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BamaLump 08-14-2019 02:17 PM

Overdrive Question...
How many overdrive pedals do you have and if you have more than one how do you use them?

I have a Boss BD-2 Blues Driver and I really like it, but as I look around I see SO many overdrive pedals that look (and sound) great also.

Iím fairly new to the pedal world so I thought Iíd ask you guys. Thanks for any help you can provide.


M Sarad 08-14-2019 05:36 PM

I have a Chandler Tube Overdrive, a clone of the original BK Butler used by Eric Johnson. Too grindy and hot, Iíve never been able to use it to get that Cello tone of EJ. My brother gave me a Blues Driver. I also acquired the Analogman version. I didnít like either.
Next, Zen Drive. Very subtle. I work with it from time to time through a Victoria Tweed Deluxe, Black Face hardwired Deluxe Reverb, and PRS H amp head through a 12Ē speaker I; a sealed cabinet.
A friend gave me a Minitaur, a small Klon Centaur clone. He owns an original Klon and says the Mini sounds exactly the same. I love it, feeling itís better for me than the rest.

My favorite overdrive is a Tweed or Blackface Deluxe turned up to the magic sweet spot. The PRS H has an overdrive channel that Iím still working on to match the pedal tones.

DanR 08-14-2019 06:00 PM

I have three overdrive pedals on my pedalboard. The first one, a Timmy, is solely used as a boost to boost my Strat's pickups to the level of my other electric guitars. It has bass and treble controls that allow me to tame the brightness of the Strat when necessary.

My favorite overdrive is a MI Audio Blues Pro which I set to give the subtlest overdrive sound. Next in line is a Barber Direct Drive which is set to a little bit more overdrive than the Blues Pro. I set their overall volume to where I can switch them both on to give me more overdrive while keeping the output volume consistent with the output of either pedal alone. So with two pedals I can have three different levels of overdrive, while is all I personally need.

robj144 08-14-2019 08:44 PM

Get an Xtomp mini if you have a smart phone. It's pretty awesome and can get you a lot of overdrives:

jseth 08-14-2019 08:49 PM

I am NOT a big "pedal guy"; I much prefer playing through my Deluxe Reverb at a higher volume and "getting it done that way".

However, that's just not always a feasible solution, so I did buy a pedal. 8 years ago or,so, I checked out a few and they sound so phony, but I had the chance to have and use an original Klon Centaur (the horsey), as I was debating about getting a Tubescreamer.

I borrowed my buddy's TS and a-b'd the two pedals for a long time, given my own needs for minimal distortion... I loved the Klon, and could have gotten it for a decent price through a friend to "keep it in the family", but in the end? I went for the Tubescreamer for a few reasons.

One, the Tubescreamer actually "cleaned up" BETTER than the Klon when the volume came down on the guitar... mostly, I couldn't justify spending $400 ona pedal that I wsn't even planning on using in a group format.

The Tubescreamer is okay; it's a platform that has been modd'ed by many wonderful genius's to great effect. But it was almost always "too much" for what I wanted in my tone, except when going more towards Santana or something.

A year ago, my little local store expanded their pedal rack; made everything accessible and powered up so it was easy to check a bunch of them out. One pedal in particular was a favorite of my friend, Kurt, who owns the store. He knew my playing style a bit and told me about this little jewel... I resisted for a few months and finally just got one.

It's made by Tomsine, it's 1/2 size of the TS, it's ONLY ac adaptor powered; called The Bluesy... wouldn't really use it for an overdrive, BUT...

If what you want is just that "snap" on the notes when you HIT IT, like a good tube amp breaks up, IT IS A PHENOMENAL PEDAL... seriously touch sensitive (far more than the TS or the Klon), responds equally well to single coil or double coil pickups, true bypass so your tone isn't colored when it's off... simple controls, well-made housing... just great little pedal for SO LITTLE MONEY...

I paid too much for mine at 40$... I believe you can get 'em online for $29!

I checked out a few reviews of them, ALL positive, despite the writer's learned bias towards the cheap Chines pedals... he actually said he "wanted to trash it and hate it", but it was just too darned good!

PTony 08-14-2019 10:42 PM

Depends on the guitar, and especially the amp. Fender amps typically prefer mid heavy overdrives like a BD or TS. Where as Marshall has more bottom end with decent mid presence. Vox amps typically focus more on the bright, upper mid frequencies.

Through my home/studio rig Iíve been using a TS through a Tweed/Lacquered BJ. Sounds killer. ESP with my black guard Tele.

My live rig (Vox clean head) has been through a few different flavors. Iíve really dug my Archer Ikon for the last year. As well as the JHS morning glory. My Gretsch guitars seem to love either of these. Typically the MG is dialed in for lesser gain than the Ikon.

There are so many great overdrives out there it can be a rabbit hole. Imho itís important to discover what both the guitar, and especially the amp prefer.

To answer the question of how many....for me, I like a tube amp on the edge of breakup tone, with a boost to push it into a bit grittier territory. Then a light to medium gain pedal into a heavier gain if desired. Stacking layers of Overdrive should be done with caution though. It can get out of control and there can be ďtoo muchĒ that eventually turns into muddy noise. Again, just my opinion. YMMV.

I believe that it also depends on the music/style being played. Sometimes natural amp ďedge of breakupĒ is all I need. Other times I need that tone boosted and Iím golden. Other times I want/need more.

Enjoy the process. Used pedals can be a great way to hone in on finding the right tone without breaking the bank. If a pedal doesnít fit, if bought well you can usually recoup a good portion of your investment.

KevWind 08-15-2019 07:05 AM

I mainly like to play clean But I do have a few pedals but only one (mild) drive pedal . It's an Xotic Soul Driven AH and I set it for only a small amount of gain.

pieterh 08-15-2019 07:46 AM

I love the clean sound of my 65 Deluxe Reverb (reissue) and frankly rarely have the opportunity to crank it up to where it starts to break up, sadly.

Recently I snapped up a used Blues Driver BD-2 and it does exactly what I hoped it would do - it gives me that slight break up and crunch when digging in but clean enough when backing off. It is right near the front of my pedal chain, just after tuner and compression! It then feeds into my Tonebone Trimode which is a tube dual overdrive pedal - there I have more crunch and light distortion on the one setting and pure rock distortion on the other. The nice thing about this setup is that if I forget to turn off the BD before activating the Trimode it doesnít really matter!

Those two pedals give me everything I need; although I wouldnít mind trying a good Tube Screamer at some point Iím not convinced it would do any better than the setup I have.

redir 08-15-2019 08:29 AM

I've gone through a few but now I use an 80's Ibanez TS-9 and probably won't ever need to try another overdrive again. It was just what I was looking for. I play through a Fender Twin so it's clean all the way up to eleven. The OD ads a nice, well, over drive.

I also have a Big Muff Pi and an MT-2 but those are fuzz and distortion pedals respectively, not to be confused with OD pedals. I'm not sure why anyone would need two OD's on a board but I guess if you combine them you might get some interesting things. I will combine the TS-9 with the MT and it actually tames it a bit but changes it into it's own affect. The TS-9 with the Big Muff sounds terrible.

ChrisN 08-15-2019 08:29 AM


Originally Posted by jseth (Post 6138116)

It's made by Tomsine, it's 1/2 size of the TS, it's ONLY ac adaptor powered; called The Bluesy... wouldn't really use it for an overdrive, BUT...

Let the record reflect it's Tomsline - here's a link:

Thanks for the suggestion.

maxtheaxe 08-15-2019 12:24 PM


Originally Posted by M Sarad (Post 6138008)
I have a Chandler Tube Overdrive, a clone of the original BK Butler used by Eric Johnson. Too grindy and hot, I’ve never been able to use it to get that Cello tone of EJ.

This is a bit of a tangent to the OP's question here, but those Chandler/BK Butler Tube Driver pedals are easy to swap the tube for a less aggressive one. They come with a really grinding 12ax7 but you could put in a less 'clippy' 12au7 or something similar with softer clipping. I suspect that EJ has done something like that with his.

If you wanted to have a variety of overdrives on tap, maybe try one of the Line6 pedals...they have several modeled distortion/overdrive tones in one package. Personally, I would use a compressor in front of it, though.

jseth 08-15-2019 01:48 PM

I just wanted to add a couple things I omitted from my first reply about the Bluesey...

The thing WILL go a lot hotter into overdrive than I prefer to use it... as I said, it's strength, to my application, is adding a very touch-sensitive "edge" to the top of the note. When I have it kicked in and dial back my guitar's volume, it's "there" but you have to "poke it!" to get it...

Another comment: I love the thing with my Deluxe Reverb, but, surprisingly, it's effect is far more enjoyable on my old Yamaha GL100-112, a 1980 solid-state little beast that I bought new...

The amp sounds really good, as is, or it wouldn't still be with me... but with the Bluesey, it has such a sweet top... I would tend to "leave it on" far more frequently with that Yamaha than my Deluxe...

Dru Edwards 08-15-2019 09:50 PM

OD pedals can do amazing things with just a simple, light touch. I love my EXH Soul Food. Inexpensive and it boosts my overdriven Marshall or Traynor amps just the way I like it. I also a few other ODs but the Soul Food is my "always on" pedal.

M Sarad 08-16-2019 11:57 AM

Thanks Max. Iíll give it a go with the Chandler.

Sonics 08-16-2019 01:03 PM

Richie Kotzen OMG!
It's available as a stand alone unit...

...or as part of an all ANALOGUE multi-effects unit.

Personally I would go with the multiFX...just like Richie!

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