Keeping Overdrive Alive!

Discussion in 'Effects & Stompboxes' started by SAguitar, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    Hi, I'm Stan and I am addicted to Overdrive pedals. I don't even know how many I own, but I generally have at least four on my pedalboard. And I swap them out occasionally, and go through the usual rearranging them in an order where they might work best together. You see, I often start songs with one of them on, and that will be my "base" tone. Then as the song progresses, I'll kick one on, and then another, and then here comes the solo and suddenly they all have their little LEDs lit up and rockin'. Then the crescendo usually comes down and I turn a few off (or not).

    Anyway, for years my base tone has been just using a Boss Blues Driver BD-2 (Keeley modified) as my go-to lead off hitter. For several years, I have been comfortable there, using just a bit of crunch on it and playing through an amp set very clean, with a lot of head room. And all of my other drive/distortion pedals have fallen after the BD-2. Well, last week, I decided to put the BD-2 near the end of the chain and crank it up for more of a distorted lead sound. The result was something I have been seeking for a long time. One of the BD-2's nicest qualities is its dynamics and how it cleans up when you roll the guitar's volume down a little. Plus, it lets the character of your guitar shine through quite nicely even when pushed near its limits.

    With the Blues Driver further down the line, I decided to use my Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive (also Keeley modified) for the first position. It is a stompbox that can also go from a light crunch to a good distortion, but it has an extra control that can dial back in the clean signal to balance the two. I have it now set up so it is most often "on" all the time.

    The next stompbox in the chain is a Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive v2, and it is set up for a moderately heavy overdriven tone, since it likes to roar. And the last OD in my setup is a Boss FDR-1 '65 Fender Deluxe Reverb pedal. It has a bit of sentimental value since I got it from Jim, a friend who used to be on this board and went by the handle Rockwannabe. He has since passed on, so I keep that one on my floorboard in his memory. I have it set up to add just a bit of overdrive, and a good dose of Fender Reverb to add some depth to things when I need it. Thanks Jim, you're still with us.

    At any rate, this last weekend I was happier with my various overdrive tones and how they worked together than I have been in a long time. And you know how guitarists can be frustrated with chasing tones through the jungle. I don't know how long this sense of satisfaction will last, but for right now it's feeling pretty good.

    Stay tuned, Stan
  2. johnreardon

    johnreardon Active Member


    what amp are you using? Only asking as I wondered whether you just tried using the amp for overdrive, assuming it's a valve amp.

    I never use pedals, just plug in and I sometimes wonder if guitarists, using them, realise that often the audience just hear a blurred distorted noise. The guitarist on stage thinks it's a great sound and often it's really not. :D

    The other guitarist in my band suffers from this. I just wish he would plug straight into his amp as he plays some great stuff that's ruined by overuse of his pedals.

    Still, I could never use pedals as I wouldn't be able to work out which thing to press when I'm playing :biggrin:
  3. Infant

    Infant Well-Known Member

    John I think it all depends on which pedals you use and how much gain you've got on them. I have a modified tube screamer that I use to give the amp some kick at lower volumes. I set it up to give the amp a bit of hair and if I turn up the guitar a dig in, I can make it sing. Now that I have my Katana SS amp I have to play around with it as I'm using the built in Blues Driver setting on it and so far, I'm liking it.

    Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk
  4. johnreardon

    johnreardon Active Member

    You are probably right Rob.

    I have just got back from a first rehearsal with some guys and the singer/guitarist was using a tube screamer and a reverb pedal, going into his valve amp. It was a Bugera 50w head driving 2x12s. The sound he was getting was to be honest awful.

    Anyway at the end he asked me if I wanted a go of his guitar, which he had made. I tried it first going through my Orange Dual Terror driving a Marshall 4x12 (which was the studios). It sounded a ton better than when he played through his pedal.

    I then plugged straight into his amp, not into the pedals which were supposedly on bypass, with the amp controls exactly the same and this sounded way better than what he was getting. Even he couldn't believe the sustain and overdrive with no pedals.

    It must be my old ears. I like to hear a Les Paul playing essentially clean until you whop up the guitar volumes
  5. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with you, John. At home, when I play I generally go through a little 5 watt Epiphone Valve Junior amp and it is small enough that I can set it up to be just on the edge of crunch and let my guitar's volume control the overdrive. And that's what I do, just enjoying that direct connection with the amplifier.

    In my band situation though, which is at church, I have to be able to instantly switch between several very different tones for each song, and often between sections of songs. So when I am there, I use a fairly substantial pedal board, and that gives me lots of options.

    The amp I am using at church is one you guys are probably not familiar with, a Visual Sound Workhorse. It is all-tube, and can be run on 6L6GC valves, or a pair of EL34s. It is designed for maximum headroom and to react well with pedals. By itself it gets a pristine clean tone that is close to an old Fender amp tone, close to a Twin Reverb, but not that loud. It is only rated at 35 watts.

    It is not an ideal situation, but this is where I'm at right now, and I likely will be changing stuff up as time goes on.

    Stay tuned, Stan
  6. Infant

    Infant Well-Known Member

    Stan, you need a little 12-15 watt anp,,,Princeton or Blues Jr. as soon as I read 6L6 or EL34 I automatically thought 40watts...too much for church.
  7. BGreene

    BGreene New Member

    I have a Barber Direct Drive (the newer version) and it actually replaced a couple others that I had, including a Tube Screamer. Great drive. Gets the blues, the creamy and the hairy too. Wow, I just realized how stupid that sounds. But it is a good overdrive.
  8. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    Yeah Rob, my little amp is a bit of overkill, but it is working well because my speaker cab is actually in a room behind the stage. The drumkit is inside a plexiglass cage so not much noise comes out of it either. We all use in-ear monitors to dial up our own personal mix, and after years of using them, I am finally comfortable with using them. Not satisfied, because nothing is like standing in front of amps and enjoying that, but I am comfortable.

    @BGreene - Barber should pay you money for that advertising line, man!
  9. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    This is what I've got going right now. The Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive and the Boss Blues Driver BD-2 are modified by Keeley. The extra Boss switch is set up as a tap tempo for the Boss Digital Delay DD-7. Everything is currently running at 9v, except the Fulltone OCD which is using 18 volts and loving it.

  10. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    For the last few month, I have been using my old Boss GT-8, to conserve on floor space. It has always been a dependable performer, and I do have 8 great patches that I spent a lot of time creating in it that are very useful. The only thing I am changing, is one overdrive stompbox that I place right before the GT-8. The first couple of weeks I used an Electro-Harmonix Operation Overlord Allied (helluva name, eh?), and then last week I swapped that one out for a Vox Joe Satriani Ice 9 Overdrive pedal. Next week, I think I'm gonna plug in my Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive (modified by Keeley) in that position and see how it goes. I know, I have a lot of choices!

  11. Infant

    Infant Well-Known Member

    My space saving pedal comes with a Katana 100 attached...;). I've got 8 preset channels all set up to go with the songs in our setlist. There are about 60 downloadable effects based on Boss' pedal collection. This thing almost does it all for me right now! However, it should be noted that I just had my '79 Deluxe Reverb re-capped and boy, does she ever sound nice. I had to pull out my pedalboard and I've been noodling around with it.

    But here's my Katana and pedalboard..... katana.jpg

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  12. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    Nice looking rig, Rob! That Tele sure looks classy.
  13. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    Hey, my amp has become famous! Yes, my treasured old '65 Fender Deluxe Reverb is now featured on a friend's website. Tim Krause is a good man and making some great stompboxes. As he developed them over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to try each of them and he has always asked for my feedback and suggestions, which he then might put into play or just roll his eyes and say, "Yeah, right."

    Just click on over and check them out! Just go to the Demo Clips tab and you'll see Tim sitting alongside my trusty little amp.
  14. Infant

    Infant Well-Known Member

    Is it a real '65 or a Reissue? Looks to be in great shape. A buddy of mine has a mint '65 DR that he bought in 1968 when he was working part time at a music store. Apparently the previous owner never took it out of his house and when he traded it in, it still had the owners manual. My buddy also has never taken it out of his house except to have the filter caps replaced and various house moves. It was a bit dusty the last time I saw it but you could tell that with a bit of cleaning, it would look brand new.

    He was offered $2000 about 20 years ago by the owner of a music store but he turned it down. This is around the same time that I bought my mint '79 DR for $575. Although I love my amp, I'd still would love to own his.
  15. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    The Fender Deluxe Reverb really is a "desert island" amp, and they are still the answer when you read articles in guitar magazines. Mine is a real 1965 Deluxe Reverb, and it came with a story. I found it for sale in a local newspaper in the early 1980s and this little old lady had it in her living room, and only wanted $200 for it. It still had the original cover, with the owners manual tucked in the back of the amp. She said she had arthritis and was getting too old to play anymore. She had already sold her guitar and I still wonder what that one was, and sad that I missed that opportunity. I gave her the 200 bucks she was asking and thanked her very much. I imagine that little amp had never left her living room and probably never been turned up over 2 on the volume knob.
    I have gigged a lot with it over the years, but only locally and never took it on the road. I usually put it on top of an old 2 x 12 cabinet to get more throw out of it since this was back before we used small amps with mics in front of them on the band stage. It is a retired amp now and resides in my garage, where I occasionally enjoy those golden tones and relive the glory days. The only modification I have ever done to it was to change the power cord so it now has a three prong plug with a ground wire. I took it in once to an amp tech to look it over and he said that it didn't need any caps replaced. I have replaced the tubes a few times, but the DR still has its original speaker and amp cover.
  16. Infant

    Infant Well-Known Member

    Great story Stan! I love my Silverface '79 DR. I just had it recapped and changed a few bad 12ax7s. It sounds incredible! Gonna use it at my next bar gig in a couple of weeks. However, it still weighs a ton compared to my 30lb Katana so I wont be using it too often! :)
  17. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    Dang brother, we are getting wimpy when a DR is "heavy!" LOL
    It wasn't that long ago that we had to have at least a half-stack to do the job!
  18. Infant

    Infant Well-Known Member

    Hey, I'm 62, terribly overweight with a bad back, bad knees and Achilles tendinitis in both ankles. I have to carry my stuff up and down stairs. The lighter, the better. Therefore, if that means I'm a wimp, I will wear that badge with pride! :)
  19. I've been using rack mount rig - Mesa Triaxis etc - for the past 25 years. Compact, convenient and the rack can be anywhere as long as the speakers are where they need to be...
    That rack weighs more than any combo I've ever owned, though, and it's only 8U - the same height as a VoxAC4!

    Have been watching this thread, but kept 'out of it', because I've never bothered with overdrive pedals, and pretty much haven't used a pedal of any description - other than a wah - since I went rack mounted. Saw your picture of your Boss GT and got me wondering...
    If you put an OD before that, surely you just end up clipping the A/D converter and not the amp, and if your guitar is going through that anyway, why not just ditch the OD and set up EQs within the patches to do the same thing?

    ...and, FWIW, because of the weight of the afore mentioned rack, I used to just take a POD (now replaced with a Zoom G5) to rehearsals and plug in to a PA.
    You could replace the whole shebang with the GT - I'm assuming it's the pricey one with the highly rated effects and amp sims.
  20. SAguitar

    SAguitar Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the reply! That rack you're using sounds like a great unit, and capable of doing whatever you need!
    When I was doing major gigs on bass, I had a monster rack like that, with several speaker cabs in the vicinity. It put out sufficient sound to lean on the waves, and I liked it. In this current generation, my speaker cabinet (if I even use one) is in the back hallway behind the stage.
    I often use an outboard OD before the Boss GT-8 for "more." When I am using the GT-8, I also have a Boss FS-6 attached and set up so I can switch to a second amp model within each patch and/or engage a preset "solo" that bumps up the output. That gives me 3 levels of drive within each patch, but "Where do you go when everything is on 10?" Having one more OD before the whole unit gives me the ability to go to eleven. If I am just a bit careful with adjusting that stompbox, I don't have any problems with clipping in the A/D converter. It's all working pretty well and is very easy to tote around.
    somebodyelseuk likes this.

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