The Top 10 Overdrive Effects That You Should Consider – Reviews And Recommendations

Last Updated Jan-16-2017. Every guitar player can reach a point in his career where they want to add something extra to their sound, if you don’t know how, here we have listed some of the finest pedals you can find on the market, all applying the very popular and classic Overdrive effect.

Many of the best overdrive pedals are often thought of as being truly revolutionary and have remained on the shelves for decades since they were first introduced, and justifiably so, you might just discover the missing link in your setup after acquiring an overdrive pedal, it’ll take your sound to the next level, regardless of what genre you prefer, Classic Rock, Blues etc. Let’s not waste any more time, it’s up to you to take your pick after the deciding the specifics attuned to your liking. Enjoy!

The Top 10 Best Overdrive Effect Pedals:

Image
Overdrive Pedal
Summary
Rating
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive
Timeless overdrive with a great tone and a very user friendly design.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Electro Harmonix Soul Food
TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive
Loads of low end power in a simple pedal that just delivers
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Electro Harmonix Soul Food
Electro Harmonix Soul Food
Performance on a budget designed by one of the best brands around.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Wampler Tom Quayle Dual Fusion 300
Wampler Tom Quayle Dual Fusion
Pretty unique design that combines two different overdrives for ultimate tone control.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Electro-Harmonix English Muff’n Tube 300
Electro-Harmonix English Muff’n
On-point reproduction of vintage overdrive effect with impressive amount of tone control.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Ibanez TS808 300
Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer
One of the most legendary overdrive pedals ever made that still delivers.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
JHS Moonshine 300
JHS Pedals Moonshine
Distinct boutique overdrive with a good amount of Tube Screamer mixed in.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Fulltone OCD 300
Fulltone OCD Obsessive
Well built and designed overdrive that's among the most popular models today.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Behringer Overdrive Distortion OD300
Behringer Overdrive Distortion OD300
Decent performance that comes with a budget-friendly price tag and great features.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion
Boss OS-2
Among the most prolific overdrive pedals made popular by its solid performance.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

Boss-SD-1-Super-Overdrive-300x300

Features:4.6 Stars
Controls:4.8 Stars
Performance:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

Depending who you ask, some guitar players will tell you that Boss made a name for themselves by supplying the world with affordable overdrive pedals that just work. There’s a lot of truth in this statement and SD-1 is a perfect example why. It’s one of the most basic pedals in terms of controls and features, it’s affordable, and it brings on the thunder in ways which will make you grin involuntarily. That’s about as much as you can expect from an effects pedal.

SD-1 was first designed over two decades ago, yet it still holds its ground as one of the go-to choices on today’s market. Overdrive it offers is balanced, a bit chaotic but still within the limits of taste. It’s a Marshall Plexi in a box. If you need a standard, reliable overdrive and you are working on a tight budget, Boss SD-1 is one of the best choices you have. Whether you use it with a clean or overdrive channel, the quality is still there.


TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive

TC-Electronic-MojoMojo-Overdrive-300x300

Features:4.7 Stars
Controls:4.8 Stars
Performance:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

MojoMojo by TC Electronics is definitely among the more interesting overdrive pedals you can get in the affordable range. It comes in a sturdy enclosure and features a lot more than the bare bone design you would expect. Frankly, we are surprised that TCE didn’t include their trademark TonePrint technology in this package. However, it’s perfectly fine the way it is. You have your standard two band EQ to work with, along with level and Drive controls. Right in the middle of all these knobs, you’ll see a Voice switch.

What this does is impact the mid frequencies, allowing you to be sharper or more loose in that part of the range. While it’s definitely a neutral overdrive, the versatility it offers is worthy of respect. With some imagination, you can dial in a whole range of tones using just this pedal alone. Add a true bypass into the mix, and you have a formidable stompbox built for the masses. That’s the type of policy we can stand behind.


Electro Harmonix Soul Food

Electro-Harmonix-Soul-Food-300x300

Features:4.7 Stars
Controls:5 Stars
Performance:4.7 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

While everyone knows about their Big Muff Pi series, Electro-Harmonix has a couple more interesting aces up their sleeve. Electro-Harmonix Soul Food is a versatile, affordable, and downright impressive little overdrive pedal that has a multiple-personality disorder. the circuitry and controls are designed in such a way that you can use it as a clean boost pedal, a classic overdrive, and even distortion pedal. It all depends on what kind of setup you’re running and what type of tone you’re looking for.

No one really likes jacks of all trades, but Soul Food sort of blends all of its capabilities into a single fluid experience. To top it all off, it’s reasonably affordable. Having good specs on paper doesn’t mean much without some performance to back all that up. Soul Food sounds remarkable, especially when used as an overdrive. There’s plenty of Boost, and thus headroom, which makes this thing a pretty versatile source of gain. As such, it brings a lot of power to the table.


Wampler Tom Quayle Dual Fusion

Wampler Tom Quayle Dual Fusion 300

Features:4.8 Stars
Controls:4.6 Stars
Performance:4.8 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

One thing that you have to appreciate about Wampler is their eagerness to reach out to talented musicians and cooperate with them to design new pedals. Their Dual Fusion overdrive is the fruit of one such effort. The pedal itself is pretty complex for an overdrive, but that is mostly because it’s a 2 in 1 type of deal. If you look closely, you will see that there are actually two clusters of controls mirrored don each side of the pedal.

One side is labeled as Modern while the other is leaning more towards the vintage type of tone. Needless to say, the fusion of these two sounds is amazing, while the authenticity of tone of each mode is tangible as soon as you crank this bad boy up. So, is the end product worth the investment and the necessary learning curve? We’d say the answer is yes as long as you’re looking for something that transcends tube screamers or similar simple designs.


Electro-Harmonix English Muff’n

Electro-Harmonix English Muff’n Tube 300

Features:4.8 Stars
Controls:4.7 Stars
Performance:4.8 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

If you’re looking for a specific sound reproduction, reminiscent of the classic British guitar amp’s tones. The Muff’n is a unique provider when it comes to that, a fan-favorite of many, truly one of the best overdrives out there, even if you’re just getting familiar with its sound. Utilizing vacuum tubes in order to do what it does, it mimics the richness and saturation of the iconic British valve sounds.

The controls on this pedal feature Low, Mid and High tone modulation, and Volume and Gain modification. This masterpiece offers exactly what it advertises, lush sound enrichment used by the likes of AC/DC, you’ll achieve that exact same tonal output when playing around with the various control settings. The Muff’n is an immaculate pedal manufactured by EH, targeting fans of specific old-school sounds, it fits in to a standard of its own. Well worth it’s price if you’re on the hunt for something different.


Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer

Ibanez TS808 300

Features:4.4 Stars
Controls:4.4 Stars
Performance:4.8 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

When standalone overdrive pedals first appeared, there were several different designs available. One that quickly broke through to the top, and stayed there decades to come, is the Tube Screamer. The company who’s responsible for this awesome pedal is Ibanez, and the first one they’ve released was the legendary TS808 back in the ’70s. Today, you can get the reissue of that same iconic overdrive which has pretty much shaped the world of guitar distortion.

Ibanez has decided to bring back the legend while trying to keep the changes at a bare minimum. Knowing that this pedal, in its original or revamped form, has been on pedalboard of many iconic guitar players is all the proof you need of its performance. It’s a simple device with few controls, but the thing just brings on the thunder like no other pedal can. If you want to taste what vintage guitar overdrive is all about, this is the pedal to go for. You will not be disappointed.


JHS Pedals Moonshine

JHS Moonshine 300

Features:4.6 Stars
Controls:4.4 Stars
Performance:4.8 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

The name JHS Pedals chose for this pedal is very fitting. Whether they were aware of that or not. Just like the other product we associate with moonshine, this thing brings the core of what overdrive is all about, in a crude and reliable package. When we say crude, it’s actually a compliment. They’ve shamelessly based the whole design around the tube screamer type of overdrive, but they’ve introduced a lot of their own solutions. We need to give credit where credit is due.

JHS Pedals gave the good old TS a brand new suit, with a bit of a twist, and we like it.The tone is easy to align with your needs, but it’s always going to have that rugged vibe. If you know whatever so slightly abused Plexi sounds like, you will know what we’re talking about. Headroom, clarity, and overall versatility are just some of the things Moonshine brings in abundance. If you’re a fan of TS, you should check this bad boy out.


Fulltone OCD Obsessive

Fulltone OCD 300

Features:4.5 Stars
Controls:4.5 Stars
Performance:4.8 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

OCD has become one of those overdrive pedals which was living on the margins of the market, only to be yanked into the center of attention in a matter of days. There’s a perfectly good reason for that. Fulltone gauged the market, figured out what the scene needed at the moment, and hit the nail on the head with their OCD series. Obsession is just one in a relatively long list of models from this family, and it’s bringing that same killer overdrive with a pinch of its own character in there somewhere.

The first thing that makes the OCD Obsession worth it is the gain transition, and how they’ve solved gain in the first place. There’s an abundance of it, but it’s so easily controllable that it’s scary. You can dial anything from a slight, refined overdrive to a full blown heavy rock vibe. Best thing of all? There’s no impact of transparency of your signal nor its raw color. Fulltone definitely delivered again.


Behringer Overdrive Distortion OD300

Behringer-Overdrive-Distortion-OD300-300x300

Features:4.2 Stars
Controls:4.2 Stars
Performance:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Behringer’s ability to strip create a formidable effect pedal, and then strip it down until it’s affordable is not a secret. Their pedals are always going to have a market, and Behringer will probably continue to reward that gratitude by launching even more pedals which are just amazing at their very core. Since overdrives are among the easiest pedals to design, it’s no wonder that Behringer currently offers a very affordable yet very capable model.

We are talking about the OD300. This model represents a fusion between overdrive and distortion, and completely blurs out the line where one ends and the other starts. OD300 is easy to use and packs a decent range of tone shaping capabilities. It’s definitely not something you would want to do a world tour with, but for practice or occasional gigging, it is more than fine. Those working musicians who are operating on a super tight budget will appreciate a solution such as this one.


Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion

Boss-OS-2-Overdrive-Distortion--300x300

Features:4.7 Stars
Controls:4.5 Stars
Performance:4.8 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

Boss overdrive pedals are numerous. We are talking at least two digits worth of different models. With that said, some prove to be better than others over time, and those become instant legends. Whether or not OS-2 belongs on that list is yet to be seen. However, the type of quality, versatility, and functionality this pedal brings to the table definitely makes it outstanding. Especially considering its affordable nature. It’s pretty hard to describe the effect itself. When in overdrive mode, there is enough definition and precision for it to keep up with your requirements, no matter what they are.

Once you kick it into distortion mode, things get cranked up to 11. It is absolutely safe to say that Boss OS2 is one of the most transparent and best working Boss overdrive pedals you can come by. Therefore, it is our humble opinion that it’s a perfect piece for those on a tight budget but still prefer to have some does of versatility on their pedalboard.


The Overdrive Effect

Overdrive is an effect that originally fell under the “Distortion” pedal effect category. However, over time due to huge popularity among users, it has evolved into an effect of its own, and manufacturers began producing pedals exclusive to the overdrive effect, which sated the lust for overdrive many guitarists had.

Overdrive works in a way that it pushes a tube amplifier into distortion (click on the following link for some of the best distortion pedals), or it mimics a slightly distorted sound of said mildly overdriven tube. The most frequently met controls on Overdrive pedals are the Tone, Level and Drive – the magic button controlling the amount of Overdrive.

Conclusion

We’ve reached the conclusion of the first draft of choices when it comes to your overdrive needs. We covered some vintage masterpieces and heavily modernized pedals rich with variety. Every pedal is equipped with a specific set of qualities, covering the needs of guitarists of all backgrounds.

In case you’re left wanting more the list will be subject to change with more additions over time, adapting to the ever improving world of guitar pedals and what they can offer.