A Few Overdrives to Choose From ($180 - $220 range)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by BassGod, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    I've searched, but still need tonnes of input!

    Well, I'm getting excited. My planned pedalboard has gone through several changes, but I think I'll be done planning as soon as I pick a nice overdrive. I was gonna go for a cheapie, but I'd like to spend a bit more, I've decided.

    It's kinda hard to describe in words what I'm looking for, but I'll try. I need a 'snarly', 'grindy' sort of tone, that's heavy in the mid range, and will cut through the mix when engaged. Not a heavy amount of saturation either, just gritty tone.

    I've got a few choices here, all around the same price range. I won't have a chance to try before I buy, unfortunately, so the one I buy will be bought from Musician's Friend.

    1. Electro-Harmonix English Muff'n (appx. $220.00 CDN)

    Firstly, I'm a fan of EHX. I own two of their pedals currently and am more than satisfied with them. The idea of having tubes right in the pedal intrigues me, and the sound clips from the EHX site sound great. Pricey though, and I don't know how this pedal would hold up in shipping. Out of curiousity, does it come in the classic pine box?

    2. Electro-Harmonix Graphic Fuzz (appx. $180.00 CDN)

    Another entry from EHX. Now this one looks interesting because of the EQing capabilities, which could provide more tonal options, and because the saturation reacts to how hard you pluck, like an envelope filter. No tubes, so I guess I'd lose that natural grit. It's also huge looking, which is a bad thing. Cheaper, with more tonal variety though.

    3. Radial Tonebone Hot British (appx. $220.00 CDN)

    Again, this one has a tube inside, which I still think is pretty cool. Looks like it's built tougher than either of the EHX pedals. Nice mid boost switch, I doubt I'd have much of a problem cutting through with this. I'm not exactly sure whether it's built for distortion or OD though.

    4. Radial Tonebone Classic (appx. $220.00 CDN)

    Pretty much the same as above, I'm actually not sure of the differences, besides the difference of controls. Made in Canada, which is pretty cool.

    The less expensive ones I looked at were the Marshall Bluesbreaker ($110 CDN) and the EHX Double Muff ($75 CDN).

    I have a few specific questions too.

    1. What are the advantages of having tubes in the pedal? Are two better than one?
    2. Is there anything else in the price range worth checking out?
    3. How often do tubes die out, in general?
    4. Approximately how much do tubes cost?
    5. Would active pickups hinder the performance of any of these pedals? (Active EMGs)
    6. How would you rate the durability of these pedals?

    Remember, I need something that can cut through the mix like a hot knife through butter, won't eat batteries constantly, and will last a long time. You guys helped me to pick an EQ pedal, I hope you can do the same here!

    Graeme :bassist:
  2. John C. Reilly

    John C. Reilly

    Feb 24, 2004
    I would try to find a barber Deep FRyer or the new trex bass juice. also the xotic bass bb would be a cool pedal to check out. when you say "grindy" do you mean similar to bob weston tone in shellac?
  3. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Well, the closest tone I could relate to would be Jason Newsted's, with Voivod. Thanks for the help, I'll check those suggestions out if I can.

  4. jamesblue

    jamesblue Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2005
    Central Maryland
    Fulltone Bass Drive II is the best sounding pedal I've ever heard in 15 years.
    I've had mine for 5 years and it works great!!
    It's about $200, go to musictoyz.com or the fulltone web site and order direct. You won't be disappointed, it sounds like what a bass OD is supposed too. Read some reviews on harmonycentral. :bassist:
  5. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    "Snarly, mid heavy, biting, cut through the mix, etc"

    A Hao Rust Ride will do all those things easily. All those things can be coaxed out of a BJF Blueberry if you set them right, though that pedal is better for less grind and more of a bigger, overdriven version of the original sound. A guitarist might call it, "chunk."

    Others in the range: Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive (Tubescreamer circuit), DAM Ezekiel (several settings; one being a Alembic F-1x clone I believe, EBS Multidrive, Soldano GTO (I doubt this is what you are looking for)

  6. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    Fulltone Bass Drive. Just buy it.
  7. LeftyLB70P


    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    ++1 on the Fulltone

    Awesome pedal!!
  8. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    +++1 Fulltone.
  9. 33degrees


    Jun 4, 2005
    fulltone bassdrive with the new 3 way switch (not the old version with push pull comp cut)
  10. seaKamp


    Jun 30, 2005
    Where can you find one of these?
  11. Fulltone Dot Com

  12. OblivionBass


    Jul 3, 2005
    I havent tried it, but i was planning to get a fulltone this month
    :hyper: we can be brothers!
  13. Sako


    Nov 4, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    I've got an old blue Fulltone Bassdrive and it is freakin' awesome. Best OD I've tried.
  14. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    About the Fulltone: Do those of you who own one play with guitarists who also use overdrive/distortion? And if so, do you find yourself lost in the mix when you engage the Bass-Drive? I only ask because this pedal has no mid knob, so I don't want a scooped out kinda sound. Otherwise this pedal looks great. Oh, and what is the 'Comp-Cut' thing on the volume knob?

    I've tried a Sparkledrive, and just didn't like it. But I will try to find some info on the Rust Ride.

    I think right now, I've got it down to the EHX English Muff'n, or the Fulltone Bass-Drive. No one seems to have any experience with the Tonebone, so I don't really know about that one.

    Thanks for the help so far, but as always more info is appreciated.

    Graeme :bassist:
  15. 33degrees


    Jun 4, 2005
    order it from one of those websites with a 7 day trial. or just buy it and its going to be very unlikely that you don't like it or if in fact you do it won't be difficult to sell it.
  16. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Forgot to mention... I was looking at the Bass-Drive, but didn't see a 'Bass-Drive II', or one with three switches, as someone had mentioned. I was looking at this thing:


    This is the one being reccomended no? Just a little confused, heh heh.

  17. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Bah, I say get the Muff'n, it's my prefered OD pedal but I've got other things to waste my money on at the moment :(.
  18. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Okay I have a few more questions, so please bare with me!

    So it's officially down to the Fulltone Bass-Drive, and the EHX English Muff'n. Now the questions...

    On the Fulltone in Boost mode, can you bypass the whole pedal just by hitting the On/Off switch, or do you have to hit the Boost off first?

    Is the Fulltone meant too be an OD or a distortion? Or, is it an OD in stage one, and a heavier distortion in Boost?

    I mean, the option of a foot controlled volume boost is cool, and seems convenient, but I keep thinking when I need a big boost in volume, I could just engage my Big Muff or Guv'nor, rendering the boost switch useless. Also, I keep thinking that the tubes in the EHX pedal will automatically make it sound better, which most likely isn't true, but if everyone raves about tubey OD, surely real tubes are the way to go?

    Sorry to ask so many questions, but it's a lot of money when you only make eight bucks an hour! ;)

    So yeah, I've got plenty of info on the Fulltone, but I can't find any soundclips. And I'd really like some more info on the Muff'n. The soundclips of it sound awesome, but again I'm worried about how it will sound in a band situation.

    Graeme :help: ;)

    EDIT: I was searching for info on the Fulltone, and found that many favour the Comp-Cut mode, but complain of a huge volume increase in boost mode. But can't this be countered with the boost knob? (basically, I'm asking if the boost knob adds only volume, or if it adds more drive)
  19. FunkyLemz


    Oct 17, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think the winner between that battle would easily be the Fulltone. At least that's what the masses say. Big price difference, but I really dig my Bassdrive.
  20. Original marshall guvnor or the fulltone or the muffn.