Most solid state amps don’t have a rich, warm overdrive. This is a reason many guitarists like overdrive pedals in solid state amps. The warmer tones and added gains make for a far more pleasing experience. This guide of the best overdrive pedals for solid state amps will look at the pros and cons behind your potential purchase, as well as what makes them so much better than the competition.
This page will be looking at three of the best pedals out there for you to enjoy. Some of the choices are expensive but worth it.
We highly recommend the Boss-SD-1 Super Overdrive as an affordable choice. Read on to find out more about the best options.
Boss effects pedals have kept a reputation amongst gifted guitarists across all musical genres. Since its release in 1981, The Boss SD-1 Super Drive Overdrive has made an impression on its user base.
Boss modeled the SD-1 on the asymmetrical OD-1 clipping circuit launched in 1977. This gave it their much-celebrated musical tones that have had generations of guitarists gushing.
The wonders of its unique asymmetric clipping circuit gave the impression of a more natural feel of a driven tube amp at more controllable levels. Boss then created a new Stompbox category with the OD-1, bringing natural overdrive in pedal form for the first time to guitarists without the hassle of a tube amp. This new pedal produced harmonics that were adaptable to the sound.
Four years after its launch in 1977, The OD-1 soon evolved into the SD-1, which added more versatility to the tone control for the treble response.
This upgrade brings us to the SD-1 Super drive. A super acquisition for any guitarist starting off or a seasoned pro. The tone is clear and smooth, which allows for easy transition between the three tone settings. The guitarist can pick between a warm, rich sound, select higher settings for guitar leads, and lower for rhythm parts.
The box comes with Level/Tone/Drive with an on/off switch. It can be battery-run by a bulb battery or use an AC adapter.
The volume control makes it versatile with added gain giving it that crunchy sound. This allows players to create different tones, from heavy and gritty to smooth and warm, without sacrificing volume.
Another plus is how affordable this drive is, coming in at under $160, an absolute bargain.
Tube screamers have got to be one of the most easily recognized and sought-after overdrive pedals often associated with marshall amps. You’d be surprised how well this pedal stands up to the full-size screamer at a fraction of the price.
Made in Japan, The Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini comes with the JRC4558D chip embedded in the TS808 overdrive pedal. The compact design comes in a standout green case and can be generated by a DC-9 vault power supply. It can fit the smallest of pedalboards and is simple to control. The pedal itself is exceedingly small, but effective.
The much-adored bargain-priced pedal can be used as a medium to low gain fuzz, as well as being able to use a clean to low gain boost makes this a winner for most guitarists. The sound can go from dirty, fuzzy guitar to a cleaner, laid-back sound, making this pedal suitable for any genre.
Overall, this pedal is quite chunky, which helps boost your guitar leads but just as effective at creating subtle warm overdrive.
The much sought-after Wampler Tumnus is the final pick. It is the most expensive of the three pedals covered. It’s named after a character from The Chronicles of Narnia is based on the Klon Centaur. The three tone controls come in Bass, Middle, and Treble, and it is easy to find the right tone for your playing style. It can only be used via a 9V DC power supply and used as a buffer, so there is no battery operation here. You can use it as a standalone pedal overdrive or stack it with another pedal to increase the gain.
The clean tones are so clear that you can hear each distinctive note played, suitable for lead guitar. Also, when you turn up the gain on this pedal, it produces a warm and rich sound good for rhythm play. This gives the guitar much-added crunch, depending on the settings you choose.
Overdrive pedals are an effect that helps push your instrument’s tone. This is achieved through a clipping circuit that increases gain and offers a variety of styles for the guitar. The soft clipping circuit mimics the sound of an overdriving vacuum tube amp. The soft clipping happens when the signal is pushed to exceed the headroom, which produces a far less aggressive sound.
An overdrive pedal offers a cleaner solution than any other pedal. Solid-state amps don’t have as good of a built-in overdrive channel as most tube amps. An overdrive pedal is a great way to bridge the gap.
This all depends on how you treat your pedal. Some common issues include lousy clipping, which causes the sound to e hissy and fuzzy. This happens when you put too much gain on the pedal, creating a nasty sound that Is a major turn-off for prospective guitarists.
Another issue that can appear is when the pedal uses long (or low quality) leads, which can cause sound deterioration. Therefore, a buffer is needed.
Both of these pedals technically create overdrive on the signal although distortion pedals often change the saturation as well. This means the overall tone is changed, not just overdriven.
We've mentioned soft clipping a few times in this article. Distortion also often adds hard clipping which compressed the sound. If you find this all a little confusing, you can just think of distortion pedals as being better for metal, while overdrive pedals are better for rock, blues, indie, etc.
Yes, you can. It all depends on the gain stage and how high it can be pushed without clashing with your amplifier.
In fact, some people opt to combine a preamp tube (or overdriven tube amp) with an overdrive pedal to get a more distorted sound. The combination of two sources of soft clipping can give the illusion of a heavily distorted amp on a guitar amp that isn't necessarily designed for it.