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28 of the Best Compact Overdrive Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection

Analog.ManAnasoundsBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossCrowther AudioCustom TonesDemon PedalsDumble Style OverdriveFoxpedalFulltone EffectsGreer AmpsHamstead SoundworksJ RockettJackson AudioJHS PedalsJRADKlone and Transparent OverdriveMatthews EffectsMenatoneMythos PedalsOCD Style OverdriveOverdrivePaul CochraneSnouse Electric CompanyThorpyFXTimmyTrue North PedalsTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveWampler+-
2020GPX28CompactOverdrives700.jpg

I periodically do these category round-ups, typically triggered by a pedal launch or two, as is the case in this instance. This is my own preferred Overdrive selection - intentionally as broad as possible - with actually 12 categories of overdrives, but could still be an even longer listing, and I’ve had to make some very difficult choices for the final selection even though it is relatively numerous at 28 strong. I would have liked to have included one from my so called ’Harmonic ...

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Brian Menatone Refines his new Vertical Fish Factory Dual Overdrive with Improved Ergonomics

BoostBoost and OverdriveDistortionDriveDual-DriveKlone and Transparent OverdriveMenatoneOverdrive+-
2020GPXMentatonFishFactoryVertical700V2.jpg

It’s only a short while since Brian released his first V1 batch of Vertical edition Menatone Fish Factory pedals - in fact I featured such in a January 21st post. I obviously was interested in acquiring one - but in the haze of NAMM - and by the time I completed my show coverage and got to thinking about which of those pedals I wanted - batch 1 was all but sold out. In fact the last one of that batch sold out just as Brian was reading my requisition note!

 

In any case we got to ...

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Post-NAMM Projected Pedal-Chain, 2020 Roadmap and Wishlist!

AnasoundsBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEarthQuaker DevicesFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGFI SystemGlitchJackson AudioJHS PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveLooperMetal DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOpAmp FuzzOverdriveRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationSilicon FuzzSuper-Fuzz StyleThropyFXTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveUtilityVS Audio+-
2020GPXSKSignalChainPostNAMM700.jpg

I’ve already largely decided what new pedals I will be targeting this year (that I know of!) - following on from the various reveals and announcements made over the last week, and other projects I’m aware of and various themes I will be pursuing in 2020.

 

First of all to explain the above visual - this features and extrapolation of my current pedal-chain - with the NAMM legend in front of various new / newish pedals - Green means already acquired - or at least already ...

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Best of New Guitar Pedals Released in and around the 2020 Winter NAMM Show

Alexander PedalsAnasoundsBeat MachineBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoDeath By AudioDedalo FXDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEarthQuaker DevicesEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGamechanger AudioGated and Velcro FuzzGFI SystemGlitchJackson AudioJHS PedalsKeeley EngineeringKlone and Transparent OverdriveLooperMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMXROCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbPreAmpRack Style ReverbRainger FXRat Style FuzzRed Panda LabRedbeard EffectsReverbRotary SpeakerSilicon FuzzSinvertekSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbSuper-Fuzz StyleTape DelayThorpyFXTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVS AudioWalrus AudioWampler+-
2020GPXWinterNammHighlights700.jpg

So despite the perilous state of the world, the first NAMM of the new decade actually turned out to be pretty stellar. I had thought that last year’s exceptional show might end up as the all-time high water mark - but this one turned out just as many pleasant surprises.

 

Slightly different to last year there were a more significant number of pedals announced and launched in advance of the show - while a lot of pedals at the show had very little by way of collateral and some are ...

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Menatone Unleashes the Vertical Fish Factory combination Red Snapper and Blue Collar Overdrive

BoostBoost and OverdriveDistortionDriveDual-DriveKlone and Transparent OverdriveMenatoneMulti-DriveOverdrive+-
2020GPXMentatonFishFactoryVertical700.jpg

I’m delighted that Brian Mena has finally seen fit to release a Vertical edition of his flagship Fish Factory Combination pedal - which brings together his two legendary overdrive - the Red Snapper and Blue Collar.

 

New in this version also is the series direction toggle-switch so you place each of the overdrives first in the sequence. I personally have never been a fan of the horizontal compact enclosure pedals - so beloved by Zvex Effects in particular - so I was always going to...

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2020GPXMXRCSTimmy700.jpg

I of course am a fan of transparent overdrive pedals and have numerous examples of those in my collection including a proper compact original Timmy - funnily enough in the same patterned / mottled purple as featured in Andy Martin’s below video.

 

The new MXR variety supposedly matches the original entirely in function and tone, albeit some concessions must surely have been made to the circuit in the miniaturisation process - and considering that MXR makes mostly SMT-style circuits...

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2019 New Guitar Pedals of the Year

Ambient EffectsAmp and Cab IR SimBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCusack MusicDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGFI SystemGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball DelayOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRed Panda LabRedbeard EffectsReverb WorkstationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSinvertekSitekSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayThorpyFXTomkat PedalsTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeVox Style DistortionWalrus AudioWamplerWren and Cuff+-
2019GPXNewPedalsOfTheYear700V3.jpg

I’ve long mentioned that we’re living through the second golden age of effects pedals (some say ’Diamond Age’’), and as good as things have been - 2019 took it all to an entirely new level of excellence. I don’t recall any previous year where we’ve had quite the same degree of innovation and so many ingeniously appealing pedals - this year has been so fast and furious - it’s been difficult to keep up at times.

 

I noted in my End of Year ...

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2019 Pedal-Chain Year-End Final Arrangement!

12 Degrees of SaturationAleks K ProductionAmbient EffectsBearfoot FXBeat MachineBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBufferChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorDanDrive PedalDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideExpresso FXFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerJackson AudioKeyztoneKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMu-TronNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationRing ModulationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSinvertekSitek Guitar ElectronicsSlicer and StutterSource AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayTC ElectronicThorpyFXToneQuestTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed Wah+-
2019GPXSKSignalChainYEFinal700.jpg

I’m possibly writing this just a touch prematurely as at the point of writing - one of the pictured pedals hasn’t turned up quite yet, and it will be touch and go if gets released out of customs before the end of the year. That pedal being Sinvertek’s new N5+ Drive - featuring no less than 7 beautifully milled aluminium knobs along with 5 toggle-switches - and all within a compact enclosure format - but more of that later.

 

This year has mostly sort of gone to plan - ...

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Boss OD-200 Hybrid Drive In-Depth Review and Long-Term Impressions

Big Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveDual-DriveFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOverdriveTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style Distortion+-
2019GPXIndepthBossOD200700V6.jpg

This review has taken somewhat longer than I intended - partly because of the considerable scope of variations covered by this pedal, and partly because of my ongoing changing adapted approach to deploying the pedal. My first instincts always seems to lean towards a philosophy of replication and replacement - that is to say trying to figure out which of my preferred / favourite dirt pedals can this one competently stand in for and replace if need be. I have lots of favourite fuzz, drive and ...

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Mini Pedals State of the Art PT 1 : Nine leading examples of Contemporary Mini Pedal Smart Engineering

Ambient EffectsAmp and Cab IR SimBanana EffectsBecos FXBig Muff Style FuzzBoost and OverdriveCompressorDecibelicsDigital ReverbDistortionDSM NoisemakerFree Fall DiverFunction F(X)FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGuitar Synth and SequencerKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulationMooerMulti-DriveOddball FuzzPigtronixReverbReverb WorkstationShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbSuper-Fuzz StyleUtilityXotic Effects+-
2019GPXMiniPedalStateOfArt700V3.jpg

This is my 3rd re-write from scratch of this article - I keep coming across new details! This was initially inspired by the arrival of Mooer’s E7 series - first represented by the Tone Capture GTR, and now by the very recent 7-Mode/7-Presets E7 Synth pedal which continues that distinctive new enclosure format - which is in someways an evolution from Mooer’s Micro-PreAmps - with the same 5 mini knobs and push-button topology, but here accompanied by 7 Mode/Preset LEDs positioned down...

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