Best cheap guitar overdrive pedals for beginners
Best cheap guitar overdrive pedals for beginners that looking for good tone quality without spending a fortune trying.
Best low cost guitar overdrive pedals
Today you can get clones or pedals based on classics of excellent quality and at a fraction of the price of the original. Although, of course, the originals are usually above in quality and tone, the cheap pedals have great audio and for most guitarists it would be difficult to really recognize between the cheap pedal and the original.
The list is not intended to be exhaustive. We include a wide range of styles. But before going to the list, we will give you a guide that will help you when choosing a drive pedal, be it an Overdrive, a Booster or a Distortion.
How to choose an Overdrive pedal?
Let’s start with the basics. Most of Overdrive’s pedals are made of metal, although you can find some with plastic housings. The metal will last longer and longer considering that you will be stepping on it constantly.
Pedal power supply
There are some pedals, especially from small independent manufacturers that only offer battery power, due to the myth that power supplies are noisy. Intensive use or forgetting the pedal activated overnight will keep you going for a long time to buy 9-volt batteries. Also, in the long run it will be very expensive.
Overdrive pedal tone
The selection of the tone is really very subjective. However, we can name things that are highly appreciated by most guitarists.
Gain Pedal Dynamics
This refers to how it responds to the different strikes or punches, if when you attack the string stronger, the greater volume or energy generated is corresponded with greater volume and saturation, then the pedal will have “dynamics”. On the other hand, if the volume and saturation level is stable, no matter how soft or strong the string attacks, then that pedal lacks dynamics.
How the overdrive pedal clears the volume
Another concept related to dynamics is how to “clean” a pedal. This is if by lowering the volume of the guitar, decreasing the signal entering the pedal, the saturation of the pedal goes down, “cleaning” the audio sounding cleaner. If the pedal takes a cleaner tone – less saturated – when lowering the volume control or attacking the string softer, it means that it cleans well. On the contrary, if you keep the saturation level, it means that it does not clean well.
Character and combination with amplifier
When choosing a pedal, you can start by considering what your reference guitarists or those playing your style of music use. For example, you think of Stevie Ray Vaughan and then you think of an Ibanez Tube Screamer.
You can also consider what type or brand of amp you like, and which pedals are famous for going well with those amps. You can also see which Overdrives have similar character. For example, if you play with Marshall, you can consider which pedals have their audio based on the Marshall tone, for example: BB Preamp by Xotic, Glory Morning by JHS, or even Marshall pedals like the Bluesbreaker.
Another option is to see if they match well with that amp. We can give some examples: the Tube Screamer (TS), although it can be used in any amplifier, it is known that the combination with a Fender does not fail. The Fender with its scooped audio – higher highs and lows, and less mids – complements well with the TS which is a mid-focused Overdrive.
You should also consider the combination with the guitar. There are Overdrive pedals that work better for humbuckers or vice versa, better for singlecoils.
The best affordable overdrive pedals
We show you the best low-cost Overdrive pedals that will serve as a good starting point to enter this fascinating world.
Boss SD-1 Super Over Drive
This pedal is found on many pedalboards. Since its introduction in the early ’80s, the SD-1 has been a great option for “pushing” the amp’s preamp. The controls are Level -volume-, Tone and Drive -gain- offering a wide range of tonal options, while keeping the pedal’s functionality quite simple.
This pedal is designed after the TS. It’s not meant to be a TS, but it does provide a solid midrange classic rock crunch like the Tube Screamer does. It can also give you an old school metal tone when paired with amp distortion.
Its classic and simple design has opened the SD-1 to a large niche of “mod” market, so if mods are something you are interested in, then this little beast might be worth it.
Joyo JF-01 Vintage Overdrive
Joyo offers inexpensive Overdrive pedals, each offering a different grain and saturation. They are all made of aluminum chassis with gain / drive, tone and volume controls. Each effects unit works with a 9V battery, or with an AC adapter and power supply in a pedal board.
This little green and yellow pedal has a ton of tones. Imitating the Tube Screamer. It gives the guitarist a vintage overdrive sound, ideal especially for blues and rock. A great option with controls for volume, tone, and drive – gain – it will be easy to dial in the sound you are looking for.
Joyo JF-2 Ultimate Drive
The Joyo JF-2 Ultimate Drive pedal is based on the Fulltone OCD Overdrive. An Overdrive with a lot of gain that reaches levels of Distortion and has a switch to choose between a Treble mode or another Bass (Bass).
Mooer Hustle Drive
Mooer has been on the scene since 2010 and produced mostly small or “micro” pedals at first. They continue to make pedals, as well as amps, preamps, multi-effects processors, and accessories for musicians around the world.
The Mooer Hustle Drive is another OCD based pedal. It has an additional feature that the other Overdrive pedals listed don’t. One HP / LP switch. When in HP mode, you can boost its lower end. When in LP mode, you can enhance your clean sound with just a touch of sand.
Joyo JF-14 American Sound
Joyo has built a line of amp-in-a-box based on Tech 21 preamps. These pedals are designed to connect directly to the line without the need to go through an amplifier. However, they sound great on the front of an amp, they double as an Overdrive pedal.
The American Sound is a “Fender in a box”, based on the Deluxe Tweed, but with great versatility to give sounds like Blackface or Bassman. Ideal for use with vintage type amplifiers that do not have a master. Simulating to be the amp drive, they can also be used as the “second” channel.
This is one of our best cheap guitar overdrive pedals.
Joyo JF-13 AC Tone
The AC Tone is a “Vox in a box”, based on the AC30, it gives you everything from The Beatles sounds, to Queen – Brian May and everything in between like The Edge by U2. Ideal for use with vintage type amplifiers that do not have a master. Simulating to be the amp drive, they can also be used as the “second” channel.
Joyo JF-16 British Sound
British Sound is a “Marshall in a box”. It can give you tones from a JTM-45 through Plexi to a JCM-800 tone. It will allow you to obtain Clapton tones from the Cream era, rock tones from the 70’s such as Led Zeppelin or AC / DC.
Digitech Bad Monkey Tube Overdrive
This pedal is another one of many based on the TS. But with the addition of two-band tone control: Low -bass- and High -trees-. It is a pedal with an excellent price and great performance. With a similar design to the Boss, it has a robust cabinet. This is one of our best cheap guitar overdrive pedals.
Mooer Flex Boost
The Flex Boost is a pedal that emulates Xotic’s famous AC Booster. It’s a fairly transparent booster / overdrive, ideal for pushing the preamp stage of your rig or other drive pedal. The controls are Gain, Volume, Bass, and Treble. Another great performance pedal with a very competitive price. One of our best cheap guitar overdrive pedals.
Marshall BB-2 Bluesbreaker II
This overdrive and booster is the current Asian version of the 80’s Blues Breaker pedal made in the UK. Emulates the tone of the “Bluesbreaker” amp, popularized by Eric Clapton in his Cream days. The controls are Mode -Blues or Booster-Drive -gain-, Volume and Tone. They are pedals made to withstand a nuclear war, with good tone, and a super accessible price. This is one of our best cheap guitar overdrive pedals.
Related Articles to keeping in tune your guitar and bass: Best 12 tips and tricks to setup your pedalboard.
You can share opinions or also chat about this and more with other musicians in our comments section.