more is more.

I still prefer the sound of the Digitech RPs when it’s convenient to use one, and my regular performance rig isn’t going to change anytime soon, but the G3 is a good-sounding, flexible alternative when fast setup time is required. I expect to price the patch set for the G3 at $35 for 30 patches, which is actually more than it seems given that the G3 gives you 3 dedicated footswitches for turning FX on and off, meaning that the same patch can be reconfigured dramatically in performance with ease.

Stay tuned for the announcement of this patch set within the next month.