I really dig the Tube Pilot now that I figured out how to put a fixed value (.006) tone capacitor in there; shout out to @wildschwein for the pointer on that one. Am still going to experiment with other tubes in that, and want to try an old Blue Tube pedal or a rack mount Real Tube unit too.
BOSS SD-1 is probably my favorite pedal. The MIT version was my first OD pedal bought, now I use 1981 version with NEC chip and yellow stripe diodes. It's bit more edgy then the regular version, less compressed.
I couldn't possibly pick.. it seems like every OD and/or distortion pedal has a whole bunch of situations it sounds absolutely terrible. So I end up hot and cold with overdrive about 1000x more than any other pedal. I like something for a while, get sick of it, then change my mind again later.
My favorite can't be any kind of Klon or Tube Screamer circuit.. both of those can sound good if you craft everything around the pedal (i.e. you are choosing an amp and a guitar based on what the pedal works well with) but sound horrible in a lot of other situations. I guess I don't think the pedal should be so important as to influence choice of amp/guitar.
Maybe I lean towards distortion.. distortions often seem more versatile to me. OCD, DS-1, Big Muffs, RAT style pedals.. all of them have a lot to offer.
I have 2 OD pedals that I use right now. I have an EH Crayon on my short board and that board only has the Crayon, a reverb pedal and a dist. to kick in the dirt. On my regular board I have an MXR overdrive pedal I really like. That board has like 8 pedals including a tuner, chorus and tremolo. The EH Crayon is by far the better pedal but my regular board has an MXR '78 distortion that matches with my MXR OD pedal perfectly. I've never really liked the TS-9 even though it was a staple for SRV.
My modded DS-1.
I mentioned a while ago on another thread - I reduced the gain by a factor of 40 and replaced the diodes with a shaka bradda set. That's been like 10 years ago and I can't find one I like better. Very simple mod, too.
Though I have admittedly little experience with pedals, the Durham Mucho Busto gets my vote.
It doesn’t make every guitar sound the same.
Hope that makes sense.
I don’t hate the old faithful Tube Screamer, BTW.
It does it’s thing perfectly.
Right now it would have to be the MXR Custom Badass OD. Dumb name for such an aesthetically beautiful pedal. Smooth rather than grainy, highly customizable, lots of oomph. My only complaint is the large amount of gain on tap, so I keep the gain knob at about 9:00.