From the very childhood, I was a huge fan of classic rock music. I would say that I was born the day I first listened to the extraordinary music of Led Zeppelin, felt the taste of the legendary bands such as Pink Floyd and Deep Purple. Their music was so inspiring for me that I started playing the guitar to feel closer to their creations. After taking this wave of inspiration more seriously, I started looking into the techniques they used to achieve those tones and the ones I could use as a child of technological advancements. That is when I came across my first overdrive pedal. After years of practicing, I could finally claim to have created the sounds resembling the classics. If you are an admirer of classic rock music (and not only) and want to find the way to easily generate those desirable notes, this article will help you find the best overdrive pedal that will rock your world.
Table of Contents
- Top 10 Best Overdrive Pedals
- MXR EVH 5150 Overdrive Pedal
- Wampler Pedals Euphoria Overdrive
- Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive Pedal
- Catalinbread RAH Royal Albert Hall Overdrive Pedal
- Maxon Reissue Series OD808 Overdrive
- BOSS SD-1 Super Overdrive
- Fulltone Fulldrive2 MOSFET Overdrive Boost
- MXR Overdrive Guitar Effect Pedal M294
- Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes Nano Overdrive
- Joyo JF-02 Ultimate Overdrive Pedal
- How to choose the best overdrive pedal
- The features you should look for
Top 10 Best Overdrive Pedals
|MXR EVH 5150 Overdrive Pedal||(5 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Wampler Pedals Euphoria Overdrive||(5 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive Pedal||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Catalinbread RAH Royal Albert Hall Overdrive Pedal||(4.9 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Maxon Reissue Series OD808 Overdrive||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|BOSS SD-1 Super Overdrive||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Fulltone Fulldrive2 MOSFET Overdrive Boost||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|MXR Overdrive Guitar Effect Pedal M294||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes Nano Overdrive||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
|Joyo JF-02 Ultimate Overdrive Pedal||(4.8 / 5)||Check on Amazon|
How to choose the best overdrive pedal
If you go back in time and look at the music created a century ago, you will notice that the majority of songwriters and guitarists concentrated on maintaining a precise, clear tone. They would be devastated if their sound was dirty or impure. As time passed by and the wheel of fortune let accidents happen – damaging the amps fortuitously, first distortions were created. Several musicians started using their amps at the maximum capacity in order to achieve more fuzziness in tone. Something that started as mere will of cutting through noisy crowds, was quickly caught on by throngs of people. This rudimentary technique of overdriving the amplifier (in order to distort the audio signal) turned into pedals that could achieve the similar effect with little to no effort. Nowadays, we have an abundance of different overdrive pedals, which makes it hard to choose the right one. Luckily, I am here to help you. There are some factors that should always be taken into account while selecting an overdrive pedals. Let’s discuss some of them and determine, how to figure out which pedal screams your name.
Your Music Genre
The first thing that you should always consider is the genre of your music. This pretty much shapes the main framework of your sounds, differentiating between your desires and needs and the style of your music. This is very important, because sometimes wrong expectations can ruin the whole experience. Being a metal player, you cannot go out there and buy a typical overdrive pedal thinking that it will distort your sound a great deal and give you those heavy tones. While some overdrive pedals might be versatile enough to offer you those tones, that is not their function and aim. The whole fuss around overdrive pedals is created due to their subtle, rich, tube-like sounds that touch up your music with vintage vibes. You will fall in love with them if you are someone who plays blues, classic rock, country, funk and etc. With that being said, it is significant to note that in most cases “heavier” musicians utilize overdrive pedals to build some additional gain and boost on an already distorted amp. Overdrive pedals are quite versatile on the whole and can adapt to your music quite easily.
Your Main Goal
Sometimes we become so caught up in choices and technical issues, that we forget about the importance of our goals as musicians. You have to determine what you want to achieve with your music, only after that should you start choosing an overdrive pedal. Here are some questions answers to which will give you a general outline of your musical aims:
- Do you want your audio signal to be rich and loud or subtle and toned down?
- What kind of sounds do you want to produce: warm and saturated or transparent?
- What kind of audience are you aiming at?
From my experience, spending some time on considering all these factors will save you a lot of money and energy in the future. If you know exactly what you are striving for as a musician, choosing an overdrive pedal will become an enjoyable process. This will save you from wasting money on pedals that are not compatible with your preferences and turn sound-searching into a less risky adventure.
The features you should look for
Durability is a feature that can easily be overlooked. However, we all want to get our money’s worth and try to purchase items that will last for a long time. This is especially important, if you are someone who is always on the road. Nobody wants their favorite overdrive pedal to fall apart before an important performance or shutter into pieces in the back of the van. If we are talking about the best overdrive pedal, then it should definitely be reliable, durable and built with sturdy material. After all, we do not want to spend our lives switching between poorly built (but greatly sounding) pedals.
No matter how hard we try to dismiss price as the determinant of our choices, it still cannot be discarded completely. Affordability is the feature that plays a huge role when purchasing an overdrive pedal. Even when you go online shopping, the first thing you filter is the price range. But the lesson I have learnt is that money does not always indicate on the sound quality of the device. You can easily find an overdrive pedal that will not empty your wallet but can produce an amazing sound (take the above-mentioned Joyo JF-02, for instance). It might not be hard as a rock, so do not expect it to be built with outstanding material. When it comes to cheaper pedals, you should always prioritize the sound over the design and durability (some of them might be super durable though). As for overdrive pedals that are a bit more expensive, you have to make sure that it is a money well-spent. The biggest part of our disappointment with pedals is determined by the compatibility of price and capabilities of the pedal. If you can afford an expensive overdrive pedal, with amazing tones and all the needed features, go for it. Once again, your preferences define your choices.
Tone is the most significant of all the other features. If durability and affordability can be left out of the discussion, tone is the one feature that has a leading role in determining your choice. This is quite natural, since the very aim of purchasing an overdrive pedal is to improve your sound. If it does not produce distinct, clearly audible tone, what is the point? Listen to as many demos as you can before making up your mind. Keep in mind that the instrument itself, as well as the amplifier, have a huge impact on the output of your overdrive pedal. Figure out what kind of tone you are looking for and choose a pedal accordingly. And one more thing, the tone that is perfect for me and represents all the heavenly notes I have ever dreamt of, might be something you will loathe. There is nothing more subjective than music. Do not forget to make a good research before investing in an overdrive pedal.
One thing I love the most about overdrive pedals is their flexibility. No matter what you play, an overdrive pedal will be an asset to your pedalboard. With the right attitude and determination, you can make anything work. Life is about taking risks and experimenting with new things, especially in the world of music. After choosing the best overdrive pedal, your life (at least your attitude towards quality music) will change forever. Trust me, my friend, finding the right sound is one of the most exciting feelings and you will not regret a second spent on searching.