I announced a few months ago that I was working on a patch set for the Zoom G2NU, and the first release is almost ready to go. This device has some features that should be very interesting to harmonica players. I’m thinking of it as the ideal unit for harp players who want an amp modeler that they can take to a jam session and get a solid amped sound plus FX without any fuss. (For players who want something with more sounds and features, and aren’t worried about setting up in a big hurry, the Digitech RPs give you more for the money in my opinion.)

Zoom G2Nu Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal/USB Interface

Why am I thinking of the jam scenario in particular for the G2NU? First, it’s completely portable. It runs on batteries, so you can take it to a jam session, plug your mic into it, and run a line from the G2NU to the PA. Bingo. You’re ready to rock. With a Digitech RP, you need to plug in the AC power adapter too, which takes time on a crowded stage. The G2NU is definitely better when it comes to fast setup.

Second, it has a few decent amp models. Not a lot, and certainly not as many as the Digitech RPs, but a solid few that work well for harp. Again, if you’re thinking of the G2NU as your jam session amp modeler, a few decent amp models is all you need. And the amp models in the G2NU have a very nice crunch to them. (If you don’t like crunch, I’ve set up a bunch of patches with a clean amp model that sound very nice for smoother stylings.)

Third, it has some nice effects. The delays and reverbs aren’t quite as numerous or nice as the ones in the Digitech RPs, but they’re good enough for stage work for sure. One REALLY nice feature is that you can run an octave up and an octave down at the same time. You can also run a low octave together with a vibrato, an auto-wah, and some other cool stuff. There’s no rotary speaker effect, but the vibrato effect does a pretty nice job of faking it.

What does the G2NU NOT have that the Digitech RPs do? First, it doesn’t have stereo outputs. It doesn’t have an expression pedal. (You pay another $50 for the version of the G2 that has an expression pedal.) It doesn’t have a lot of amp models that work with harp, and it doesn’t have as many FX (or as good, in many cases) as the Digitechs. (No rotary speaker effect? D’Oh!) It functions as an audio interface, but only 16-bit, not 24-bit like the Digitechs. (And 24-bit is a whole lot better, believe me.)

So if you’re working in a band, and you have a LITTLE more time to set up before you play (“little” in this case meaning five minutes or less), you’re better off with the RPs. But if you need that portability, and you only have to worry about playing on a few songs at a jam, this is your box.

The G2NU sells new for about $150, which is competitive with other devices that do the same kind of thing, like the Lone Wolf Harp Attack (and the Harp Attack doesn’t give you ANY additional FX, not even delay). I’m thinking right now about pricing the G2NU patch set at $25 for a set of about 50 patches, which is more than enough if you’re taking it to a jam session.

Stay tuned for full info, including a list of patches and samples.