By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com
What is the best overdrive pedal? Not an easy answer, since the number of good overdrive pedals available these days is mind boggling.
I have started a top overdrive list here, and I am trying to stick to pedals that deliver overdrive more than distortion, although many pedals cover both territories. It's also sometimes difficult to distinguish between overdrive and distortion. I have written about the difference between overdrive and distortion on this site, and you may want to check it out.
My personal favorite overdrive is the Maxon OD-9. It features a chip that creates ultra-smooth dynamic overdrive. The Drive and Level controls tweak the intensity and volume Hi Boost/Hi Cut tone controls adjust brightness. It is also True bypass, and it comes with a 3-year warranty. It is simply a smooth and rich sounding overdrive pedal, built to last a life time as well.
Some other good overdrive choices in my opinion are The CTO2 - Cool Cat Transparent Overdrive2 - low gain pedal with lots of dynamics. The Digitech Bad Monkey has been around for quite some time now, and it's inexpensive and quite versatile. I still like it and use it regularly. The eq on it is very handy!
Here is a starting point for checking out some great overdrive pedals. Some may cover both distortion as well as overdrive tones, so keep that in mind. Feel free to add your comments if you think I missed some! Note: The order of the pedals listed has nothing to do with how good I think they sound, so a higher number does not mean it sounds worse than a pedal listed with a lower number. Only YOU can decide which you think sounds best.
Have a look at the list of best wah pedals too.
Have a look at the selection from Musician's Friend.
Hi: It´s a mistake to have the Danelectro Transparent Overdrive on number 6 and the Timmy onnumber 34!! Timmy is way, way better than danelectro transparent wish is a clone of Timmy!Comment added on December 11, 2012
I think it is a stupid question. This topic just proove it. Everyone like another overdrive. Hey who is the best player in the entire universe? Maybe you are or else. No offense, but this is girls talk ;)Comment added on May 07, 2012
From looking at all the GregsGuitars videos on youtube it seems like the Okko Diablo Overdrive could be one of the best - sadly also very expensive.Comment added on April 24, 2011
From an Aussie, The KOT is great, the GT500 is horrible.I recommend the OCD,MI Tube Zone,Robin Trower overdrive,Mad Prof Sweet Honey OD.Some of the pedals on this list are distortions not overdrives.Comment added on March 23, 2011
I miss the Madprofessor Little Green Wonder. Handwired from Finland. A brilliant and sure one of the best oerdrives on the market.Comment added on November 24, 2010
Waited 8 months for my Tim pedal, and it was worth every minute of the wait. It does sweet things to my lionheart L5t and modded BJ. It also plays well with others (OCD, Fuzzhead, TS9DX).Comment added on August 15, 2010
What about MXR GT-OD, this one should be also on the top of the listComment added on May 30, 2010
Chris Custom Scream TS9 mod pedal is a true sound! MUST!Comment added on April 23, 2010
CMATMODS Signa Drive -- Best one I've used. The Luther Drive for me is #2, followed by the Time Bomb Boost (a DOD 250 clone by the same guy who makes the Luther.) All different, all GREAT pedals. DeltaLab TD-1 #4. Good choice.Comment added on April 07, 2010
Saw my 3 favorites on your list: Lovepedal Eternity, Fulltone OCD, Xotic BB.
The Luther Drive is amazing also.
I saw #36 by MI Audio's "Blues Pro", but what about their "Tube Zone" pedal? Excellent overdrive!Comment added on January 02, 2010
You forgot the menatone working man's blues pedal. It is one of the best overdrives I have ever heardComment added on December 28, 2009
I would also mention Behringer's VT999. Behringer says it's an overdrive, I use it rather like a distortion (as an overdrive I use a Boss OD3). I think it is on the thin red line between overdrives and distortions. On the lower gain settings it behaves more like an overdrive and when you crank it up it starts to be more like a distortion. It's a really cheap unit, but the original tube in it is rubbish, just replace it with something decent. I used a TAD tube and it really made a difference. Oh yes, one more good thing about it: it has a built-in noise gate and quite good one. Of course if you don't need it or don't want to use it you can turn it off too.Comment added on December 13, 2009
Hi Steve, I added that pedal to the list. I have not tried it but Analogman makes great stuff, so I am sure it would be good!Comment added on December 13, 2009
Robert: I am quite interested in the Analogman King of Tone, for getting drive and sustain but pretty clean, to get that Mayer sound. What do you think of that one? It did not make the list I see, and I wonder your thoughts. I love my Bad Monkey of course, which I purchased for next to nothing.Comment added on December 12, 2009