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Boost and Overdrive

12 of the Best OCD Style Pedals

Boost and OverdriveCrowther AudioDanelectroDistortionDOD EffectsDriveElectro-HarmonixFulltone EffectsHamstead SoundworksHot Cake Style OverdriveJoyo EffectsMojo Hand FXMooerMulti-DriveMXROCD Style OverdriveOverdriveVick Audio+-
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I will make lots of disclaimers and provisos at the start of this piece. To my mind there are actually relatively few proper quality intended OCD clones - the Joyo Ultimate Drive, Mojo Hand FX Rook, Mooer Hustle Drive and Vick Audio Tree of Life amongst them. The rest here all have significant overlap and share certain aspects of the OCD tone although not necessarily the whole frequency range / a direct correlation.


When I acquired the Hamstead Odyssey Intergalactic Driver shortly before Christmas, I initially bought it because of its superb sound quality and enormous versatility. It was only when tweaking around with the various dials and toggle switches that I figured out that the Odyssey could very closely match the entire OCD profile I used, and do quite a bit more besides. Meaning that the Odyssey has bumped the OCD from its number 11 slot in my chain - as my now main ’OCD’ pedal of choice - which is something I did not really expect to happen.


As with my take on the ’Klon’ and ’Dumble’, there is usually an aspect of the core tone that I am seeking, and in this instance the OCD is the 5th pedal along in my overdrive chain, and thus the highest in gain of my overdrive pedals - or a little over medium gain as such - and always in the HP voicing.


Of all the pedals listed, the Plimsoul is sort of the odd one out - I had always intended to get that pedal as a sometime occasional swap-out for the OCD, but it is more of a medium to heavy gain than the light to medium of the OCD - I find the OCD slightly crunchier than the relatively smoother Plimsoul although in my area of interest they do have some degree of overlap.


I read a few reviews of the EHX Glove where it is said to be rather Marshall-esque in tone, while I find it a touch closer to the core timbres and textures of the OCD. I also find the Crowther HotCake, Danelectro Cool Cat Drive, DOD Overdrive 250 and MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion pretty close to the core OCD tone I like, even though the last mentioned is also heavily associated with Marshall rock tones too.


I have long intended getting a Fulltone Plimsoul for temporary swap-out purposes, otherwise I have no plans to add anything in the OCD area - I had not really intended to so with the Odyssey - it obviously was not on anyone’s radar, but it just turned out to be a really good match, and a great versatile and therefore permanent fixture.


Original listed first, then alphabetical.

Fulltone OCD - £149


When I got back into guitar, the OCD was actually the drive I played the most with initially for whatever reason. After a few months the Tumnus and Blues Driver (Blues Mood) rose in prominence, and I played the OCD a little less, even though it was still a proper staple part of my chain. I really love this pedal texturally so I had not mind really to swap it out within anything other than a Fulltone Plimsoul on occasion. Then came the Hamstead Odyssey, after which I then did some follow-up research on what was officially out there to take on the same ideal sounds of the OCD.


As always the message board hint at this and that, but many are wrong, and as all our ears hear things slightly differently, I largely disagreed with other persons opinions were about OCD clones. As stated. I have a particular tone in mind and it is obvious to me when I hear something close to that, which I feel is the case for all of the above. I consider the Fulltone OCD a totally classic tone / pedal and one of my favourites of all time, but the new Odyssey can deliver those kinds of tones with ease!

Crowther Audio HotCake - £175


I have featured the HotCake before in my piece on the 18 best (transparent) overdrive pedals. Yet failed to register at the time how similar to an OCD this pedal is capable of sounding. Both have this really great bright saturated crunch sound with rich harmonic distortion artefacts. And while tonal frequency profiles may not be identical, it is surprising to me at least how similar you can get those two pedals to sound. However good the HotCake may sound I don't really need another OCD of any description - particularly when I have both the OCD and Odyssey available for swap-outs.

Danelectro Cool Cat V2 Drive - £29


Really great low-cost alternative to OCD - available for under £30! It's incredible how good the Cool Cat sounds for that little money. Obviously if you have the funds I recommend get the original, if money is tight, you cannot go wrong with the Cool Cat - a proper cool pedal in every way. The only downside really is its odd and slightly bulky shape. I believe some of these Danelectro enclosures are plastic too - which explains the low cost to a degree.

DOD Overdrive Preamp 250 - discontinued - £89 new


Surprisingly versatile overdrive with just 2 control dials - and sort of verging on fuzzy at higher gain, this relatively recently discontinued pedal still has a fair amount of overlap with a crunchy OCD. I would have preferred an additional tone control or two here, but for what it does this pedal is weirdly versatile and still in stock in odd places - try on Ebay and if interested.

EHX OD Glove - £64


Another incredibly good value overdrive with 'Tone Shift' voicing dial - covers a lot of similar territory as an OCD - with an equally broad range of gain. Some commentators note that its crunch is Marshall-esque, while to my ears it's definitely much closer to the sound of an OCD. For its highly affordable price, this one is definitely worth auditioning - it may surprise you!

Fulltone Plimsoul - £159


Really smart medium-to-high gain drive with smart 'Stage 2' dial to ramp up the distortion. Has a slightly smoother tonal palette to my ears vs the OCD, and not at all really a replacement swap-out, although it does have a touch of overlap at upper-mid gain. This has long been on my wishlist as an intended occasional swap-out for the OCD, not a replacement.

Hamstead Odyssey Intergalactic Driver - £219


I picked up this wonderful pedal in its first batch edition - just before Christmas after being blown away by a demo on That Pedal Show. It has a number of really clever toggle selectors which allow you to set the EQ-stack before or after the gain, ramp up the gain multiplier level, and change clipping options. Covers a huge range of gain, textures and tone across overdrive, distortion and fuzz. And somewhat surprisingly covers OCD tones with ease. When I first got it, I had not decided where it was going to sit within my pedal chain, but realised pretty early on that it could really competently cover off OCD style sounds and give me a tonne of variety besides. This is really quite a special pedal, and offers quite a bit more than the Fulltone OCD, but it can handle that as well. Currently my OCD-style+ pedal of choice.

Joyo Ultimate Drive - £33


Another really low-cost OCD style clone for around about the same price as the Danelectro Cool Cat. Both sound pretty great, but I prefer the look and form-factor of this latter one. The looks of the Cool Cat are rather Marmite-ish, and its dials are not quite as visible or easy to tweak. They're both pretty good, but I would probably take this one over the Cat.

Mooer Hustle Drive - £37


Another Mooer classic clone, and the best of the mini OCD clones of which there are a few. I already have this, for a more miniature backup of my OCD, and it really impresses. If your pedalboard space is tight, then this will make a more than competent alternative for the majority of players. I've not found a lot of use for it yet but it really does sound close enough to me. Of course it comes after the Odyssey and original OCD in the pecking order.

Mojo Hand FX Rook - £179


Not necessarily an exact match to an OCD, but pretty well close enough for me - this benefits from a 3-way voicing toggle which provides increasing levels of gain. It is a full Danelectro Cool Cat dearer than the original OCD, so by all means factor that in. Some players however find the OCD a touch over-harsh, so you may prefer the tonal profile of this pedal and be willing to pay a little more for the privilege. To me they both sound great and it's really down to the ears and dynamic feel of the individual musician.

MXR Custom Badass '78 Distortion - £96


Another pedal like the EHX Glove which is often too associated with a slightly Marshall-esque tone, although I find it slightly more closely matched to the OCD Style. Has a sort of 'Crunch' boost switch for more gain, and can sound really nicely crunchy - very much like the original OCD. I find it sounds quite close to the EHX Glove too - which is a good 1/3rd less expensive.

Vick Audio Tree of Life - £110


This pedal is pretty new to me and I only came across it in my recent OCD research, but it sounds pretty decent, and according to the Vic Audio website it is modelled on the Zendrive for its low-gain tone and on the OCD for its higher gain register. It is relatively moderately priced and pretty decent sounding too. Everyone's ideal frequency profile is slightly different, so it may well be that this might be your favourite OCD-type pedal, it certainly warrants consideration.

Final Thoughts


Despite its status as one of the all-time great overdrives, the OCD has not attracted nearly as many copies / clones / alternatives as many of the other pedal types. There's lots of arguments as to which is the absolute 'BEST' sounding OCD in and of itself as the V2 was just launched last year, and V1 went through 7 iterations - of which I have the last V1.7 one which I really like. So even on the OCD front there are a variety of essentially different sounding pedals.


Many really love its rich and complex distortion character - including myself, while others prefer a slightly smoother type of distortion - which is why it's handy that there are so many clones and mods around - you can find your preferred derivation of the core flavour that best suits your preferences.


I had never really intended owning more than the original OCD and the mini Mooer Hustle Drive clone, but the Hamstead Odyssey just seemed like a must-have, and there is only so much space in your pedal-chain or on your board. I don't really intend to get any further OCD clones or derivations, although I would like to get my hands on a Fulltone Plimsoul at some stage.

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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