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Best Overdrive Pedal 2024: 10+ Pedals To Give You Gritty Tone!!

What is the most popular overdrive pedal? What should I look for in an overdrive pedal?

The best overdrive pedal – what is it?

A question most guitarists are keen to unravel, yet not exactly sure how to. See, there’s that many overdrive pedals out there that hunting down (or even categorising) one as the best is a seriously tall order!

Team that with the fact that overdrive can also be found (i..e casually feature) on other pedals like distortion & boost pedals, & you’d be forgiven for giving up chasing the perfect gritty tone. Heck, we nearly did. We say ‘nearly’ because… after spending a LOT of time rigorously testing a whole variety of overdrive pedals, we’re quietly confident about a few things.

Mainly how to get yourself a good overdrive pedal, no matter your budget, level of experience or requirements in relation to sound. Question is though, what should YOU look for in an overdrive pedal? And HOW do you find the best overdrive pedal for you? Ask us & the answer’s pretty simple. Read on & we’ll reveal what we deem to be the best overdrive pedals you can buy today!

After something specific about how to make your guitar tone gritty? Or just curious how to track down the best overdrive pedal? Use the menu below to get all the answers you need in a single click…

overdrive pedal on the edge of a pedalboard

NOTE: Curious about more than just overdrive pedals? Be sure to also check out our rundowns of the Best Guitar Pedals EVER + the Best Distortion Pedals.

Today there’s more overdrive pedals out there than you have fingers, so finding the best one can leave you a bit dumbfounded. Nevertheless, we think we can mythbust this conundrum. So before you set your sights on a specific pedal or end up buying the wrong one in fit of brand snobbery, keeping reading…

If you do, we’ll drag you straight into our rundown of the best overdrive pedals for sale today…

1: Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer 

2: Fender Santa Ana overdrive pedal

experts reviewing the best overdrive pedals on the market

3: Behringer TO800 vintage tube overdrive

4: EarthQuaker Devices Plumes Small Signal Shredder Pedal

5: Wampler Tumnus Deluxe (overdrive/boost) pedal

wampler overdrive pedal

6: Boss OD-1X overdrive pedal

7: J. Rockett Audio Designs Archer IKON (overdrive/ boost) 

8:  Caline Queen Bee (CP-503) overdrive guitar pedal

top down shot of an overdrive pedal lit up

9: JHS Pedals Bonsai 9-Way Screamer overdrive pedal

10: Nobels ODR-1 Natural overdrive pedal

11: MXR Timmy overdrive guitar effects pedal

guitarist using overdrive to warp their tone on stage

Should you be after that iconic Blues sound, then your pedal setup may need to be slightly different.

In terms of overdrive at least, you’d benefit from having a specific pedal that’s geared towards that specific sound. And while there are a fair few Blues pedals out there (we’ve tested a fair few), when it comes to overdrive, there really only is 1 winner.

So sit back, & say hello to the OG of Blues overdrive pedals, the…

12: Boss BD-2 Blues Driver guitar effects pedal

blues guitarist using overdrive to change up the recording

Rock is a genre that’s not only swimming in variance, but is also swimming in soul.

By that we mean that most rock artists wear their heart firmly on their sleeve. So naturally, any overdrive pedal you use for rock, needs to embody that same soulful nature – i.e. be capable of sounds that not only say “I love you babe”, but also those that scream “I’m going to rip your hair out” & “f*ck you”.

Sounds complex, but we’ve found a pedal that does just that. And it’s an overdrive. So without further ado, here’s what we consider to be the best overdrive pedal for rock…

13: Electro-Harmonix Soul Food overdrive pedal

Not everyone can afford the ‘best of the best’ when it comes to overdrive pedals, BUT (& thanks to Donner that’s a big ‘but’) that doesn’t mean that those of us with slightly thinner wallets have to be on the back-foot.

In fact, if you’re just looking to sample overdrive & get a feel for how it sounds with your setup, then there’s little point in buying a pro-level pedal for £100+. Precisely why we’d say the pedal below could easily be the best overdrive pedal for any rookie, beginner or newbie. It’s solid, feature-packed & yet doesn’t set you back an eye-watering amount.

On a tight budget? Read on…

14: Donner overdrive guitar effects pedal

Enjoy this review of the best overdrive pedals & eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Reviews Of Guitar Effects Pedals, as well as our thoughts on Music Production Tech. Recently, we also did a rundown of the Top Compressor Pedals + another on the Best Reverb Pedals, which may also be a good read.

a pile of guitar pedals in a music studio

Or, if you’re here purely to learn more about overdrive pedals, keep reading & we’ll answer even more of your burning questions…

An overdrive pedal is necessary for any pedalboard, and most guitarists would concur. Overdrive stompboxes will work whether you’re a metalhead trying to push the front end of a high-gain amp, a blues musician looking to add sustain to a solo, or a jazz guitarist in need of a modest boost. The most popular overdrive pedals are mentioned below.

  • EarthQuaker Apparatuses Plumes.
  • Analog Man King Of Tone.
  • Fulltone OCD V2.
  • Hudson Electronics Broadcast-AP.
  • JHS Pedals Morning Glory V4.

Overdrive is a favourite among guitarists, and manufacturers have provided us with many possibilities. One should look for price, durability, and sound range before investing in an overdrive pedal. Overdrive pedals come in innumerable varieties, and there are probably just as many updated versions of vintage models as new ones. 

But they all resemble a tube amplifier at the point of breakdown. Using several overdrive pedals, you can crank up higher-gain sounds suitable for leads and strong rhythms. You may push your amp harder when the overdrive pedal is on by using the volume or boost control frequently included on overdrive pedals. 

A monster tone may be produced by combining the overdrive pedal with the amp’s inherent overdriven nature. Additionally, a slight overdrive that doesn’t increase loudness might deepen your sound’s expressiveness without making it seem not very nice.

A Vox pedal V846 Wah-Wah was employed by most experimental rock and blue guitarists. This is the guitar knob that Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix subsequently employed, as well as Eric Clapton while in Cream. 

The good notice is that this pedal is still widely accessible in reissue variants. Consequently, the Vox V846 Reissue Wah-Wah will be great if authenticity is important to you. Guitar pedals have become a bigger part of blues music in recent years. 

Guitar pedals now come in a wider variety and are more widely available and more reasonably priced as a result of significant advancements in manufacturing.

Additionally, the Klon may be used as an overdrive pedal, as implied by its name, or as a boost pedal. To improve the guitar and amp’s natural sound, they employ the pedal as a “clean boost.” However, some players hammer the Klon. It also performs admirably in this manner. 

It’s a terrific alternative for guitarists who want to dial in a more overdriven tone because the pedal can create a lot of gains. Your guitar and amp’s natural sound are preserved with the Klon. 

Therefore, you may use it with various guitars and amps, which will still sound fantastic. It will only make your tone more inviting and energetic. Through Klon, the sound will be improved and become harmonically fuller.

One of the most well-known guitar effects pedals of all time is, without a doubt, the Klon Centaur “Professional Overdrive.” It has recently attained an almost mythological prestige, appropriate for a name like that. 

The circuitry of the Klon had a significant role in its revolutionary status at the time of its debut. The Klon Centaur’s overdrive is particularly adaptable because of its transparency. One thing that makes the Klon so adored is that you can use it with any guitar or amp, and it will still sound fantastic. 

Guitarists like Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Joe Perry, Nels Cline, and Matt Schofield played the Klon Centaur. Finnegan said that different guitarists, such as baby boomers, younger indie rock players, and experimental musicians, were drawn to the pedal.  

Several techniques are available to gritty your tone, from overdrive to extreme distortions. However, we advise utilizing tube preamps on your bass to get the most for your money. 

In contrast to overdrives and distortions, a tube preamp gives your music more warmth and grit without detracting from the fundamental bass tone. In the studio, additional tube DI boxes serve a similar purpose. 

You can push basic equipment like limiters and compressors to their mix to achieve a crushed, gritty bottom tone. Taking a signal that has been overly processed and combining it with a raw, unprocessed copy of the track is one of the oldest methods in the book.

Remember that overdrive and distortion are two sides of the same coin. In contrast, you may use certain overdrive pedals to push a guitar signal to the point of breakup (and beyond). Still, they shouldn’t be expected to offer the saturated ferocity more typically associated with their distortion cousins. 

Overdrives are particularly good at being responsive, both to the dynamics of your picking hand and to the internal potentiometers on your guitar (i.e., your volume and control knobs). A flat-sounding lead line may be given the bite and sustain it needs to sing by dialing in just the proper amount of gain boost, and you could give a monotonous rhythm tone colour by doing the same. 

All of this is possible with a competent overdrive pedal while preserving the subtleties and dynamics of the player’s unadulterated expression.

he answer is EHX Crayon. A melodic alternative to conventional mid-focused overdrive pedals is offered by the EHX Full-Range Overdrive, a flexible overdrive with self-governing deep and treble settings and an open frequency range. It produces a variety of tones, from a little hint of dust to overt distortion, and is evenly remarkable whether used alone or in conjunction with an additional overdrive pedal. 

Do you need a sharp midrange boost? Yes, the Crayon can do that, but it’s also excellent for boosting your low end or giving your highs more air. Additionally, the Crayon can provide all the distortion you want. Still, when the guitarists at Sweetwater gave it a listen, we were even more blown away by how great it sounded when used in conjunction with a tube amp that was already warped.