It started out as a Timmy pedal discussion and has gone through some enjoyable phases of discussion. I thought I'd continue this as a general overdrive thread so as to un-bury it in case others want to chime in.

Timmy isn't moving off my list - ever. Great overdrive. 

I just got into boosters - they take me into that territory that I've alway tried to get from overdrives. I call it desperate Tom Petty tone. I tried the EP booster by Xotic, but decided it wasn't quite the ticket. So I returned it for the Fulltone Fat Boost.

I like the Fulltone Fat Boost. It gets into some really nice crunchy grind and is very good at coaxing your amp into hair and drive. It also works well as a clean boost for acoustic guitar if you want to move from strumming to finger picking. It's very quiet for what it is and the decay is very un-fizzy and tight. Pretty cool pedal. 

So when it's all said and done, I'll end up with the Timmy, Fat Boost and Nocturne Atomic Brain. The Brain is designed to reproduce the Roland Space Echo preamp. Great tone for Gretsch guitars. 

What do you like? Golden Cello? Zen Drive? Fuzz? Fulltone OCD?

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Hi Stevo,

Sorry for the english, I'm french speaker.

For many years I played lead acoustic guitar. 

Now, I moved and I begin in a new church and I'll play electric guitar. 

I bought a few weeks ago a "Fulltone OCD" for the high gain. This pedal is a "jewel" (Don't know if this expression exist in english). 

I'm searching now an other overdrive pedal, a low gain pedal. 

I found that the overdrive sound used on the album "A beautiful exchange" by Hillsong sounds great. For example, on the "Father's heart" song since the 45's second or on "You" song. 

May can you help me to find this sound ?

Hi Julien! 

A lot of folks like the OCD, you're in good company.

With Hillsong, I'm not sure quite the tone here - I'm just now hearing "Father's Heart" and I kind of hear a slightly driven part that's rhythmically picked in the background. Is that what you mean? I'm certainly not hearing high gain in there anywhere.

I like a bridge single coil for that, but it could be some other pickup like a Filtertron or D'Armond or a nice bright humbucker. Anything that's not muddy like an ES335 would work.

And possibly it goes trough booster or low gain drive unit. It's not enough gain to be juicy like a treble booster and it doesn't seem to have mid hump like a TubeScreamer, so I would think any one of the nice light drive units would fit. Timmy would work well as would an AC or RC booster. I've also recently learned how valuable a boost pedal is to creating nice grindy chime. EP Booster is a nice choice. 

But it could very well be the natural sound of the amp breaking up.

Hi both !

Yes Greg, it is "un bijou", we say that to express how it's a good stuff (or a good person) ! We say likewise "En bonne compagnie" for in good company :-) ! 

It's of course a "transparent overdrive" that I search or a "sligthly overdrive" like you said Stevo. 

When you tell me about pedals, can you please write the "brand" and the "name of the pedal" ? It would help me to make some searches on youtube and don't forget... I'm beginner in electric guitar ;-) ! 

When you spoke about a "sparkle" or "chime", have you some examples Greg ?

Hi Julien, welcome to the forum.

I think I know a little of the classic Hillsongs sounds, and it might well be the sound you want is just amp breakup. At least one of their guitarists used to use Vox AC30 amps, and these will usually produce a bright clear sound that sparkles and can chime, although a lot depends on which speakers have been fitted. They also push into mild overdrive when turned up, although they will usually be loud at that point (I have an AC30, and it was LOUD when I used it).

The AC30 sound can also be simulated somewhat with a pedal. The expensive version is the Tech 21 Liverpool pedal, and the cheap version is the Joyo AC Tone (also available from Germany as the  Thomann AC Tone).

Hope that helps.

Hi Toni,

I've tried a "Vox tonelab ST" multi effects. The pedal had a simulation of the AC30 amp. Unfornately, I didn't found the sound I'm searching for :-S . Like you said, the sound of the AC30 simulation was lound and not bright clear.

On google, I found a pedal who give a great low gain sound : the Walrus voyager. Unfornately, It isn't available on Thoman or in the market near my town.

For chime have a listen here:

Preferences vary considerably. I like a little chime in clean tone, but hate sharp tones that sting. For me, the best sparkle comes from a well adjusted slow chorus pedal, that highlights the upper accents of a chord without driving nails into my ears. Some people like 'ear-darts'.

I'm starting to be reminded of all the terms used to describe wine...

Since you're talking overdrives, my fave is still the Visualsound Jekyll and Hyde - I have an old silver one, bought 6-7 years ago, that covers the Tubescreamer on one side and high-gain overdrive on the other (not quite a metal distortion). I also quite like the old Guyatone overdrive (crunchier than a TS type) that I've owned for about 30 years.

OD pedals that have been on & off my board include the Bad Monkey (lacks dynamics, sucks tone) and the Danelectro Transparent Overdrive (the non-Timmy version - just wasn't very exciting, though it might go back on the board to replace a fuzz that's never used). I also used to use a Coloursound fuzz that was really an overdrive at lower gain settings, but she's seriously old now, and is in retirement.

Slightly tempted to build a board using the Joyo clones of Tech 21 pedals (American, British and California = Fender, Marshall and Boogie amp sims) because they all sound good and make for considerable tonal versatility, whether clean or dirty. As pedals they're a bit bulky, but I have some other 'outsize' pedals too, so they might all get along together OK.

Never really got into boosters because most of the time my amps have too much headroom, and excess volume is a big issue.

One more thing, and I've mentioned this before. For me, the speaker(s) I use make the biggest difference to the quality of overdrive tone. Nothing sounds as good as drive through a Celestion blue or a blue clone like the Emi Red Fang. That gave me the overdrive sound that I'd been looking for and no amount of pedal-swapping ever produced.

I did the Monte Allums thing for a while and finally decided that I didn't get any improvement using different IC's in the OD3 or SD1. He makes all kinds of claims about being able to hear all these difference in each chip. I beg to differ. Chances are that if I can't hear it, most others can't either. Not bragging, just stating fact.

I didn't even really like his mods. Cool enough that Timmy has a socket so you can test them out.

Not sure what hillsong uses exactly but my friend at church talks to the guys at bethel alot and they have one of these on their board

Also I know that various OD pedals are used with the gain down and the level up.  Distortion is usually minimally added as it does effect the natural tone.


Greg, as far as chips go, anything in the 741 family is going to be lower quality.  Older chips vs their current production runs din't really sound any better.  The electronics of pedalboards borders on the absurd.  Its more superstition sometimes than engineering.  Especially since most pedal makers are mimicking paste designs.  Any good FET driven op amp would sound very good in an audio applicaiton.

Tonal perception is reality.... well sometimes anyway.

If we think it sounds better then to us it probably does. I remember cryogenically annealing valves some years back, getting my wife to swap them in and out of an amp so I could blind test them, and every time I could pick the cryo treated valve. Yet when playing in a band context the difference wasn't really noticeable at all, except *I knew* what was in there.

Mostly these tweaks and changes are about making us guitarists happy, rather than creating radical, wonderful tones. With a bit of drive on, most listeners couldn't tell the difference between a Les Paul and a Strat.


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