A good overdrive pedal can add some substantial sweetness to your tone. Some of the best overdrive pedals out there can give you a nice clean boost, or add some dirt to your sound without muddying your tone. Listed below are some of the tried and true OD pedals ranging from some of the classics to some of the modern day ones. If you are itching to get your hands on the best overdrive pedal, look no further and check below.

Best Overdrive Pedal List

PicturePedalPriceRatingReview
PicturePedalPriceRatingReview
Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer Overdrive$$$5Click Here for Review
Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive Best Overdrive PedalVoodoo Lab Sparkle Drive Overdrive Pedal$$4.9Click Here for Review
Fulltone OCD Overdrive$$$4.7Click Here for Review
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive$4.6Click Here for Review
Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde Overdrive$$$4.5Click Here for Review

Price Guide:
$ – Under $50
$$ – $50-$135
$$$ – $135-$200
$$$$ – Over $200

What is an Overdrive Pedal?

Overdrive is an effect that naturally occurs when an input signal is too powerful for a piece of equipment to handle. With electric guitars and amps, overdrive happens when the tubes in an amp are heated beyond their rated capacity. The result is a “clipped” or “distorted” sound wave similar to what happens in an old blown speaker. Though most people don’t prefer a distorted quality in something like a PA or their car speakers, in the world of music, it’s actually a desired effect.

Because overdrive is what happens at the input of a signal, most overdrive pedals are technically “distortion” pedals in that they color an already-existing tone rather than boost another signal to the breaking point in an amplifier. The labels of “distortion” and “overdrive” makes the two effects pedals a little hard to differentiate, but there is (usually) a difference. Distortion pedals mostly use hard clipping – a flat cutoff at the peaks and valleys of the sound wave – to achieve their desired effect. Many overdrives, on the other hand, use soft clipping, which cuts the peaks and valleys of the wave, but rounds them gently to soften the distorted effect.

Overdrive pedals also tend to have a clean boost function built in as their volume control – that is, if the distorted “gain” effect is turned down and the volume turned up, the signal is boosted through without clipping. This boost is effective in creating a natural overdriven effect by pushing the tubes of an amp beyond their capacity. The sound breakup created by a naturally-overdriven amp is usually a lot warmer than an artificially-induced distortion, but the distorted effects found in overdrive pedals sound more natural than most fuzz or distortion stompboxes. A good overdrive will provide your tone with plenty of saturation without muddying your tone or making it sound fake.

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