I have played a ton of overdrives and for the most part they are all the same

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by moderndrummer, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. moderndrummer

    moderndrummer Member

    Sep 24, 2005
    This will be hard for me to describe. I have been playing guitar for 12 years now. I have had every boutique amp and pedal that I have ever wanted. I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination but being a working musician I have had the opportunity to play a ton of stuff.

    I have lately been doing alot of a/b comparison stuff. I have found that with a good amp and a good guitar most overdrives are pretty much the same. I mean there are some differences, but its not this giant seperation that we have all been taught to believe. Some have a little more mids, some have a little more bass, some are a bit more clear, some are a bit bright. But play with the controls a bit and you can get almost any overdrive to sound like another overdrive. Do some tweaking and you will find regardless of chip, etc. you can get them close and not just a little I mean so close that in a recorded clip demo you can barely and I mean bearely tell the difference.

    I find they are all doing the same thing essetially, pushing your tubes to overdrive. some are better matches for your setup than others, but the differences are very minor. Mostly any pedal could work in anyones setup really.

    So to sum it up for me, why chase my tail anymore. Pick the few I like, and know that with some tweaking, maybe even some stacking I can get probably any sound I want, and searching out new ones will not offer me anything new.

    I am talking about quality pedals, price was not an issue just quality pedals. A few clunkers that couldnt hang imo were the stamps drive o matic and digital od's.

    Some of you will say some have more gain clean up better etc. I am talking overdrive, not distortion. clean boost, to low od to high od. Some pedals will have more gain, again like I said with a combination of 2-3 pedals your bases should be covered.
  2. drolling

    drolling Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    I've recently hit the wall myself - there's at least three OD pedals being discussed right now that I would have had on order if I'd known about them as recently as 3 months ago.. Of course they didn't exist then.

    So, I'm either going thru' a phase, come to my senses, lost my marbles, or something. If this trend continues, I'll have no reason to be here at all..

    Anyway, I'd be inclined to agree that there are an awful lot of Tube Screamers out there - and more on the way, no doubt.

    But, like compressors, a big part of the charm of a good overdrive pedal is the way it *feels*, and that's not easily captured w/a microphone or even an oscilloscope.
  3. rewog

    rewog Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    Perth, Australia
    I tend to agree with you to some extent. It is possible to gat similar sounds from a lot of the od's on the market, esp. if they are based on the same circuit i.e. Tubescreamer, etc.
    I don't agree that this is because they are pushing your tubes. Technically, that is a Boost, not an od, although some od's do both.
    Od's are designed to clip the signal, so they have a characteristic sound, again depending on the circuit. The differences are usually in the voicing.

    For me, the od's that really stand out as having a personality of their own are usually using something other than diodes for clipping - things like Skreddy's Screw Driver (Germanium), and some of the pedals designed around things like Mosfets.
  4. KeithC

    KeithC Silver Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    I tend to agree too. So many are really alike.

    That pedal shootout link was pretty cool.
    The sound is much more OD and crunch than I use.
    Actually I thought that Bad Monkey sounded pretty good.
  5. Ted Witcher

    Ted Witcher Member

    Jan 5, 2002
    Los Angeles

    I have recently come to the same conclusion. Slight differences, yes, but essentially a distortion sound with my particular EQ: I also found that I tend to set the controls on every one to achieve basically the same type of sound (I do this with amps, too). Maybe if I used them all for the sound they make as opposed to tweaking them to my preferred sound, I'd feel different. But they all get me basically there.

    The only thing I use that sounds really different from the ODs is my Cornish Duplex (SS-3/P-2). Running them separate or in series has a very unique character, but then they are fuzzes.
  6. gulliver

    gulliver Member

    Jun 25, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Thanks for that link, I was looking for it but couldn't find it.

    Doesn't mean much, though ... he's taking an already kickass pure amp tone and adding pedals for a very little change in EQ and added compression. The way I would have done it would be to way-lower the distortion amount on the amp and use more of the pedal's tone.

    There's a lot of great tone out there, and most of the players are using pedals to help get it. Like what gets said on this board all the time, it's the total tone, the gear, and how it's used. You can't just click on a pedal and say it's good or no good. Tone is the end, pedals are just a means to the end. Most sound generic, but when you get the mixture right - magic happens.

    My two cents.
  7. TimH

    TimH Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Yeah I don't fnd this link proves much really. All save 2 or 3 of those pedals are Tube Screamer variants of some kind so I'd EXPECT them to sound similar. Why you'd hang on to that many tubescreamers is beyond me. Plus the already stated fact that he's using alot of drive on his amp already doesn't help. IMHO the best tone on there was the one with no pedal...but I'm not a high gain VH type player so my need for pedals is different than his.
  8. Mondoslug

    Mondoslug Supporting Member

    May 10, 2005
    I think you're right guy. They're all the same...there's the flavor of the month club but basically you like one for a little while - than it's over.
    Turns out for me the ones that are most highly touted I don't care for. Go figya.
  9. v-verb

    v-verb Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    right now my faves are the cheap Danelectro Fab pedals for under $20 - seriously!
  10. zzz

    zzz Member

    Jul 1, 2006
    C.I. Australia
    Moderndrummer I wish I could feel that way again. Many years ago for eleven years I was playing in the big city with just a lp, fender proreverb, a ds1 and a ph1. I was very happy with my sound! Then I started experimenting after that ....you guys know the story. Anyway I think Drolling hit the nail on the head when he mention 'feel'. Yes there are a lot of similar sounding OD but not all have that 'feel' or Mojo. For me I like them to sound Big (like big amps not loud) with the right 'feel'.
  11. kidamerica17

    kidamerica17 Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    It's funny that this comes up right now. I spent an hour or two yesterday A/B-ing OD pedals to make it onto my board. The one's in the running were: EGDM, Keeley BD-2, Honeybee, RX Overdriver and OCD. To my ears they all had the same base quality with some variations in compression and clarity. For my purposes the EGDM was the overall winner but then I decided to add a second pedal to the mix for more of the Americana "brown" sound. I spent a long time switching between the HB and the BD2. The real differences really were the compression and the amount of gain on tap. Ultimately, I think I'm going to go with the BD-2 on my board with the EGDM, but I found the other four OD pedals to be slight variations on the same theme.
  12. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    I will say this: not all boutique hand made pedals are good
  13. seanc

    seanc Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Perth, Western Australia
    some boutique pedals can be pretty below par and some cheap pedals can be great and unbelievable.....however 9/10 times it happens to be the other way around. i stick with a brand or type of pedal until it lets me down. seems like a pretty lame excuse but it has saved me a few bucks.
  14. gatordoc

    gatordoc Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    I agree that some do separate themselves from the others based purely on feel but as far as the overall tone goes you could probably make the majority of them sound pretty much the same just by adding a good EQ. For that matter, some good EQs produce a nice OD all by themselves if the right frequencies are pushed.
  15. trower

    trower Silver Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2005
    Calif. Bay Area
    This review only makes sense if your starting with a nice dirty tone, and that's clearly the point the reviewer was making. Boosting an already likable tone is more than half way to accepting a pedal. From there, sound/vibe, price, looks and features all factor in. I'll admit it, I hate the way Route 66 pedals look and so I'v never tried them..sounds crazy but..oh well. Starting with a flat and clean tone will show a pedals true merits and is a seperate review all together..I'v owned everthing from Landgraffs to Klons and find a Timmy and an OCD cover just about everthing out there for my already rockin' Tophat tone, but with my Blackface, only a Crunchbox will do...It's the thrill of the chase for some of us!

  16. carbz

    carbz Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2006
    I wouldn't say that most Overdrives sound pretty much the same but some are real close and some are so subtle in difference you can make them sound almost indentical. For instance I just picked up a G2D classic overdrive but I also have a liquid sunshine which sound similar to a degree but the G2D is more versatile. I also used to own a Vox Valvetone. The vox was the typical TS sound and worked well with a MV amp. On the other hand it was way to smooth and not dirty enough into a clean amp IMO. The GD2 works well with both Master and NM vol amps and so does the LS. I refussed to spend an arm and a leg and into the hype of pedals such as the........ Eternity, Landgraff, Clay Jones, Klon, Tim/Timmy, Zendrive....etc when most likely the difference I feel would be subtle. While I am sure they all sound very good so do the pedals I bought and bought them at reasonable used prices.
  17. Gary Ladd

    Gary Ladd Member

    Jan 30, 2005
    Control Room
    Timmy & OCD both come to mind :AOK
  18. Seegs

    Seegs Member

    Jul 13, 2004
    Pretty broad strokes I'd say...generalizations never cut it for me because there's so many different variables in how pedals respond with different setups...

    IME the differences are both heard and felt in a pretty noticeable way...

  19. Hipster Dofus

    Hipster Dofus Member

    Mar 24, 2002
    Fort Wayne
    I bought a high end OD once, dual drive type set-up. Sounded 99% like my Bad Monkey, but 4x the $$$. High gain or low gain, I could get the Bad Monkey so close it was silly. I sent the high dollar box back.

    The 2 I have now are worlds apart....The Zen Drive, and an OCD. I still have the Bad Money for backup, but the other 2 are it for me.

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