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Zoom G5 Guitar Effects Processor Review

The Zoom G5 is is a guitar effects power house that allows you to dial in unlimited guitar effects and save them in the form of a virtual pedal board. I recently picked up a Zoom G5 from ebay so I thought it would be a great time to review it for those of you out there thinking about purchasing one.

I'll try to give you an idea of how the Zoom G5 works and list some of it's key features and things it can do. I will also tell you what I like about the Zoom G5, how it stacks up against other similar gear I have used in the past and also what I think can be improved upon to make it better (if there is anything). Hopefully my review will help you make an informed decision before buying one for yourself. (I personally think it is a good decision to buy one!)

You can see all the info and full specs for the Zoom G5 at Zoom's corporate website HERE.

Zoom G5

The Zoom G5 boasts some cool features:

There is tons of functionality packed in this little foot pedal like:

* An Expression pedal (for volume and other things like Wah)...and is not just an up and down pedal. It works in Left and Right too.

* A Tube boost stomp driven by a real 12AX7 tube!

* Stomp style buttons. As you can see from the pictures there is Stomp buttons under each virtual pedal screen as well as pedal knobs for adjusting each pedal within a patch.

Zoom G5 reverse

* Plenty of connection jacks including USB!

* Lots of easily tweakable effects!

* Amp modeling of well known amps.

* A tuner - every processor should have one.

* A looper for recording short 60 second phrases...great for catching something in the moment.

* A drum machine! Great for practicing your timing and rhythm skills.

* Autosave of effect tweaks (Ability to turn this off too, see below)

General workings of the machine

Pedal train

The idea behind the Zoom G5 is that you can create your own virtual pedal train / pedal board. Not just one pedal board either, you can create up to 297 virtual pedal boards (a.k.a patches). Each pedal in the chain is also programmable!

The Zoom G5's layout is pretty cool. Like I said above, it's basically a virtual pedal board and the pedals are black and white images on LCD screens and the virtual pedal knobs turn as you adjust the real knobs. Each screen can be assigned a virtual pedal in your chain of pedals for your virtual board.

You can layout your pedal train / chain any way you like and assign the layout as a Patch. You can create up to 297 custom patches. That is 297 pedal boards! Most of which are already pre-programmed (some of which are programmed by well known guitarists). You will have to over write existing patches to save your own custom patches that you create.

My Assessment of the Zoom G5

I am coming from the Line 6 brand of effects processors, specifically having owned and used Pod XT Live (floor pedal) and Pod XT Pro. I always felt like I couldn't get my sound exactly the way I wanted with the Pods. So I took a chance on the Zoom G5.

Sound Quality

The sound quality of the Zoom is everything I wanted...the effects are awesome. I spent 30 minutes starting from scratch to build my pedal chain and choosing the pedals I wanted and adjusting them to get my sound. I got the sound I was looking for!


I picked mine up for just under $300. Since I can get the sound I was looking for with the Zoom G5, I believe the price was worth every penny I spent.

Ease of use

This thing is dead simple to use. Read the manual the first time through and keep it handy until you get everything memorized. The manual has step by step instructions with pictures that is super easy to follow. You will kick yourself if you try to figure it out on your own without the be sure to read it!

What I would change

I would add a an easier way to switch patches from the stomp buttons. Changing patches by hand is easy if you use the provide patch change Up and Down arrow buttons. I wish you had stomp buttons available that were like that so you could change patches with your feet easier.

The current way to change patches with your feet takes too long for use in a live setting. You have to press and hold a button for one second then stomp two buttons at once to move the patch selection forward or backward. It would be so much nicer if there was a way to do it that mimicked the hand method using Up or Down stomp buttons. However if you have your pedal boards arranged by song and keep them in close by patch banks, you can easily bend over and press the patch change arrow buttons with your finger.


By default the unit I bought came with the original firmware on it. The original firmware version does not have the ability to turn the Autosave functionality off! Updating the firmware provides the ability to turn the Autosave either ON or OFF.

To not have the Zoom G5 not Autosave was essential for me. Think about it, you find your sound then the next day you want to add to it and start tweaking. The result of an Autosave would mean your original sound was lost! Updating the firmware and changing that setting stops this and makes it to where you have to specifically save your tweaks.


I love the Zoom G5 because it's exactly what I was looking for in both sound and function.

Be sure to read other people's reviews for the Zoom G5 at Amazon.

There is so much more to this machine and I can't wait to dig in and explore it.

I am sure you will like it too. I really hope this review helps you in your decision to purchase a G5 but if not please ask any questions you may have and I will reply. If you have questions feel free to contact me!

* Update - There is a newer model, the Zoom G5n which does not have the Tube boost and less effects. I have not had a chance to review the G5n. So be aware that there are two different models out there with similar names, the G5 and G5n. Don't get confused between the two when shopping.

zoom g5 guitar effects processor review

Posted December 25, 2016, 2:04 pm in: Gear reviews


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