Today, we’re bringing you a list of 13 of the very best Overdrive Effect Pedals for your bass guitar this year. For this list, we have compiled information about the most exceptional Overdrive effect pedals from several great brands, including Behringer, Ampeg, Boss, Nobels, Rat Sound Systems, MXR, Darkglass, and Electro-Harmonix.
In a nutshell, here is our selection of the best overdrive pedals for your bass:
1. Behringer Bass Overdrive BOD400
4. Nobels ODR-1 Natural Overdrive
7. Darkglass Alpha Omicron Bass OD
8. Electro-Harmonix Bass Soul Food Overdrive
12. Way Huge Smalls Pork & Pickle Overdrive
13. Darkglass Microtubes B7K Ultra
If you’re new here and looking to shop for Overdrive pedals, you’re in for a shock. The market is overflowing with them, and each effect pedal is unique in its own way. Some of them are different from the rest in look, some hold distinctive sets of features, some are smaller in size, whereas some are larger. We know the market is overwhelming right now with the sheer number of pedals available, but don’t worry. We’re here to help.
In this article, we’ve narrowed it all down and brought you some fantastic Overdrive pedals. Give it a read, and once you’ve completed the article, you’ll possess the knowledge needed to make a knowledgable decision about the best pedal for your needs and requirements. There’s no one pedal that can be called the universally best. A number of things need to be taken into account, and we know just as pedals are unique, each individual, too, in their own way.
Let’s unearth the perfect pedal for you. Let’s venture on this journey together. The Overdrive world awaits. Our quest begins now.
Why overdrive is good for bass?
An Overdrive pedal is a fantastic tool for enhancing the natural tube-drive sounds. Generally, professional Bassists prefer introducing a slight amount of drive to the sound. This adds some weight and thickness to the sound while maintaining sustain.
What to look for when buying overdrive for bass?
Several things must be considered when looking for the best overdrive pedal for yourself. First, you’ll have to analyze your style of playing. Then, you’ll need to decide which genre best suits your playing style. Most Fuzz, Overdrive, and Distortion effect pedals work well with any genre.
Top 13 Overdrive pedals for Bass 2023 (On All Budgets)
1. Behringer Bass Overdrive BOD400
This solid purple pedal brings many options that make it a comprehensive Overdrive option.
Back in the year 1989, Behringer was founded in Germany by a Swiss Engineer, Uli Behringer. The company has since grown very popular. In fact, when it comes to musical instruments, it has become the preferred brand for many renowned musicians globally.
The company is still chaired by its Founder, Uli Behringer. The Music Tribe’s company portfolio includes world-renowned brands like Cool Audio, Turbosound, Lab. Gruppen, Midas, Tannoy, TC- Helicon and TC Electronic, Klark Teknik, and Behringer.
This Overdrive pedal hosts a simple and boxy design incorporated by several other Behringer pedals, such as the Noise Reducer, Compressor Sustainer, Ultra Acoustic Modeler, Distortion-X, and Digital Delay pedals. The design is also similar to some Boss effect pedals. The Device features a solid purple paint job and looks quite vibrant. The black control knobs, the plate under the knobs, and the black padding of the Footswitch all add to the pedal’s look. The text on the purple part of the top panel is black and assists in readability, like the white text around the control knobs. The Overdrive pedal measures 2.76″ x 2.13″ x 4.84″ and weighs 0.73 lbs.
The Device’s front panel hosts 5 control knobs for ‘Level,’ ‘High,’ ‘Low,’ ‘Gain, and ‘Bal .’The High and Low knobs are slightly smaller in size. Between the High and Gain control knobs, you’ll see an LED indicator for Battery and Effect Status. You’ll find the Model of the Device near the center of the panel in prominent solid black text. Just below is the Footswitch—the sides of the device host 2 jacks and a power socket.
- Control Knobs
The Level control regulates the volume or the Output’s level. The High control allows you to Cut or Boost the high-end frequency range, whereas the Low control knob lets you Cut or Boost the signal’s low-end frequency range. The Gain control can be used to set the overdrive amount. The Balance control knob lets you to set the dryness and wetness of the signal.
- Footswitch, LED Indicator, & Connectivity
The lower half of the front panel hosts a Footswitch, which may be used to activate or deactivate the Overdrive effect. The LED lights up if the effect is on. The left side of the Device hosts a quarter-inch Output jack for Connectivity with an amp or speakers. The right panel presents a quarter-inch Input jack for instrument connectivity.
A power socket is also placed next to the Input jack on the pedal’s right side. The Device is powered by a 9V power adaptor (sold separately). The footswitch cover doubles as a battery compartment, so the Device may also get powered by one 9V battery (sold separately). The LED indicator doubles as a power status indicator and lights up when the pedal is powered on.
This durable pedal is a very comprehensive Overdrive pedal that more than justifies its value at such an affordable price. The Device produces good sounds. The treble boost and Bass introduce significant variations in tone. The knobs are sturdy, and the Footswitch is quite firm.
The Device does not offer True Bypass. Though the pedal feels pretty solid and long-lasting, the casing is made of plastic. Users have complained about experiencing noise in some settings. The amount of noise varies between minimal and very noticeable.
2. Ampeg SCR-DI Bass DI
This Ampeg offering possesses a wide array of features making it a truly versatile effect pedal.
A part of the Yamaha Corporation, Ampeg, was founded by Stanley Michaels and Everett Hull in 1946. The company has established its global presence with its impressive product line featuring Electric, Acoustic, and Bass guitars, guitar pickups, and guitar Amplifiers.
Ampeg artists include some world-famous names such as Sting, Juan Alderete, Seye Adelekan, Emma Anzai, Jack Bates, Wayne Banks, Brian Allen, Chris Beattie, and Hayley Jane Batt. Few people today know that the company was formerly known as Michael-Hull Electronic Labs.
- Design language
This guitar pedal is big and larger than most, but it hosts a wide array of features that justify the size. The pedal measures 7.6″ x 4.3″ x 2.2″ and weighs 2.6 lbs. The pedal incorporates an ordinary-looking basic design. The pedal has a plain black no, nonsense paint job with labels and separating lines, all very prominent in white. The brand’s logo pops because of its size and shiny silver color. The bright green and purple LED indicators add some color to the pedal.
- Hardware – Top and Base Panels
The face of the device shows 2 separate segments. The first segment, ‘Scrambler,’ hosts 2 con knobs for ‘Drive’ and ‘Blend’ and a bright green status LED indicator. The second segment houses 5 control knobs for ‘Volume,’ ‘Bass,’ ‘Mid,’ ‘Treble,’ and ‘AUX Level,’ 2 switches labeled ‘Ultra Hi’ and ‘Ultra Lo .’The first segment has a line leading down to its dedicated Footswitch. Parallel to this Footswitch is another footswitch labeled ‘on/ off .’The base of the Device features a ‘-15 dB PAD Jumper’ and a battery compartment. The panel also has rubber supports on each of the corners.
- Hardware – Left, Right & Rear Panels
The pedal’s left side hosts a ‘Ground/ Lift’ switch, a Line Output Jack (Balanced XLR), a quarter-inch Line Output Jack (Unbalanced), and a TRS Output Jack for stereo headphones. The right side of the Device houses 3 quarter-inch jacks for Instrument Input (active or passive), ‘THRU’ Input, and AUX Input. There’s also a smaller jack for AUX Input. The rear panel houses a power socket.
- Scrambler Segment and Footswitch
The Drive control knob sets the Bass Scrambler effect amount allowing grind and distortion. The neighboring Blend control knob permits you to set the Bass Scrambler signal. The dedicated Footswitch can be pressed to activate or deactivate the Scrambler effect. Once the effect is active, the bright LED lights up.
- 5 Control Knobs and 2 Switches
The Volume control knob sets the overall level of Output. The brand has recommended you turn the knob to the left when attaching headphones to avoid the risk of damaging them. The Bass control knob adjusts the SCR-DI’s level of low frequency. Similarly, the Mid control knob sets the SCR-DI’s level of midrange frequency, and the Treble control knob sets the SCR-DI’s high-frequency level. The Aux Level knob can regulate the level of Output of the signal from the Aux Input jack. The Ultra Lo switch enhances the low-end amount of the Output, and the Ultra Hi switch enhances the high-frequency amount.
The Device offers noise-free Output (DI). The pedal features Amp-like tones. These tones come with responsive EQ. The Device’s number of connectivity options is very impressive. The Device packs a lot of combination options which makes it hugely versatile.
The pedal is much larger and brings a lot of features to the table, but with them, complexity as well, so those looking for simplicity in a smaller form factor would be better off looking elsewhere. The Device is expensive, though it more than justifies its value.
3. Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive
This bright yellow pedal from Boss comes with more functionality than most Overdrive pedals.
Boss was founded half a century ago in Japan and has since expanded to achieve worldwide popularity. The company is now considered among the very best manufacturers of effect pedals. The company is a specialist in comprehensive yet affordable pedals.
Boss is affiliated with the Roland Corporation. Globally recognized bands and artists such as Marty Friedman, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, John 5, Ozzy Osbourne’s Guss G, Kirk Fletcher, Firewind, and many more, hold a preference for music equipment by the brand.
The pedal features an overall boxy build, common with many similar-sized effect pedals from Boss, including Boss’s CEB-3 Bass Chorus and Boss BF-3 Flanger. Some Behringer pedals, such as the Ultra Chorus UC200, also bear a striking resemblance to this Boss offer. When it comes to design, the Device features a strong exterior, firmly placed knobs, sturdy sockets. The footswitch is very tactile and responsive. The unit has a bright yellow paint job with a black pad covering the Footswitch and a black plate for the knobs. The text on the shiny black plate is silver, and the text on the yellow paint is matte black to assist readability.
The face of the unit hosts 3 regular control knobs for ‘Level,’ ‘Balance,’ and ‘Gain,’ and a concentric knob for’ EQ .’The Input and Output labels follow these knobs and then the mention of the Device’s Model and the Footswitch. The right panel hosts a quarter-inch Input jack, whereas the left presents a quartet-inch Output jack. The Device’s rear panel hosts a power socket. The pedal measures 5.13″ x 2.9″ x 2.4″ and weighs slightly less than half a kg (0.42 kg).
- Control Knobs – Level, Balance & Gain
You can turn the Level control knob either direction to set the effect sound’s level. In other words, it sets the volume of the effect. When turned to the left, the effect’s volume will be zero. The Balance control knob can adjust the balance between wet (Overdrive sound) and dry signals. The knob can be turned left to increase the dry sound and towards the right for Overdrive sounds. The Gain control knob can be used to set the gain of the sound (Wet or Dry). It can regulate the boost amount without distorting the sound.
- Concentric Knob – High & Low
Essentially 2 knobs in 1; the inner ‘High’ knob represents High EQ Cut and Boost settings, whereas the outer ‘Low’ knob represents Low EQ Cut and Boost settings. The High knob can be used to cut or boost higher frequencies. Turning this knob right provides a boost to the higher frequencies, and turning it left cuts the higher frequencies. The outer Low knob functions similarly, boosting or cutting the lower frequencies.
- Power & LED Indicator
The power socket is located at the rear of the Device. It allows you to power the Device via a PSA series AC power adaptor (sold separately). The ‘Thumbscrew’ at the base of the footswitch pedal can be loosened to reveal the Device’s hidden battery compartment. You can power the pedal with a 9V battery. The LED Check indicator holds 2 functions. It’ll light up once the effect is activated (Effect status) and also serve as a status indicator for the battery.
The pedal is one the most comprehensive Overdrive pedals available in the market. It’s easy to use and offers excellent value. The chassis and the sturdy knobs and sockets ensure the pedal is very durable. The Device packs some thick tones with the right amount of dirt.
The pedal produces some unwanted noise and may easily create unwanted fuzz. The pedal’s focus is on Overdrive effects, but some competing pedals with a smaller price tag host a broader variety of features. You may look elsewhere if you prefer multi-effect pedals.
4. Nobels ODR-1 Natural Overdrive
This shiny green and black pedal from Nobels is a dedicated and comprehensive Overdrive pedal.
Bryan Adams, Gary Moore, T.M. Stevens, Tim Pierce, Guthrie Trapp, Jerry Donahue, and Tom Bukovac are some artists who prefer Nobles’ equipment. Bernhard Kurzke (Founder) always wanted to provide ‘high standard’ equipment with a ‘little extra for the musician.’
Initially released in 1992, this pedal gained immense popularity back, even developing a kind of cult following in the process. The pedal was rereleased several times, once in silver to commemorate the brand’s 10th anniversary and then again in its standard green glory.
- Design Language
The Device features a minimalist design with a twist. At first glance, the pedal looks like many others that feature a boxy look of a similar size. You’ll be a little confused when you realize the Footswitch doesn’t have a thumbscrew and remember reading about the Device’s battery compartment. It’ll be a pleasant surprise when you figure out that the compartment is conveniently placed behind the plastic flap at the Device’s center with the make and Model mentioned on it. The black knobs, the black plate behind the knobs, the black flap, and the black plate bearing the Nobel logo on the Footswitch perfectly balance the look. You feel that a little more of the green may have felt overpowering. All in all, the Device looks decent.
The face of the Device features 3 control knobs for ‘Drive,’ ‘Spectrum,’ and ‘Level .’In the top-right corner of the panel, you’ll find a small but bright red LED indicator. Just below the knobs, you’ll find the clever battery compartment flap, followed by the Footswitch. The Device’s rear panel hosts 2 jacks for Input and Output, a power socket, and an On/ Off switch. The sides and base of the Device are entirely plain. The Device measures 4.96″ x 2.91″ x 2.28″ and weighs just under a pound at 0.99 lbs.
- 3 Control Knobs – Drive, Spectrum & Level
The Drive control knob can be used to amount of Overdrive effect. When you’ve turned the knob left, the pedal will produce a slight crunch, and as you turn it clockwise, you’ll start getting Overdrive. The Spectrum control allows you to adjust the amount of treble and deep-mid frequencies. Once the knob is at 0, you’ll get a warm mid-tone which can be great for Blues. The sound becomes harsh and heavy if the knob is pointed at the other extreme. This will be great for Rock. The Level control knob regulates the ODR-1’s volume.
- Footswitch, LED Indicator & Power
The Footswitch can be used to activate or deactivate the effect. It is very responsive. If the effect has been actived, the LED Indicator will light up. A 9V DC power supply or via a 9V battery can also power the Device.
The pedal features warm Overdrive and brings outstanding value for money. The overdrive pedal’s dynamic response is fantastic. The pedal can do wonders in boosting solos. The pedal is solidly built. With just 3 control knobs, this comprehensive pedal is simple and easy to use.
The Device doesn’t leave much to complain about. Still, users have pointed out that they’ve experienced the Device getting muddy reasonably quickly. Certain multi-effects pedals also exist at a similar price point, so those who prefer more features and complexity should steer clear.
5. Rat Distortion – Fat Rat
This pedal is a remake of the original Whiteface design with several features, including original Rat sounds.
Rat Sounds Systems was founded by Dave Rat and Brian Benjamin in 1980. The company has served as the main audio vendor for ‘The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival’ since 2001. Both Taste of Chaos and Warped Tour
The company has provided equipment to bands and independent artists such as Eddie Vedder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson, Blink 182, My Chemical Romance, Weezer, Queens of the Stone Age, Rage Against the Machine, Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, and Beck.
- Design – Simple but Bold
The primarily black pedal features a minimal design, with matte black chassis and knobs. The ‘FatRat’ text is white and prominently placed in the center of the Device. The 2-way switches are shiny silver, like the pedal’s Footswitch and the polished silver collar around the bright LED light. The labels of the knobs and switches are white, too, just like the giant logo. The pedal has a larger form factor measuring 6.7″ x 5.3″ x 3.5″.
The top of the Device features 3 control knobs for ‘Distortion,’ ‘Filter,’ and ‘Volume .’Just above, you’ll find the 2-way switches, the first of which is for ‘Stock’ and ‘Fat,’ whereas the second is for ‘Mosfet’ and ‘Stock .’The LED indicator is placed in between the 2 switches. The Footswitch is located right under the logo, providing balance to the pedal. The front of the Device reads ‘Rat Distortion’ and is otherwise plain. The sides of the Device are also entirely plain. The Device’s rear panel hosts 2 quarter-inch jacks with a power jack between them. The base of the Device has 4 rubber feet supports, one on each corner.
- 3 Control knobs – Distortion, Filter & Volume
The Distortion control knob lets you set the distortion effect’s amount of gain. The Filter control knob mainly serves as a Tone control. Turning this knob to the left extreme introduces a brighter tone, whereas turning it to the right produces a darker tone. The Level control knob regulates the volume or the Output’s gain level.
- Footswitch, LED Indicator & Connectivity
The Device’s Footswitch activates and deactivates the distortion effect. The effect status LED indicator will light up when the sound effect is active. This Indicator also doubles as a status indicator for the device’s battery. The quarter-inch Input jack can connect a musical instrument, whereas the quarter-inch output jack is present for Connectivity with a speaker or an Amp.
The Device’s connectivity jacks and power socket are all located at its rear, adding to the convenience. A couple of 2-way switches add a lot of versatility to the Device. The materials used are of high quality. The build is pretty solid as well, and it justifies the value.
The pedal has a larger form factor. It’s also priced towards the higher side of the spectrum, although it holds to its value. The pedal is dedicated towards Distortion and Overdrive, whereas pedals featuring more variety and versatility exist at a similar price point.
6. MXR Timmy Overdrive CSP027
This compact pedal packs quite the Overdrive features, considering its size.
Co-Founded more than 50 years ago by Keith Barr and Terry Sherwood in 1972, MXR is one of the most established and recognized brands worldwide. The brand has always made exemplary effect pedals for electric and Bass guitars, and this pedal doesn’t disappoint.
MXR musicians include Josh Paul, Jim Root, Billie Joe Armstrong, Tom Morello, Billy Gibbons, John Petrucci, and Slash. Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, and Trivium are world-famous bands that prefer using MXR music equipment.
- Build & Design
This Overdrive effect pedal is ‘mini’ in size, measuring just 3.625″ x 2.25″ x 1.75″ and weighing a third of a pound at 0.33 lbs. The Device features a bright blue brushed metal chassis, solid from every direction. The knobs are firm, and the Footswitch, jacks, and socket are sturdy. The switch has some give and wiggle room, but it still feels durable.
The face of the unit features 4 control knobs for ‘Bass,’ ‘Gain,’ ‘Volume,’ and ‘Treble .’A Clip switch is placed just above the knobs. Under the knobs, you’ll find an ‘MXR’ logo followed by the ‘Timmy’ logo. The base of the panel features a Footswitch with an LED indicator right underneath—the side panels of the Device feature 2 quarter-inch jacks for Input and Output. The front and base panels are plain, and the rear panel hosts a power socket.
- Control Knobs & Clip Switch
The Bass control knob can cut the original signal’s low-end frequencies. As the name suggests, the Volume control knob regulates the effect’s overall volume. The Intensity of the effect can be set by the pedal’s Gain control knob. The Treble control knob can cut the affected signal’s high-end frequencies. The Clip switch allows you to choose 1 out of its 3 clipping modes.
- Footswitch, LED Indicator & Connectivity
The Footswitch can be used to activate the effect or deactivate it. Once the effect is active, the bright blue Effect Status LED indicator will light up. The Device allows True Bypass when the sound effect is deactivated. The quarter-inch Input jack lets you connect your musical instrument with the pedal, and the Output jack on the opposite side of the device enables you to plug in your speakers or Amp. The Device features an Input Impedance of 400 kΩ and an Output Impedance of 1 kΩ.
This Overdrive offering from MXR draws 2.2mA of current and can get powered from a 9V DC power supply (sold separately). You can use a 9V Dunlop power adaptor (ECB003), an ISO-Brick, a mini Iso-Brick, or via a DV Brick power supply. The Device has no battery compartment and, thereby, can’t be powered using a battery.
The 3 clipping modes are all unique and bring a lot of variety and versatility. The pedal is very compact and takes little space, be it in your pocket or on a pedalboard. The Device features solid build quality and overall packs great value for money.
The Device’s treble, and bass controls are cut only. Though versatile and of great value, the pedal cannot compete with multi-function pedals regarding several features and, arguably, value. It may not be for those who prefer complexity and even more features.
7. Darkglass Alpha Omicron Bass OD
This Darkglass offering is, as the name suggests, a powerful Overdrive pedal primarily for Bass.
In 2009, a Chilean Engineer named Douglas Castro founded Darkglass Electronics. The company headquarters are located in Helsinki, Finland. The company is easily among the youngest brands to have a product feature on this list, which is an awe-inspiring feat.
The company’s production line comprises a number of effect pedals especially produced and made available for bass guitars. Darkglass equipment is used by many musicians worldwide, such as Devin Townsend, Bootsy Collins, and Alex Webster from Cannibal Corpse.
- Design and Build Quality
The Device incorporates the design of other effect pedals from the brand’s Alpha-series, including the Darkglass Alpha Omega Ultra V2 and the Darkglass Alpha-Omega. The pedal most prominently features an image of a circle intertwined with a triangle. This graphic pops on the dark blue-grey paint job, just as the white labels do. The knobs, switches, and jacks have been kept black to add to the dark design. The shiny silver Footswitch is also emphasized due to the color and the similar bend featured on the base of the triangle image.
The top of the device houses 4 control knobs for ‘Blend,’ ‘Mod,’ ‘Level,’ and ‘Drive .’Just below, you’ll find 2 small switches for ‘Growl’ and ‘Bite,’ with an Effect/ Battery Status LED indicator in between. The base of this panel hosts a Footswitch, followed by the ‘Alpha Omicron’ logo with the make and country of origin mentioned right underneath. The pedal’s left side features a quarter-inch Output jack, whereas the right panel hosts a quarter-inch Input jack along with the power socket. The rear panel and the base of the Device are entirely plain. The pedal measures 4.37″ x 2.95″ x 1.69″ and weighs just over half a pound at 0.55 lbs.
- 4 Control Knobs & 2 Mini Switches
The Blend Control knob can be used to set the balance between clean and effect signals. If the knob is rotated to its left extreme, the signal will remain dry, whereas turning it entirely right leads to a wet or affected signal. The Level control knob sets the Overdrive signal’s volume. The Drive control regulates the Overdrive signal’s gain amount. The Mod control lets you select between the Device’s 2 distortion circuits, Alpha and Omega. The Bite switch can be used to boost the high-mids, whereas, for an increased low-end saturation, you can use the Growl switch.
- Footswitch, LED indicator & Connectivity
The Footswitch is quite responsive and toggles the Overdrive effect on or off. The LED indicator in the middle of the circle and triangle image lights up when the effect is switched on. The LED indicator doubles as a power status indicator. The Device can be powered via a 9V DC Power supply (Center Negative). The Device features an Input and Output Impedance of 1kΩ.
This Darkglass offering is easily one of the most comprehensive Overdrive effects pedals you’ll find in the market. The Device has a wide variety of features that make it very versatile. The ‘Bit’ and’ Growl’ switches bring new dimensions making this effect pedal unique.
The Device is versatile and packs quite a punch but is priced at the higher end of the spectrum. Some may simply want to go for a more affordable with fewer features, while others may want to go for multi-effect options if they prefer even more versatility.
8. Electro-Harmonix Bass Soul Food Overdrive
This pedal is the Bass variant of the hugely popular Electro-Harmonix Soul Food.
Electro-Harmonix was founded more than half a century ago (1968) by Mike Matthews. The company headquarters is based in New York City and is known for providing state-of-the-art pedals at comparatively very affordable prices.
Several music megastars have used EHX equipment over the years, including Bootsy Collins, John Frusciante, Noel Hogan, Thurston Moore, Miguel Angel Hidobro Preciado, Daniel Barros, Seth Avett, Philip Jamieson, J. D. Cronise, S Jeff Matz, Simone Ulino, and Shane Parsons.
- Design, Build Quality, and Form Factor
The pedal is remarkably similar to the pedal derived from (Electro-Harmonix Soul Food). The chassis is made of high-quality metal and feels solidly built from every angle. The black plate at the front of the Device features a subtle grey design with bright reddish-orange text reading ‘Bass Soul Food’ in the center. The brand’s logo is placed near the base of the panel, with the place of origin mentioned below. Measuring just 11 cm x 6.5 cm x 5.7 cm, the Device has a smaller, more compact form factor.
The Device’s front panel hosts 4 control knobs for ‘Vol,’ ‘Drive,’ ‘Blend,’ and ‘Treble.’A 2-way Pad switch for -10 dB/ 0dB modes sits between the control knobs. The Footswitch and dedicated LED indicator sum up the panel. The sides feature 2 parallel quarter-inch Input and Output jacks with the power socket at the Device’s rear. The front panel is plain.
- 4 Control Knobs
The Device’s output level can be determined by rotating the master Volume control knob in either direction. The Drive control knob regulates the amount of gain for the connected instrument. The settings range from a clean-colored boost to full distortion. You can use the Blend control knob to adjust the mix between dry and wet (Bass Soul Food effect). You can set the tone by using the Treble control knob. Turned halfway, the knob will produce a neutral tone. Turning it right gives you a brighter tone, and turning it left adds Bass.
- 2-Way Switch, Footswitch, and LED Indicator
The 2-way Pad switch allows you to change the attenuation of the signal from the Bass guitar from 0 dB to 10 dB and vice versa. The Footswitch is very tactile and presses to activate or deactivate the effect. When the effect has been turned on, the dedicated effect status LED indicator lights up.
The right side of the Device features a quarter-inch Input jack for Connectivity between your bass guitar and the pedal. Parallel to this jack is the Output jack placed on the Device’s left side for Connectivity with an Amp or speakers. The Device can be powered via a standard DC 9V Power supply.
This compact pedal has a robust, high-quality build. It packs quite a set of features, including natural Overdrive with a clean boost. It justifies its value with the combination of effects it packs. The Device is for those who wish to enhance their musical instrument’s sound and the Amp.
The pedal’s midrange harmonics could be improved, as can some other effects at the higher end. This pedal has little to complain about, but since no one is the universal best, some will prefer more straightforward or complex options such as multi-effect pedals.
9. Boss OD-3 Overdrive
Similar to Boss ODB-3 Bass Overdrive, the pedal has always been hugely underrated.
The OD-3 was initially launched in 1997, but it fell to the side with so much going on in the world of effect pedals. The market has since seen so many Overdrive pedals ever since. Boss has also released so many overdrive pedals ever since.
This pedal being discussed is a remake of the 1997 underrated and underappreciated pedal. It shares the same design and feels as its predecessor, providing a brighter, more vivid experience in terms of appearance as well as functionality.
- Hardware – Top Panel
The pedal features a bright yellow paint job and a solid overall build quality. The pedal’s top panel hosts 3 control knobs for ‘Level,’ ‘Drive,’ and ‘Tone .’The knobs share a shiny gold top, and 2 of them are slightly larger and rounder compared to the smaller Tone knob. Just above these knobs, you’ll find a bright red LED indicator. Then you’ll find the Model and Model number, followed by a matte black branded plate for the Footswitch. The Labels are all black and ensure readability on the contrasting yellow chassis.
- Hardware – All Sides and Base Panel
The right side of the Device hosts a quarter-inch Input jack for instrument connectivity. In contrast, a quarter-inch Output jack is placed on the Device’s left panel for Connectivity with speakers or a guitar Amp. The front panel hosts a thumbscrew at the base of the Footswitch. The rear of the Device features a power socket. The bottom of the Device sees the Boss logo followed by a silver sticker with details about power, a ‘Caution’ section, followed by disposal instructions, and the Device’s place of origin.
- Control Knobs – Level, Drive, and Tone
The Level control knob can be turned in either direction to regulate the effect sound’s volume. The Overdrive amount can be set by the Drive control knob. The Tone control knob, as the name suggests, adjusts the tone. This knob can be turned towards the right extreme for a milder sound. Turning the knob leftward can sharpen the sound.
- Footswitch, Check Indicator & Power
The Footswitch can be pressed to turn the effect on or off. When the effect is on, the red LED Check indicator will light up. The Thumbscrew at the base of the footswitch peal can be loosened to access the Device’s battery compartment. The LED Indicator doubles as a check indicator for the unit’s Battery. It glows dimly to prompt battery replacement. The pedal can also be powered via a PSA series AC Power Adaptor (Sold Separately).
This Boss offering is built like a tank and screams durability. It offers thick tones and is extremely easy to use, making it an excellent option for those who prefer simplicity over complexity. The pedal produces a flawless amount of dirt, making it a great Overdrive option.
The pedal is excellent overall and holds great value, but some users have complained about experiencing unwanted noise in certain settings. The pedal also gets fuzzy fairly easily. Though a very comprehensive overdrive pedal, it will only be ideal for those seeking more features.
10. Tec 21 SansAmp YYZ
This offering from Tech 21 features Geddy Lee’s main sounds and allows added versatility as well.
In 1989, Tech 21 was founded in New York by Andrew Barta, who designed and introduced the ‘SansAmp’. This effect pedal went on to become the company’s core product and has remained hugely popular ever since. The brand is known for its Amps and DI boxes.
The brand has also created signature equipment for several mega members of the music industry including the likes of Richie Kotzen, Steve Harris, dUg Pannick, Paul Landers, and of course, Geddy Lee. The brand has also incorporated its SansAmp technology in Amps.
- Design Aesthetic
This hand-built pedal incorporates an exciting design with a lot going on. The same design can also be seen on the SansAmp Geddy Lee DI-2112 by the brand. The Device features a calm cream turquoise high-quality paint job. The upper half of the top panel contains the knobs and has been split with the use of 2 distinct colors, black and a darker, higher contrast version of the cream turquoise color. The lower half of this panel features a caricature of Geddy Lee along with his signature, followed by the Device’s Model, brand name, and place of origin.
The Front of the Device features 7 control knobs split into 2 segments. The black, almost K-shaped segment on the top left of the panel features 2 knobs labeled ‘Master’ and ‘Mix.’ The other segment hosts 4 control knobs for ‘Low,’ ‘High,’ ‘Drive,’ and ‘Mid .’Next is a small black button labeled ‘Tight’ and an LED Indicator. The sides of the Device host an Input jack, an Output jack, and a DC power socket. The front, rear, and base panels have been kept plain, and the Device measures 4.72″ x 2.13″ x 3.94″. It weighs 0.71 lbs.
- The Black Segment – Master & Mix Controls
The Master Control knob can regulate the pedal’s overall Output Volume. It can do this without changing any of the tonal characteristics. It is recommended that this knob be turned to the left initially and then turned up gradually after the Output is connected. The Mix control allows you to adjust the blend between dirty Bass and deep studio clean tones. It is through this knob that the Device can deliver Getty Lee’s tones owing much to the EQ curve preset.
- The Turquoise Segment – Low, High, Drive, Mid Controls & Tight Button
The High and Low control knobs serve as active tone controls and can be used to boost or cut 12 dB from the unity gain. (Low: 80 Hz/ High: 3.2 kHz). The Drive control knob can set the amount of Overdrive and Gain. It can also be used to adjust Input sensitivity. The knob allows you to control the distortion, which increases as the knob is turned rightwards. The Mid control knob can let you choose between 2 kHz @ 20 dB (Boost) and 1 kHz @ 10 dB (Cut). The small Tight button introduces definitions to note in the cleaner setting. It can also provide a snap to distorted tones.
- Footswitch, LED indicator & Connectivity
The responsive Footswitch lets you switch the effect on/ off. When the effect is turned on, the LED Indicator will light up. You can use the quarter-inch Input jack to connect your Bass Guitar with the pedal. You can connect your speaker or Amp to the Device using its quarter-inch Output jack. The Device can be powered by a 9V DC Power Supply (-9V DC, at least 100mA) via its 2.1mm power socket (Center Negative).
The pedal just about manages to replicate Geddy Lee’s tone perfectly. It also offers broad features that significantly add to the Device’s value and versatility. The pedal’s design is very unique, and the colors, along with functionality, are refreshing.
There isn’t much wrong or missing in this absolute beast of a device. For some, there is such a thing as too many features or too much complexity. People do exist who prefer the simplicity of a compact pedal with only a few functions to just plug and play.
11. MXR Bass Overdrive M89
It’s hard not to mention an MXR unit if you’re discussing bass overdrive pedals.
This powerful little pedal measuring 2.12 inches by 2.62 inches by 4.37 inches, is a force to be reckoned with and will surely satisfy all your bass-boosting needs without taking much space in your current setup. The external chassis is solid and will take bumps and scratches like nobody’s business.
The usage of the M89, right out of the box, is effortless, so feel free to toss the manual in the trash. Having four knobs at your disposal gives you just enough adjustable controls to dial in the right bass tone for the situation, as you’ll see when you read on below.
- Clean & Volume
The “Clean” knob gives you control over the blend between the original signal coming from your bass guitar and the processed, overdriven signal. Turning the knob fully to the right will output a 100% dry signal, and turning clockwise will cause more of the overdriven bass tone to be heard. If you want more control over the output levels, the knob on the top right acts as a master “Volume” control.
- Tone & Drive
The “Tone” knob is tasked with equalizing the tone. Depending on the flavor you prefer, you can dial in more brightness or dullness. Turning the knob clockwise enhances the treble frequencies making the tone sound more open and brighter. Moving to the other direction will make the tone thicker and accentuate the lower frequencies. The “Drive” knob is what the MXR bass overdrive is all about. You can decide how much drive you want to add to your bass guitar signal here. Moving clockwise will increase the drive level.
- Connections & Usage
Towards the right is a quarter-inch input for connecting your bass guitar. You’ll also find a 9V power input next to the instrument input. The left panel hosts the lone quarter-inch output to carry the overdriven signal to an amplifier. The footswitch doesn’t do anything fancy and is tasked with simply powering the unit on/off. Removing the bass plate will give you access to the battery compartment, as the pedal can also be powered using a 9V battery.
If you’re more inclined towards slap-style bass, you can try turning the Clean and Tone settings up, turning the drive down entirely, and adding volume to taste. This will give you a bright twangy tone to make your slaps shine through. If you’re more into finger-picking, cutting back on the Tone parameter will fatten up your sound to give it more girth. Turning up the boost while keeping the Clean blend knob set at 12 o’clock is ideal for aggressive bass runs in a rhythm section of an upbeat song.
This little metallic magic box has something for every bass player. You can crank the gain up, dish out gut-wrenching solos, boost the treble, and spank that bass all night long, or lower the Tone parameter to support distorted chords. The M89 covers all the bases (no pun intended) and does it effortlessly
It’s hard not to be satisfied with all the M89 is equipped to do. The people at MXR have successfully wooed their audience yet again. There’s only one shortcoming in the pedal, though. The Drive control starts getting effects only when turned past the noon position. Perhaps the good people at Dunlop would make the knob more responsive in the next version.
12. Way Huge Smalls Pork & Pickle Overdrive
Way Huge series by Jim Dunlop has pedals with the weirdest names, although they all pack quite a punch.
Apart from the very well-known pedal brands that Dunlop acquired over the years, the Way Huge line was created by the company in 1965 and has grown in following thanks to the brilliant execution and high-end effects.
However, the pedal range is impressive and offers all kinds of effects, including analog chorus, analog delay, phaser/envelopes, and separate units for fuzz and overdrive. The Pork and Pickle, however, is a hybrid pedal that combines the two effects.
- Fuzz vs. Overdrive
As you’ll see on the user interface, the pedal uses dual circuits and can deliver fuzz and overdriven tones when a bass signal is fed through. Switching between these two circuits is relatively easy. Simply toggle the tiny metal switch between the knobs. When pushed up, you’ll get overdrive, while the fuzz effect will be activated when the switch is lowered.
- Volume & Drive
There are two large-sized knobs on the user interface. The one on the left acts as a master “Volume” for the pedal. Surrounded by helpful markings around the circumference, the volume increase if the knob is moved to the right. The knob on the right marked “Drive” adds drive to the signal when overdrive is selected or enhances the fuzz effect when the toggle switch is moved downwards.
- Clean Blend
Like the Mix control seen on some pedals, the “Clean Blend” knob can alter the ratio between the original signal and the processed one. You can either blend overdrive or fuzz with your clean tone using the knob. When moved in a clockwise direction, the wet signal gets intensified depending on the selected effect.
- Equalizer Controls
The pedal has its own way of equalizing your sound. Two different controls are available for this purpose. The small “Clean Tone” knob strictly applies to the dry signal and brightens or dulls the tone. Cutting back on the Clean Tone control will cut the treble and enhance the bass. The second “Tone” knob is more focused on the wet signal. You can adjust the EQ of the fuzz and overdriven signal with this knob. Turning in a clockwise direction will boost the bass.
- Under the Hood
Apart from the controls discussed thus far, the pedal allows you to further fine-tune the functions of many available knobs by tweaking some trim pots within the metallic chassis. You can adjust the overdrive and fuzz mix with the four trim pots inside. Not only that, but you can also set the corner frequencies or enhance the overdrive effect’s higher end.
- Footswitch & Connectivity
The not-so-fancy footswitch will bypass or activate the Pork & Pickle unit indicated by the blue LED at the very top of the user interface. The single quarter-inch input and output jack can be found top-mounted on the unit. Finally, between the two ports is the 9V power jack. A good thing about the Pork & Pickle is that a 9V battery can juice it.
An exciting feature of this two-in-one pedal is how you can boost or cut the high/low frequencies of the clean end wet signals independently. Toggling between fuzz and overdrive couldn’t be easier, and if you’re not satisfied with how the controls on the interface react, you can always adjust the internal trim pots.
It’s great to have a pedal that gives you two separate effects to work with, but maybe the people at Way Huge missed the trick in not allowing both effects to be used simultaneously. Also, the trim pots are great but would’ve been much easier to use if they were placed on the surface for ease of use.
13. Darkglass Microtubes B7K Ultra
This monster of an overdrive pedal has much going for it, thanks to Darkglasse’s innovative execution.
As you read on, you’ll notice how well-endowed the pedal is in terms of tone shaping. Measuring 2.24 inches by 4.92 inches by 3.77 inches, the unit comes loaded with tons of knobs and switches that control various aspects of the B7K ultra.
Although on the expensive side compared to others on the list, this overdrive unit adds saturation to your bass tone, allows tonal manipulation through a multi-band EQ, and has a truckload of input/output options to ensure that you won’t need to upgrade anytime soon having this baby on your board.
- Master & Level
The “Master” and “Level” knobs are more or less similar in function. However, both have different applications. The Master knob acts as the overall volume control of the device. On the other hand, the Level control focuses on controlling the overdrive section’s volume.
- Blend & Drive
Depending on how intense you want the overdrive to be, the “Drive” control sets the saturation of the effect. The “Blend” knob will help you dial in the wet signal with reference to the dry signal. The overdriven signal will take over as the Blend control is moved clockwise. However, if you want to hear more of the dry signal, you can turn the knob in the other direction.
- Attack Switch
The “Attack” switch has three graphs below it that indicate what happens in each setting. The downward-sloping graph shows a reduction in saturation in the upper frequencies. The rising graph depicts that the treble frequencies will have more clarity and articulation in this setting. Finally, in the flat setting, the upper echelon frequencies will remain untouched.
- Grunt Switch
The “Grunt” switch works similarly, but here the focus is on the lower frequencies. The flat setting is neutral and won’t affect the lower frequencies. When the downward-sloping graph is selected, the lower frequencies get enhanced clarity. The inversely shaped graph, however, places more saturation in the lower register.
The center section is all about the Mids. The “Lo Mids” switch selects the frequencies for boosting and cutting. The options here include 500 Hz, 1kHz, and 250Hz. Once selected, the Lo Mids knob can be rotated to boost or cut by +/-12dB. The “Hi Mids” switch borrows the same concept and helps choose the frequencies the Hi Mid knob will boost or cut by 12 dB. The options here include 750Hz, 1.5kHz, and 3kHz.
The top and side panel is full of connection jacks for various purposes. At the top, you’ll find a quarter-inch instrument input and an amp output of the same size. Next to these is an aux-in for connecting to a mobile device and a headphone jack for silent jamming. The sides have a USB port for firmware updates or to control different aspects of the unit through a Mac or Windows system. You’ll also find on the sides a ground life button to eliminate low-end hum and a “Cab Sim” button to activate/deactivate cab simulation. Finally, an XRL direct output is handy when connecting to a PA system.
The combination of frequency-selecting switches and boost/cut knobs provide fine-tuning at a cellular level, making EQ adjustments a ton of fun. You can add saturation and girth to your bass sound and have enough leveling controls to cut through the mix.
Since the B7K Ultra focuses on enhancing the bass frequencies, making it better suited for some genres. An ideal pedal for death, thrash metal, and even grunge, the overall sound may not be for everyone, although it all comes down to your preference as a bass player.
EBS Bill Sheehan Ultimate Signature Drive
EBS hits it right out of the park with this beautiful sky-blue signature pedal for the modern bass player.
No matter how deep you are in your bass guitar playing journey, surely you’re no stranger the Billy Sheehan, the bass guitarist extraordinaire. Playing for some of the biggest names in the industry, such as David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, and the guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, Sheehan has carved quite a name for himself.
Capturing the essence of all things great about Billy Sheehan’s bass rig, this signature pedal won’t disappoint. By looking at the interface, you can be sure of how feature-rich this unit is and how well it will fill the void on any bass player’s pedalboard.
- Drive & Tone
You can add subtle or more profound drive to your bass guitar signal by rotating the “Drive” knob. Moving in a clockwise direction will intensify the gain. The “Tone” knob is engineered in such a way that it provides a way to make tonal changes in the lower and higher midrange echelon, which is unlike how the Tone control works on most pedals.
- Level & Clean
Before any processing occurs on your bass signal, the “Clean” knob will help dial in the volume for the clean channel. This is before any compression or overdrive is applied to it. The nearby “Level” knob controls the drive channel’s level.
- Freq Switch & Phase Switch
You’ll see three different switches on the Ultimate Signature Drive. The “Freq” or frequency switch is designed to toggle “Hi” or “Lo” settings. This changes the frequency tier available for the Tone knob to adjust. Next is the “Phase” switch. The pedal can be run in normal mode or in a mode where the phase is inverted to preserve the lower end when overdrive is added to the overall sound.
- Comp Switch
The third and most comprehensive of the switches is the “Comp” or Compression switch. This section allows you to throw in medium to high levels of compression. You can also eliminate the effect by turning “Off” the switch. You’ll experience the most compression and 6dB of makeup gain at the high setting.
- Connections, Active & Boost
The Signature drive has a dual footswitch design. The left switch activates the boost the gain when pressed. The other footswitch simply turns the pedal on/off. The pedal’s right side hosts a clean loop input and a quarter-inch instrument input. You’ll find a drive loop jack and a standard quarter-inch output on the opposite side. A 9V power supply or a 9V battery can power the pedal.
- Internal Controls
If all the adjustable parameters at your disposal are not enough for you, you can simply pop open the signature pedal and get access to some trim pots. The Boost trip pot can alter the behavior of the Boost footswitch. You can turn the pot to set the boost level between +10dB and +3dB. You can also adjust the amount of compression dialed in when the switch is set to the middle position by turning the Comp trim pot. You can further manipulate the compression settings by setting the threshold at which compression will occur. This can be achieved by turning the THR. trim pot.
- Amp Chip
Another unique feature of this signature pedal is that the internal amp chip is not soldered to the circuit board and can be removed for replacement if needed. You can alter the pedal’s characteristics by adding any other amp chip.
Not only does this signature pedal accurately recreate Bill Sheehan’s bass sound, but you get a vast array of controls at your disposal. The internal trim pots are built to add further customizable options to the Signature Drive pedal. In a single unit, you get compression circuitry, phase inversion, and frequency altering which is great.
The Bill Sheehan Ultimate Signature Drive pedal from EBS seems to be one of the most complete bass pedals out there, and it’s a challenge to say anything negative about it. However, if I had to, I’d say maybe it could do with an additional switch that would allow toggling between active and passive bass pickups.
Overdrive pedals provide some of the best and most entertaining experiences, period. Originally these pedals were designed to replicate the sound of tube Amps cranked up to their max limit. That should give you an idea of just how powerful these pedals sound. If you’ve been deprived of the experience, we strongly urge you to indulge yourself.
If you’re new to the world of Overdrive pedals and are looking for a simple, easy-to-use option, 2 blasts from the past Pedals, the Boss OD-3 Overdrive and Nobel’s ODR-1 Natural Overdrive, more than have you covered. If you’re unsure and want to test the water with a budget-friendly but powerful Overdrive pedal, then the Behringer Bass Overdrive BOD400 is the most obvious option. If you’re constantly moving and want a compact plug-and-play option, MXR’s Timmy Overdrive CSP027 will be ideal.
The 3 Overdrive pedals with all the essential effects include Boss’s ODB-3 Bass Overdrive, the Electro-Harmonix Bass Soul Food Overdrive, and MXR’s Bass Overdrive M89. If you’re looking for more comprehensive options, the Darkglass Alpha Omicron Bass OD and Way Huge Smalls Pork & Pickle Overdrive offer more features.
Tech 21’s SansAmp YYZ (Geddy Lee) and Darkglass Microtubes B7K Ultra offer even more features, even straying slightly outside the Overdrive genre and venturing into the realm of multi-effect pedals. If you want multi-effect pedals that bring multiple connectivity ports, select Ampeg’s SCR-DI Bass DI or the EBS Billy Sheehan Ultimate Signature Drive.
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Sultan Zafar is a guitar player from Islamabad, Pakistan. He has been playing music with various mainstream musicians for over 20 years. He is a song writer and music producer. These days he spends his time exploring different music genres and collaborating with fellow musicians on various projects. Read more..