SolidGoldFX goes retro with the slider-equipped, BluesBreaker-inspired Commodore Overdrive

SolidGoldFX Commodore Overdrive
(Image credit: SolidGoldFX)

SolidGoldFX has unveiled the Commodore, a retro-themed overdrive pedal that offers classic big-box BluesBreaker-style drive tones and the same tone shaping features as the Canadian pedal specialist’s Imperial MkII fuzz.

Like the Imperial MkII, the Commodore is sure to stand out in the glass box pedal display in your local guitar store – there are no dials to be found on this pedal, with SolidGold preferring a quartet of over-sized sliders for Volume, Tone, Contour and Drive.

Based on a Marshall BluesBreaker unit, the likes of which have found their way onto John Mayer’s pedalboard and now command exorbitant prices online, the Commodore specialises in low to mid-gain overdrive sounds. It can be used to add a little bit of heat and breakup, through to a juicy, amp-like drive that calls to mind Clapton’s ’62 Marshall 2x12 Bluesbreaker combo. In other words, holy grail tones.

But perhaps there is more going on here. With that natural drive its core sound, the Commodore offers enough control to dial in something a little different, with SolidGold promising tones that reference black panel Fender and Vox’s AC series as well as classic Marshall.

The official tasting notes for the Commodore’s asymmetric clipping circuit reads “sweet and mellow to hot and spicy”, and it seems like this might be a drive pedal that will stack well and prove its worth in a variety of musical contexts, with the Tone and Contour sliders offering plenty of control over the all-important midrange. 

Low-gain drives like this can also be the ultimate electric guitar tone-sweeteners, with guitar players choosing to keep them on 24/7 to add warmth to their sound.

Are the sliders a retro touch too much? Well, maybe for some – they do look like they've come off a home studio mixer – but their size should make them easy to adjust and read, and helpfully the enclosure has top-mounted jacks to help find a spot for it on your pedalboard.

The Commodore runs on a 9V DC supply but you can use 18V should you need more headroom. It is priced £/$199 and available now. For more details, head over to SolidGoldFX.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.