25 of the best contemporary overdrive and boost pedals

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We all know the old classics, but what of the new breed? Here are 25 of the most exciting modern overdrive and boost pedals that should be on your radar...

1. JHS Pedals The Bonsai

$229 / £219
Category:
TS types

Nine different Tube Screamer circuits in one box. They’re all-analogue recreations of classic Screamer types, plus a collaborative Robert Keeley Mod Plus.

2. Wampler Tumnus Deluxe

$199 / £199
Category:
Klon types

Inspired by the Klon Centaur - and it does a fantastic impression if we do say so - but the Tumnus Deluxe is also way more versatile in terms of gain and EQ options.

3. Earthquaker Devices Palisades

$249 / £249
Category:
TS types

The ultimate shapable and customisable take on the fabled green classic with six clipping modes, five bandwith settings and two gain channels.

4. ProAnalog Devices Manticore

$299 / £299
Category:
Klon types

Superb evolution of the fabled Klon Centaur, with an additional clean boost ‘drive’ control. Can sound indistinguishable or very different from the ol’ ‘man horse’.

5. J Rockett Audio Designs The Dude

$199 / £199
Category:
Dumble types

Don’t have £100k for a Dumble ODS amp? This compact, robust pedal gives a good flavour of the gain and EQ character via simple, intuitive controls.

6. Mad Professor Twimble

£199
Category:
Dumble types

Mad Professor’s Dumble ODS-inspired Simble is joined by an added boost/ preamp section for extra versatility and scope. The Twimble is dynamic, reactive and fun!

7. Van Weelden Royal Overdrive

$749 / £649
Category:
Dumble types

Big box, big sound - this meticulous overdrive/ preamp has the scope to work as a pedal, preamp and everything in between. Exceptional.

8. Keeley Germanium Super Phat Mod

$169 / £149
Category:
Beyond the BD-2 & SD9

What your BD-2 would sound like if it was granted three wishes. JFETs up front for preamp-like drive, plus a post-tone control germanium stage for some fuzz too.

9. Kingsley Page Boost

$260 / £119
Category:
Beyond the BD-2 & SD9

Meticulously hand-built in Canada, this uses a 12AX7 valve at proper voltage offering full-range boost through to overdrive that works into any amp.

10. Boss JB-2 Angry Driver

$199 / £179
Category:
Beyond the BD-2 & SD9

A Boss BD-2 and JHS Angry Charlie in one box. Use them alone, stacked either way or in parallel. Massive flexibility in a tiny pedal.

11. Mad Professor Royal Blue Overdrive

£139
Category:
Beyond the BD-2 & SD9

Notably touch-sensitive overdrive used by Matt Schofield as one example. Works superbly off the guitar volume pot - clean boost to light distortion.

12. Hudson Electronics Broadcast

$285 / £165
Category:
Character boosts and drives

Derived of recording consoles of the 1960s, this germanium transistor boost/drive/fuzz also has its own transformer. The pedal for people who don’t like pedals!

13. Analog Man Beano Boost

$175 / £175
Category:
Character boosts and drives

Compelling update of the fabled Dallas Rangemaster treble booster that has two fatter modes too. Wonderful with onthe- edge Marshalls, Tweeds and Voxes.

14. Crazy Tube Circuits Space Charged

$285 / £214
Category:
Character boosts and drives

12AY7 valve-equipped pedal that spans boost through to classic rock overdrive where it really starts to shine with LPs, SGs and the like.

15. Way Huge Geisha Drive

$149 / £159
Category:
Character boosts and drives

Limited edition in 2018, part inspired by the Ibanez/Maxon SD-9 so beloved of Michael Landau and Scott Henderson. Little bit drivey, little bit fuzzy.

16. Orange Amps Two Stroke

$239 / £109
Category:
Character boosts and drives

Fabulously versatile boost and parametric EQ pedal for anyone wanting a highly sculptable boost for amps or stacking with other pedals.

17. Electro-Harmonix Crayon 69

$84 / £62
Category:
Character boosts and drives

Another full-range type boost - i.e. not overtly mid boosted - that can do cleanish through to classic rock. Separate bass and treble pots aid versatility.

18. Keeley D&M Drive

$229 / £229
Category:
Something different

One side is an articulate, full-range rock overdrive; the other is a highheadroom drivey/boost. It’s stackable in both directions for a massive range of tones.

19. Strymon Sunset

$299 / £299
Category:
Something different

Clever mix of analogue and digital technology to create this two-sided OD. A great choice if you can really only have one OD pedal and need versatility.

20. JHS Pedals The Milkman

$179 / £169
Category:
Something different

Disarmingly simple yet lovable clean boost to drive your amp, with a completely separate slapback echo section that has up to 350ms of delay.

21. J Rockett Audio Designs Melody Overdrive

$199 / £199
Category:
Something different

Now there’s an idea… add a massively useful six band EQ - post drive - to a combination of JRAD’s The Dude and Blue Note drives. Versatile!

22. ThorpyFX The Peacekeeper 

£195
Category:
Something different

Low-gain OD that cleverly splits the tone controls - pre gain mids/presence and post-gain, active treble and bass - for a huge range of dynamic drive tones.

23. Paul Cochrane Timmy Overdrive 

$129 / £129
Category:
Something different

Undoubtedly one of the most versatile and great-sounding all-round overdrives ever made. Still made one at a time by Cochrane and sensibly priced too!

24. Walrus Audio 385 

$199 / £199
Category:
Something different

Inspired by the 6V6 valve amp sections of an old fi lm projector, this is a fantastic, vintagevibed alternative to the majority of standard overdrive pedals.

25. Catalinbread Formula No.55 Tweed Deluxe 

$266 / £145
Category:
Something different

The name says it all! JFET based drive for emulating a mid 50s Fender Tweed Deluxe amp - jazz, Neil Young and more.

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