If you are still chasing the ultimate overdrive sound, then there are plenty of manufacturers hoping to help you find it. There is a growing market for high-quality overdrive pedals, built by small companies providing ’boutique’ products that look as good as they sound. Guitar Command provides a round-up of some recent pedal releases…
Boutique Overdrive Pedals
Overdrive is one of the simplest effects to achieve, right? Well, perhaps not. Guitarists are prepared to shell out large amounts for the right tone, and there are a growing number of smaller companies creating some fantastic sounding (and looking) pedals to cater for them.
Is it worth spending a bit (or a lot) more on a ’boutique’ pedal? Is the tone quality and build standard worth the extra money? Or, are you just paying for the ‘feel-good factor’ of owning one? Here are some of the latest products, together with some audio clips, so that you can be the judge…
ModTone Bohemian Overdrive
ModTone recently added the Bohemian Overdrive to their rather beautiful range of effects pedals. The unit promises authentic British overdrive with creamy tube-like grit. Hear it in action here…
Find out more at the company’s website.
Freaking Sick Electronics Thirty Volt Overdrive pedal
Freaking Sick Electronics based in Phoenix, Arizona, have released the Thirty Volt Overdrive pedal. It retails at $345 (or $299 with a trade in of any pedal). Check it out…
Find out more at the company site: Freaking Sick Website.
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Synaptic Groove SlackJaw Overdrive/Boost Pedal
Synaptic Groove are a young US company making high-quality effects pedals. Their latest offering is the SlackJaw overdrive/boost pedal. Here’s what they say about it…
“The SlackJaw offers players of every genre an OD/Boost/Fuzz pedal without complication. Handling single coils, humbuckers and solid state or tube amps with equality, the Slackjaw is composed of the best voicing that overdrives, boosts and fuzz pedals have ever offered — in a singular design. Our sophomore effort packs an astounding array of tonal features and compliments the Snapperhead perfectly…or any other overdrive/amp for that matter!”
You can get hold of a SlackJaw directly from the company, or from a number of dealers.
DLS Effects Reckless Driver
DLS Effects recently announced the release of a useful-looking overdrive/boost pedal. In their words:
“It’s an Overdrive when you want it, and a Reckless Distortion when you need it!” The beauty of this effect is that by using the clean Mix and Gain controls, you can set your tone clean with a full warm tube sound, or rich Overdriven tones, or heavy biting “Reckless” distortion for leads, and anything in between! The Attack switch is a subtle control that changes the edge and brightness, and can even make solid state sound like a tube amp! Couple this with extra wide, dynamic Bass and Treble controls, plus separate Normal and Boost Channels, and you end up with one powerful effect!”
Find out more from the company’s website.
Wampler Pedals Flexi-Drive
The Flexi-Drive from Wampler Pedals is designed to reproduce classic Marshall tones….
“Designed to sit somewhere between the “JTM-45®” and “Marshall 18®”, this pedal will allow you to have that massive stack tone, full of poweramp tone from your rig. With the added option of the bass boost, you can emulate the sound (and trouser flapping) thump of a 4×12” (or two) at the flick of a switch. All of this available from you gear, whether it be in a bedroom or at a gig.”
Find out more at Wampler Pedals.
Rothwell Hellbender Overdrive Pedal
Rothwell are a UK company who produce a range of guitar pedals and accessories. The Hellbender is a high-quality overdrive pedal, designed and hand made in the UK. They were well-received when they were introduced, so for a truly authentic UK overdrive sound, check them out!
A US maker of boutique effects pedals, Lovepedal, has recently released the Hi-Volt . Judging by the company’s promotional YouTube vid, the unit can create a very usable range of sounds. Here’s what the company themselves say:
“With it’s generous amount of gain on tap, the Hi Volt gives you a diverse palate of everything from blues to metal, Marshall to Mesa and so on. When playing chord, the distortion remains tight and focused. When playing single note lines, they are supported and carried by Hi Volt’s beautifully, rounded low end and it’s amp-like precision to your pick attack.”
Although they don’t necessarily have quite the same image, there are some great classic overdrive pedals available. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the boutique end of overdrive pedals, you could do a lot worse than these tried and trusted models:
A classic overdrive pedal which can be found under the feet of many thousands of guitarists. A no-frills pedal which is built to last.
More info at Boss.
EHX Big Muff Pi
A legendary overdrive pedal that is still going strong. Used by Hendrix and Santana – enough said?
Visit EHX for more information.
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