Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Quest for tube-sounding, natural-sounding mild overdrive pedal

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by DHart, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. j5jarod777

    j5jarod777 Tele-Meister

    Mar 7, 2012
  2. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I came across a Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive, which seems to meet the need pretty well! And I found that I can use my DynaComp gain control (dimed) to overdrive the input to the Sweet Honey Over Drive pedal. Interesting stuff.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
    TequilaCaster and RetroTeleRod like this.
  3. AbisFjord

    AbisFjord Tele-Meister

    Dec 21, 2017
    Good ol' TS9 is very tamable, sounds good at low settings. Another idea is using a small boost pedal set to low after overdrive to reel in the clipping a bit. Then again, this is a stupid idea and I'm the only one who likes it.
    Arafel likes this.
  4. DaveKS

    DaveKS Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Oct 21, 2013
    No that is not stupid idea. Many od pedals sound better when their output stage is pushed a bit harder. Using a boost, EQ or even another od as master volume cut after it is one of best tricks you can have up your sleeve. Especially if your trying to keep your amps vol down.

    More advanced example, I'll run VFE Pale Horse boosted into Kingsley Page to push it into od. It's devine but then fact that Page is edge of clean tube boost means it has headroom left, so boost into it, it gets quite a bit louder. After it if I feel it's needed, Keeley GC-2 set up in limiter mode. No matter what or how I set up gain on TS>Page or how hard I bang on fretboard, GC-2 is always there limiting final output vol. it never pushes amp to hard so vol of amp stays in check.

    That said, I'd rather let Pages output push the amp into slight breakup which also has some headroom so it gets louder, but in certain volume restrained scenario that's not a option. In that use all breakup has to come before the master vol pedal/limiter.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
    AbisFjord likes this.
  5. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK

    Yes, I've been surprised by how flexible and good sounding the (very, very cheap) American Sound is.

    I ordered one after seen the In the The Blues review just cos I was curious.

    I've used it in aa few "no amp" situations, also into my DRRI at low volume for late night very quiet noodling. I know it has supposedly a speaker sim and it shouldn't work, but the second guitarist in our band is using a simple set up 60s Baja Tele > American Sound > Hot Rod Deluxe and using his guitar controls with the AS acting as a preamp for cleanish to a little more dirty tones he needs and even at band levels it's a really effective sound in the mix, distinctly better than the HRD by itself, which is something of a hard and cutting tone. The AS gives it some clipping and Tweed like softness and warmth. The build quality is not great and I had one switch failure (replaced under 12 month warranty). it just sits always-on on top of his amp so he can tweak in between numbers.

    Others I've used for mild overdrive and that also work well are:

    The Wampler Paisley Drive (it's expensive but you can find them used, as I did) which is very flexible and and good for Vox like low level gain as well as very gainy lead tones. This is great into an amp. Works best with single coils to my ears.

    The Caline Pure Sky (again, very cheap) a sort of Timmy clone, very good for low level break up tones and has useful tone controls and can also push the front end of an amp effectively. Again seems best with single coils and again, the build quality is a bit suspect. I wouldn't want to be relying on it and stomping on it.

    I like the Hot Cake as a drive for low volume Vox AC30

    Overall though I prefer attenuators for tube amps to get the right natural output tube dirt at the right audible volume and then push further with something like Boss EQ for more driven and lead parts.
    Tootle and RoscoeElegante like this.
  6. Felino

    Felino Tele-Meister

    Apr 28, 2016
    Take a look at AMT pedals.
  7. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2009
    my caline pure sky is noisy.

    that is all.
  8. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

    May 13, 2009
    I think the OD-3 is a good suggestion indeed...or the VS Open Road. I found the two to be rather similar. May just be my ear, but I thought so.
    RetroTeleRod and bluesholyman like this.
  9. WaylonFan76

    WaylonFan76 Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2008
    South Lousiana
    Wampler Tweed ‘57. Three knob EQ, great range of gain and three positions (normal, bright and bridged like the three positions on a Tweed Bassman).
  10. kevsonic

    kevsonic Tele-Meister

    Oct 16, 2017
    Philadelphia, PA
    Didn't look like there were enough suggestions, so I vote for the Cmatmods "Butah".
  11. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's

    Blues Driver = Vintage “amplike” Breakup

    OD-3 = modern amplike breakup.

    If you can’t find what you seek with one of those two ...
    Felino likes this.
  12. ifallalot

    ifallalot Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 24, 2012
    Huntington Beach, CA
    I like my simple EHX Hot Tubes. Just make sure to turn the tone off and keep the gain below 1 o'clock
  13. adamnewtonguitar

    adamnewtonguitar TDPRI Member

    Sep 27, 2016
    I played a Mythos Mjolnir late last year, and it's one of the best sounding overdrive I've ever played, bar none.

    I also hear great things about the J Rockett Audio Blue Note.
  14. VikinginLA

    VikinginLA Tele-Meister

    Sep 15, 2013
    Los Angeles
    If you can play all of them will sound good. If you can't necessarily play, chances are very few will sound good.
    Felino and MilwMark like this.
  15. NiceTele

    NiceTele Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 20, 2012
    Don't forget the Menatone Red Snapper 3- great pedal for mild OD
  16. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    Buy all of the suggestions, all at once. Then before the credit card bill comes due, work through them all and return all but one... (yeah right — but wouldn’t that be fun?)

    I have to suggest the BK Butler Tube Driver... huge sound, authentic tube overdrive because 12ax7, and its fun swapping in different tubes to tweak the tone.
    Felino likes this.
  17. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    The reason those two emulate amp behaviors is because:

    • they clip at multiple stages
    • they filter/eq at multiple points

    Some have mentioned using a boost into an OD, or boosting the front end of the amp. With the OD-3 and BD-2, their designs do this internally. Since it's all 'integrated tgether,' it's not a crapshoot as to how well it ends up working.

    ...Contrary to popular opinion, the 1st gain stage in a tube amp generally isn't clipping like we might think it is. So simply sticking a boost pedal in front can actually induce clipping that sounds anything but natural. IMO, the 'natural sound' is a result of all the stages down the line (after the 1st gain stage) adding varying amounts of more mild clipping, and the clipped effect tends to roll in gradually, as the volume on the amp is turned up.

    Also in the case of tubes/valves, they have internal capacitance that, together with hardwired resistance at the input, rolls off some treble. A decent drive box design will also typically emulate this, to some degree. Again, IMO, the OD-3 and BD-2 have it 'integrated' as part of the design.
    RetroTeleRod and MilwMark like this.
  18. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    Well, not entirely. It's a starved plate design, so the clipping you hear is not equivalent to the sound of (multiple) triode stages at high supply voltage starting to soft clip.

    This isn't to say that the starved plate tube designs sound bad (and they can be fun and unique alternative to other OD, fuzz, and distortion designs), but I think there are actual 100% SS pedals that approximate the authentic qualities (especially of mild OD) better.
  19. marshallartist

    marshallartist TDPRI Member

    May 1, 2007
    Finally someone brings up the important question. It always amazes me how some of these OD/Distortion/Fuzz threads can carry on for pages before anyone brings up the subject of the amp they're being paired with.

    Lets face it, not every OD pedal works for every amp. A pedal that sounds like the voice of an angel through one amp might sound like a gassy barnyard animal through another. But then I'm sure there's someone out there going for that flagellating donkey sound, so to each his own.

    So what kind of amp are we talking about here?
    rich815 likes this.
  20. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    Snouse Blackbox OD2. It's a Marshall Bluesbreaker clone with some more knobs. It sounds very very very good and very amplike. Nice flattish EQ. Very smooth and pleasant clipping.

    Good luck!
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