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Your 2 most versatile drives.

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Festofish, Mar 21, 2021.

  1. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

    May 5, 2015
    OD pedals aren't really versatile, or at least used to capture lots of different sounds. Typically for me they do that one thing, maybe two, but that one thing they do very well.

    JHS Morning Glory is an always on pedal that can be tasked to go deeper into OD without getting spiky or grainy. I guess a Soul Food would be second, or maybe Boss DB-2 as a second. Those two can change their character a little bit when asked.

    But a Boss DS-1 pretty much only makes DS-1 like noises. I can make my Angry Charlie a little less surly, but he's still pretty peeved at even the lowest settings. Fuzz pedals gonna fuzz. Etc., etc., etc..

    I hear RAT pedals are pretty versatile, because of the architecture of their circuit. But I don't own a RAT.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
    northernguitar likes this.
  2. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

    Jul 25, 2011
    Houston, TX
    It's kind of a three way street for me; for whatever reason, some pedals seem to sound better to me with one amp vs. the other, with two exceptions. I'm working with a BF Tremolux and SF Princeton no-verb. Seems like an SD-1 works well for the Tremolux, but not so wayno with the Princeton, for example.

    The MXR Il Torino was pretty versatile, but it's now back on the shelf. Maybe I need to see what's what.

    but two that have worked with both:
    a DOD OD250 which was sort of a clear warmth (and maybe that's just a way of saying mid-boost)
    and the Catalinbread 5f6, same sort of mid-boost, but in a tweed way. Nice growl.

    Since I'm haven't been actively gigging in the last year, there's no real trial by fire, which is what I prefer.

    I've been doing songwriter Zoom conferences, electric and acoustic with a pedalboard. In that scenario, the TC Electronics Spark mini, a straight up clean boost, single knob, has been the most versatile - clean boost helps get line balances right through an interface. I adjust the level with my toes. Sometimes with a little boost, you don't need as much gain on your dirt pedal, and in theory, quieter. That's more of a single coil concern v. humbuckers, I guess.
  3. PigBoy

    PigBoy Tele-Meister

    Mar 17, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    My RAT and my other RAT.
  4. jayhawknavy02

    jayhawknavy02 TDPRI Member

    Oct 11, 2020
    San Diego
    Fulltone OCD, IMO it nails the TS-9 and BD-2 both and does more. I have all three pedals and tried across various amps (Egnator, Fender Supersonic, Boss Katana, DRRI, etc.) and love it, just wish it used the standard power input like the other pedals (Boss).

    My favorite....easy.... Lone Wolf Tube Amps Fat Glass II

    Built by a local San Diego, CA (USA) company that repairs amps (Lone Wolf Tube Amps). Uses a true cathode ray tube to generate analog sounds via a small transformer at real tube amp voltages. I have 4 other overdrives (TS-9, OCD, TS-808, BD-2) and none of them sound quite like this, there’s just something extra, and you can swap the tube to modify the tone as desired, which adds a lot of flexibility. It even sounds great when driven by another tube screamer into the amp for even more gain. What shocked me was how good it sounded with solid state amps, and many tube screamers/overdrives don’t, it simply brings back the warmth they’re missing. All the wiring is point to point, done by hand done, one at a time by Mr. Lyle, the owner, just like they did in the 50s and 60s.

    Video (All Audio) We Did to showcase how good it sounds even with a horrible amp like the Fender Frontman and with unusual combos (Heritage Hollow body)

    Available For Purchase Here


    They also have a Tube Tremolo, but I've never tried it and can't speak to it, but if Lyle makes it I'm sure its quality.

  5. Iago

    Iago Friend of Leo's

    Sep 18, 2006
    Timmy. J Rockett Animal also comes to mind. Wampler Euphoria too (I just don't have one right now).
  6. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

    Jun 30, 2016
    Rochester, MN
    The only two that I use anymore are a Klon KTR and a Timmy - they cover pretty much every thing that I hear in my head.
  7. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2008
    Northern Va.
    I run two drives, both ODs.
    SD1 and Mojomojo.
    90% of the time if I want dirt I use the SD1. The mojo comes in when I want a lot more dirt and a bit darker tone. The SD1 doesn't do either of those that well, at least for me.
  8. igor5

    igor5 Tele-Meister

    Nov 28, 2016
    Timmy and KOT
  9. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2009
    Nashville TN
    I currently use a Machine head Pedals 98.6 Degrees and an SD-1 with a couple of mods for my tele. I swap the SD-1 for a Blues Breaker v1 with my strat. There is some overlap. The 98.6 is great for higher gain tones but can do the 72 Degrees thing at lower settings. I mostly use it like I would a Rat. The SD-1 is very dynamic and a tad brighter than the 98; think more jangle. The BBv1 needs no introduction. Love it with a strat.
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    So I had the worst month of guitar sound in February that spilled into March but seems to have passed.
    Determined to once and for all get a Plexi sound from a pedal into my 18w Marshalls, I lost a couple of auctions for a LaGrange and bought a mint Bogner Ecstasy Blue, then later won an auction for a LaGrange.
    The Blue has some very sweet cleaner Plexi sounds in it, while being fiddly to dial in, and at highest gain not getting what I wanted.
    Then the LaGrange is more gained up and to my ear more of a modded Plexi oriented pedal while also being an obvious nod to Rev Billy sounds.
    While I would be happy with Rev Billy modded Plexi sounds, I cannot get that running that pedal into mid forward Marshalls!
    The LaGrange lacks the TMB of the Blue, and I have to guess it's yet another MIAB pedal tailored to owners of BF style amps that want a Marshall sound.

    Oddly enough, I nabbed a Tech 21 US Metal pedal for $60 and can get some really good low gain edge of distortion Plexi like sounds from it, better than either Bogner pedal. Another fiddly pedal to dial in, even more so than the easy to understand Bogners, but that due to a massive range of sounds on tap.
    I would call that Tech 21 a versatile drive, yet only if you have a use for anything it does.
    For a Metal oriented dirt box it has very good clean sounds, but I think for me a lot of the value is in being usable with a mid forward amp.

    IDK but I have a feeling the biggest portion of the dirt pedal market goes to owners of amps designed to stay clean, namely BF Fender amps that were Country music oriented and designed to suit Country players who didn't really use any dirty sounds.

    So all these pedals that get good reviews by players with a DRRI etc, are pretty much awful for players with a Marshall they just want more lower volume dirt from.

    I suppose that stepping back, an alien from another planet might ask why we buy amps we think we like, when they don';t make the sounds we want, unless we buy a bunch of dirt pedals to drastically change the sound of an amp we claim to love?
    Why buy a non MV Marshall when I want dirt at lower volume?
    Why buy a clean sounding mid scooped BF amp when you want mid forward dirty sound?

    Because: Clean Pedal Platform!
  11. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 16, 2003
    I don't know how versatile this is, but I'd say my Blackstone Appliances. I tend to like a smooth overdrive that sounds natural. So it's not cutting, snarling, or nasty.

    But it does have two channels with separate output levels and gain settings. Goes from barely there to tweed to Marshall, but not metal. And instead of typical tone control, it has a shared "thickening" control, that basically lets you move up the mids for single coils or tones down the low end for humbuckers, when needed. And it cleans up from my guitar's volume control or pick attack like a tube amp.

    Honorable mention goes to my C-Tech Sonny Boy. It's an all-analogue overdrive that emulates ten classic amps plus a 50's/60's button that really jumps the gain into a Marshall feel. Here's part of a letter written by the inventor that goes into it in far more detail:

    "In terms of its tonal architecture, the Sonny Boy pedal is primarily modeled after the Fender Tweed amps of the late 50's, with particular emphasis on the 1959 Fender 4x10 Tweed Bassman. The early Fender amps featured Jensen Alinco 5 speakers and an open-back cabinet design. They had that distinctive piercing clean tone and tight bass response popular with all of the early blues guitar greats. Most of the settings on the Sonny Boy reflect this architecture, particularly Roadhouse, Texas Flood and Double Trouble.

    Two other amps were also modeled: a 1965 Marshall JTM45 combo, and a 1965 Vox AC30 Top Boost. The circuitry and tonal characteristics of the Marshall JTM45 were very close to that of the Fender 4x10 Bassman. However, the JTM45 featured a closed back cabinet design and 12" Celestion speakers, which gave it the heavier tonal voicing and response that was popular with the more rock n roll edge desired in the early 60s. Later Marshall amps tended to popularize a brighter, crunchy sometimes buzzy overdrive tone, but the early JTM45s featured a softer and smoother, more bluesy tonal signature. This was the amp used by Clapton in recording his Blues Breaker album, which in out opinion represents some of the best sounding lead guitar of all time. The 60s button on the Sonny Boy is modeled to inject this early Marshall feel. You also get a bit of it in the Roadhouse setting.

    The circuitry used in the spongy, open back 1965 Vox AC30 Top Boost amp, is found in many of today's boutique amps. This amp was great for recording and low volume work. It is found on many recordings in the 60s, including many of the Beatles records, and features a smooth tone, and distortion rich with overtones. The Boogie Chillun and Electric Mud setting on the Sonny Boy are closely modeled after this amp."
    pugnax likes this.
  12. dlew919

    dlew919 Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 6, 2012


    BD 2.

    those who know, know. Those who don’t. Well they should.
  13. mjcyates

    mjcyates Tele-Meister

    May 4, 2010
    Louisville, KY
    JHS Morning Glory
    Original Barber Direct Drive
    Chiogtr4x likes this.
  14. h2lifesaver

    h2lifesaver TDPRI Member

    May 9, 2019
    Timmy v2
  15. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    20190701_212032.jpg 20190702_092039.jpg
    Beautiful IN & OUT too!
    northernguitar likes this.
  16. peterpaul

    peterpaul TDPRI Member

    Sep 27, 2007
    new haven, ct.
    I cant Say Enough about the
    Joe Gore DUH.
    They Call it a Fuzz but i get Everything from Cream to Van Halen
    From this one Pedal.
    And its got 1 Knob!
    I’m kind of a minimalist, so i really dig this Thing.
  17. blewzman

    blewzman TDPRI Member

    Aug 29, 2018
    Bella Vista AR
    J Rockett The Dude and The Blue Note
    4pickupguy likes this.
  18. pugnax

    pugnax Tele-Meister

    Oct 2, 2019
    For proper 'drive' pedals, I think I get the most range out of:
    • ss/bs f*ck overdrive - utterly huge range of sounds, from almost-clean boost to gritty to fuzzy to literally exploding amp/torn speaker/decaying tape. it's probably one of the only truly unique sounds out there, at least in the greater overdrive family. It's got a hi-cut that is super useful for taming it and getting it to fit in a mix (even a looping mix with other guitar layers).
    • fairfield barbershop/modele b - a really beautiful little low-gain overdrive that can adjust to a different feel via a voltage-starve "sag" circuit. I prefer the always-on version because it just makes everything sound better and can easily get out of the way by dialing the gain down. it's also a very nice addition to a stack (even of two) low-gain overdrives, as it's good for either pushing something else or being pushed - it's got quite a roar in there if you kick it in the pants. pairs especially well with the accountant compressor.
    Honorable mentions, although not 'drive' circuits, technically, would be:
    • EAE Halberd - it's so wildly different with different setups that its tough to describe, but dang. It's technically a preamp, and can add a truly terrific amount of gain. Really sounds different with every guitar and amp that I've played it with, and depending on where it sits compared to other pedals as well. Highly recommended, probably a desert island pedal for me. I just downsized to three pedals on a nano board and it made the cut for my one dirt box (but with a Lehle volume pedal and it's optional +10db of clean gain to push the Halberd when I want it, unless you have hot pickups it's unlikely you'll be satisfied with the actual sound of the Halberd in a vacuum - it either does magical things to an amp's natural overdrive, or it can be pushed itself, but on it's own you might be confused at the hype - basically this is a weird but magical pedal, and everyone should try one if they can).
    • EAE Longsword - the ultimate version of a rat-style opamp distortion. crazy eq and clipping flexibility, really interesting harmonics, very, very versatile. slight grit to black metal to doom and everything in between. it's very much a distortion circuit, though.
    • Harmonic percolators - the Land Devices HP-2 is great, but seems to be On The Hype Train and the prices on reverb right now are absurd. Dirge's Even Anguish version is amazing but tough to find. There's tons of clones out there but the harmonic voodoo in the circuit is really dependent on the characteristics of the individual transistors used, so YMMV, but you can get a huge range of tones out of a percolator - especially cool lower-gain sounds.
    • Mountainking Decomposer - this thing is nuts and not really worth trying to describe, but wow, wow, wowowowow.
  19. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I don’t get the construct of matching guitars to pedals.

    For me versatile = sounds good through the Gain, Tone (if applicable) and Level range.

    For me:

    - Boss SD1 live
    - Boss BD2 home

    What do I win?
    pugnax likes this.
  20. basher

    basher Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jun 7, 2007
    Washington, DC
    Boss OD-3, Xotic SL Drive. Honorable mention to the Danelectro Daddy-O, which is a pretty excellent Guvnor clone, and of course the Rat.

    Edit: OD-3, naaah, now that I've plugged in and played a bit, I realize that for me the BD-2 is really where it's at. I don't think there are many other overdrives that react as nicely to changes in attack or volume knob settings.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
    4pickupguy likes this.
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