I think all guitarists can agree that having an overdrive pedal ready at all times is an essential thing. This is because overdrive pedals does a lot of things to spice up your solos and techniques.
It adds grit to your signal, giving a clean tone that can develop into a crunch. The way you use an overdrive pedal depends on what type of music you’re usually playing. Some players even push it to the limit and have full-on saturated distortion.
So, if you’re in a deep search for your ideal overdrive pedal, here are some of the best ones you can find in the market or online.
7 Best Overdrive Pedals
- Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi Guitar Effects Pedal
- Wampler Tumnus Deluxe Overdrive & Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
- TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal
- Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini
- Behringer Vintage Tube Monster VT999 Classic Vacuum Tube Overdrive Instrument Effects Pedal
- TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster Guitar Pedal
- Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive Pedal
With a long list of famous artists and musicians who used the Big Muff Pi, I think it needs little to no introduction. Defining the sound of rock music for over four decades, the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi is one of the most tried and tested unit when it comes to overdrive pedals, or just effects pedals in general.
Its user-friendly display paired with a compact size are just one of the things why people love it. But despite that, it still manages to sounds big and aggressive.
The Big Muff Pi features three knobs for easy usage—Volume, Tone, and Sustain. The Tone Knob sets the range of sounds, while the Sustain Knob alters the sustain and amount of distortion.
- Small footprint
- Wide and numerous set of controls
- Features a unique sound modification technology
- Relatively pricey
- Can be hard to dial in
With its legendary tone, you’ll never look for anything else. The Wampler Tumnus Deluxe Overdrive and Boost Guitar Effects Pedal will give you clear and detailed breakup of the tone. It features different controls and switches to adjust it to your liking.
Controls for treble, active bass and mid concern the tone’s frequencies. This amazingly versatile pedal can be used to boost a driven amp or another pedal, as a stand-alone overdrive, or as an ‘always on’ tonal sweetener.
The Tumnus Deluxe has a 3-band EQ gives your tone some warm low end and you also have the choice if you want a buffer or True Bypass.
- Great build quality
- Extensive parameter control
- Buffered and true bypass
- Jacks are not compatible for all
- Relatively pricey
TC Electronics brings you great quality even with an affordable price. Even if you’re slightly tight on a budget, the MojoMojo Overdrive Pedal still delivers and touches the tonal qualities of your solos the best way possible. The MojoMojo sits durably in a rugged and heavy-duty casing.
It also has two band EQs, Level and Drive controls, and a Voice switch to personalize your tone at maximum level. With your imagination running wild, you can easily dial in a whole range of tones using just this pedal alone.
- Dynamic response
- Sags nicely at higher gain settings with less compression
- Might take time to adjust to your liking
- Can sound a bit compressed and mushy if EQ is not dialled incorrectly
Derived from its bigger version—Tube Screamer, musicians are thrilled that it comes in a fun-size, which is the Tube Screamer Mini. Known for its rich midrange roar and dynamic touch sensitivity, the Tube Screamer Mini seems to get it right.
Its compact and lightweight size makes it perfect to fit in your pedalboard. This little green pedal includes Overdrive, Tone and Level controls, and features an analog circuitry.
- Extremely compact
- Great picking sensitivity
- Not as versatile as the Tube Screamer
- Knobs do not have the same size
Possessing a full-tone growl of a tube engine, the Behringer Vintage Tube Monster VT999 Effects Pedal will give your tones the extra boost and kick from warm blues overdrive to heavy metal distortion.
The VT999 features a switchable noise gate with adjustable threshold so it won’t make any noise. It displays LED for battery check and a true hard-wire bypass for ultimate signal integrity.
The VT999 is road-ready with its rugged construction and housing. It displays lots of controls for ultimate performance, including a 3-band EQ, Gain and Master control so your tone could reach its full potential.
- Excellent Sound Quality
- Good Selection Of Effects
- Has a large size
- Uses decent amount of power
Whether you use the TC Electronic Spark Mini as an overdrive pedal or just to give your solos a clean boost, it does a good job either way. The Spark Mini features analog circuitry to produce a clean and accurate tone.
You can use it by kicking it on and off or holding the footswitch for a much-needed boost through its PrimeTime technology.
The Spark Mini is a compact pedal that brings in some serious enhancements to your tone. It also has a discrete analog circuit that purely amplifies your signal without any degrading or alteration.
- Small footprint
- Can be easily worked with
- Gives a clean boost
- Alignment with the input jacks might occur since jacks are too close with the DC input
- Options may be too limited
What once was an ordinary competitor in the world of overdrive pedals is now a world-renowned model which is trusted and loved by many guitarists.
Fulltone knew what the public wanted, so eventually, the Obsessive Compulsive Drive Pedal was born. The OCD brings a killer overdrive with its amazing and easily controllable gain.
The OCD features three controls for Volume, Drive, and Tone, and a switch for the High/Low Peak.
The latest version of the OCD has upgrades like a switch for ”Enhanced Bypass” and True-Bypass, output buffer, and Class A configured discrete 2N5457 JFET input section, raising the input impedance to 1 megaohm and increasing the dynamics.
- Great value for price
- Easy to use Upgraded features
- A certain tone makes you sound like other users of the OCD
- Difficult power input location
Factors to Consider When Buying an Overdrive Pedal
When shopping for the best overdrive pedal, one thing to remember is its simplicity. Overdrives don’t have to be rocket science.
Also, to give a good start to your hunting, below are some of the factors to check before finally saying you’ve found the one.
The Amount Of Gain You Need
As written in Mixdown, overdrive pedals are made to deliver gain boosts that push a tube amp to distortion or to emulate the sound of an overdriven, slightly distorting vintage tube amp. So, choosing the best overdrive pedal for you might be dependent on how much gain you need.
This is another way of saying how much volume does one need. Basically, a pedal’s gain sates how much volume it contains—both input and output volume.
The Kind Of Tone
The kind of tone an overdrive pedal gives would also be a big deciding factor. According to Techsounded, if you’re looking for less high-end content, darker pedals are what you need.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for more, a brighter pedal is the one for you. Lower mids and added bass make a thicker sound while scooped EQs work by removing the midrange.
Set Of Controls
Following the kind of tone is your need for controls. The kind of overdrive pedal you pick should align with how much EQ you need. The amount of equalizers can be determined by how much control the pedal has, like its knobs, switches and the like.
There are a lot overdrives with varying designs, depending on its functions and flexibility. You might even discover that a single knob is all you need. But if not, there are pedals with two or three-band EQ.
The best overdrive pedal to give your tone the extra kick it needs is the Big Muff Pi from Electro-Harmonix. Undoubtedly, the Big Muff Pi is one of the most well-known overdrives among iconic guitarists. Behind its compact size is a loud volume and outstanding enhancement for your solos.