Cheap Overdrive Pedals
Okay, you may be asking yourself, ‘What in the world is a “cheap overdrive pedal”?’ Well, I’ll try to answer that as best I can.
If you have an electric guitar and plug it into a small (emphasis on “small”) tube amplifier (as opposed to a solid-state amplifier), and turn the volume waaay up, the output of the guitar is going to be distorted. “Well, that’s bad, isn’t it?” Not necessarily. The amplifier’s preamp is being overdriven by the high-volume setting, and depending on the amplifier, this distorted output can be a very aesthetically pleasing sound. Distortion, or overdrive pedals, (also known as “stomp boxes”, because they are commonly a small metal box that sits on the floor with a button or pedal that you stomp on) emulate the sound of an overdriven amplifier. This desirable overdriven sound, which really is just a form of distortion, is what makes rock ‘n roll guitars sound like they do- Really Groovy. The perfect example of an overdriven electric guitar is the opening lick of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”. Or, how about the intro to “Smoke on the Water”? Many guitarists spend many dollars in the quest for a perfect overdrive pedal. I should know. I am one of them. I am a gear head.
What do they cost?
However, there are a gabillion overdrive pedals available on the market and many of them are very expensive. Many hundreds of dollars can be spent for a good overdrive pedal. But wait! The good news is, a great overdrive pedal does not have to be expensive. It can be affordable, inexpensive, or even cheap and still sound great.
If you’re going to look for a good overdrive pedal, start cheap. A good place to start looking is Amazon. Just search “overdrive pedal” and you’ll come up with a slew of them. There is a company called Behringer that makes inexpensive effects pedals that are very reasonably priced and sound quite good. They make a couple of different overdrive pedals. What I mean by reasonably priced is between $25 and $45. There are other brands of cheap overdrive pedals, most of them made in China, that are priced similarly. “Why Amazon?” you may ask. Because you
have a 30 day return policy if you don’t like the product. So, at the low prices Amazon offers you can buy a couple or even three different pedals and see which one you like the best and return the other two. You don’t need to have a reason. There is a brand name called Arion which makes an overdrive pedal called a “Tubulator”. If you can find one expect to pay about $30. This is a terrific cheap pedal. You may find one in a retail store, but you can for sure find one on eBay. I have two of them. If you can find one, get two. I also have another boutique overdrive pedal that I paid $425 for that can’t stand up to my Tubulators. Yup. True story. Other brand names to look out for are Zoom, Daphon, and Johnson.
Word of warning
Of course, the words “cheap, inexpensive, affordable” are all relative. What’s inexpensive to one person may be expensive to another.
So, play it safe and start cheap.
Who wants to waste money?