A proper mixture of tube guitar amps and overdrive pedals is one of the factors that made guitar heroes what they are – the all-time greats of the guitar world. Utilizing an overdrive pedal with the raw power of tubes is what gave rock titans the sound that crushed all barriers and drove a cultural revolution.
You don’t have to be a driving force behind major social changes, but if you’re a guitarist, you should most definitely strive to have the best tone possible. That’s where we’d like to jump in and help with our brief list of best overdrive pedals for tube amps. Off to the rundown!
What is the best overdrive pedal for tube amp
A very prominent overdrive pedal, massively used by a wide specter of players, whether it’s your next door neighbor or the likes of late great Mr. Stevie Ray Vaughan. It’s a tasty pedal and delivers just the amount of crunch to match the strength of tubes.
Coming in a distinctive and sturdy green casing, the Tube Screamer is in fact a simple product, featuring nothing but three basic knobs – Overdrive, Tone and Level. Level of crunch, color adjustments, and overall strength – what more do you need? The price is quite affordable and will set you back far less than the tube amp.
As noted, this is a tasty pedal, and you need to enjoy and master its subtle, yet highly effective vibe. The tone is warm and natural, giving you not even a single bit of fake synthetic effects, thus making it the perfect companion of a tube amp. Highly recommended for players of all styles and technique levels.
The Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive is by far the most affordable quality overdrive pedal. In fact, the item is so budget-friendly that many users question its quality because of the low price. And although this is not the crème de la crème of overdrives, it is one heck of a pedal. How the manufacturer managed to mix such quality with the low price is surely a grand feat.
Very basic, much like the Tube Screamer, the SD-1 features Level, Tone and Drive knobs. The package is very strong and will last quite a long time. Notable players include The Edge and Johnny Greenwood, so if U2 and Radiohead are among your guitar-driven favorites, this might be a place to start.
What we’re looking for with these pedals is a strong and natural sound to match the tubes, and the SD-1 very much does that. It’s the most budget-friendly option on our list, but it’s effective and does a fine job without any critical errors. Punchy and crunchy is what it is.
Maxon may not be a household name in the world of music brands, which in a way makes this bad boy somewhat of a hidden gem. It’s a mean pedal used by many prominent musicians and the most metal choice on our list.
All standard options, great response and a great level of dynamics. It features the JRC4558 IC chip and one of the most praised and imitated overdrive circuits of all time. It’s used by guitarists of such class metal acts as Killswitch Engage, Wovenwar (ex-As I Lay Dying), Halford and many more.
Warm and natural, but packed with extra grittiness to deliver more of a heavy metal vibe. What is very important is that the device doesn’t sacrifice the original tone from the guitar or the amp, giving tubes a chance to shine by reinforcing them with a load of crunch. Possibly the best tube overdrive pedal for metal for the given price.
If you own a tube amp and are looking for an overdrive pedal that will make your sound naturally gritty and warm, these three pedals are your picks. Feel free to make adjustments based on your budget and personal preferences, but these are the pedals you cannot go wrong with.