best overdrive pedals for blues and metal

Here’s a look at our favorites, including our top pick the – Electro-Harmonix CRAYON

 

When it comes to playing blues specifically, you need realistic overdrive effects that retain and sustain your guitar’s natural tone as well as your dynamic playing. We believe in overdrive pedals that are versatile enough to faithfully cover the entire overdrive spectrum, from mild gain to full blown distortion.

There are a lot of amps out there with built in overdrive effects that just don’t cut it. We’re writing this review because we know what it’s like looking for your first overdrive pedal, or even your tenth. It’s just hard to get a good feel for distortion/overdrive pedals online without playing them yourself, which is why we selected and played them for you.

With so many overdrive pedals on the market it’s hard to cut through to the truly gold pedals. We’ve hand selected the 5 best overdrive pedals for blues (and even metal if you prefer) based on our years of experience in recording studios, on tour, and just jamming with the band at our practice space. A great overdrive pedal has to sound realistic, offer plenty of tone shaping options, and cut through the mix in just the right way.

We know that there’s a lot of widely known overdrive pedals out there that you might be expecting to see on our list, like the Ibanez Tube Screamer or the Fulltone OCD. Yes, we’ve included these pedals in our buyer’s guide, but you might be surprised by some of our other picks like the EHX Crayon & Hot Tube pedals.

 

Electro-Harmonix CRAYON 76 Full Range Overdrive Pedal

 

ehx crayon top rated overdrive pedal for blues

 

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The Electro-Harmonix CRAYON delivers a wide range on tonal possibilities with enough gain to offer up mild overdrive sounds as well as full blown metal distortion. When paired with the Electro-Harmonix Hot Wax pedal, you’ve got a tone monster on your hands that you’ll probably never take off your board.

The Crayon’s bass and treble knobs allow you to achieve any tonal range you want from completely scooping the mids, making the treble bite, or just fattening up your bass if that’s what your after. You can also dial in the perfect frequency to cut through your bands mix.

 

 

Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes Nano Overdrive

 

 

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That’s right, it’s another Electro-Harmonix pedal taking the number 2 spot on our list. The Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes Overdrive is one of the most realistic tube overdrives you’ll ever play. With 3 distinct control knobs, and a tone switch to really take things up a notch, this pedal will give you the realistic gain you need to play the blues.

When you pair this pedal with the EHX Crayon you can achieve, in our opinion, some of the best overdrive tones available to the modern guitarist. The Hot Tubes Overdrive really adds a fatness to the Crayon that makes these two pedals combined one of the deadliest combos on the market.

 

 

Fulltone Fulldrive2 MOSFET Overdrive Boost

 

 

 

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Next up is the Fulltone Fulldrive 2, many guitarists swear by this pedal for it’s accurate tone preservation and built in boost functionality. The amount of tone sculpting available on the Fulltone Fulldrive 2 makes it a favorite among overdrive pedal aficionados. Personally, we know a lot of friends who have used the Fulltone Fulldrive 2 on several of their personal studio recordings, and we’ve used it on a track or two ourselves.

The Fulltone Fulldrive 2 might not be the most stylish pedal, but it sounds so good that it doesn’t even have to look sexy, just take a listen for yourself.

 

 

Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pedal

 

 

tube screamer 808 top rated overdrive pedal for blues

 

 

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Of course, this wouldn’t be an overdrive buyer’s guide without including the world famous Ibanez Tube Screamer. Everyone loves this pedal, and that’s pretty much all you need to know about it. There are so many clones of this pedal in the world out in the world it’s ridiculous. If you want to own one of the most iconic overdrive sounds in the world then look no further than the Tube Screamer.

You can’t get a much warmer or more natural tube overdrive sound than this Tube Screamer. If you’re looking for a quick fix and easy to use tool overdrive tool, then please just pick this up now.

 

 

Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion

boss os2 absolute best overdrive pedal for blues

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Last on our list is the Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion. This is a simple but effective overdrive & distortion pedal with enough drive/gain to melt your face and your neighbor’s dog’s face too. The addition of the Color knob gives you the ability to scoop mids, add treble, or a little bass. Essentially you can achieve a huge range of tones, which makes this pedal extremely versatile & deadly for any mix situation.

The Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion is a nice affordable pedal with a lot of tone options, and we’d recommend it to anyone who likes its sound.

 

 

Did You Find The Overdrive Pedal You Need?

It’s our strong belief that these 5 overdrive pedals are the best in the industry for blues and even metal if you’d prefer. If you disagree then let us know so we can improve our buyer’s guide. However, we’re convinced you’ll love any of these overdrive pedals, especially the Electro Harmonix options.

Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with any of these pedals, because no matter what overdrive pedal you end up selecting from our list it all comes down to your performance and playing. So, tighten up those blues riffs & hopefully our overdrive selection will help you get to where you want to go!

I’ve been a guitarist for over 10 years. My experience in different bands has taught me a lot about all types of gear. Please let me know if you have any questions about our featured products 😀 eric@musicstorecentral.com