This GuitarBomb list is my recommendation for the best overdrive pedals. All are current models you can buy and offer great drive tones, with excellent value for money. Don’t waste your time chasing Bad Monkeys for overinflated prices. Instead, grab one or two of these great overdrive pedals instead.
The Best Overdrive Pedals
The world of guitar is full of pedals in 2023 and this means guitarists have lots of options and many choices to consider when buying an overdrive pedal.
Don’t fall for the Bad Monkey hype machine. Instead, check out these absolutely killer overdrive pedals and grab yourself some great drive tones.
All without breaking the bank!
In this list I share my personal favourite picks for the Top 5 Best Overdrive Pedals that you can buy today.
Earthquaker Devices Plumes
The Earthquaker Devices Plumes * is certainly an overdrive that should be at the top of this list. As it offers EQD’s own take on the classic TubeScreamer circuit and makes for a very versatile drive pedal, that guitarists love.
With a three-way mode switch, which changes the clipping style of the pedal, with the left mode being an optical diode clipping circuit, the centre a clean boost and the right a classic TubeScreamer style voice.
Then the tone control has been finely tuned to sculpt low end, clear top end and focus midrange with blooming sustain.
This pedal has a lot to offer in one very neat compact green box.
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive
Possibly, my all-time favourite overdrive, the Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive * is a stone-cold classic and for good reason.
For me, it was my first ever overdrive pedal and so I know it inside and out. They use an asymmetrical clipping circuit which produces a natural tube-like overdrive.
Making them ideal for clean and slightly driven amps. They are also great for tightening up your low-end frequencies.
TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive
The TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive *is an amazing-sounding drive pedal and it is very affordable, making it a winner in my opinion.
It is a very dynamic overdrive which combines clarity with subtle compression, perfectly balanced and very responsive to your guitar’s controls. The design has an increased circuit board voltage for extra headroom and it has two distinct voices very usable drive tones, accessible via the voice mini toggle switch.
Great overdrive pedal and do not be fooled by the low price point.
Electro Harmonix Soul Food
An absolute bargain, the Electro Harmonix Soul Food * pedal has a Klon-style transparent overdrive effect.
EHX owner Mike Matthews has really made a classic overdrive with this one.
It works beautifully as a clean boost. And like the SD-1 above it works really well with a slightly overdriven tube amp. This is a very uncompressed drive tone and the circuit has plenty of internal headroom. All making it perfect for driving a tube amp and making everything fatter.
Definitely one to try out with your guitar rig and a nice responsive drive pedal which won’t stomp all over your guitar’s natural voice.
Tone City King Of Blues V2
Finally, the Tone City King Of Blues V2 * has to get a mention. As it offers a huge amount of great overdrive tones for a very affordable price.
This twin drive pedal offers that Marshall BluesBreaker/Analogman KOT v4 style overdrive and a Klon-style drive as it has two sides.
This allows you to stack it with itself and create some absolutely glorious dirt tones, without it swamping your original signal.
The King Of Blues has the ‘transparent’ boost for Engine A. Whilst Engine B is based on the original Marshall Bluesbreaker.
Which, makes this particular pedal great for lots of good overdrive tones.
Learn To Use Your Drive Pedals
I will just add that you need to learn how to use your overdrive and distortion pedal properly. I wrote this How to use the Top 5 Distortion and Overdrive pedals article. To help you use some of the top drive pedals it shows you all the basic settings for great tone.
Once you know how to dial in sweet tones, you can save a whole heap of money and time chasing it!
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