4 of the Best and Most Versatile Overdrive Pedals Released in 2017

Electric Guitar Guitar Ownership Guitar Pedals Effects Pedals Overdrive Pedals + -

I was aiming for my ’2017 New Pedals of the Year’ post to be the last guitar-related one for 2017. Until I caught ’That Pedal Show’ today, and witnessed the magnificence of the new Hamstead Soundworks Odyssey Intergalactic Driver pedal. Two of the pedals featured here were already on my shopping list, with the Tumnus my most likely first acquisition in the new year - I already have the mini Tumnus which I love, so this will give me that same exceptional core Klon sound with a load more variations. But I’m mow most definitely decided also to get the Odyssey - with its pre- and post- EQ stack, 3 clipping options, and 3 input volume options - it’s just the sort of pedal I like.


I also came across the Side Effects Il Mostro - with its 3 different voicings and full 3-band EQ only relatively recently too. And I’ve been considering getting the Steve Stevens Rockaway Archer ever since that first put in an appearance back in February - although it’s taking a while to get through to UK distribution.

Hamstead Soundworks Odyssey Intergalactic Driver - £199

As reported at the top, I love everything about this pedal - although I'm not yet familiar with the Contour of the Tone control versus Bass and Treble, so one would assume it had some impact on the mid-range frequences. Gain and Level dials as expected, but then 3 x 3-way toggles - PR | EQ | PO - which allows you to assign EQ before or after the gain, or bypass the gain entirely in the middle setting. X2 | X1 | X5 - this is the input signal strength which obviously interacts with the Gain too, but then we also have a C1 | C2 | C3 clipping toggle - for exactly what type has yet to be revealed - but gives you different drive tone profiles. Finally the pedal borrows one of those superior Optical OptoKick footswitches from Daniel Steinhardts GigRig - so quality all-around. This pedals in some ways is not too dissimilar to the Jackson Audio Prism - although we likely just have different clipping diodes here, rather than the 3 different transistor circuits of the Prism. It's a beautifully smart pedal - and very much the kind of thing I go for. I think I will have the Odyssey take over slot [11] in my chain, which is currently occupied by the Fulltone OCD.

J Rockett Audio Designs Steve Stevens Signature Rockaway Archer - £249

The pedal was first announced back in February, and was featured at the Summer NAMM, but has yet to put in an appearance at Andertons - on of the main JRAD distributors in the UK. I do think some stock has arrived in the UK relatively recently, but there is not much around at all. This is another Klon Clone - this time with a 6-band EQ for an incredible flexibility in tone-sculpting. Before the Tumnus Deluxe was announced this was a likely replacement for the Mini Tumnus in its hitherto safe number [6] slot. Yet I am now likely to get the Tumnus Deluxe or Odyssey first, and possibly wait a while on this one before I pull the trigger. It will definitely happen, just not sure exactly when.

Side Effects Il Mostro Overdrive-Distortion - £95 (Reverb.com)

This fairly new Athens, Greece -based boutique pedal maker delivers exceptionally good value for one of its first own circuits. Side Effects' earliest days were taken up making various clones - including an excellent Woolly Mammoth 7 Clone. Yet now they have a number of pedals of their own design - including this 3-band EQ and 3-voicing selector Overdrive and Distortion. It sound very amp-like, and I would assign it as a backup to either the [10] Blues Driver slot or [15] Dr Scientist slot. It's a very natural sounding pedal, and can be pretty much as throaty or distorted as you like. Another pedal that comes to mind in that context is the Filaments from Keeley - although that is really more of a high-gain distortion pedal.

Wampler Tumnus Deluxe Overdrive - £189

The regular Mini version of this pedal has been a mainstay of my pedal-chain for a mighty long time, and this slightly larger compact deluxe pedal adds a full 3-band EQ, and a higher gain 'Hot' option toggle switch - giving you far more range than covered by the already highly competent original. As the mini is my most-used overdrive pedal, I have no hesitation in upgrading to this more versatile version. It's the most obvious pedal to place - as it will simple swap out with its predecessor in the number [6] slot.

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