The Best Overdrive Pedal for ALL Music Genres

An overdrive pedal pushes your amp to the next level by adding gain boost, or to approximate the slightly distorted sound of an overdriven tub amp. This is a product that can be used well with rock, blues, metal and punk guitarists alike. You have to know what to look for when finding the best overdrive pedal for the purpose so you can play like the stars!

Team’s Choice for the Best Overdrive Pedal

What should I look for in Analog or Digital Effects?

One point you might notice when shopping for different overdrive pedals is that they are often made with analog or digital effects in mind. Many analog effects are used to modify sound signals as they come about. This allows a little more of a direct control over the sounds that come out of the guitar.

A digital overdrive pedal is a more modern option. This will convert the sounds that are created by a guitar into digital signals. These are then modified by the overdrive pedal. The signals are then transferred back into analog mode and played back again.

 The digital overdrive typically helps to offer more control over the different types of effects that may be generated by such a pedal. When used right, it makes the effects sound their best while establishing a better and more appealing sound.

You must choose an option based on the type of control that you want to work with. This is to provide you with a better experience for when you are playing with a good pedal.

The most important part of this is to see that the effects are capable of working with your particular guitar. Most guitars should be able to handle digital effects. Although, some older models might work a little better if you are able to work with as standard analog effect. A smarter control will make it all work well to create your desired sound.

What About Presets?

Presets are not easily available on most pedals. Some of the more modern options, particularly digital ones, are available with a series of presets. These can help you to save different preferred settings that create better overall effects.

A factory preset can be chosen on some models to give yourself a little extra control over your sounds. You can always work with a great preset that is easy to follow, but it’s a necessity to test it out. This gives yourself an idea of whether or not your model is actually working in accordance with what you want to play.

What do the EQ Effects do?

Equalizer, or EQ, effects can always be added on a good overdrive pedal. An equalizer will boost, or reduce the effects on particular frequency bands being read by the pedal. This can create some high tones, or establish a few bass effects on some models depending on what setup you want to use.

A good tone control feature can be used on your pedal to adjust the bass or treble features on your guitar. The important thing is to find a good option that can help you out with a better overall tone that you will want to play with.

The equalizer effects can be read on some panels with a few digital readouts to help you see it working. However, you might have to use trial and error to figure out what the right effects are for your guitar. This is to give you an extra sense of control over your guitar to make it work right.

Why is Distortion Important?

Distortion is not a bad thing when it comes to getting a great playback going on your guitar. Distortion makes it where you get a little more sustain on your notes. This in turn gives you a better experience with keeping notes ringing and sounding great.

Today, you can get a distortion control to work on an overdrive pedal. With this pedal feature, the sounds you create will become thicker and heavier in tone. This can be adjusted as needed to create stronger effects in your music and to create deeper notes similar to what you might get out of an organ.

The distortion effects on the guitar should be easy to adjust and control to your liking. A simple knob should be used on your pedal to give you a little more control over getting this to work for you. Of course, you need to make sure that the setup is controlled well enough to where you can clearly and simply get the distortion to run to your preference.

Intensity controls may also be found on an overdrive pedal. These controls help you to create intense and rough sounds, or you can opt for a more refined and smoother sound to work with depending on your preference. No matter what you choose, you can opt for something that is easy to handle and use for when you want to create a great sound effect.

Photo courtesy of ArtBrom

What Other Controls are There?

You might be surprised at the immense variety of different controls you can choose from when getting a good distortion panel ready for your use. A good panel can work with fuzz controls to create a thicker effect that can work for when you are trying to pull off a good solo. However, fuzz controls are better for when no other instrument besides your guitar is being played. Get jamming on that solo!

Of course, you cannot talk about overdrive pedals without talking about the overdrive effect that maybe used on your model. An overdrive effect will feature a warmer breakup effect with a higher tone associated with it. This should give you an intense sound that you will love to play!

A booster panel must also be used for when you want to get the signals to work properly on your unit. A booster panel can work on your panel to add a strong signal that will make it easier for your setup to work to your liking.

This is a great option to have if you want to use an instrument, but you have a good-sized cable to work with, or you are going to be a little further away from the panel. It ensures that the signal loss that might come about as a result of being apart from your unit will be minimal.

Editor’s Choice for the Best Overdrive Pedal

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The ​Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal features controls for the level, tone, drive and has a convenient foot pedal to help you activate it while you are playing. This can help you to get smoother tones that are easier to play with.

It especially helps to keep sounds from being too heavy or thick, thus ensuring that you will have a better control over the sounds you are creating. A huge bonus is there aren’t any clicking sounds when you fire it up!

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The Joyo IF-02 Ultimate Overdrive Pedal features gain and level adjustments and has its own bypass wiring feature that will get signals to move quickly on the guitar to make it sound its best. It works for rock and country guitarists alike as it features high and low settings to create multiple tones.

You can turn the drive and volume up or down with separate features as well to give you something more attractive and easier to follow. The best part is that the unit works with a nine-volt battery so you can get it to work right away without having to use any annoying power outlets.​

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The TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive Compression Pedal has a true bypass feature that allows a better connection to work without losing any tone in the process. It has a voicing switch feature to help you with shifting sounds.

You will also get separate controls for the treble, level, drive and bass. Each can be adjusted separately and tested to see what sounds will work the best for your playing skills. The compression effects are not too strong while the option to add a thicker sound to your guitar will certainly be something thrilling to have when looking to play something crisp and clear.​

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The last option to see is the Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive. Designed for those who obsess over details and getting the best and freshest sounds possible, this model uses clearly labeled hookups on the sides to get power and items linked while volume, drive and tone effects can be added.​

This can control the volume of the guitar to create some intense effects that make it work perfectly to give you more control over the sounds you are trying to generate. The nine-volt battery on the inside is convenient to help you start playing and controlling your sounds right away.​

Take your music to the next level with the best compression pedal! These are great for rock, blues, metal and punk guitarists. Enjoy the gain boost and the sound of an overdriven amp, essentially rock and roll in a box!

For further reading on overdrive pedals and related topics, check out these Coustii recommended sites:

  • What’s the Difference Between Overdrive and Distortion Effects Pedals?
  • Blues Power: An In-Depth Guide to the Amps and Pedals in Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Arsenal


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