Choosing the right overdrive pedal can be a real challenge and if you’re like me, you probably have a few laying around that didn’t live up to your expectations. In this guide we’ll look at a handful of overdrive and distortion pedals and how to incorporate these in your rig, with David Gilmour’s tones in mind.
Updated March 2023
I’ve always struggled with overdrives. I have a few go-to pedals but very few seem to fit my pickups, amp and not least taste. There’s so much to choose from and every unit seem to offer something slightly different.
Know your gear
My very best tip when it comes to choosing the right overdrive and distortion is to know your gear. What sort of tones do you want and what will fit your amp. Your dream pedal can sound horrible on the wrong amp.
British voiced amps, like Hiwatt, Vox and Marshall typically has a bit of mid range hump. These amps often pair better with pedals that has a flat frequency or a scooped mid range, like a fuzz, Big Muff or a classic booster/overdrive. Tube Screamers and Rats will often sound dark and muddy as these have a lot of mid range and compression, which your amp already has.
American voiced amps, like Fender, typically has less mid range or a scooped mid range compared to the British. These amps often pair better with pedals that has a bit of mid range, like a Tube Screamer or Rat or something similar.
Read more about how to choose the right pedals for your amp.
Stacking or combining gain pedals is a great way of expanding your tone palette. David Gilmour often pair two overdrives or a Big Muff with an overdrive for certain tones but also for adding character.
There are lots of different ways you can stack pedals depending on what you want. I often have one fairly clean set overdrive as a foundation for most of my tones and I add a second overdrive, with more gain, for riffs and solos. Having several overdrives set differently, like David Gilmour’s three Tube Drivers, will allow multiple combinations, with different amounts of gain.
David often adds a booster after the high gain overdrive or Big Muff. This is similar to using an EQ and the booster will add compression and character to the tone.
Having the booster in front of a Big Muff or other higher gain pedals, will add more gain, much like driving the front end of a tube amp.
I have played and tested each pedal in this guide, with guitars and amps that are typically associated with David Gilmour.
Colorsound Power Boost
David Gilmour first started to use the Colorsound Power Boost in early 1972. The pedal was heavily featured on the each album and tour between 1972 and 1977. David would replace the Power Boost with a similar sounding Pete Cornish ST-2 for The Wall. By the early 90s, David would rely on the Tube Driver for overdrive tones.
Read more about David Gilmour’s Colorsound Power Boost here.
The iconic Power Boost is still offered by Macari’s, who’s been making them since 1968. Different versions are available, including 9V or 18V, non-master or with master volume etc.
The Colorsound Power Boost is recognised by its super transparent, mid range scooped tone. It was designed to push loud tube amps for more brightness and overdrive, which is also why it can be hard to get the right tones on smaller, more modern amps.
The 9V non-master volume edition has less headroom and acts more like an overdrive or even fuzz. More headroom and clean boost can be achieved by choosing a master volume version.
The 18v version has more headroom and a smoother breakup, making it a more versatile booster and overdrive pedal. Especially with a master volume control added.
Perhaps it’s the super cool exterior but to me, it’s hard to beat the sound and feel of a Colorsound Power Boost. It’s loud and uncompromising taking you right back to those classic overdrive sounds from Obscured by Clouds, Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.
Bedroom setups: not recommended
Gilmour tones: ObC, DSotM, WYWH, Animals, DG 78, Wall, FC?
Electronic Orange Bananaboost
The Bananaboost is a faithful take on the classic 18V Power Boost circuit, with a nice headroom allowing you to dial in anything from clean boost to overdrive and glassy fuzz. Like the Power Boost, the Bananaboost has that unmistakable vintage flavour, which means a super scooped mid range, but that’s what makes it special too and it pairs wonderfully with a loud tube amp. See my full review of the Electronic Orange Bananaboost.
Bedroom setups: not recommended
Gilmour tones: ObC, DSotM, WYWH, Animals, DG 78, Wall, FC
The Colordriver is offered as both 9V and 18V versions, depending on how much headroom you want. Both with a master volume control so that you can dial in just the right amount of gain. The Colordriver picks up on the original Power Boost, with that typical mids scooped uncompressed tone and a fierce fuzz character when you crank it. I find the Colordriver a bit smoother sounding, with a nice break up and perhaps a tad roll off in the upper frequencies. A great take on the original that fits a wider range of amps and setups. See my full review of the Tru-Fi Colordriver.
Bedroom setups: yes
Gilmour tones: ObC, DSotM, WYWH, Animals, DG 78, Wall, FC
Vick Audio Overdriver
The Overdriver is based on the 18V Power Boost/Overdriver, with the addition of a master volume control for more headroom. This one sounds vintage and it has one of the creamiest fuzz tones of all the Power Boost versions I’ve played. It’s also a tad darker than most clones, making it fit a wider range of amps and bedroom setups. See my full review of the Vick Audio Overdriver.
Bedroom setups: yes
Gilmour tones: ObC, DSotM, WYWH, Animals, DG 78, Wall, FC
Effectrode Fire Bottle
The Fire Bottle is not a Power Boost clone but rather a tube pre-amp based on the front end of a classic Fender style amp. It’s more of a tool than an overdrive, similar to a compressor or EQ and should be used to enhance your tone and for adding character. Basically a pedal you want to leave on as a platform for all your tones. It does allow you to boost and drive your signal or amp and a switch provides different high end rolls offs, which can be handy on brighter amps.
Bedroom setups: yes
Gilmour tones: suitable for any tone
Chandler / BK Butler Tube Driver
The Tube Driver has been David Gilmour’s main overdrive and distortion unit since 1993 and the recording of Division Bell. Starting with two units, he would use three units on the Rattle That Lock tour. All three set up for different tones, allowing a wide palette of sounds. Either when used alone or stacked with each other.
The Tube Driver is a tube driven pre-amp that can be used to drive the front end of a tube amp or as a stand alone booster and overdrive unit. Unlike the Power Boost, which has a noticeable scooped mid range, the Tube Driver has a flat frequency range and the tube allows for a bit of compression, when driven hard.
The 90s Chandler Tube Driver is recognised by its headroom and smooth breakup. It has a bit more mid range compared to later BK versions.
The mid 2000 BK Butler Tube Driver has a slightly more open tone, with less mid range and compression compared to the Chandler.
I must admit that I have a love/hate relationship with the Tube Driver. It sounds just amazing with the right pickups and right amp but it can be very hard to dial in on other amps and typical bedroom setups. Especially when you have certain tones in mind that you want to achieve. Still, there’s something special about this pedal that non other are able to do. Whether that’s ear piercing Marshall Plexi, dark mid rangy Eric Johnson or heavenly smooth David Gilmour.
Bedroom setups: depends on the amp
Gilmour tones: Division Bell, Pulse, On an Island, Gdansk, Rattle That Lock, Pompeii 2016
Past FX TD-Y
The TD-Y is a continuation of the now discontinued Buffalo FX TD-X. By far the most authentic take on the Tube Driver, with a character that lies somewhere between the Chandler and BK models. Not as dark as the former but warmer and smoother sounding than the latter. A slightly roll off in the highs, a tiny amount of mid range and just an overall smooth breakup makes the TD-Y more versatile and easier to fit with a wider range of amps and bedroom setups. See my full review of the Past FX TD-Y.
Bedroom setups: yes
Gilmour tones: Division Bell, Pulse, On an Island, Gdansk, Rattle That Lock, Pompeii 2016
Electro Harmonix Crayon
The Crayon is no doubt based on the Tube Driver and the Chandler in particular. It has a flat frequency range, perhaps with a slight mids hump, although not nearly as much as a Tube Screamer. It’s very easy to dial in great tones regardless of what pickups or amps you use. Perhaps not as characteristic as a Tube Driver or the TDY but absolutely a worthy companion. See my full review of the Electro Harmonix Crayon.
Bedroom setups: yes
Gilmour tones: Division Bell, Pulse, On an Island, Gdansk, Rattle That Lock, Pompeii 2016
It’s impossible to go wrong with the BD2. This has been my go-to overdrive for years. Whether I need a bit of boost, crunch or tight distortion. Incredibly versatile and a perfect match for any pickups, amps and setups. The BD-2 is remarkably close to a Tube Driver, with just a hint of mid range and a classic tube amp response. The Waza version offer a bit more mid range, compression and warmth compared to the stock model. See my full review of the Boss BD2.
Bedroom setups: yes
Gilmour tones: any tone, ideally from Division Bell to present
The Rat was designed in the late 70s to capture the tone of a cranked Marshall Plexi paired with a screaming fuzz. David Gilmour would rely on his clean Hiwatt amps and fuzz and later Big Muffs but these pedals can be hard to pair with smaller and more modern amps and setups. The Rat is an excellent and versatile alternative that’s capable of anything from overdrive to fuzz. Especially on typical bedroom setups.
Bedroom setups: yes
Gilmour tones: fuzz and Big Muff tones
Jam Pedals Rattler
The Rattle is a faithful take on the classic Rat circuit, with a few tweaks. It has slightly less mid range and compression, making it sound less boxy and a bit brighter than the original. An incredibly versatile overdrive and distortion unit that fits any pickups, amps and setups.
Bedroom setups: yes
Gilmour tones: fuzz and Big Muff tones
Past FX Revolution
The Revolution is a continuation of the now discontinued Buffalo FX Evolution, which again is a take on the Pete Cornish G2. Sonically, the Revolution sits right between a Rat and a Big Muff, with a bit of early Marshall Plexi shining through. It’s edgy, wild and smooth all at once. An onboard contour control, allows you to dial in a bit of mid range and tailor your tone to fit any amp and setup. Looking for David Gilmour’s Live 8 tone? This is it!
Bedroom setups: yes
Gilmour tones: fuzz and Big Muff tones, Live 8 and On an Island
Did I miss something? Please use the comments field below and share your tips and recommendations!
1,829 thoughts on “The buyer’s gear guide – Overdrive and distortion”
quick question: do you know what are the Tube Driver settings, especially the EQ settings, used by Gilmour for The Division Bell album? I have a Butler Tube Driver with a M-Tech Mantovani Mod (output buffer, 12V power supply) and a 12AU7 Telefunken tube, but sometimes I struggle finding the right EQ.
For example, I’m triyng to replicate the middle solo from the Wearing the Inside Out, but it’s not easy to get that juicy midfocused tone, even with a Fender Strat w/ EMG DG20, a Boss CS2 MIJ, and an Hiwatt tube head. I feel I’m in the ballpark, but not exactly there.
Do you also know what are his favourite settings for the EXG and SPC controls?
Thanks a lot.
Cheers from Italy
Hard to say because pedal settings depends on the amp settings, pickups, other pedals etc. The Chandler Tube Driver he used at the time has more mids than the current BK, so that’s a start. He also used Boss GE7s to enhance the mids. I think the most tricky part of that whole setup is the combination of the Hiwatt SA212 and Fender Bassmans. Impossible to say how they were set up and mixed. Read more here.
Can you please share a few Rat / Rattler settings for fuzz and muff? Thanks!
Settings depends on what amp and pickups you have and what tones you want. A good place to start is to have the volume on the pedal set to unity gain with your guitar and adjust the tone and gain to desire.
The down time was worth it- the website looks great! I got my hands on a PowerBoost clone that nails those DSOTM- Animals tones. More recently I have been trying to get the Tube Driver tones, using several pedals. The BD2 is very close; I think the EHX Hot Wax might even be better. I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to try a TC Tube Pilot; it sadly has no EQ, but works great for the clean TD boost tones, especially paired with an EQ pedal. Do you have any thoughts on the old Butler designed Tube Works Real Tube overdrive pedals? Recently, I got a great deal on a used Real Tube Tube Driver (the black and yellow, 5 knob version). I love it! It’s built like a tank, more solid than my old Sovtek Muff. It’s also sounds surprisingly with my bedroom setup and Fender amp. It just has something special that I can’t get from my BD2 or Hot Wax. Again- congrats on the website!
Thank you Chris! I haven’t tried the older Tube Driver pedals so I can’t really tell. The Chandler has a bit more mids and is closer to the Hot Wax/Crayon, while the 2006/present BK Tube Driver has slightly less mids and a brighter top. My best tip is the TDY from Past FX.
Your page is one of my most daily visited, not only for Gilmour tones but to understand my gear and be able to achieved better tones. I am a Fender Bassman amp player, I been using the OCD and the East River Drive (TubeScreamer clone) for a long time and works good I think… Lately I being think on trying other kinds of OD like Blues Breaker type and Klon Centaur type. Are this two pedals really scooped mids ? Do you think it will be worthy to try them?
Thanks for your kind words Francisco! The Blues Breaker is based on those early Marshall amps. It’s fairly flat frequencywise with a tiny bit of mid range. Excellent for mild overdrive and just adding a bit of life to your tones. Klon type pedals are somewhat similar but with more mid range and compression. See this feature for some tips on different types of overdrive pedals.
Hi, Bjorn, I hope you’re doing well. Please, have you already tried de Pete Cornish SS-3? And what do you think about de Boss OD-200? I need more options for overdrive/Distortion/Fuzz in my pedalboard, but I don’t more space. I’m thinking to change the SS-3 by the OD-200.
To be honest I never liked the SS pedals. Don’t know why but they just don’t appeal to me. I haven’t tried the OD200 but it has all the classic Boss pedals and IMO it’s hard to beat the BD2.
Hey Bjorn, how’s your pedalboard looking these days?
It’s been a while since we did any shows so at the moment my board is just a mess. I’m recording for others and rehearsing new Airbag material, so I’m just plugging into a bunch of pedals to find some interesting tones. I’ve been using the Thorpy Scarlet Tunic a lot lately. Awesome pedal. I’ll have a review up in a few days. I’m also using fuzz a lot too, like the Jam Pedals Fuzz Phrase and the Dunlop JHF1.
Hi Bjorn, appreciate your site!
I have a 1973 Princeton non reverb. Mild mannered in that it doesn’t really break up (like the reverb model), but has a beautiful tone. I put a Fat Jimmy (unfortunate name…) c1025 speaker in it which made it very open, lively, a lot of overtones but still sweet, just sings. I can play it on 8 or higher and it has a little fuzziness. Use a Hall of Fame reverb pedal.
Am using a Strat partscaster and some nice “1964” A3 magnet pickups, also have some A5 pickups.
This setup does all the jazzy, Bill Frissellish things, and spacey jams and noodling.
Just started looking for an overdrive pedal and tried an OCD V2. I like the solid quality. It sounds good but too hardcore, and has too much gain. Not warm enough with this amp. Can’t really turn the volume past 1/4 turn.
So I’m reading and learning – seems I need a soft clipping low gain pedal instead. Started looking at bluesbreaker types, and Gainchanger, etc. I like the Bad Angel demo. Wondering about what you would recommend.
I’m one of those older guys. Was 9 when British invasion started – we started little bands through school years. Then faded away from it, played acoustic at home, started working , etc… Still went to the concerts and bought the albums of course.
Just got back into electric, going for simple setup for home. A nice od pedal that gets some Gilmour tones – (and maybe into early Cream/Clapton) to reminisce and while away the hours…
Let me know if you have any ideas!
Thanks, Don Wilson
Hi Don, a Bluesbreaker type pedal would perhaps be a better choice. Some of my favourites are the JHS Morning Glory and Vick Audio Mount Pleasant. I also recommend the Boss BD-2, which will give you pretty much anything from clean headroom to fuzz.
Great thanks! Is the Dover Drive or Rat2 in that area too?
The Dover is based on the Tube Driver but tweaked much closer to a Tube Screamer, with more mid range. The Rat has a lot of mid range and gain. I wouldn’t put these in the same category as Bluesbreaker pedals.
Hello to my friend “Bjorn the Bender!” I hope you and yours are well…
I have a sad story to tell. My 2016 Buffalo FX Power Booster just died yesterday…it was a limited edition of a run of only 50 Steve made in Orange, not black. I’m going to try to get it repaired but can’t guarantee that will happen.
Please Search your brain for the best obtainable Clone in case I can’t get it fixed locally. I trust your opinion and knowledge as 75% of my gear is Bjorn approved or recommended. Hopefully it’s something you have tried.
Walter H. ???
Hi Walter, have you looked into the Past FX pedals? They’re clones of Steve’s. Check out my review of their TD-Y.
Bjorn, Thanks for your prompt reply!
I have just picked up two Past FX pedals & one is thanks to you. The Electric Mattress and the Chorus Ensemble MN 3007! Love them both for sure…the Chorus Ensemble is a dead ringer for the original Boss CE-1 chorus. Verlie is also fantastic to deal with at Past FX in Australia…
They have a Power Booster clone too along with the TD-Y and their Canberra that mimics the Carrera Buffalo FX.
What other pedals do you think would replace the Buffalo FX Power Booster? I’m currently playing through a Laney Cub12R combo with upgrades to the Tubes (JJ) and speaker (Celestion).
There are so many great clones on the Power Booster out there now. The Boss BD2 can easily do the job but if you want something a bit more authentic, then the Past FX is very good. Like the Buffalo, it nails the classic tone, but with a slightly warmer top and smoother breakup. The Colourdriver from Tru-Fi is one of my favourites.
I’m currently debating whether to buy Vick Audio Overdrive or PastFx TD-Y (TD-X clone). In addition to boosting my Stomp Under Foot ram’s head muff to for a Gilmour tone, I want a drive pedal that can do a 70s cranked Marshall tone, like Zeppelin.
I am guessing that powerboost type pedal won’t be a good choice for that sort of tone.
Would TD-Y a good overdrive pedal for that 70s hard rock Marshall tone?
Or should I just buy a Plexi drive for both Gilmour tone and Zeppelin-esque tone?
The TDX is, like the Tube Driver, in Marshall territory but it’s far from a Marshall in a box. The best Marshall JTM plexi style pedal IMO is the Engine from DryBell. That thing both sounds and feels like a real Plexi.
Would Engine also works as a clean boost for muff like Tube Driver?
Hi Bjorn, I have a stock mid-80s MIJ strat with a stereo mid-70s Twin Reverb/ newish-SCx2 set up and am looking for the best Colorsound Powerboost/Overdriver clone for it for SOYCD tones at about 80db or so. For Gilmour muff tones I like to use a Menatone Menawatt after a Vick 73 Rams Head which works well. For SOYCD I like to stack multiple ODs into the Menawatt and it sounds good, but would like to try a Colorsound clone. Currently I am debating between the Vick Overdriver and PastFX Powerbooster, which would you recommend? Sounds like the Overdriver has more compression than most clones so that may be a plus for my amps? Thanks for this great site!
The Power Boost might be too bright and mids scooped for a Twin amp. The Overdriver has a bit more compression, while the Past FX has a slightly rolled off high end. You might want to consider other pedals too, like the Boss BD2 and EHX Crayon for similar and perhaps more versatile tones.
Pardon the clumsiness, but now a days, what is/are good replacements for the Tube Driver and the Dover Drive?
The Boss BD2 and EHX Crayon.
Hi, Bjorn. Thanks for everything you do here! I’m always checking your site before I make my purchases in pursuit of David Gilmour’s tone…
I’m taking your advice in regards to Rat style pedals for mid-scooped amps. Do you think the Tru Fi Rat Pack would be a good choice for a Fender ToneMaster Deluxe Reverb? Is there something you would recommend instead if there’s a better fit?
Thanks for your kind words! The TruFi is a great Rat clone. A bit more gain compared to most others. You might also want to check out something like the OCD. It has less gain and a more flat EQ but works great with most amps.
Hi Bjorn! I’m hesitating a little. Need some experienced advice. Fulltone OCD v.1.4 (or 1.6) or Wampler Plexidrive?
I’ve got a Hiwatt T20 combo and aiming for PULSE tones. Thank you!
Both works great with the Hiwatt. The Plexi Drive is more compressed and perhaps a tad brighter, while the OCD has a full range character, with less compression. The OCD is perhaps easier to set up, while the Plexi has more mojo in my opinion.
How good is Tube Pilot from TC Electronics serve as alternative booster for the Tube Driver? or the Blues Driver still better?
I’d go for the BD-2.
Greetings Bjorn, I have been a lurker for 2 years now and to be honest this terrific website is a godsend. it has so much information and its all thanks to you, I have been building my entire setup from amps to pedals using this website as the core of it all and so far it has been probably the best decision I have ever made. so far I have a very modest pedalboard comprised of a ts9>green russian>bd-2>flashback delay 2 into a Vox ac15 (unfortunately it was the only tube amp available in my country so I didn’t really have a choice).
I always dismissed distortion/rat pedals because i love to get my distortion from 2 overdrives but I cant help but wonder how a rat pedal feels like and now i am finally about to pull the trigger one and I took an interest in the colorsound powerbooster shape and cant shake it off so now since you dropped the review of the tru-fi rat pack it seemed like the perfect timing. so my question is what are the bedroom/gilmourish scores you would give that pedal?
apologies if my English is iffy, I never really learned to type it formally :p
Hi! The Rat Pack definitely fits a typical bedroom setup. I haven’t tried it on a Vox amp but it sounds awesome on my Laney Lionheart, which is in that ballpark. The Rat Pack has that mid range and compression you want at low volume. It will retain it’s character and provide great tones at any volume. You might also want to check out the Fulltone OCD. It goes very well with the AC and it’s perhaps more capable than the Rat to provide both overdrive and heavier stuff.
I just ordered an ocd to get a feel for the distortion since I didn’t want to risk it with a rat type stuff this soon since I’m not very fond of them.
Hey Bjorn, it has been a long time since I have posted. I have been a long time follower and have gone through many iterations of my Gilmour-inspired home rig. In recent years, I have paid less and less attention to tone-chasing through pedals and really focused on my playing and touch on the guitar, often plugging straight in with pre-amp volume set slightly higher than break-up using my volume and tone knobs more and more. These have been some inspiring years of playing, but I have found that I do lack some gain and compression playing at home and have always missed having a bit of modulation and delay. Recently, I started gradually re-incorporating some drive pedals into the mix to achieve that, but more in the SD-1/Tubescreamer world as opposed to Muffs and things like that. My next project is going to be to try to develop a small board with a drive pedal, mod and delay. I’ve found over the years that I prefer my old DD3 to all other delays (maybe because I slant towards Division Bell ambient sounds as opposed to say the Echorec years), modulation tends to stay with my old Lovepedal vibe pedal and for drive I have been swapping between the SD1 and Tubescreamer. Would you have any tips with this set-up? I feel like with the preamp gain and pedal gain knobs high like this I am lacking some dynamics in playing, but if I slant towards a cleaner edge-of-breakup sound on the amp I struggle to get the compression i need at lower volumes. Anyways, whatever the set-up I have at home, I have continued to enjoy the content here as well as all your solo/Airbag work. Sadly missed your Quebec City show, but hopefully you will be able to make back across the pond sometime in the future and thanks for all the advice over the years!
Hi Alex, sorry for my very late reply. Thanks for all your kind words! Let me know what amp and pickups you have and I’ll try to comment.
Thanks for the reply Bjorn. I have a little single EL34 combo that in essence is a Hiwatt clone (the builder called it his Lowatt hahaha!)It even has the Brill and Normal inputs. I generally run it in the Normal channel and keep the preamp and output volumes high (about 3/4s). The amp has a pentode/triode switch as well which i generally keep on triode at home to tame the output a bit. Most of the time i’m playing with the volume on the guitar all the way up for Have A Cigar/Young Lust type tones. I can do bluesy solos on the neck pick-up (Shine On, Breathe ‘74, etc) and then use the TS Mini or Sd-1 when I’m playing more of the fuzzy solos (Time, Money, Numb). I started doing this after watching Guillaume from Thomann’s do a Hit the Tone on Numb where he stacks an SD-1 with a Marshalley overdrive and it has been working well, but i feel i just need a little more push.
This is a difficult thing to answer because tone depends on so many things. I’m not sure what you mean by push but although the SD1 is a great overdrive/booster, it doesn’t have that much gain. Also, on an already mid range oriented amp, such as the Hiwatt, it can sound a bit flat and boxy. So, the lack of dynamics may be the result of the SD1. You may want to consider something like the BD2, which is a much more transparent pedal that doesn’t really take anything away from your amp but adds gain or boost to what’s already there.
Hello Bjorn here’s wishing you Well!
I have a quick pedal line up question today. My chain starts with my Pigtronix Micro Compressor-Pettyjohn Chime MK II (Set as a Preamp)-Buffalo FX Power Booster-Svisound Overzoid+- then my Pettyjohn Rous(Their Rat style pedal)
I’m asking about the Rat or ROUS(Rodent Of Unusual Size) style pedals location? Should I have that earlier in chain? I’d like your take and suggestions please…Or, What order for all 4 of those pedals would you suggest?
I then have my ambient line up: MXR Analog Chorus-Jam Pedals Ripple-Moore ELady-Boss Dimensions-Catlinbread Echorec-MXR M300 Reverb. I also have an MXR Copy Cat Delay & MXR Phase 95 in my Laney Cub12R Combo effects loop….the ambient line up gives me many options as to where a delay or chorus effects can play…lots of my chain is Bjorn Inspired and I thank you for all your help. Finding your site was one of the Best things I’ve done since 2018 when I started my never ending pedalboard project.
Btw I’ve been using your Cub12R settings suggestions too!
Thanks for the help.
Thanks Walter! Where to place the Rous depends on whether you want to combine it with other gain pedals or not. Doesn’t matter where you place it if it’s used alone. Adding the Power Booster in front adds more gain. Adding the Power Booster after, adds more tone like an EQ. Personally I like to use RAT style pedals alone as they have enough gain, mids and compression already.
I have a 2nd gen vintage rat and it’s very mid-range focused (cuts a lot of lows if I use neck pickup). I put it in front of Boss DS-1 that get choked with too much low coming from the neck pickup. In low setting (overdrive behaviour) it opens up the tone coming from DS-1 and creates a hybrid of neck tone lushness with punch that normally you expect from bridge pickup.
Combining a Rat with a DS1 creates a lot of compression due to the high ammount of gain. That’s why the tone chokes up.
Dear Bjorn, Please, have you already tried the Behringer Vintage Tube Overdrive Vacuum – VT911, which replicates the BK Butler Tube Driver?
It’s OK but I think pedals like the Boss BD2 and EHC Crayon are much closer.
Hi Bjorn !
I hope you’re doing ok.
I tried what you usually recommend by stacking my Crayon and Green Russian going Green Russian first and Crayon second and the result was a really really muffled sound whatever the knobs were at on both pedals. I reverse the order and it was suddenly perfect, did you already encounter this problem ? Is it a problem with the Crayon not being able to handle the amount of gain produced by the Green Russian or is it something else ?
I am not planning on going back on the order because I really love the way it sounds as it is now but I am just curious about why it happened.
What amp are you using?
A Laney Cub 12.
OK, so it dends on the settings of the amp and pedals but placing a booster first will add more gain to the other pedal. Placing the booster after, which is what David does, will be closer to using an EQ. The booster, or overdrive, pedal should be set to about unity level, with very litle gain. Almost clean. The tone controls should be set to get the tone you want, much like how you’d use an EQ. A darker mid rangy or fullrange overdrive might be a bit too dark, while a more transparent overdrive or booster, with less mid range and compression, will often work better as it doesn’t colour as much. As Arya said, more gain also means more compression, which will create a darker and more choked sound.
It is very clear now, I was not too far from the truth from what I get from your response.
So the Crayon is not well suited to be placed after and act as an EQ, I will maybe try one day to buy a real transparent booster/overdrive (a TC Electronic Spark ? A Timmy ? Any advice ?) and try it after the Green Russian to see how it sounds, in the mean time having the Crayon still allows me to shape the sound and change the general sounding of my Green Russian when I want it too (maybe not as drastically as if it was placed after it but it still does what I want it to do).
Thank you very much for your answer, once again I really learn a lot through your website and the time you spend answering to all of us !
The Crayon will add some colour. Although it’s very similar to the Tube Driver, it has a tad more mid range and compression. I think it works nicely as a booster/EQ but again, it depends on the Muff, amp, pickups and all the settings. I think the booster should have some character. A clean booster will only add either gain or volume, depending on where you place it, but you really want a bit more mids and compression too. At least for David’s tones. The BD2 is an excellent option and i think the Tree of Life works really well too.
Ok so I forget about adding a real transparent booster/overdrive and will first give another try and test again different combinations ! Maybe I was simply not familiar enough with the pedals and all the interactions I have to take into account back then when I first tried the Crayon after the Green Russian. I will give a return for the community once I tried all that.
Duly noted about the BD2, I have been considering buying a Keeley Super Phat Mode for a long time now but had other more important purchases to make before considering adding a third overdrive pedal. And besides I was saying to myself that 3 overdrive pedals was maybe a bit much (is it really ? :)) but I know myself, I am going to eventually buy one, too many people saying that a BD2 is pretty much a must have on any pedalboard, I have to try !
Thanks again for the advices Bjorn !
You might want to raise the tone on the Green Russian a bit too. It darker than a typical Ram’s Head. People are often afraid to have too much top in the Big Muff but David’s are actually very bright but he’s using the booster/overdrive to tame that a bit. That way the Muff sound open, with a noticeable attack, and the overdrive adds mid range and compression.
Well I tried everything, following every advices you gave me but I can’t achieve a good tone placing the Crayon (or the Tree of Life for that matter) after my Green Russian. I always have that feeling that I am playing with a blanket over my amp when my pedals are placed in that order. I don’t know if it’s a problem of headroom or sound level (I can’t play incredibly loud since I live in an apartment) or just me being unable to dial correctly every parameter but definitely I can’t achieve a tone that I like in that configuration.
I will try with a BD2 once I will have fall for one !
Thanks again, at least I tried, like you often say it is the only way what suits us and/or what works with our gear !
Volume definitely plays a role but do you need to stack those pedals? The Green Russian sound great on its own and should provide the tones you need for most of David’s Muff tones.
Answering here to your last message since there is no Reply link under it (I don’t know why).
No I don’t especially need to stack those pedals, I just wanted to see what I could obtain by stacking them, now I saw !
And yes I totally agree, the Green Russian sound terrific on its own and when I want something a bit “more raw/less polite” I can still activate the Crayon in front of it, that works for me, I like what I hear !
I always find which overdrive has narrower range of frequencies especially less fatness and put it in the beginning of the overdrive stack and as it goes toward the amp I use the broader and fatter sounding ones. Overdrive also acts as a compressor so sound tries to get through the clipping stage and if the tone is too fat it squishes and chokes the rest of the frequencies along that process. I think that’s why people don’t prefer using a fatter sounding neck pickup into a heavy overdrive and they use bridge pickup with narrower range of frequencies to avoid a choked and heavily compressed sound. That’s my 2 cents anyway.
By trying different combinations it is finally exactly what I ended doing (but without having in mind how the range of frequencies, besides gain and compression, enters in the equation) going Crayon > Tree of Life > Green Russian.
Great added knowledge to me, thanks ! :)
Hey Bjorn, I wanted to know if the TC Electronic Tube Pilot Overdrive would work as an alternative to the Tube Driver
It’s based on the Tube Driver, with that full range overdrive tone. It’s OK but I think the Boss BD2 and particularly the EHX Crayon are better options.
Hello Bjorn! I have a fender hot rod deluxe 3 and a kh-602 with emg 60/81 and im wondering if i should go with a proco rat2 or a ehx green Russian
Both pedals will work but the Rat might be a better choice as it will compliment the amp with more mids and compression. See this feature for some tips on how to choose the right pedals for different types of amps.
Hello! I have a fender hot rod deluxe and a kh-602 with emg 60/81 and I’m wondering if a ehx green russian or a proco rat2 will better suit my setup.
Both will work but you might find that the RAT will sound smoother and fit Fender style amps better. It depends on what tones you want.
Thank you for all your hard work that you do providing us with all of that priceless data. I was wondering could you help me a little bit regarding pedalboard stack. Recently i have purchase Fender BJ tweed and so far I have JAM Rattler and Ecosex baby. Plan for me is to buy one Overdrive pedal and I would really appreciate your advice wich one would be the best in price rang up to 250€. Also could you be so kind and suggest some other pedals wich can contribute for those Gilmour or overall tones.
Thanks in advance,
Thanks for your kind words, Sime. I would go for pedals that has a bit of mid range, as the BJ has less compared to typical British amps, like a Hiwatt and Marhsall. The Boss BD2 and EHX Crayon are very good alternatives to the Tube Driver. I’ve also been using both the OCD and Wampler PlexiDrive with the BJ, with some great results.
Thanks a lot for your quick response. Maybe to go with Butler Tube driver along with Jam Rattler? Or if that’s not the best case for BJ I would go with OCD but my concern is how will it work together with Jam Rattler, will they compliment each other?
Yes, very much. Depending on the speaker you have, the Tube Driver can be a tad too bright for that amp.
Great. Thanks Bjor, thanks a lot for your help. In that case i will go with the OCD.
Hi, Bjorn! Your page is just pure gold. I didn’t understand very well though how you can place boosters/transparent drives, tubescreamer-like drives, distortions and muffs or in which combination to get THAT Gilmour sound. Just to help you, I currently have an American Special Strat (with Texas Specials and a bridge humbucker), a Laney Lionheart L20T-212 and, regarding pedals, a BB Preamp Comp version, a Boss BD-2 (planning to Keeley-mod it), a Klon clone, a Morning Glory clone, a Joyo Vintage Drive and a Nano Big Muff. Help very much appreciated, thank you!
Thanks for your kind words! This is a question that require a long answer but to keep it short – the best way to start is to set up the amp. The amp is your foundation and all the pedals is just icing on the cake. Make sure you have a good tone from the amp before you start adding pedals. David often stack pedals. Not so much for boost but rather for tone. A Muff is often combined with an overdrive, set for very little gain and about unity volume. The overdrive acts very mcuh like an EQ, adding a bit of flavour to the Muff. If you don’t stack, then it doesn’t matter how you arrange your pedals. If you do stack, then I recommend having higher gain pedals first and then the overdrives and boosters after.
Hi Bjorn, do you have any thoughts on the Menatone Menawatt? From what I am gathering it is a Hiwatt amp in a box pedal that works well with Fender black face amps. I wonder if it helps compensate for such amps’ lack of mids so that they work better with pedals like mids scooped muffs and powerboost clones to get Gilmour tones, or is it meant to be a stand alone pedal for Hiwatt like tones? Thanks as always for your help.
I haven’t tried it so I can’t really comment on the tone. From what I understand reading up on their site it will function both as a tone foundation and a more conventional overdrive, with that Hiwatt flavour.
Hi Bjorn, when David used the Power Boost, do you know if the overdrive was created within the pedal itself or is the sound we hear that of the amplifier breaking up from being driven hard, with the the Boost just acting to drive and colour the sound? From what I know the Power Boost doesn’t clip until the very top of its range and I’m unsure how David used it.
I’m guessing that the Tube Driver is the opposite with the sound we hear being that of the pedal itself breaking up rather than the amp being pushed into breakup? Many thanks.
He might have used it for both boost and overdrive. Those old models didn’t have a master control so they distorted much earlier. If you listen to Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow album, that’s the Powersound with a Les Paul and you can hear its gain character even at reasonably low amp volume. David did use the Colorsound on rhythms for songs like Time and Have a Cigar and it sounds very much like the Powerboost and not the amp.
Hi Bjorn, I have a stock mid-80s Strat and a Fender Super Champ X2 head/cabinet and would like to get close to the Shine On YCD heavy driven Powerboost tone, but I know my amp is not ideal with its lack of mids. I have managed to make a Vick Audio 73 RH work pretty well for The Wall tones and would like to do the same for Gilmour’s earlier tones. Dialing back the 73 RH sustain and/or tweaking some other pedals in my chain (SD-1, Hot Wax, GE-7) does a pretty good job, but I wonder if you think I could get closer with one of the other Vick Audio pedals? The Overdriver may not work best with my amp, do you think Tree of Life or V-2 would be good options and if so, which would be best? Thanks
The Tree of Life would probably get you closer. It’s perhaps overlapping the Hot Wax to some extent but it’s also much more than that. One of my favourite OD pedals and it seems to work well with most types of amps.
Thanks for your help Bjorn. I was able to get a nice tone stacking the SD-1 into both sides of the Hot Wax, so I’ll have to find another way to justify that next pedal purchase LOL. I still see a Tree of Life or V2 in my future!
What do you think about the EQD Plumes for a booster?
Haven’t tried it.
Hi Bjorn!! First of all thank you for this site, you don’t know how useful is to research tone jajaja I always comeback here when I’m in doubt and it never fails me, I think it’s because Mr. Gilmour has a very organic and complete way of organize the various aspects of the rock tone… Anyway I have a few questions regarding overdrives/boost:
I imagine you saw the extras in the 2011 WYWH documentary. In one scene David plays SOYCD on the black strat and I find it sounds cool! Do you think is only the amp (and what amp? in the back there is a mic’ed wem cabinet) or has a booster like a clean Tube Driver?
Here is the clip
My next question is about a fuzz and overdrive pairing. Do you think that an overdrive like the Boss BD-2, Wampler Plexidrive or the EHX Crayon can make a fuzzface-type pedal work in a fender style clean amp? I have a Stratocaster and a Proco RAT 2 and I’m in the search for an overdrive and authentic fuzz.
Pd: sorry about my english and the nerdy first question :)
Thanks for the kind words! Hard to tell what David’s using for that clip. It sounds to me like a Fender amp, probably a Twin or Bassman but it could very well be a Hiwatt too. There’s a lot of compression and the UniVibe, with a bit of delay that’s set for multiple heads Binson type although I don’t think he’s using the Binson here. Probably an MXR rack. He might be using a Tube Driver but it might very well be the amp too, which again leads me to think of a Fender set for a very mild breakup.
The BD2 is an excellent booster for fuzz and Big Muffs.
First, thanks for the wonderful job you are doing here, just stunning. Your site is really the first I read when I need some informations about the Gilmour sound, or even pedals in general.
That being said, I haven’t seen some articles about the Blackstar pedals on your site. I have seen some pictures of Gilmour’s gear with the Blackstar HT Dist in it, but I can’t find any information on the web about Gilmour and Blackstar.
Have you tried one of these ? I have a HT Dist, that I used a long time ago, to play heavy stuff. It sounds great, but I’m not sure to manage to have a Gilmour tone with it… Feel free to share your knowledge man :)
Thanks for your kind words! I’m not too familiar with Blackstar pedals. The HT Dist, as you point out, is a fairly aggressive pedal so I have no idea how David’s using it. I saw that in his home studio. It might have been something he tested or, something he required for a specific tone. It’s got a very tube amp-like distortion perhaps similar to his Tube Drivers but with more gain.
When I see the Gilmourish choice symbol, is it referring to the piece of gear above it, or below it?
Thanks, this has always confused me.
On a desktop computer the symbol should be to the left of the text. This site is old and looks like shit on a phone so my apologies. Compare with the score. A high score should have the symbol.
Okay, I just used the laptop and I see the gilmourish picks are beside the pedal–now it makes sense.
Also, just a couple things–thank you so much for this site. I can’t tell you how useful and inspiring it has been over the years.
And, I got a Chase Tone Fuzz Fella fuzz, silicon BC108 chip. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Kyle Chase’s pedals (I’m in no way affiliated for the record). I have his Chase Tone Secret Preamp and the Fuzz Fella. They are the most reasonably priced and excellent pedals. In a way, they remind me of Vick Audio, high quality, reasonable cost (I actually drove out and met Mike Vickery at his house in Arizona, and bought the 73 Ram’s Head from him–also a great pedal).
I’m wondering if you’ve heard of Chase Tone and tried the Fuzz Fella? Also, I’m considering the Phil Robinson fuzz pedal you reviewed. I run a Jerry Cantrell wah, and a Drybell Vibe Machine before my Fuzz Fella (Fuzz Face) and a Cali76 and a number of drive pedals afterward, and I am trying to avoid losing tone because of buffer issues.
Any thoughts on the Phil Robinson Fuzz and it’s placement with relationship to the pedals I mention and buffer issues?
Stay stoked Bjorn.
Don’t have any experience with Chase Tone. Thanks for the tip! The Phil Robinson is perhaps on the lighter side gainwise compared to other silicon fuzz pedals like the SunFace but that’s also what makes it versatile IMO. Great with single coils in particular but works very well with buckers too. It’s not sensitive to buffers so you can place it pretty much everywhere.
Hey a Bjorne hope you have been doing well. I recently been getting back into G2 tones. Obviously a real one will cost too much. I saw Buffalo fx is no longer active. I was hoping you could recommend a G2 clone that is easy to find and has THAT sound. I currently am using and OCD GE for that tone. But would like something that’s a little closer and has a little more gain on tap.
Clark, The Vick Audio V2 is close although perhaps a bit more Big Muff-ish. You will get close with a Rat too. I often use the OCD for that purpose too.
Pastfx in Australia are recreating all the Buffalo fx pedals so would check them out
How about the Xotic EP Boost and The Tumnus Deluxe? Have you tried it?
Yep. The EP boost is a nice clean boost with a hint of mid range. The Tumnus is a Klon, with a transparent clean boost and mid rangy overdrive.
I’m here for a feedback on the tube driver. I bought a brand new 2020 tube driver from BK butler himself on his reverb market. The sound was ok but this pedal was a huge disapointement. Indeed, It’s noisy as hell when activated. It’s NOT true bypass and the tone suck was HUGE to say the least. I lost all my dynamics (If you already own one of those new TD try to plug direct to your amp). After some research, it seems that mr Butler do not sell the early circuits. The quality we could have expect is not, for me, here. You get a cheap quality PCB, the components might not be the best. I don’t think he even bother to check the tubes he puts in. Anyway, I’m not here to bash the guy, but be advised that gilmour and EJ names to sell a product that is NOT is original circuit.
hope it helps
The Tube Driver has gone through countless changes over the years so no, you’re not buying the original cirquit in terms of a clone of te first model. BUT, it’s the authentic Tube Driver made by Butler. Let’s put it that way. Before I can try to help, please let me know what pickups you use, what amp and its settings and what other pedals you run in the chain. All this will affect the TD.
I know everyone has different ears, but I got the 5 knob version and put in an amperex bugle boy 12AU7. With eq knobs cut and drive set low, I feel like it does great things to my Bludotone high plate skyline, even at bedroom volumes 90 dB)
I use it with the gain channel of the amp with gain set at 9 o’clock.
Hello Bjorn here’s wishing you well in 2021! You have helped me and many other people during the past crazy 12 months with your reviews and insight, TY…
I need your input on my drive line up. I just can’t get it right yet. I use and love a Laney Cub12R combo (thanks to your recommendation) into my board. The drive section starts with my Pigtronix Micro compressor, Svisound Overdrive+, Buffalo FX PowerBooster, Pettyjohn Gold OD. The thought was to use the Svisound as the fuzz. The PowerBooster for an always on clean up drive then the Pettyjohn for the extra distortion. I’ve tried the EHX Green Russian and Vick Audio Rams Head before the PowerBooster but they didn’t sound good at all. I thought maybe a Rat instead of the Overdrive+ or Do you think a Tube Screamer type pedal is missing? I also own aTree of Life OD…after the drive line up I have a fun ambient array. You can probably see your influence on my selection of items I’m guessing? One note: With the Pettyjohn Gold
OD I can only turn the volume and gain to 8-9 or it’s way to loud as I play in my music room only, no gigs anymore. That with the amp volume @ 4-6. Let me know what you think…
Walter H. ?
Hi Walter, thanks for your kind words! Remind me what pickups you use and your amp settings.
Hello & TY for your reply. I’m sorry for the incomplete question, I almost listed more info too…I have three guitars all HH set ups 2 with coil tap.
1-Fender American Strat with Black Cobra neck & Sidewinder bridge. With coil split. I’ve asked Fender for the specs on these with no success. By the name I’m assuming they are a semi Hot made in USA pup.
2-PRS Custom 22 Semi Hollow body with PRS Std 2017 Humbuckers.
3-Epiphone Les Paul Custom Koa. ProBucker 2 neck ProBucker 3 bridge with coil split.
That’s my electric Guitarsenall.
I usually run a clean Cub12R with the gain @ 2-3 max…at the 15 watt input. The .75 input sounds empty to me but maybe I don’t know what I’m doing?
Thanks again, Walter ?
The 15w sound better. For a clean platform, I’d keep the gain as low as possible and the EQs around noon, with perhaps a bit of treble roll off and mids boost. You’re using humbuckers, which might compromise the headroom of the amp a bit but you should be able to set it fairly clean. Personally I prefer just a hair of breakup. The SviSound pedals have a lot of Tube Screamer-sih mid range around 400k, which works really well on Fender amps but not so much on British mids oriented amp like Laney, Marshall and Hiwatt. The Powerboost might sound a bit dark with humbuckers and your amp? Works better with single coils. I remember using a Wampler PlexiDrive a lot with the Cub and the OCD. These two seemed to fit the amp perfectly and they will cover pretty much everything from clean boost to heavy distortion.
Thanks Bjorn so much, Again!
I played my Am Strat today in the Single coil not Humbucker mode and it sounded so nice and tight. I was actually able to run all three of my drive pedals at once, it just took a bit of time to find the settings but worth it. With my new Boss DC 2W Dimension & my Catlinbread Echorec through my effects loop it was a tone home run!
Hey Bjorn! I’m picking up a Silver Sky and it’s been a few years since I’ve owned an all single coil guitar. At least at first I plan to keep the vintage output pickups in there, is there any distortion pedals you’ve found that work great with vintage type bridge pickups? Thanks in advance for your time.
Hi Nick, that depends on the amp really. I’ve found that most pedals works with most types of pedals but you might want to look into something with a bit of mids and compression, like a Plexi style pedal, rather than a so-called transparent overdrive. Then again, back in the day, that’s all you had and tons of great tones were produced.
Hi Bjorn, I don’t how many more years my pink floyd tribute project should have taken without this site, and for that I can’t thank you enough,
I have bough (an OCD, BB preamp, BD2 waza, Buffalo fx TDX, Buffalo Fx power booster, jhs @ndy timmons od, J rocket the dude, all the three reissue green russian, triangle and ram’s head big muffs) and buffalo CVIII silicon fuzz
my amp is a mesa boogie mark V fender princetone, and a standard USA strat
My questions are :
1- is there any of my pedals that I can use to get the proco rat or the G2 tone (like money solo in pulse or do you recomande to buy a dedicated proco
2- does all proco rats even reissue models close in tone to the original used by david gilmour.
3- having in mind that I’m in a project of a full scale tribute show I’m tryin’ to achieve the closest tone possible to gilmour tone, what do you think is missing in my drive rig ?
compression : effectrode PC2A, carl martin Andy timmons compression,
Delay : boonar + eventide time machine
modulation Boss CE2 waza, strymon mobius, neo instruments micro vent, drybell vibe machine, retro-sonic flanger.
Again many thanks for all the time you’re dedicating to share your knowlegde with us.
Hi Salem, sorry for my late reply.
Seems like you have a great rig there! I can’t really think of anything else.
1. The OCD and the Andy Timmons I guess.
2. Yes, but you should look into some of the clones out there as well.
I would like to ask, do you prefer Electronic Orange Bananaboost or Tru-Fi Colordriver?
I’m just wondering which one to buy. When it comes to Tru-Fi Colordriver, have you played both 18v and 9v versions?
The Banana for sure. Hard to describe jsut why, but it has more of that vintage flavour and the EQ controls respond better.
Hi, I wanna know which of these pedals can pair better with my Fender Blues Junior IV: Big Muff, Rat, OCD or Tube Screamer. Thanks.
Rat and Tube Screamer. The OCD works too but a Muff often sound too bright on Fender amps. You might want to look into a Muff that has a mid range boost, like the Vick Audio models.
I’m using a Vick Audio Ram’s Head 73 with the mid boost on through my BJ IV and it sounds divine. I do have my Treble set pretty low (4-5) and my Mid (10) and Bass (7) higher. The 73 Ram’s Head is very smooth. Sounds fantastic.
Great reading material.
I want to ask for your opinion on a specific pedal, whether OD or Boost, to pair with my setup: EVH 5150III LBX2 amp (with matching EVH 2X12 cab) and an American Fender Strat (SSS configuration) loaded with Fat 50s pickups.
Using the Crunch channel (Blue channel…lots of gain, really…a lot!), the Strat alone (i.e., no boost) sounds pretty thin, especially in low bedroom-level volumes.
I want to fatten up the tone, what would you recommend, an OD or a clean boost? What specific brand will do the job?.
I guess you could go for a Powerboost type, which has a bass and treble tone stack. A Klon type would add some mids to the tone. One of my favourites, the Vick Audio, can do pretty much anything from fat clean boost to heavy distortion.
Thanks a lot for the tip! Cheers!
I’m still putting together the pieces for a Pulse era tones board. Based on your recommendations I’m currently using the following:
Boost – EHX Crayon
Muff: EHX Green Russian Reissue
Drive: Vick Tree of Life
There are two things I don’t yet LOVE in this setup:
1. I don’t get the lovely amp-like breakup you get from your Buffalo TD-X demo from the Crayon. It’s incredibly useful as a clean boost or to add a bit more grit and boost to downstream pedals, but I don’t love it’s tones on it’s own (clean or dirty).
2. The Green Russian is a little too “smooth” for me as it is. I’ve had some success getting more grit using the Crayon with a touch of gain as a boost before it but that gets noisy fast.
I’m debating buying one of the following as an upgrade:
– A TD-X as an upgrade to the Crayon
– A Buffalo Evolution to move to more of a G-2 sound with more grit than the Green Russian
– Maybe a V-2 instead of the Evolution?
I only have money currently for one of these options. Which do you think would make the biggest improvement compared to what I have right now? Any suggestions?
What amp and pickups?
Much has changed since that original post so please allow me to rephrase the question: If you were to put together a drive section of a board to cover as broad a range of Pulse era tones as possible, but were limited to no more than 4 drive pedals in total in your drive section (less than 4 is fine too, and don’t worry about compressors, delays, reverts or modulation) which would you choose from the following list? How would you use them (which for low gain? Which for overdrive? Any plan for stacking some together?)?
Guitar is a Strat with CS69 / SSL-5 combo. Amp is Laney L5T.
Pedals to choose from:
– BC108 or 109 Sun Face
– Tree of Life
– 73 Ram’s Head
– Vick V-2
For Pulse and that tour, David mainly used Tube Drivers for different types of boost and overdrive, a slightly more compressed and mid rangy SS2 overdrive and a Big Muff. I don’t think classic fuzz fits this era. Since you ask, I’d pick one or two TDX, the Evolution and a 73 Ram’s Head (or the Buffalo Patriot).
I assume a “two TD-X” setup you mention would have one in a low gain configuration and the other in more of a higher gain / solo setting? Or one as a boost? How would you decide when to use the Evolution vs. the TD-X?
Yes. They are somewhat overlapping. You can use the TDX as a distortion unit but the Evolution has considerably more gain.
Do you think the Vick V-2 is a good compromise between the Evolution and the 73 Ram’s head? Seems to have a bit of each in it.
I could then go with TD-X, V-2 and ToL maybe to cover a lot of ground?
Yes, that would make a very versatile trio.
I have been using the info on your site quite a bit to achieve the sound I’m after…I also bought the tree of life which sounds really articulate on the lower setting, but when I bought the Vick V2 I found that it sounded much too dark and muffled; I even wondered if I had gotten a damaged unit.?..it doesnt sound, judging by your review, that you had a similar experience. Just wanted to share my experience.
Did the V2 sound dark or did it make the ToL sound dark? The ToL has a very open character, while the V2 is closer to a Rat, with much more mid range and compression. Two very different pedals.
I am making an affordaboard for the early sounds. I was looking for a nice Colorsoud poweboostish pedal and came across the TC Spark Booster which is on sale in my country, so is it a good pedal to replicate the colorsound powebooster? I am on a tight budget, the Boss BD2 and EHXs Crayon are quite expensive here. So another alternatives are the Mooer Blues mood or Flex boost (digging info from the comment section), which i can order them from Aliexpress, where also I found pedals that look like a powerbooster like the Caline CP-18 and Caline CP-54, but people say that those are a BB preamp clones (BB is different from powerbooster right?). Also is it true that the Tube Driver and Colorsound Powerbooster are the same circuit, you mention it in the EHX crayon review?
No, the Tube Driver and Powerboost are not the same circuit but they sound very similar. The Hot Wax, which was the one I was reviewing, is a dual overdrive pedal with a Hot Tubes and Crayon featured in one. These will double nicely as your Power Boost and Tube Driver respectively.
The Spark Booster is an all clean booster with different mid range options. It’s not that suited as a Power Boost. The Blues Mood can do a Power Boost and you might want to check out the Hustle Drive (OCD) for Tube Driver tones. The BB is more of a high gain Marshall type of pedal.
I love your cultural website as unique source for so many background information on DG and PF and it has often initiating ideas to get own tones, sounds und gear equipments. I often used it in the last years to have a look and to get more information on this or that. So many thanks for everything, keep on.
Now, first time, I have a question and a high interest in getting more information on that topic from you, or out of the community.
Album: About Face; Song: Let’s get metaphysical (instrumental)
My main question: Which are the effects behind the sound of the first guitar nodes?
My assumption is, it was played with the Esquire (workmate), and DG switched later in song to the Strat.
But I am interested only in the sound of the first guitar nodes, it sounds huge and thick, I can not hear much flanger or chorus out there, the Esquire sounds thick anyway (see below, I know that), but there must be an effect behind on the sound. Distortion more than fuzz? Unbelievable Reverb additional to delays? This thickness of sound, is there a characteristic pedal to hear and used? Can someone hear it ?
What do you think, how was achieved such broad sound (at the beginning) ?
Well, I’m playing music since >35 years, several instruments (keys, b, dr, g, trumpet), but I would not name me a real guitarist, but I am playing instruments to understand the instrument point of view/sound. I am most interested to get Gilmour or Floyd sound, since 10 years I try to achieve to get it, meanwhile with e.g. BlackStratrelic, 56erEsquire, LP Goldtop, etc, also with Cornish, BKbutler, Muffs stuff etc etc. and I am close to THE sound.
But still learning and collecting ideas to get it more close to my imagination.
If you could help me finding that answer, or perhaps out of the meanwhile huge community worldwide, would be great! So many thanks again, keep on track.
Thanks for your kind words Juergen! Glad you enjoy my site!
There’s very little documentation from the sessions. He might have been using the old Pete Cornish board that he used for the Wall and Final Cut session, which included a Big Muff. He has also stated that his setup featured a Boss HM2 and Mesa Boogie MkI, which seems to have made up his main overdrive and distortion sounds for the album and Momentary later on. To me, that song sounds very much like the latter and not a Big Muff. It’s hard to tell though as they did a lot of processing in the studio being the 80s and all. A bit of EQ, compression and some digital reverb can create a very different sound. As for the guitars… he did use the Black Strat and the Workmate Tele but probably other guitars too. Keep in mind that the red and cream coloured Strats were bought after the sessions. It sounds very much like the Black Strat to me. You can definitely hear some trem arm vibrato going on.
As always, thanks for putting together such a fantastic resource!
I’ve followed much of your advice and currently own a Vick ToL, EHX Ram’s head reissue and a EHX Crayon (among others). I’m looking to get the Comfortably Numb solo tone off of the Pulse album.
I find that the Ram’s Head is a bit soft around the edges and lacks the touch of “grit” he has on Pulse.
I’m considering a Vick V-2, Buffalo Evolution or Green Russian to try to get closer.
I also have a germanium Sunface and a Greer Lightspeed if you think stacking either somewhere in the chain might help? I’ve stacked the Greer before but stacking anything with the Muff seems really noisy.
I’m playing a MIM strat with CS69s and SSL-5 into a Vox VT40X (yes, I know it’s the weak link and will bug you about amp questions once I’m ready to upgrade!). I use the Crayon as a clean boost / pseudo EQ at the end of my chain. I only play at home at reasonable volumes mostly.
Thanks for your help!
I think you will find the Green Russian to be a bit more defined than the Ram’s Head. This will also be closer to the Civil War Sovtek David used during that tour.
Hi Bjorn –
Thanks to you after several months of experimenting with different pedals and settings I have made great progress with my ‘Gilmour’ rig and am pretty satisfied with the tones I am getting!!!
Here is my current set up:
MIM Strat with SSL-5/C69 pickups > ?
TCE Polytune > ?
Xotic Sp Compressor >?
Phase 90 > ?
Vick Audio Ram’s Head 73 >?
TCE MojoMojo (for mild OD) >?
Tru-Fi Colordriver (for heavy OD) >?
Mooer E-Lady (I have this in a loop with a TCE Spark Boost Mini to compensate for volume drop) > ?
Boss CE-5 >?
Strymon Timeline >?
Fender Blues Junior
I’m mainly going for Meddle – Animals tones, but also would like it to be versatile enough for Wall, DG78 and About Face tones.
So after boring you with all of that here is my question…what would you add or change to achieve more versatility? Would you add a separate pedal for clean boost such as another Spark Boost, or EHX Crayon (or something else)?
Would I benefit more from adding another overdrive/distortion pedal? If so, what do you think is the most versatile – Wampler Plexi Drive, Vick V-2 or Tree of Life, Top Tone DG2 or an Evolution?
I have room for 1-2 more pedals.
Seems to me that you’re pretty much covered. What and if you need anything else, depends on what you feel is lacking. Personally I like to have a more modern sounding distortion to compliment the Big Muff. A favourite is the Tree of Life.
Hi Bjorn, firstly thankyou for providing such a comprehensive resource, it’s an amazing amount of work you have gone to.
My question for you is that I have a bedroom setup where i am playing my strat into a 15w fender blues junior amp. I’m looking to achieve the pulse tones and was just after some pedal advise please
1) in terms of overdrive, I’m turn between a keeley modded bd2, a fulltone OCD or a keeley phat mod(is this an update of the boss pedal). I was just wondering if any of these pedals would be suitable for my amp to achieve pulse tones)
Other pedals I’d like to get to achieve the pulse tone on my amp are:
1) Boss rt20
2) boss ce2
3) boss cs2
4) tc electronic flaskback
5) ehx green Russian big muff
6) boss ge7 equalizer.
In your opinion would the above do the job in order to achieve the tone on the amp I have,or Is there anything I am missing here?
Any advice greatly appreciated.
Both the BD2 and OCD would work nicely although the BD2 might be more versatile, with more headroom and a wider range of tones. You might also want to look into the Buffalo FX TDX or the EHX Crayon for some Tube Driver tones. The challenge might be your amp, which often can be a bit too bright for replicating David’s tones. I’d keep the mids up hugh and the treble low. Experiment with the volume (preamp gain) and master. The best platform for your pedals is a clean tone with just a hair of breakup for a natural compression.
Hey Bjorn, some really useful advice thanks.
Based on that I reckon I’ll go for the bd2. I’ve been looking at the keeley modified version but they seem to have been deleted so are difficult to get hold of! Would the buffalo or crayon be an alternative to the bd2?
Interesting to hear what you said on the amp aswell. Which tube amp would you have recommended as a home amp to replicate the gilmour tones?
The amp you have is by no means a bad one for David’s tones you just need to be careful with the treble. If you are looking for something else, I’d strongly recommend looking into the Laney Cub or Lionheart.
Hey Bjorn, thanks for your response.
Based on your advise I have been having a look at the overdrive pedals. Much as I like the Buffalo FX TDX, it is a bit out of my price range at the moment. Would the keeley modded blues driver be a good alternative to this? I see the EHX Crayon is quite a bit cheaper, but would you say this is an adequate alternative?
The key for me is trying to get those pulse-esque tones playing at home on my Fender Blues Junior(Sorry, I don’t ask for much haha!)
The Crayon is closer to the TDX.
I have existential problems concerning the choice and the stacking of the pedals :)
I d like to play Pink Floyd songs but Blues Rock songs too.
Gilmour uses 3 tube driver overdrives. Is it possible to combine in the same way :
3 TOL or
3 RYRA Overdrive or
1 TOL (as a clean boost pedal or medium overdrive)
+ RYRA (as a clean boost pedal or medium overdrive)
+ something else like extra boost (RAT, Buffalo or even another TOL / RYRA)
I use Fender Hot Rod Amp and Fender Blues Tweed for now with Les Paul, SG, Telecaster and Stratocaster.
And also what do you think of the Vemuram Fuzz (Shanks 4D and Oz) to be in a Gilmour set but versatile set also to play Blues Rock ?
I hope my question is not weird… :)
Thank you for your kind answer and this beautiful website.
On the last tour, David used 3 Tube Driver each set up with different amounts of gain – clean boost, overdrive and distortion. These were often combined in different ways depending on what tones he needed. To get similar tones, I recommend using three similar sounding overdrives, like three Tube Driver or clones, three Boss BD2 or something similar.
Hey Bjorn, great site. After 30+ years of playing I still learn things from this site.
I’ve got a Fender 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb that I set to edge of breakup, and use ODs to get Foo Fighters type modern rock distortion out of it. I mostly play humbucker equipped guitars.
My favorite so far is the OCD since it results in a lower mid frequency hump compared to Marshall type ODs.
I’m looking for something like the OCD and ran across the Vick Audio Tree of Life. How do you think the ToL would sound in my setup at heavier gain settings? Would the low end be too farty and loose?
Thanks for the kind words! I haven’t played the ToL with a Fender amp but I wouldn’t think the low end would be a probalem. It’s very tight and well balanced. As much as I love and use the OCD, I do prefer the ToL. Its got a bit more gain and open top end, which at least on my amps, makes it sound more dynamic comapred to a OCD.
while not really an overdrive pedal, I thought of sharing my experience with Fender Engager Boost pedal
1. it is quiet, really quiet
2. it’s cheap
3. it built solid
3. 3-band EQ with a good range on each band
4. a switch that shifts mid focus
5. lots of boost volume — i seldom go past 9-10 o’clock
I have had it running into EHX Sovtec Deluxe Muff, both fuzz flavaros of Wampler Fuzztration, and into a number of over drive pedals — played through it by either ES 339 classic57 humbuckers or Strat CS69/CS69/SSL5 on Laney Linoheart 20H
I have also played it on its own, without any other drive after it, into either one of Laney channels
all it takes is a bit of tweak and it opens up everything put after it
I could not have been happier for 75 dollars Canadian on a used one. I sold Wampler Equator EQ as there is no adjustment that I cannot make using the 3-band of Engager and the 3 bands + Tone of Lionheart
BTW, the 200+ Dollar Wampler Equator pedal is noisier than the 75 dollar Engager
I like the position 2 of strat (neck and middle) for mellow blues or Jazz both rhythm and melody, That position on its own lacks a bit of treble on High E to my ears and that’s why I got the wampler EQ. The engage fixed it to my taste much better than the wampler and with no hissy noise
IYO, what is the best booster pedal today ?
My gig is :
Comp>Fulltone>Skreddy LM>Leslie G> Laney L5> Tremolo> EHX Memory Boy.
Thanks for all
Depends on what pickups and amp you use and what you need a booster to do.
Your work is amazing and you are the right person to help me! Could you tell me if David uses Muff a little higher than Tube Driver or both at about the same volume? Thanks!
Impossible to know for usre since most of David’s pedals have been modified but looking at pictures alone it seems that he sets his Muffs to about unity gain, with just a slight volume boost from the Tube Driver.
What would consider between the colorsound boost reissue, TD X and the supa driver buffalo ? to combine with the evolution . or woumd you consider another to cover most of gilmour range tones? Thanks again for your wonderful reviews!
The Power Boost and Supa Driver are two different pedals combined with the Evolution. IMO the slightly more amp-like and modern sounding TDX fits the Evo better.
Could you recommend a pedal/s that would get close to the sound of a Pete Cornish SS-2? I couldn’t quite get the sound of the SS-2 with the current overdrive pedals i own (keeley bd-2, red llama, ts9)
The BD2 should get you close but check out the Light Drive from TopTone, Evolution from Buffalo FX (although this one is closer to a RAT).
Thank you for the reply and helpful info Bjorn! I’ll check them out. Although i read in a few forums people saying that an mxr distortion plus could come close? What’s your take on that?
Well, yes and no. As far as I know the SS2 originates from a D+ but you can’t really compare the two.
I own a Laney LC-50 112 that i set on clean channel just at the edge of break up keeping it clean although. I’m trying to figure out how to use my soul food in conjunction with a muff ram’s head to obtain the comfortably numb solo tone. In my current setup i use the soul food at the end of the gain chain in an “always on” configuration with volume at max, drive at min and neutral tone in order to drive the gain stage of my amp at full input dynamics. Now i have some doubts and questions:
1) Should i use the soul food in the actual configuration to drive my amp to the edge of break up or should i use the provided amp gain knob to reach the desired level? At the moment the gain knob is about 2.5/10 because all is demanded to soul food.
1) is my current configuration of soul food the one adequate to work with after the big muff to make it more creamy for soloing even if it is now set as a clean “always on” booster?
3) Have you some personal advice to set properly the chain composed by muff–into–>soulfood–into–>laneylc50?
Thanks a lot for your work,
I would always start with the amp and set it to match the guitar and pickups. Find the right balance between the pre-stage, EQ and output to create a powerful clean platform and then add boosters or whatever to enhance the tone if needed. Whether or not you actually need the Soul Food in that chain depends on what you feel is lacking or needed. Personally I often have a Klon type pedal set very clean just to add a bit of flavour, which can help a Big Muff to cut through more.
Great informations here!!!
I have Marshall DSL 20 and TS9. As you mentioned, it deosn’t do the job well, the sound is thin a lacks bass.
I was thinking about BD-2 or TC Mojomojo. Tore, the guy from TC, explains, that Mojomojo retains the bass frequencies. What would be your choice? Mojomojo or BD-2? The goal is to get nice crunch.. I also have TC Spark but I’m still not satisfied with the results… It’s probably my fault… :/
All of these pedals sounds great so it’s more a matter of finding the right match for your amp. The TS and MojoMojo has a bit too much mids for a Marshall. The Spark is a booster. I think the BD2 or something similar will do the trick.
Hello Bjorn how are you,
I am curious on your thoughts of the ibanez ts9 tube screamer for a mid boost light od run into an eq pedal or power boost. I personally like the mid boost it gives but sounds a bit choked or dark. Also if I were to use an eq pedal to compensate for a ts9, what frequencies would I need to boost to assimilate the ts9 tube screamer midboost frequencies?
Your thoughts please?
It all depends on the amp. A Hiwatt or Marshall wouldn’t need much mids boost but a Vox or Fender usually does. On mids scooped amps I like to boost the 800Hz range, for a bit of that Plexi mids. For TS9 you probably want to boost around 700Hz. Plexi is more of a boost, with the lows and highs maintaned, while the TS9 is more a flatter mid range, with cut on the lows and mids. The TS9 is a bit too flat and boxy as a booster for my ears but a BD2 or even a JHS Charlie Brown, with a 3-band EQ, works great for boosting the mids and maintaining the lows and highs.
I’m using my twin reverb now.
I don’t own a bd2 but do have a charlie brown jhs.
I actually didn’t attatch to that pedal when first tried it so I put it away. Pulled it out the other day when saw your post reply here and now it’s starting to grow on me. I love it alone with my humbuckers for noodling. Has nice grit as well.
Hello Bjorn, how are you?
I have both the solasound colorboost aussie version and the tru-fi colordriver and I actually prefer my colordriver over my colorboost.
I was just wondering if your going to review and comment on here on the trufi colordriver pedal.
It’s an awesome and very versatile pedal. I keep it as my last drive pedal in my chain as a clean always on color pedal set up slightly at the edge of breakup into twin, and also use it set on heavy drive set at 10:30 for playing pigs stacked with my dynacomp and muff. Colordriver has lots of headroom goes from clean to fuzz. I set the drive between 0 and noon.
Thanks for reading. Rock on. :)
I have a couple of TruFi pedal reviews coming up!
Hi, i am having the chance to buy a used tdx. it is white, i dont know when it was made. Do you think that it will be the same at the black one? or the black is new and it has improvements? i also saw one black and silver. i dont know which is the newest or the better one
From what I know, all TDX pedals have the same circuit but they have different colours as some of the other pedals in the Buffalo range.
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I recently bought a fender blues junior Tweed amp which I am very satisfied with, however when I use my Boss bd2 pedal I find that it doesn’t work well on this amp – I would like to know your opinion on the compatibility between this pedal and the amp – is there a better choice?, which distortion or overdrive pedal to choose that is nice with this amp – last question wouldn’t it be wise to change the speaker you recommend the Cannabis Rex what is your opinion on the Texas Heat from Eminence?
Thank you for your response and have a great holiday season.
I’ve had great success using the BD2 with the Jr but it depends on how you set each of them. The Jr is very bright so you might want to increase the mids and roll back the treble. Keep the gain low but enough for the tubes to heat a little. You want that sweetspot just before the amp breaks up. The BD2 often sound better with the volume slightly boosted and the tone rolled back a little. Check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedal for different amps.
Hello everyone. A good tip… Friedman BE-OD is a great alternative to fuzz solo sounds.
I love this site!!! Thanks Bjorn!
Hi Bjorn, first of all, thank you for the information you give us, it helps me a lot to create a new pedal board.
I am interested in this moment for boost pedals or overdrive.
Many people are talking about EarthQuaker Feathers right now.
What do you think? Have you ever tried it?
Haven’t tried it.
Hello! can i turn on vick audio overdrive on a source of 18V?
Most gain pedals can be powered up to 18V but contact Vick to be sure.
I’m trying to fine tune my DSOTM tones. I’m having difficulty nailing the rhythm section of “Time”. I have the actual strumming close, but can’t get the same sound I’m hearing on record. For my DSotM setup, I’m using a Fender Strat with stock pickups, a multi effects pedal set to UniVibe, a Mooer Blue Faze, an EHX Crayon and delay, all into a Marshall MG100. I’ve tried tinkering with the Crayon settings, the UniVibe settings, and the amp settings, but nothing seems to work to my ear. Am I missing something? Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!
For the rhythms you pretty much just need to dial in a bright overdrive tone. Nothing more. The amp alone should do the job but you might want to run the amp clean and use the Crayon for the overdrive.
Thank you sir! Amazing what a few tiny adjustments will do.
“The OCD is basically a hot wired beefed up Tube Screamer with the typical mid range boost and dark, creamy overdrive.”
Uh, nope, they’re not alike at all.
The OCD is open and uncompressed, with no noticeable mid hump, pretty flat EQ-wise, yes, retains more bottom end.
The TS is more compressed, with a very obvious mid bump.
One’s an asymmetrical hard-clipping circuit (OCD). The TS is symmetrical + soft clipping.
Suggesting they’re similar sound-wise is pretty misleading, even if they’re often used for similar purposes (boosting other gain stages/amps).
Well, maybe I should have phrased that better but I was talking about the tone. Not the circuit. Yes they’re different and the TS has a lot more mids and compression but depending on what OCD model you have… and there are countless versions… some are more scooped or more mids boosted than others. I would still say that the OCD is more similar to a TS and SD1 than a BD2 or a Tube Driver.
Hi Bjorn – I’m considering a Tru-Fi Colordriver. You had mentioned in another post a couple of months ago that you were reviewing one so I’m curious what your impression was of that pedal and if you’re going to post the review.
Also – have you had a chance to try the Skreddy Lunar Module? If so, what were your thoughts on that compared to the AnalogMan BC109? Thanks for all you do with this site!
Yes, there will be a review. Based on a very brief test, I really enjoyed it. Haven’t tried the Lunar.
I just recently purchased the Thorpy FX Peacekeeper and I love it. Have you considered doing a demo for it? I already have the Thorpy FX Fallout Cloud (formerly Muffroom Cloud) and think it’s one of the best fuzz units I’ve ever heard. Adrian makes some great stuff. I particularity like the fact that they are SO quiet. Keep up the great work!
If Adrian decides to send me one :)
Hi Bjorn, there is a new pedal that says that has David’s tone, the “comfortably plum” with an overdrive and a fuzz in the same pedal. What do you think about it. It would be great to see your review.
Haven’t tried it.
Hi, Bjorn! Thanks again for the precious insights and effort, making this site a constant for tone building.
Have you ever tried the ZVEX Box of Rock? It certainly has less gain and drive than the Tube Driver, but I think it might do a fair job, as it mimics a cranked JTM, and is open sounded (I think).
What do you think?
Thanks for your kind words! No, I’ve never tried it. The Tube Driver has some of that JTM character although I would suspect the BoR to have much more compression and mids.
i have a 70ies Kelly 50 amp with kind of Fender Bassman 100 preamp and T&B architecture (no mid pot, non-master volume) and am also to receive a Selmer Treble & Bass 50 SVR. I suppose they are so-called mid-scooped amps with little compression ? Should i avoir anything with EQ ? What cathegoy do i fall into, AC30 ?
I would perhaps consider some pedals with a bit of mids or an EQ to compensate.
I’ve enjoyed this site for some time. It’s very informative and even entertaining but I don’t understand a concept regarding Gilmour’s modern tones, though the earlier e ones are my favorites. So if David is using a BK Tube Driver that sounds like a Marshall JTM amp, why doesn’t he just use a Marshall amp? I understand using a clean Hiwatt with lots of headroom and then have pedals blending to sculpt the tone. But if a Marshall tone is part of that chain, wouldn’t it sound better to use a distorted Marshall amp to push a Soviet era muff? Lastly, if I use an overdrive Pedal with a Marshall flavor, would an Amps Guru 1959 Double Decker be a good choice? It seems very versatile and has a tube which seems to make everything sound amazing.
Thanks in advance
Well, I guess he doesn’t use Marshall because that’s not quite what he prefer, although he’s been known to use JTMs in the studio from time to time. The Tube Driver isn’t a Marshall in a box but it’s closer to a Plexi than a Fender. The Hiwatt is based on a Marshall but the amp’s got much more headroom, less compression and less mids. The Hiwatt is a Marshall although it’s not. You need to try one to understand the difference. Adding a Tube Driver on top of a Hiwatt will produce a very natural overdrive, as the Hiwatt has that headroom, while with a Marshall Plexi, which is the closest equivalent, the Tube Driver would have sounded much more compressed and distorted. Tone is hard to explain :)
I’m looking for a pedal to place at the end of my chain for clean always on like an eq boost type pedal that will control the overall volume of my chain to keep a unity volume when stacking od pedals. So if stacking pedals and volume jumps won’t occur. Maybe a pedal with not so much head room.
I tried all my clean boost/colorboost type pedals I have but still get the volume jumps when stacking od pedals.
They say try a volume pedal but will that keep unity volume without any jumps without me having to constantly adjust the volume pedal when switching or stacking gain pedals before it? And if so then what type of volume pedal would you recommend, passive or active for the end of my chain, master volume?
I’d rather have an always on clean eq pedal at the end of my od pedals for unity volume that I don’t have to adjust or touch.
Thank you so much for your knowledge and generously sharing it with the world.
I’ve also tried my dynacomp at the end of my od pedals but didn’t like the sound. I prefer the dynacomp before od pedals .
I like a top end bite felt the comp took that away.
Maybe a yellow comp might work better. But do you know of a clean eq/boost/limiter/reducer/gate type pedal to do the job of controlling volume jumps for od pedal stacking?
I use my muff at unity volume with my guitar clean tone.
I use my color driver as an eq. At the end of my chain at unity volume with guitar. But if I stack them I get a volume jump I don’t want.
If I set the muff stacked with my colordriver at unity volume with my guitar, then I turn off the colordriver the muff is too low.
I want to be able to toggle with them and other od pedals without getting the volume jumps out dips.
I found that my tc electronics break up pedal actually works somewhat on the 1 setting which acts like a clean boost with a slight top end bite which I like.
It has a cap on the incoming volume from the muff and colordriver stacked.
Does the job for now until I find a kind of limiter pedal or something.
This is for playing pigs when its all colorboost until the last solo then I stack on the muff into the colorboost and metal out the solo.
Believe it or not out of my 20 plus od pedals I own I like the two cheapest ones the most.
Aside my muffs and colorboosts,
Tc electronics break up and
Behringer vintage tube monster.
With those two pedal I can get anything from clean boost to light grit to heavy overdrive to full out distortion.
With the full 3 band eq on the tube monster.
I’m not quite sure I know what you mean. Adding a booster won’t level your volume just because its on. It would just create a platform for your pedals and you’d still have the volume issue. Keep in mind that loud volume is either loud volume, which can be adjusted by tweaking the level controls on the pedal, or the fact that you perceive louder volume because you engage or disengage pedals with less or more mid range and compression. If your amp and main pedal has little mid range and you kick in a pedal with more mid range, you’ll get a considerable volume jump. Sounds to me that you’re probably better off trying to level the pedals you have and use pedals that’s more compatible.
Your correct. I placed the muff running unto my color driver and the volume jump was the cd tone was high. When i neutralized the tone down, there is no jump. The high tone on the color driver was boosting the muff as well when kicked on.
Now what I do is run my muff into my color driver tone at unity then into a boss eq with the bass lowered and the highs up a bit to give me that high end bite my ears I so much enjoy. Boss eq is alway on when using my twin reverb amp. Now both pedals have the same bite when one or both on. No more tone jumps and still have the bite.
Thank you very much for your knowledge. Ps. Contacted the hiwatt company nordsound.fi in Finland and their sending the correct U.S. standard cord for my hiwatt t20 amp head. Thank you very much. Love ya bud, my fellow gilmour guru lol.
Glad to hear!
Hey Bjorn, great site. Question, so what overdrive/gain pedal should I get to go with the katana 50 amp for the classic tones?
Check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for different amp.
Hey, first of all hats off for everything you do this platform, there really is everything one needs so cheers for that. I was wondering if for my bedroom set up the Keeley dark side would work with the Roland microcube GX?
Thanks for the kind words! I think it will work nicely. The fuzz seems to fit most amps.
Hey Bjorn, great site!
So then in reference to this article, what gain/distortion/overdrive pedal would you use with a Boss katana 50?
The Katana has wide range of different tones or amp character so it can pretty much handle anything. Depends on what sort of gain pedal you want.
Hey Bjorn. Idk if you were asked this yet, but have you tried the TC Electronic Tube Pilot? Apparently it’s only 50 USD, and i was curious how close it is to the BK Butler TD. It even has a tube in it. Just picked up an awesome powerbooster clone, and already have a fulltone ocd which should cover tube driver tones nicely. Just curious on your opinion of the TC tube driver clone (if it is a clone that is). I also am aware just because it has a tube, doesnt necessarily make it better than its transistor counterparts, but not too many pedals are 50 bucks new with a tube in it, so it makes me curious. Thanks!
It’s not a clone it lack the tone controls. The tone is definitely in the same ballpark and it’s well worth checking out for the price but I think something like the EHX Crayon is much closer.
Oh yeah, I actually forgot about the Crayon. I remember in your “hot wax” review, you said the crayon side had great tube driver tones, with the hot tubes being a decent power booster substitute. I’ll have to plug my guitar into it at the Guitar Center next to the OCD, and see how they compare. I just love overdrive sounds for David’s tones, or otherwise. Thanks!
Hey Bjorn have you tried a overdrive pedal before a big muff? and if so what are you thoughts and where should I put it for Gilmour tones? or is it just a matter of taste? I find before the Muff gets better feedback after I find it makes a big muff Slightly Smoother
It’s a matter of taste I guess. Placing a boost/distortion first adds more gain. Placing a booster/distortion after, like David does, doesn’t add more gain but rather more volume (if set to boost) and more tone. David’s using his boosters more like EQs, adding character.
Okay I might try it, I might try the boss BD-2w set slightly above Unity setup, but where should I set the gain in the BD-2w?
Depends on what sort of tones you want, how the amp is set, what sort of pickups you use.
I kinda want something that I can use for the second solo to Shine On You Crazy Diamond but also to tame a big muff
Again, settings always depends on many factors. It’s no use in me telling you how to set the gain as it will surely sound very different on your rig. Experiment and see what sounds best to your ears.
I have a Vox AC30vr on the normal channel with treble 11:00 Bass 4:00, The main reason I have it that high it’s because it’s a bit tinny
I have Stock Squier neck and middle pickups and a dimarzio FS1 in the bridge
Hi Bjorn, I love your videos and website! I’ve read a lot of your articles, they’ve been very helpful.
I have a strat, playing into a Fender Super Champ X2 (modular amp powered by tubes). I use the Fender Twin voice setting. I currently use an EHX Soul Food. What overdrive would you pair it with?
Thanks for taking the time to read and respond!
Hi Jay! Thanks for your kind words! Please check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for different types of amps.
Many thanks for the amazing information!
I have a MIM 60s strat and a roland micro cube. Just a bedroom set up – not expecting mega tones just want to get the best I can out of the set up I have.
I am after a versatile overdrive or distortion pedal that will fit this amp the best. I can’t workout which one would be the best even after reading the great “know your amp” article. I have a Boss Ce-2 waza that is also part of the set up if this sways things too.
Any advice you can give would be much appreciated,
I’d go for a Boss BD2 or perhaps a Fulltone OCD. Both of these can do clean boost, overdrive and distortion pretty well.
I know you did a video on the Keeley Phat Mod a while ago. Is the pedal quite noisy with the gain turned up for you (3 o’clock)? I noticed mine is very noisy in comparison to the Buffalo Power Booster … It does sound good, way more compressed than the PB, but quite noisy, even with an isolated 9V power supply. Even more noisy than a Muff. All running into a Hiwatt T20 btw :P
Would a Fulltone OCD work with the Hiwatt? I fear the mids might get too much …
Thanks for your answers,
I honestly can’t say. I need to check, if I can find it… My modded BD2 is very quiet and the mod is similar to the Keeley.
OK no worries :P
What about the OCD with the Hiwatt?
A tad too much mids for my taste but you’re right in that Marshall territory :)
Yeah I bought it and I think it gets you closer to the warm, mid rangy PULSE tone. Very dark and not fizzy at all. Thinking of using it as the main heavy OD pedal, replacing the Phat Mod on my board with it … hm, decisions, decisions :D
After a few days testing I think it will replace the Phat Mod :)
It sounds best with the gain at 11:00 – 1:00 (anything higher is too much compression/gain) and tone at like 3:00 o’clock, volume set for unity.
I’ve now seen videos by Fender for their new Tone Master amps claiming to be digital versions of their tube models.
Thinking of trying/buying on of these since they have build in powerscaling for home usage etc.
The OCD would work nicely with a Fender amp, wouldn’t it?
Yes, it will.
Hey Bjorn, what are your thoughts on the mojo mojo overdrive
It’s years since I tried one but as with any overdrive it depends on the amp. The MM is very close to a Tube Screamer, although a bit more open sounding.
Okay it’s just to me it sounds closer to both the colorsound power boost and the bk Butler tube driver ,it can replacate IMHO From DSOTM to The Division Bell,
Through my hiwatt maxwatt, again my own opinion
I come back and read this article all the time. So much valid information here. I’ve even posted it in online forums when people are seeking dirt pedal recommendations.
My question: I am playing a Fender ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb with an Eric Johnson Thinline Strat. Are there *any* Muff pedals that might work with this amp?
Thanks for the kind words!
The new EHX Green Russian is probably the easiest to set up among the standard Muffs. Very warm and it (almsot) fits any amp. One of my favourites is the 1861 from Vick Audio. It’s based on the early 90s Sovteks, which the Green Russian is too, and it has a mid range boost making it ideal for the more scooped amps.
Such a great site! I don’t buy anything without check your pedal experience round here. Thanks a lot!
By the way, have you ever tried the Blackstar HT Dual Drive? Sounds quite right for Gilmour tones?
Thanks for the kind words!
The Blackstar is somewhat similar to the Tube Driver, with a fairly transaprent tube amp character. Well worth checking out.
I am considering a new Fender Blues Jr. amp that has the Eminence Rex speaker for a practice and jam amp as a clean platform for Gilmour tones. What are your thoughts on the following two overdrive pedals?
Friedman BE-OD pedal- sounds amazing but not sure about Gilmour sounds
Bogner Ecstasy Red or Blue pedal
IF these work they also give me the tones of the two high end very expensive boutique amps (Friedman BE-100 and Bogner Ecstasy) on a budget as well.
I haven’t tried those pedals so I can’t really tell. Based on the vids I’ve seen, they should be able to get you close to the Tube Drive tones. My experience with the Blues Jr is that it doesn’t handle high gain pedals that well, so I’d recommend medium gain overdrives and maybe stack them for more sustain and grit. Other options would be Boss BD-2 and EHX Crayon.
Thanks a lot for that overdrive and distortion guide. Helped me a a lot in focusing my search.
I’ve got interested about the svisound pedals, especially in the SpectroZoid. Your sound in On An Island sunday jam is insane!
I noticed you said that it works well with fender type amps like most of the Zoid pedals, but will it do the job in a bedroom setup aswell? I figure that it will due to the high mids, but wanted to hear your opinion as well.
Yep, works great. Most of the SviSound pedals has a very pronounced mid range and a bit of compression but they often lack low end to allow the mids to really cut through. They work great on most amps but on a bedroom setup and lower volume you might want to compensate with a bit of bass boost.
Hi…. fab review of these effects. I’m quite new to live playing ai it really helps me. Much appreciated Dave#
I’m getting a Caline Pure Sky, a nice Vemuram Jan Ray/Paul Cochrane Timmy clone at 1/10 of the cost of the original. It should arrive in the next few weeks.
In general, what do you think about Zendrive/Dumble-style pedals used for floydian tones? Do you think they can act as an effective fat boost for clean tones with an hint of tube-amp-flavour (Cluster One, ABITW pt.II)? They could replace a Butler TubeDriver for lead parts (Poles Apart, Maroneed, and so on…)?
Thanks in advance for your help
Always depends on the amp but in genereal, these types of pedals has a nice mid range and a bit of compression that would go nicely with David’s overdrive tones.
So, here’s a pedal that I haven’t seen mentioned here – the Magnetic Effects Zola boost.
The thing that caught my attention was the internal voltage booster that converted 9V to 30V. Perhaps that could be used in lieu of the Power Boost?
Hey Bjorn, hope you’re well and, as always, a massive fan of your content, always keeping us busy!
So, I have been keeping my eye on a Bananaboost lately – some really great sounds one can get from such boosters. However, my main amp, at the moment, is a Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue, and from what I’ve read in many of your articles Fender amps don’t lend themselves very nicely to mid scooped pedals, lacking mids themselves.. Do you think a Bananaboost type pedal would perhaps be a bad purchase for that amp?
Also, since I’m asking about overdrives and stuff, what would be a few of your top picks for overdrives and also distortions (with a little bit more gain on tap) for this amp. I’ve understood that Tubescreamer and maybe Klon type circuits are better bets due to their mids (of which I already have a few pedals) but wondering what you think and how much I could potentially experiment with different pedals, as I think I might be a bit limited here. Any pedal suggestions and input will be greatly appreciated!
Thanks a lot in advance,
Hi Paris, check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for different types of amps.
Hi, I would like to build my first own pedalboard (single pedal, no multieffect), but i never used a pedal; i absolutely love the Gilmour sound !! which are the must-to-have pedals to start ?? I know this question is so generic, but i’m really confused about which choose to begin, both type and brand. I have a Strat USA and a Fender Blues Junior IV. Thank you very much !! have a nice day.
I recommend that you check out these features first, before I go into any details
Which pedals to choose for different types of amps
Setting up the pedalboard
Hello Bjorn, I´m renewing my pedalboard and I want to cover the wide field of overdrives/distortions. Now, I´m playing with a Fender Stratocaster Made in Mexico, Vox AC4 C1 12″ and I have a Mooer Black Secret (Rat clone), JHS Sweet tea (TS808 and Angry Charlie clone) and a JHS mod Green Russian Muff. After reading the comments of the post, I´m planning to get a BD-2 (close to theTube driver), OCD (similar to the tubescreamer but with much more mid range and very versatile) and a Klon centaur clone (something like a clean booster). It´s fine or you see anything redundant?
Another question is that I´m not sure which clone fits better in each case:
– BD-2: Here I don’t have any doubt and I think that I´ll go for the Mooer Blues mood instead of the standard BD-2 because it´s based on the Keeley Mod (two modes). (I did the same with the Black secret/ Rat choice and I´m very happy).
– OCD: it is very expensive and I read that EHX Glove and Mooer Hustle drive are very close. In your opinion, which one is the closest to the original? Any other clone to take into account?
– Klon Centaur: The only budget pedal that I saw is the EHX Soul Food. Is it close? Any alternative? Recently, I’ve heard about the Caline Pegasus and the Mosky Golden Horse but no idea about sound and/or quality.
Thank you again for your post. It helps a lot!!!
First of all, check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for differnet types of amps.
The OCD does not have more mids than the TS. It has less. More gain and low end, less compression and gain.
The Glove is great. A bit more open sounding and sparkle compared to the Fulltone.
The Soul Food is as close as you’ll get.
Hi Bjorn. I take advantage of this column to ask you some things. I have been following you for many years but I do not deny you that for some time now I have been struggling to understand some things you say or some of your descriptions.
We have as a point of reference the Tube driver that Gilmour has used for many years. You give suggestions suggesting some pedals that, as you say, come close to that of timbre and can be used for songs from Momentary laps of reason up to the present day regarding Gilmour’s sounds. The problem is that I see pedals completely different from them. An example? Bd-2 and SD-1 are the opposite. The Bd2 is clearly mids scooped while the SD-1 is the opposite. Same thing for the ocd, still different from the two and still others. The Crayon is something in between. So I ask you: is the tube driver mids scooped? or otherwise? Then I wanted to ask you, if you agree that if you look for a sound similar to the Pulse era, you need EMGs, which are completely different from passive pickups and that therefore also overdrive will sound differently if you use a Stratocaster like “Black strat “?
The Tube Driver is somewhat similar to the Fender Bassman and the early Marshall JTM/Plexi amps. Not quite but close. It’s a fullrange overdrive, meaning that it’s not scooped but not mids boosted either. You can roll the bass and treble controls back and get a lot more mids or boost them and get a very scooped tone.
The BD2 is not scooped. Like the Tube Driver it’s a full range overdrive. It has some compression and enough mids to cut through. Much like those old amps.
The OCD has more gain, compression and mids but not nearly as much as a Tube Screamer. It can do the Tube Driver pretty well. Especially on the more mids scooped amps.
The Tube Screamer has a lot of mids and compression. People often complain about the lack of lows but to get all that mids you need to shave off the lows. The SD1 is very similar with a tad more gain and sparkle.
The Crayon is clearly based on the Tube Driver but it has a bit more mids and compression. Perhaps somewhere between the Tube Driver and OCD.
I have a fender blues jr tweed. To nail pulse tones, with green russian and boss CE 2w, I’m not very happy using the boss db-2w for “replacing” the tube driver. What you sugest as a better option, buffalo td-x? Carrera? Plexi driver?
I had some great tones with the BD2 and Blues Jr when I owned a Jr but I guess it’s a matter of taste and, how you set it up. The BD2 should work I think. The Plexi Drive has a bit more compression and mid range so you might want to try that one.
Do you have an idea of any more tones a RAT can cover? I build clones and I have built a P19 Muff and RAT clone. Do you have any ideas of what other albums those two can cover?
The Rat is probably one of the most versatile distortions out there. It can cover pretty much anything from clean crunch to classic distortion and fuzz.
Any views on valve overdrive pedals, like the Beringer, Blackstar or Vox tone garages?
Adding a valve, or tube, to a gain pedal will often make it sound more dynamic and it responds better to your playing and how you set up the amp. As you now, David’s been using the Tube Driver since the early 90s. A tube alone however, won’t make a pedal great. It depends very much on the whole circuit and there are lots of transistor pedals out there that can mimic the tube sound very well, like the Wampler Plexi Drive, Boss BD2 etc.
Hello Björn! Hope all is well. I know how much you like the OCD, did you see he’s releasing a new germanium version? Supposed to be more tube like with more sustain and harmonics. Sounds like a recipe for some great Gilmourish tones. Figured I’d give you a heads up if you hadn’t heard.
Thanks for the tip, Nick!
Have you had a chance to look at the TruFi colordriver? Looks/sounds promising and not bad price wise either. I’m considering one.
Haven’t had the chance yet. Have them send me one and I’ll check it out!
I put a bug in their ear today. Already got a response back. They seem interested. Here’s to hoping!
Hey Bjorn, they want to get ahold of you but they cant find an email and neither can I.
They know about your site and your artist page. But was looking for an email to contact you. Im sure they’ll want to figure out where to send the pedals.
Just a quick question Bjorn; Do you know the difference between the soul bender, and power booster? From what I have read elsewhere, Page used both, Clapton used soul bender, and Gilmour the power booster of course. I cant find any comparisons between the two in YouTube. Just curious, Thanks!
The Power Boost has much more headroom and the two EQ controls. Turned up it can drive a tube amp and produce quite a lot of fuzz but it’s really a clean booster. The Tone Bender is a fuzz, with much more gain and saturation.
The Dawned Prince Red Rox just doesn’t seem to get much love, or attention. I’ve used a plethora of the overdrives and Distortions pedal including many of Bjorn’s picks(which are truly great pedals especially the Buffalo TDX). The Red Rox is brilliant and the compression is so valve like. It cleans up and covers so much ground. Can’t say enough about it really. Thank you BJORN for years of inspiration, and technical guidance. Just when I think I got it figured out…I come here and learn something. Bless???!
Recently I got my hands on a Pig Hoof, which is killer, but I encountered the problem of getting lost in the band mix…
Changing from my TDX to the Pig Hoof boosted by an EP Booster, my guitar disappeared! ?
All this through a Hi-Tone amp, quite loud…
I guess, maybe a second TDX as a cleanish booster for Muffs and Fuzzes would be better, to stay in the same ballpark between overdrive and boosted fuzz?
All Big Muffs, and especially the older ones, like the triangle and ram’s head, have very little compression and mid range. It’s not the Pig Hoof but those early Muffs in general. Unfortunately the issue is that you often get lost in the mix. If you look at David’s setup, he’s using Hiwatts and they’re set with the mids and presence pretty high to compensate for using pedals with less mid range. He’s also using EQs set with a slight mid range boost.
The Pig Hoof sounds great with the TDX set clean after it but if you have big problems not cutting through you might want to use an EQ and boost the 400-1000 range.
More drastic equalisation, then, I see…
Quite impressive, though!
When I used a Vick Audio Overdriver and an Analogman BC109, there was no such great difference between them, in the context of getting heard, I mean.
But, man, they should be played LOUD! ?
Thanks again for your input, Bjorn!
Im trying to figure out what Buffalo FX pedal will give you the same Distortiona/Electric sound David gets on his Final Cut and Fletcher Memorial solo’s. I know there are other effects but what pedal do you think nails it? Thank you Sir.
Between the Buffalos? The Patriot.
Hey Bjorn Have you tried the TC Electronic Tube Pilot or mojo mojo overdrive. If so What’s your experience and will it be a good alternative
I use a hiwatt maxwatt g40 12r and a squire Strat
With stock neck and middle pickups and a dimarzio FS1
I haven’t tried it but from the vids I’ve seen it seems to be loosely based on the Tube Driver, although a bit limited with less controls. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the Tube Driver, then check out the Buffalo FX TDX, Boss BD2, EHX Crayon… to name a few.
Hi Bjorn, I’ve been following this site for years and I have to congratulate you.
I go straight to the point: I changed my amp recently and got a Fender Bassman (Jensen Speakers) and I play with my Stratocaster (CS69 PU).
What pedal do you recommend for recreating the typical Colorsound PowerBoost sound in WYWH with my new amp? Do you think it’s possible?
Thank you very much for the attention.
Thanks for the kind words, Raffaele!
I’d go for the Boss BD2. Can’t go wrong. You might need to roll back the tone quite a bit to compensate for the rather bright amp but it should give you a tone very similar to the CPB. You might also want to check out the EHX Crayon or the Hot Wax, which are sonically a mix between the Tube Driver and BD2. See my review of the Hot Wax here.
I’m a big fan of david gilmour, and has for a few years tried to get his tunes right.
but really difficult.
my set up i use is. Hiwatt g100r transistor amp, boss compressor/sustain, big muff, rat, mojo-mojo, digital delay. just ordered mxr dynacomp vintage wich i will swap out with the boss compressor
i sometimes use my peavy classic 50w amp, that makes the sound a bit warmer.
i’m concidering to buy the buffalo powerbooster.
i’m trying to get the tone from shine on you crazy diamond aswell the tone from animals.
can you give me some adwise?
Hi Kent! That would require a pretty long reply so please read through these features for some help and tips
How to choose the right pedals for your amp
Amp setup tips
How to set up your bedroom tones
Hi Bjorn! First of all, compliments for the blog and the Youtube Channel, they’re really helpful.
I have a question, currently I’m looking for an OD pedal, now i have a TS9 clone, but I don’t like it, when it’s keep on low gain (1 or 2) it’s good for a clean boost, the problem is when i want more gain, it become really muddy and dark.
Now after reading this page I’m really uncertain, beacouse I want an OD to pair with the Green Russian reissue, that can also switch from clean boost to a good crunch.
I’m oriented on these pedal: Boss BD2, EHX Crayon, MXR Fet Driver or the SviSound Spectrozoid.
My setup is this: Strat with SSL5, Abigayl Ybarra, and Fat 50 (Bridge, Middle, Neck) >MXR DynaComp>Muff>Phase 90>E-Lady>CE2 clone>TC Repeater>Bugera V5.
The Bugera V5 has a really good clean but it’s a bit dark.
which would you recommend?
TS9s often sound dark and muddy if they’re not used correctly. Don’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong but they’re basically designed to provide a Marshall-like tone to Fender amps when cranked and, to push Marshall amps into more gain when set clean. To put it very simple. The Boss BD2 is hard to beat as it can do pretty much anything, from clean boost to near fuzz without sounding too dark or overly compressed.
Hi Bjorn. Greetings! What do you think about the new Fulltone OCD V2? Do you tryed it?
I have an OD Glove and it works well with Lionheart 20H
do you think there will be any advantage in replacing the Glove with an OCD for those amps?
The Glove is great! Very similar to the OCD. A tad brighter and less bottom end but I think that compliments the Lionheart nicely.
After watching a few videos by Brett Kingaman and Justnick, my chronic GAS condition flared up and I bought MI Audio Super Crunch Box V2 and MI Audio Super Blues Pro over drive
I have been playing them with three amps (Bugera V22, Peavey Classic 20MH, Laney Lionheart 20 Head) and have been amazed by versatility and range of sounds in them.
The amps are very different in sound and characteristics. Both pedals can be set to sound awesome with each one of the, They are relatively quiet, especially on Bugera. The pedal chain together quite well as well.
Just wanted to pass a note and see if you have had any experience with them.
Thanks for the info! Tried them years ago and remember I liked them very much.
After researchs on tube pedals i have found the HIWATT tube overdrive , i don’t find a lot of review of this unit and I was wondering if you know it
Haven’t tried it.
@NJ if I can give you a tip, if you’re looking for Tube Driver tones, the Tube Overdrive isn’t good.
It’s a screamer pedal, so it has low gain. You could find the Tube Distrortion more suitable…
I’m just recording the demo btw
just got my hands on a Buffalo FX Powerbooster. I only tested it like 15 minutes so far, but what I’ve heard was already mindblowing.
I now know why this thing is called “Booster”: I can crank the gain knob to like 2 o’clock and the sodding thing will still not break up haha (using it with my Hiwatt T20 and Black Strat of course)
Quite noticeable is the “jump” in gain from 4-5 o’clock though, like the old Colorsound Booster I assume, having never played it, only read about it. It sounds so damn smooth though … like there is no fizzy sounds when chords or notes ring out, even on higher gain settings.
I compared it to the Keeley Phat Mod and that pedal is way louder and has more gain overall in my opinion, also does not sound as smooth :P
Is it supposed to break up so late or is it just the 18V headroom and the Hiwatt that cause the late breakup?
Do you think it has a sweetspot (with all knobs maybe)?
Thinking of using it as either a boost or light/medium OD with the gain at like 3 o’clock and leave the heavy OD to the Phat Mod.
The Buffalo is designed to provide more headroom so there will be a later breakup compared to a 9V. How fast it breaks up also depends on how you set the the level and how much that drives the amp, how you’ve set the amp and how much headroom it has, your pickups etc.
Yes I understand. I guess I expected it to break up sooner haha
After messing around more with the Powerbooster I finally matched the clean sound amp volume with the overdriven and distorted sounds of the pedals, for which I had to turn down the volume on all gain pedals quite a bit. They are mostly at like 9-12 o’clock now. Before that I used a fairly quite clean sound, which I then boosted with the Boss-BD2 to match the volume of the gain pedals.
Remembering the Hiwatt/Powerbooster episode on TPS I think due to the high headroom of amp and pedals, the volume gets boosted so immensly to drive the amp into OD even at lower settings.
You mentioned the interaction between volume and gain/sustain on a gain pedal in an article.
Do you think with the volume being fairly low on most pedals now, this affects that interaction a lot?
Gain pedals are the Powerbooster, Keeley Phat Mod, Green Russian Muff and VA Ram’s Head by the way ;)
Depends on the type of gain. A lot of pedals these days seem to be based on a TS9, Klon or Rat, which are all meant to produce a tone similar to what you’d get from a cranked tube amp. A booster, like the Power Boost, is or was, designed to boost or drive the front end of a tube amp so it had to have a lot of volume. Two different worlds. Yes, the volume and gain on the Power Boost interact in the way that your amp will break up sooner the higher you set the volume on the pedal. The more amp break up you get, the more it will interact with the pedal’s gain structure.
Hey Bjorn – Have you tested out the Black Arts Toneworks Black Forest? It’s supposed to be based on the Colorsound Overdriver circuit.
Haven’t tried it.
Hi Mark, I own the Black Arts Toneworks Black Forest as well as the BuffaloFX 18-Volt Power Booster and can provide some feedback. The Black Forest is amazingly transparent and sounds phenomenal in small bedroom setups. Clarity is absolutely awesome playing a Strat or Tele into an old 1964 Gibson Skylark amp or newer Fender Deluxe Reverb. The Black Forest is sadly not that well known in gear world. I came across it after purchasing the incredible Pharaoh Supreme 6-way Fuzz pedal, which is a fantastic fuzz pedal that can literally be dialed in to almost any setup. The options on the Pharaoh Supreme are endless and nearly every setting sounds wonderful.
But back to the Black Forest. There is just “something” I really love about this little Power Boost clone. And the price is absolutely fantastic. To be honest, I actually use the Black Forest pedal more frequently than I do the BuffaloFX 18-volt Power Booster. It plays very well with other pedals and “beautifies/glorifies” any guitar signal you throw at it.
I do not believe there is much information out there on the web about the BAT Black Forest. It does not even come with an Owners Manual, so figuring out the 6-way depth switch can be a bit of a challenge in the beginning. But after spending a few hours with the pedal I can almost guarantee you will be able to dial in a beautiful Gilmour-esque transparent tone that is to die for. And the BAT Black Forest is NOT an expensive pedal at all. So I cannot imagine you making a mistake buying this baby. I say “get it.” If you decide it is not your cup of tea you can recoup the majority of your minimal investment on Reverb.
NOTE: Do yourself a favor and check out th Black Arts Toneworks Coven pedal before jumping on the Black Forest. The reason? The Coven includes BOTH the Black Forest pedal as well as the Pharaoh Fuzz in a single enclosure. I opted for the Black Forest because I already have a ton of stand-alone fuzz pedals.
I hope this information helps. There are no listings for used Black Forest OD pedals on Reverb at the moment, which tells you something about this pedal right there, IMHO. If you have any further questions about the Black Forest feel free to reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer your questions. The Black Forest is, simply put, a get sounding transparent OD that does justice to the legacy of the original 18-Volt Power Booster.
Thanks, James! I have the BAT Sarcophagus on my board, which I love. Looks like I might have to make some room for the Black Forest.
I’d also reccomend as OD the Maxon St9-Pro Plus, which is in fact a TS9 with expanded capabilities (it has a “Mid enhance” control to let you dial in this crucial frequency range and can be run at an internal voltage of 9v or 18v with an internal switch)
Sorry if this has been mentioned but has anything come up re: Dave’s use of the Schaefer wireless units and what it may have added to his tone on The Wall Tour.
Solodallas.com is reproducing clones of the wireless units without the wireless capability for use as a preamp only. There’s a good backstory about how someone traced Angus Young’s tone back to his use of the wireless and now they clone it just for the preamp. Similar I guess to the Echoplex preamp pedals also available. Interesting that the preamp in both the Schaefer and Echoplex added enough to the tone that they are now sold separate of the actual effect they were Intended for.
I’d assume Dave was using the wireless, if not for the whole show, at least when he was on the wall for CN. Thought of the hat when I saw the pic of his amps that includes the two Schaefer units sitting on the Mesa Boogie head.
Yes, he did use the Schaefer but how it was used, I don’t know. I know Angus relied on it but again, how important it was for David’s tones I really don’t know. Angus was very much plug and play, with his Marshalls etc and the Schaefer would have coloured the tone quite a bit but David used pre-amps and lots of effects, so…
Hello Bjorn, excellent reviews of overdrive and distortion pedals.Have you had a chance to try Macari’s Aussie Power Boost version of the Colorsound Power Boost,(18v, master volume,LED and power jack)?
I haven’t tried it but it seems to be a 18V, which has more headroom, with slight mods on it. Proabaly smoother breakup, more headroom and easier to place on a large pedal board with buffers I would imagine.
Did someone use the pal 959 plexi emulator from PedalPal fx or their jcm? Seems to be great pedals.
Hi Bjorn! I just wanted to say, that the tru-fi pedals would be worth adding to your lists. The Tru-fi Colordriver is an INSANE Clone of the Colorsound Powerbooster. And the tru-fi Floyd Fuzzes seem to be spot on to the original Big Muffs that DG has used over the years. I know it’s impossible to review everything, and that not every company is willing to send you their products for free. So I really hope I’m not frustrating your nerves here :-) I was just sooo happy to learn about these pedals, that I just wanted to share that with everyone here :-) God bless – keep up the good work :-)
Thanks for the tip, Lukas! I’ve seen the TPS guys have been using a couple of the pedals. I’ll check it out.
Cool! Would love to see them here ;-) yeah – TPS is how I know them X-D
Hi Bjorn, I am trying to get a time similar to the ones heard on Wish You Were Here. I’m using a fender road worn strat and a 1976 fender twin reverb. Some guidance on an overdrive that would help me achieve this tone would be appreciated.
David used the Colorsound Power Boost on that album, although there might be some amp overdrive there as well. He used his Hiwatts and Fender Showmans so a Twin should go nicely although it much less compressed and brighter sounding. Similar pedals would be the Boss BD2 or a clone of the Power Boost. Do check out the EHX Hot Wax as well.
I recently got a Fender Champion 40 Amp and I’m playing thru a Jazzmaster with Seymour Duncan Antiquity 1 pickups.
I noticed that my Big Muff is rubbish now with this amp (I liked to play Dinosaur Jr. and used to play Marshall).
I also use a SansAmp Original (Classic) wich works well on the Fender for Nirvana like stuff.
1. How would you review the SansAmp Classic? What amp would suit it most in your eyes?
2. Is there an amp I can use that sounds good with my SansAmp AND my BigMuff? I really like them both!
Thanks so much
Check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for different amps.
hi bjorn: do you think that Xotic SL and Buffalo TDX are somewhat similar in tone and so the TDX could override the SL? thanks as always for your kind suggests!
No. The SL is super compressed and it has a lot of mid range. Very close to how a Marhsall Plexi would sound. The TDX is an overdrive, with less mid range and compression.
Hi Bjorn, sorry to bother, but I wanted to ask, is the Bananaboost THAT better than the Vick Audio Overdriver? I ask cause it seems more difficult to get the Bananaboost shipped to my country than the Vick (also a cheaper shipment with the Vick) but I really desire that colorsound powerboost tone
Thanks in advance!
Hmmm… I wouldn’t say that it’s THAT much better but they’re different. The Banana is slightly darker, with a smoother breakup and less compression. The Vick has more gain perhaps but also more compression. I like the Banana but only because it seem to fit my guitars and amps better. You should also check out the Buffalo FX Power Booster, which has that vintage flavour but it’s tweaked slightly to fit the more demanding amps.
What would be an ideal overdrive for a 80’s Fender Super Champ, on its gain channel, to produce a sweet lead tone?
See this feature for some tips on knowing what pedals to choose for different amps.
Hi Bjorn, I just got a Princeton Reverb 65 reissue. So in your opinion, would a Boss SD-1 or BD-2 be a better match for it? I also have a Wampler Plexi Drive I would stack with either one for a lead boost. I only play at home at fairly low amp volumes. Cheers!
I think all three would do nicely. The Princeton is a nice pedal platform. Obviously the SD1 and BD2 are two very different sounding pedals so it depends on what tones you want.
Hi Bjorn. What do you think about keep two overdrive pedals in board? So, I can leave one for bases and another for solos or one for bases and another as booster for my Big Muff. I have a Crayon and I’m thinking of buying a BD-2.
Another question: between TC Eletronic Viscous Vibe and MXR Univibe , which one do you think is better?
Well, I have 5 overdrive/distortion pedals on the board so it all depends on what tones you need :) I think both UniVibes sound good but the MXR is perhaps the better IMO.
Hi Bjorn. What do you think about Mooer Blues Mood, a BD-2 clone? It’s worth?
Sad, my long comment never appeared here :( Will try to repeat shortly main message: first of all many thanks for such useful page! Here are so many questions in comments about is this or that pedal sounds good with Laney Cub, that I think Bjorn could make separate article about his experience with different pedals with Laney Cub instead of answering to all those questions separately :) I would be very happy too with such article, since I am active Laney Cub used both at home and with a band (I have combo and head and use them with celestion vintage 30 or greenback speakers), I it would be really interesting to know how different distortion/overdrive pedals sound with Cub.
See my reply. Comments doesn’t appear until they’re approved.
Hi Bjorn! First of all – HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I just discovered this webpage and it is really great, very useful information for both bedroom and band players! Thank you!
As I understand one of your main bedroom amps is Laney Cub? I have Laney Cub 12R with Celestion Vintage 30 at home, and I like it so much that I bought Laney Cub Head for my band and play it with 2×12 Vintage 30 Cab. I use two local “boutique” pedals for overdrive and distortion, but I am too lazy to carry my pedal board back and forth between home and rehearsal room, especially considering I am using four cable methods. So I am planning to put small pedal-board at home form Mooer pedals (just because they have amazing and very cheap so called “Flight case”. But the problem – what pedal to choose? I am reading comments on this webpage and here are tons of questions and answers about is this or that pedal is good for Laney Cub, you answered it many times already. I don’t want to be one more :) Probably it is time to write an article about your experience with Laney Cub with different pedals? So you could just give a link to your article when such question appear.
Considering that I decided to go with Mooer series and the fact that they copy famous pedals, then I should choose two pedals (overdrive and distortion) among OCD, RAT, Blues Driver, Bluesbreaker, Tubescreamer, Boss DS-1 and several more which I am not familiar with. Reading your articles and comments I feel that RAD and Blues Driver would be a good choice, but really, you have very valuable experience, I would be happy to read about the whole spectra of your impressions on all pedals you tried with at least Laney Cub. Thank you!
If case if you or anybody else are interested how my Laney Cub sounds with Celestion speaker, I have several studio quality examples of my channel:
For example, here is a solo part of Another Brick In the Wall:
It was not an attempt to re-create original sound, it was my own tone preference, I like it that way.
Hi Sergei, thanks for the kind words! The Cub is a versatile amp and a good pedal platform so I think it’s more a question of what tones you want. I don’t have experience with all the Mooer pedals but the Hustle, Black Secret and Blues Mood are great for replicating David’s tones. Very good versions of the originals too.
Happy New year Bjorn!
I have a question for you. I want to replace my ts9 (too thin) and my BK TD (too boomy). I know that is subjective but which pedal (considering all the gear you having try) can be the best replacement with a Fender BluesJr? I play with a 57reissue strap and Montluçon at bedroom level..
Boss BD-2. I think that would be the closest to what you have.
First of all happy new year ! I have been looking a lot at the Bananaboost as I would like to hit those vintage early era tones. However I am mostly a bedroom player, where i play through a Lionheart L5 studio with matching 112 cab. My guitar is a Fender strat with Fat 50’s/CS69/SSL-5 pickups. My question is, do you think the Bananaboost is going to be problematic in this type of setup considering your bedroom score for this pedal, and if so, what would you recommend as an alternative if i want to stay true to those vintage tones (CPB mini driver?) ? Thank you !
Happy new year Philip! Sorry for the late reply. The Banana works nicely with the Lionheart especially on the dirt channel with the mids around 3 o’clock or even higher. Alternatively, you could go for the Boss BD2, CPB Mini Driver or similar.
Hello Bjorn. Thank you for the insight :) I ended up buying the Boss BD2, as i could get it quite cheap. Do you also recommend the use the dirt channel on the Lionheart for the BD2 ? Thank you !
This is my current settings
gain channel bright on, gain 8-9:00, volume between noon and 2:00, bass and mids 3:00, treble 9:00 and tone 11:00 (o’clock).
hi Bjorn and happy new year: have you tried the BOSS ANGRY DRIVER (fusion of BOSS BD2 and JHS Angry Charlie)? if yes, how do you compare it to the Buffalo TDX? thanks! Massimo
Haven’t tried it but I’ve tried both pedals. The Angry Charlie is more of a JCM Marshall kind of pedal, with quite a lot of gain. The BD2 is somewhat similar to the Tube Driver.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, everyone!
Any thoughts on amp in a box pedals?
Not the real deal, but you can compensate the lack of a working Marshall or Hiwatt with those, as a base of your tones on non fuzz-friendly or smaller amps, I guess.
Also, we are in the making of our first album, we would love to hear your opinion!
Don’t have much experience with amp modelling pedals other than your typical Marshall JTM/JCM style overdrives. You could use amp style pedals to sort of add character to your amp, regardless of what amp it is, but it won’t turn your amp into something else. A Fender Twin with a Marshall pedal will still sound like a Fender Twin with a Marshall flavoured overdrive but with that, you will add a bit more mids and compression to your amp.
No doubt it won’t change the amp into a different thing.
I tried Catalinbread ‘s RAH, which in fact helps handpe my silicon fuzz and Overdriver a bit, actually…Highly recommended!
I wish all the best, for you and your family, my friend, Happy New Year!
Have you tried Keeley Super Phat Mod? I don’t know wich one i should choose: Keeley Super Phat Mod or Boss BD-2 Keeley mod.
Tkanks in advance for quick reply.
I did a review of the Phat Mod some time back.
Thank you, just bought Boss BD-2 Keeley. To my ears these are very similar pedals. There is a bypass difference only. It’s a great pedal. In my opinion it’s also good working with EO Pig Hoof.
“Some Big Muffs, like the Sovtek models and clones, are often best alone. As can distortion pedals like the Rat and similar, like the Buffalo Evolution, TopTone G2 etc.”
I get some nice sounds with an Effectrode FireBottle after the Buffalo FX Evolution (into Laney L5H). The other way around – FireBottle into Evolution – sounds horrible.
Hi, Under your “Distortion” section you mention a “category 2 distortion”. Can you explain what it is with some examples please? I have a BJr with Cannabis Rex and am looking for more mids for my setup. I am looking at a buying a RAT which should also help. Thanks
Sorry for my late reply Pierre. I think it says in the feature. By category 2 I mean distortions with more compression and mid range like a RAT, OCD etc. Category 1 would be the more mids scooped and less compressed pedals like a Boss DS-1 etc.
Hi again Bjorn,
So I just got the Keeley Electronics Super Phat Mod and it’s a killer pedal. I love its low end through my strat and I’ve gotten a lot a driven tube amp Jimi tones out of it. My first question is: Do you think that the phat mod replaces my Wampler Tumnus deluxe in terms of its function as a pedal? The fact that they’re both gold I think is also throwing me off lol. A follow up question would be: If they can live peacefully together on the board, would you stack the tumnus before or after the phat mod? Thanks for your time!
It’s two different types of overdrive to my ears. The BD2 is a full range overdrive, with lots of headroom and a lot of gain if you crank it. The Tumnus is based on the old Klon, which might sound similar if set clean but it has a lot more compression and mid range if you crank it.
OK- Thanks for clarifying.
Any opinion on Origin Effects Revival?
Also if they tell you you just have one option to chose in you’re own in the chain of tone (guitar, effects and Amp) and we will give you the rest which one you chose? (Which on eis the most important in this chain?)
Not sure I understand the question.
I mean which one plays the biggest role in creating a tone?
I don’t know how to answer that… I would say that your mind, technique and experience is the most important. Know your gear and have an idea of what sort of tones you want. Doesn’t really matter what gear you use if you don’t know how to use it or if it doesn’t fit your needs. I would put my money into a guitar and amp with the guitar probably being the nost important as it’s an extension of you and your expression. Worry about pedals later.
Awesome thanks, that exactly answers my question, you’re the best!
Haven’t tried it.
Do you know if there are any good tc electronics overdrive pedals such as the El Mocambo, or the Nova Drive?
Overdrives aren’t really TC’s strongest side or focus. They tend to be based on the Tube Screamer in different forms. I think there are much better alternatives out there but it’s all about taste.
TC Electronics isn’t really in the game when it comes to dirt but they make a boost pedal called the Spark that is excellent and covers a lot of sonic ground. It can be used as a clean boost plus it has bass and treble controls so it can function as an EQd boost or a compensatory EQ with the volume normalized. It is also a switchable Mids Boost to cut thru like a TS. Additionally, it makes a nice Edge Boost or even a stand alone Light/Pushed Overdrive with Gain and Level controls. It is a very useful pedal especially if you already love the gain of your amp (I use it with a Mesa Triple Rectifier). It sounds killer! The three modes are: Fat, Clean, and Mid. The four controls are: Gain, Level, Bass, and Treble.
Hello Bjorn. Mooer Black Secret does not work well with my Laney TI-15, probably because it is a Mids boosted and compressed amps. But I really like the sound of RAT. Could you indicate some distortion pedals that works well with my amp? Another question: in my amp (Laney), I have to adjust the tone control of my Ehx Crayon and Russian Big Muff around 3 or 4 o’clock to get a nice sound. Less than this sounds fat, without brightness and definition. It’s normal?
Not that familiar with the amp but I guess it’s fairly mid rangy and probably not the best headroom, I don’t know. The Black Secret and other Rat type of pedals should work but it depends on how you’ve set the amp. Is it clean? How’s your EQ settings? The Crayon and Russian Big Muff are fairly bright so I again I would look at the amp settings. What sort of pickups do you use?
Although a bit off Gilmour’s tones…
Have you ever tried treble booster pedals, like the Dallas Rangemaster?
Any experience, how they would sound on smaller amps like the Lionheart 5 watt combo and 20 watt stack?
Hope you are doing great!
Treble boosters aren’t like other overdrives. They boost certain frequencies and push the amp into overdrive, compression and clarity. They usually work better on bigger amps and high volume and they should be used much like an EQ when you need to open up and push the amp a bit. I’ve used a Beano Boost with the Lionheart and it sounds great with the amp’s normal mode and gain channel, as it gets fairly dark, but it gets too bright on the bright mode. For my taste at least.
This world seems so complex for the small budget guys…
I was ready to acquire the Boss BD2 when I found out Boss has re-designed it with a tiny circuit which can hardly be modified.
In the video you posted about the Boss BD2, did you used the standard old model, a modified model or the new model with the tiny cicuitry ?
Do you have any oppinion on the new miniaturization circuit design?
I used a stock model. Some of the clones and modified versions add more lows and rolls off the highs a bit but the stock does the job.
BOSS has switched to surface mount manufacturing. You will need to search the used market if you want to modify any of their pedals.
Hi Bjorn! great Job! very interesting discussion! between td-x buffalo and strymon riverside what are more “gilmourish” sound?
thanks a lot
The TDX is based on the Tube Driver David’s using so I would say that one. However, it depends on your amp too. For a Fender or Vox, which both has little mid range, the Riverside might be a better choice.
do you ever got to try the TC Electronic Tube Pilot? Supposedly a “Tube Driver” clone… the price is amazing (around 40 EUR)…
Nope. It has two controls so I can’t be a clone but possibly something close.
Hi, Bjorn. Do you think the Analogman King of Tone v4 has a place when trying to achieve David’s tones? Thanks, Greg
Forgot to say I’m using an Orange Rocker 15 set on the clean channel. Thanks.
Don’t know how it matches up with your amp but you can’t really beat the KoT. It works nicely for just about everything and you should be able to get close to David’s Tube Driver tones… with some tweaking.
I recently recorded something and put it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kV9ErsrDag
What do you think in terms of the sound?
Still trying to figure out the best mic placement, pedal and amp settings, but I must say that this is the best my gear as sounded so far :D
Also thanks for that awesome backing track!
Sounds great Phil! Well done!
Sounds great to me. Definitely a quite Gilmourish tone and the phrasing is also good. The Keeley sounds great at any gain setting IMHO.
I’m looking for a Tube Driver clone foe pulse tones. I’m using and Eric Johnson strat with a 50w katana. Would you recommend tree of life, ocd, or plexi drive? Something else in that price range perhaps? Thanks!
The Tree of Life and OCD has too much mids and compression for a Tube Driver but they can be set up for somewhat similar tones. The Plexi would be much closer. Check out the excellent TDX from Buffalo FX as well.
Hi Bjorn – Effectrode Overdrives (Tube Drive and Blackbird) Can you review these? PS love my Fire Bottle and Tube Vibe by Phil…
Sure! Send them to me and I’ll review them :)
Ha! Good point – I never thought of that :-0 – They are quite premium for sure…..maybe in due time….
Somewhat of an odd question. Placed later in the chain with saturation set low and with volume set at unity or higher, is the Strymon Deco’s natural compression enough to knock a standalone compressor off a board?
No. You don’t hear much compression unless you crank the gain.
great site, amazing work and an incredible amalgama of knowledge :)
I’m getting a Distortion pedal and my amp is a Vox AC30 CC1 (all valve). The Evolution sounds an amazing piece of kit but I’m wondering how much more “tone” would I get on top of a much cheaper RAT 2? Is the price difference worth it (in Europe 235 EUR vs 79 EUR). I like tube-like distortion, smooth and that works well with the guitar volume pot.
Thanks for the kind words! The Evo and RAT are somewhat overlapping so if you’re looking for something slightly different you might want to check out a Fulltone OCD or, one of my favourites, the Vick Audio Tree of Life. Both pedals are medium gain overdrives that compliments the Evo perfectly.
Hello again and thanks for the reply. I don’t own any of them so I was deciding between the two. After the videos I watched I’m pretty much decided on the Evo but, as I was there, I also saw the TD-X… Say for “PULSE” tones (Comfortably Numb/Time solos, Sorrow…) which one would suit better? :) Many thanks.
The Evo I guess. You could use the TDX as well but it’s more of an overdrive.
Sorry for one more question: does it clean up nicely as we roll down the volume on the guitar?
That always depends on the pedal settings and your pickups but the TDX cleans up. The EVO has too much gain and compression.
Sorry to bother (again). Thank you for all your trouble :)
One more question: is this pedal suitable for an AC30? I read on your reviews/tutorials that a Muff and an AC30 is not the best for Gilmour tones. Being this pedal a combination of Muff and British tube amp overdrive, do you think it will work nicely for David’s tones?
I haven’t tried that specific pedal with a AC30 but I would assume it does.
Bjorn, When you comment to us about OD pedals by different makers and what circuit they are “based” on like your recent comment
“The Charlie Brown is based on the old JTM45 and Plexi tones so I guess that one is the closest to he Wampler. The Angry Charlie is a more modern distortion based on the JCM800, with more gain and an overall more aggressive character”
How and where do you get this information if the manufacturer doesnt come right out and say it? Is there a resource that lists circuits for all pedals and what they are “based” on for an amp etc? Any extra information you could provide would be helpful. Thanks…P.s your blog is absolutely essential!
Some makers are honest about this while others will say that a pedal is based on a British brown sound or that green overdrive pedal… things like that. It’s also about experience. I’ve been playing guitar for over 25 years and I’ve had the chance to play more amps and pedals than I can count. I recognise tone and branding very easy based on that.
Thanks Bjorn for the reply! I hope to get my ears to that point someday! Do you like the Archer by J. Rockett? The Koko Boost by Suhr? How would you classify these two?
The Archer is based on the Klon. It has lots of headroom but turn the gain up and you get that Klon grit and compression going. The Koko is cleaner I think. More of a volume booster although I think it has a mids boost option as well.
For a bedroom setup, which overdrive would be better, Blues Driver, Soul Food or Crayon?
Depends on the amp. Read more about that here.
so I’ve played and listened to lots of different overdrive sounds in the last couple of years since I started playing guitar and wondered: Obviously there are major differences with the pedals mainly with the amount of midrange, but pairing any amps with the right pedals gets you a similar overall sound.
So am I wrong here or is there like only this “one range of sounds” which overdrive, just overdrive pedals can produce?
Probably a subjective thing, but I think I never stumbled across an overdrive sound and went: Oh that sounds TOTALLY different than others despite the amount of gain being high or low.
You tell me if my ears are already wacked or if I may have a point here :D
Interesting question. I think the “problem” is that the market is swamped with a gazillion different pedals that claim to be it. As I see it there are mainly two different types of overdrives and I can use Boss as an example. The BD-2 is a fairly transparent overdrive, with lots of headroom but also a lot of gain. It doesn’t colour your tone but it can be used as a clean booster or as an overdrive with the amount of gain you need. The other type of overdrives is the Tube Screamer and the Boss SD-1. It has less low end but a lot of mid range and compression. These are designed to capture the tone you get from canking a loud tube amp. Between these two there are tons and tons of variations but they’re all inspired by these two.
That’s also what I learned so far :)
Unless the pedal has some rare feature that adds a flavour they are all very similar sounding.
Interesting was the recent TPS with the Hiwatt and Powerbooster. I was surprised Nick didn’t know about the Powerbooster and acknowleged that it was the best OD pedal range from fuzz to boost he ever heard. Only proves your point of it being a transparent overdrive I suppose … ;)
(They should really get you on there btw ;))
Rolling of the guitar volume with a Tube Screamer sounds nowhere as good as doing that with a Keeley Phat Mod.
In your opinion, what Pete Cornish pedal is the closest in comparison to a Tube Driver for Gilmour tone purposes?
Oh, I really don’t know if they have a pedal like that. The ST-2 is very close to the Colorsound Power Boost so I guess that’s as close as you’ll get.
Any thoughts on the jhs Charlie Brown and angry Charlie? Do they compare favorably with the Wampler plexus rive?
The Charlie Brown is based on the old JTM45 and Plexi tones so I guess that one is the closest to he Wampler. The Angry Charlie is a more modern distortion based on the JCM800, with more gain and an overall more aggressive character.
wondering if you’ve tried earthquaker devices westwood drive?
I came across this by one of the coolest guys on the net and started GAS’sing
one of our local stores allows returns in 30 days. I got and decided to keep it and sell some other drives
It’s a very versatile drive playing well with both my Gibson 339 and fender strat on both my Bugera v22 and Peavey Classic 20 amps
though to psot in case you could get one to try
Haven’t tried it. Thanks for the tip!
Hello bijorn. This is a new version of OCD.(OCD V.2) A total different eq.
What do you think about it? I think it has a very balanced equalization and a very valid alternative to the tube driver, maybe slightly warmer. With this video, based on some songs by Pink Floyd maybe you can get an idea. Greetings.
I haven’t tried it so it’s hard to tell. Based on the clip alone it sounds very promising.
If you want to spend some time, in this video you can listen to the difference between all eight versions until you get to V.2. Greetings.
What do you think about BOSS mod. OD-1 ?
It’s basically a Tube Screamer without the tone control. Personally I prefer the SD-1, which is basically the same pedal with a tone control.
Hey Bjorn, I have a suggestion regarding the very popular Fulltone OCD. On the forum, I have seen many people asking about boosting with the OCD, and have seen you say a few times that boosting with it is probally not a good idea. I have asked myself when i first got it. A lot of us have this prdal, but might not be using it correctly regarding David’s tones. Maybe you could make a video about how you personally utilize this popular dirt box? You could also tell me to go scratch myself and don’t tell me how to run my website….lol. But it’s a popular question, and maybe make a video how you personally use it. Obviously there are no set rules on how to set these things up.
Thanks for the tip, Frank! Boosting is tricky because it all depends on the whole rig – the pickups, amp, what pedals you combine, what tones you need etc. As a rule, I’d say that amps with less mid range and compression, like Fender and Vox, should be paired with with overdrives and distortions that has more mids and compression, like OCD, Rat, TS etc. And vice versa. Hiwatts, Marshall etc that has a lot of mids and compression will take the more transaprent pedals better. Now, there are no rules and we’re talking about David’s tones. Pedals like the OCD can make Big Muffs sound too dark and compressed but again, if you have a Fender or something similar, that’s probaby where you want to go. I’ve tried to explain this in detail in this feature.
Hi Bjorn. To get Gilmour tones mainly from the solos of Pulse, Gdansk and Pompeii 2016 I have a Buffalo FX Evolution but I had thought about buying an EHX Overdrive, both to complement the Evolution at times and to play only with the EHX and some modulation.
What would EHX recommend? Sould Food, Glove, Crayon, Green Russian Big Muff? Or maybe you prefer another Driver that is not from EHX for a similar range of prices?
Thank you very much best regards.
What amp are you using? Pickups? See this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for different types of amps.
With a Laney Cub 12R and a Fender American Special Stratocaster with Texas Special pickups, which one would you choose? Thank you very much…
Just add that I’m also considering Boss BD-2. What do you think of the combination: Buffalo FX Evolution + Boss BD-2 (or BD-2w?) With Labey Cub 12R and Texas Special pickups for Pulse and Gdansk tones ? Thank you so much.
One of my favourite overdrives and great for boosting.
The Green Russian is a Big Muff and not an overdrive. Somewhat overlapping to the Evolution but well worth checking out. See my review here. Between the overdrives I’d check out the Crayon – there are two versions but they’re identical. It’s very close to David’s Tube Driver that he’s been using since the mid 90s.
Hello! I recently put a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates PAF style humbucker in the bridge of my strat – any recommendations for a pedal to get smooth creamy Pulse style leads? Thanks!
Depends on your amp. Check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for different amps.
I took a look at the setting and set up of the PIGS THREE DIFFERENT ONES song
but I have doubts.
– Tiny Terror 7/15 Watt
– Engl E651
– Masotti od-box
– Ibanez CP-10
– Ibanez GE-10
– Ibanez LM-7
– Ibanez MS-10
– Danelectro cool cat fuzz v.2
– Electro Harmonix mod. Green Russian (ultimate version)
– 2x cabinet Weber 2×12″ + FC-12 speakers clone
TINY TERROR USE:
– Tiny Terror setting? …..another, I can use some of the pedals on the list or I’ve to use, for example, ELECTRONIC ORANGE mod. BANANABOOST ?
In your opinion, the cabinets it’s ok ?
– Engl E651 setting? ……another, I can use some of the pedals on the list or I’ve to use, for example, ELEVTRONIC ORANGE mod. BANANABOOST ?
In your opinion, the cabinets it’s ok ?
Both amps should be fine but I haven’t played them enough to suggest specific settings. I would try to set them as clean as possible but with the pre stage just at the edge of breakup for a bit more bite to the clean tone. How much depends on your pickups and playing style. See the amp setup tutorial for more. The Bananaboost is definitely worth checking out for these tones and I think it will go nicely with both amps.
!!!! Very, Very, Very THANK’S !!!!
I have a vintage 1982 Rat and I was wondering what boost or over drive pedal would work well with it?
Depends on your amp. The Rat has a lot of gain and compression and personally I think it sounds best alone. If your amp has lots of headroom you might want to pair it up with a fairly moderate booster, like the Boss BD2, for a bit more character and boost.
about overdive pedals…..
…. there are mods for the MAXON mod. OSD-9 (OVERDRIVE-SOFT DISTORTION) ????
Waiting for a reaply.
Haven’t seen one but there are lots of companies out there offering different mods to different pedals. Do a Google search and I’m sure something will turn up :)