The 7 Best Overdrive Pedals

From low-cost and easy-to-use overdrive pedals that give you classic tones, to the newer stompboxes that provide insane flexibility and tone shaping, the best of the best are all here.

Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer

The Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer has stood the test of time, and continues to be the most sought after overdrive pedal on the market. Other manufacturers and boutique pedal makers continue to base their works on the TS808, with some even directly cloning the pedal. In fact, most of the pedals listed here are influenced by the design of the Tube Screamer! With its emphasis on dynamics and mid-range - that easily cuts through the mix, it is no surprise that legendary players like SRV have put it to good use. If you are looking for an aggressive overdrive for blues and rock, don't settle for anything less than the best overdrive pedal - The TS808 Tubescreamer.
Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.

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Fulltone Fulldrive2 Mosfet

One important life question to ask yourself is this: What's better than overdrive? The answer according to Fulltone Fulldrive2-Mosfet is this: More Overdrive! It comes with two overdrive channels that you can tweak to create even more gain tones! In low gain settings, it gives your guitar tone a classic sounding boost with minimal grit. As you raise the gain level, you get more intense and gritty overdrive tones for intense riff and lead work. And if that is not enough, you can switch to Boost mode to unleash high gain and sustain that crosses the border between rock and metal. This is easily the most versatile of the pedals listed here, and continues to be the favorite overdrive pedal of tone geeks everywhere. Fulltone also makes one of the best Wah Pedals. Get the latest Fulldrive2 Mosfet price & reviews at Amazon.com.

Visual Sound V2DT Double Trouble

Since overdrive pedals work great when paired with other overdrive pedals, Visual Sound designed the V2DT to be just like that, having two distinct overdrive effects in one stompbox. It gives you two of Visual Sound's great sounding overdrive pedals - the VS Jeckyll & Hyde, and the VS Route 66. By playing with its Volume, Tone, Drive and Bass Boost controls, you can create a variety of overdrive tones and combinations that will keep you busy for days. The sturdy chassis and switches are just as impressive as the sounds it can produce. The V2 Double Trouble is highly recommended for those that love to play with overdrive combinations. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

Thanks to its affordability and accessibility, the Boss SD-1 has found its way on to countless pedalboards. Its plug and play operation and smooth overdriven tones have satisfied many, from hobbyists to big name artists. It is popularly used to drive tube amps to produce singing lead tones, by setting the drive low and increasing the level. It also works great as stand-alone, you can add subtle grit, or increase the drive to add more crunch - and the best thing about it is it does all this while preserving your pick attack and dynamics. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.

DigiTech Bad Monkey Tube Overdrive

The Digitech Bad Monkey is another affordable overdrive pedal that produces impressively transparent overdriven tones. It is ideal for juicing up a tube amp, or for boosting your sound, without masking the distinct tonality of your guitar. For its small size and cheap price, the pedal surprisingly comes with added features like EQ knobs (Low and High) and dual output. The mixer output even features cabinet emulation. These added features allow for good tone shaping, while still maintaining the integrity of your guitar sound. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.

Electro-Harmonix Germanium Overdrive Pedal

Instead of just creating another conventional overdrive, EHX decided to be creative and employ unique features into their classic sounding pedal. The Electro-Harmonix Germanium Overdrive Pedal is built using actual Germanium transistors to accurately reproduce the grit and dirt sound of vintage overdrive pedals from the '60s. As expected the tone is impressive, but the fun part starts when you mess with the pedal's Bias and Voltage control, it lets you starve out the transistor to give you a heavily gated dead battery tone. If you think you are old school, and you want old-school tone to go with it, this is the best pedal for you. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.

MXR Custom Badass Modified Overdrive

The MXR Custom Badass Modifified O.D. gives you classic overdrive sounds with modern tone shaping enhancements. It provides great sustain and gain without hurting your natural guitar tone, and it gives you more room to tweak the sound. The Custom Badass Modified OD features a 100Hz cut and boost knob that lets you fine-tune the sound, as well as a bump switch that gives you a separate voicing that emphasizes the lower midrange. This versatile overdrive pedal comes in a compact form, with a boutique like appearance that matches the quality of its tone. This is the ideal pedal for the adventurous guitarists, that don't stray too far away from classic tones. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com.

Related Articles:
Roundup of the best Fuzz Pedals
Finding the best Distortion Pedal

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You've got to be joking right?

No Marshall Bluesbreaker, Or 1st Gen Guv'nor
No Lovepedal Eternity
No Mad Professor
No Zendrive
No Wampler
No Zenkudo
No Dave Barber or Brad Jetter products
No Klon

A BAD MONKEY???? REALLY??????????

(sigh)

Boutique

Those are some good OD pedal choices. We were considering the Marshall Bluesbreaker, Klon and Zendrive, but we had to make room for some working and affordable alternatives like the Bad Monkey and Boss SD-1.

best od's

my best od is the one that never leaves my board, that being the Lovepedal Provalve ... it has two different channels and i usually use the B which to my ear has a tighter, rounder sound (i know, 'round' is an odd tone word but it's what i hear ... this might be a bit more compressed i'm not sure) ... the A channel is more an open gain sound, 'wider' ... again, a wider tone is odd but it's all i can come up with ... this is the pedal i use 80 percent of the time probably ...

using this with the Clapton Woman Tone gives me a super silky-smooth fuzz sound that convinces me that Clapton never (or rarely) used a fuzz as so mainly people assume during his years with Cream ... i think his rig was simply whatever Gibson he was using (the famous 'Fool-painted' SG, the 'Crossroads' ES-335, etc), the Marshall stack, Rangemaster Treble Booster as his only stompbox ... using the Woman Tone (he cites the neck pickup in a vintage video interview i saw but it works well with either pickup ... volume guitar must be on 10 and the tone knob is turned all the way down to zero getting that creamy sound on 'Outside Woman Blues' - from whence its name comes - and most famously, 'Sunshine of Your Love', among others ... using the neck pickup this way will give you a lower tone but using the bridge pickup in the Woman Tone setup gives you a higher tone, of course ... using them together is a nice alternative and having the neck pickup set on Woman Tone and the bridge pickup set on regular, volume on 10 and tone on 10, is a nice way to give your Woman Tone solos a little boost and bit more edge by using both pickups together) ...

so while i get lots of 'you're an idiot' replies when i mention these thoughts, i don't really care ... it's my humble opinion and if you try it, you'll find it is indeed a very nice alternative for a fuzz box ... if you're on a tight budget or just starting out, it's a great way to get a lot of textures to your playing without investing a lot of cash

also, and i know this is blasphemy, i think the tube screamer, in all it's variations thru the years, is overrated ... there are better ODs out there, the lovepedal provalve is one ... i think the Marshall Bluesbreaker stomper is one that can match or better the tube screamer any day of the week ... i had one for many years before i came across the lovepedal and believe me, it is a sweet pedal ... and it is built like a tank so if you're a dad looking for a stomper to get your child whose garage band is starting to get gigs but fears that it might not be able to survive the 'youthful exuberance' of a youngster that age, the marshall bluesbreaker will not break ... or it will take one helluva lotta effort to break it ... it is a beast and has that super-rich marshall sound ... an outstanding pedal and perhaps the best OD under $100

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