How To Choose The Right Overdrive Pedal For Your Needs

Published on 3 May 2019

Despite the slightly click-baity title, this is NOT a video for anyone looking for quick and easy answers. That's because Dan and I have spent decades and umpteen thousands of pounds finding out that there really is no simple answer to the question, ‘What overdrive pedal should I buy?’
However, we do have a better question that will be infinitely more helpful: ‘What do I want an overdrive pedal to do?’
We propose in this video that there are four common answers to that question and as such, help you significantly narrow down your OD pedal choices.
This video is NOT about the 'best' specific pedal; it's about concepts – gain structure, headroom, dynamics, the guitar-pedal-amp ecosystem – because, well, head back to the first paragraph.
TLDR? TLDW? We understand, but just know this: an hour and 17 watching this video will save you years of getting it ‘wrong’ and wasting endless cash, we promise.
Enjoy. If you dare…

Pedals & stuff in this episode…

• TheGigRig Three2One

• TC Electronic PolyTune 2 Mini
UK & Europe:

• Tru-Fi Colordriver

• JHS / Electro Harmonix Triangle Muff Illuminati Mod
UK & Europe:

• Keeley Java Boost
No longer made

• Ibanez TS808 (Keeley Mod)
No longer made

• Paul Cochrane Timmy Overdrive

• Xotic Effects BB Preamp
UK & Europe:

• JHS Sweet Tea V3
UK & Europe:

• RYRA The Klone
UK & Europe:

• Wampler Tumnus Deluxe
UK & Europe:

• Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man 1100-TT
UK & Europe:

• Xotic EP Booster
UK & Europe:

• TheGigRig G2
Why do we have preferred retailer links? Find out here:

Interesting bits and go-to sections…
- Intro playing: 0:00
- What are we doing today? 2:00
- Where do you begin with overdrive pedals? 2:34
- Why does this matter: gain structure is EVERYTHING: 3:25
- The four main reasons you might want an overdrive pedal: 6:40
- A smorgasbord of awesome OD pedals: 7:35
- Today’s amps: why these? 7:50
- REASON 1: OD pedal for your always-on core tone: 11:05
- How much gain? 14:50
- REASON 2: OD pedal for solo boosts: 22:32
- …clean amp: 22:59
- – boost pedal before and after OD pedal: 23:30
- That thing Klon-style pedals do so well: 24:30
- Why OD pedals don’t lift volume into a gainy amp – HEADROOM: 27:20
- How to boost a dirty amp via the FX loop: 28:30
- Why treble boosters are horrible with clean amps: 29:35
- Why treble boosters are awesome with dirty amps: 30:15
- Treble booster into Timmy into clean amp: 33:05
- Tube Screamer into clean amp: 34:50
- Tube Screamer into dirty amp: 35:50
- Boost pedal in amp FX loop: 37:15
- Shaping drive tones with a boost/EQ :4115 (45:25)
- REASON 3: OD Pedal For VST – a Very Specific Tone: 48:10
- Oh please not SRV. Nooooo! 49:55 (51:10)
- Tone is not in the fingers: 50:40
- Big Muff and delay does not equal instant Gilmour: 56:00
- Why the Coloursound Power Driver is so cool: 1:01:10
- You’re never going to sound like them? 1:03:30
- Reason 4: OD Pedal To Do It All? 1:04:45
- A two-sided OD pedal: 1:08:15
- Good things to look for in a do-it-all OD pedal: 1:11:55
- Closing thoughts: 1:14:45

Guitars in this episode:
• PRS DGT – watch Mick’s video at
• Fender American Vintage ’62 Stratocaster – Mick’s video at
• Fender Custom Shop ’63 Telecaster – Dan’s video at

Amps in this episode
• Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III with standard speaker
• Victory VX The Kraken with V112VC cabinet / Celestion G12M-65 Creamback

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