cleanest "overdrive" pedal


New Member!
Sep 13, 2021
loving my american ultra strat hss. until i got the strat bout a year ago, my axes were a gibson es-330 and an ibanez jp-20 (joe pass). more of a "jazz" guy though playing rock now. know very little about pedals. have a boss dd-3 to "fatten" things a bit that i've been using forever. looking for the cleanest, most transparent pedal to give a clean little boost that i can toggle on & off when i take solos. i assume that means an overdrive pedal but don't want distortion. have always been a "clean" player. use any of a number of amps from a fender champ 110, deluxe reverb to a music man twin. any guidance appreciated. thanks.

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
Here and now

If I assume you are using a tube amp then it's worth noting that any boost put before your amp's Preamp can push it into overdrive territory. For a simple boost in volume the boost needs to be after overdrive Pedals and ideally even after you amp's preamp.

I have both the E.P Booster and the Chase Tone which are both based off the old Echo Plex preamp. Both add a little character/dynamics but I think the Chase Tone does it better and the tone switches are external as opposed to internal like the EP.

Though technically a booster pedal I like the Chase Tone so much I never turn it off.

Secret Preamp for a clean boost with tone options.

Boost used to push preamp tubes.

Fifth Gear for a bit of grit
Last edited:


Not Of This Earth
Dec 26, 2010
Scott, La.
You want to look at more of a boost pedal then a overdrive or distortion. Many people use Klon type pedals as a clean boost with the gain turned off. I use a Flying Dragon boost… don’t think they make them any more… but its like reaching back and turning up your amp for a solo and then turning it back down for the rest of the tune. Many people speak highly of the EP boost. Supposedly it the preamp circuit from a old Echo Plexi… hence the name EP boost…

Im sure you’ll get a lot of good suggestions soon..

El Gobernador

fezz parka
Apr 21, 2011
Nunyo, BZ
You want a clean boost, not an overdrive.

The Electro Harmonix LPB-1 works great, sounds great, and isn't expensive. About $44 at Sweetwater. I've been using one for years, couldn't be happier.

View attachment 565116

And it fattens things up a bit.

I use the Bad Bob. Best boost pedal ever made.

These are the two pedals I use live.Note the knob position of Monte's Bad Bob and mine.

Last edited:


Jan 23, 2022
Austin, TX
Klon circuits are quite clean. I use a J. Rocket Archer (klon-type) on a low gain setting. As for boosters, the RC Booster works nicely, If you put it after an OD in your chain, it will add a nice level of compression.

As for fattening up, I'll sometimes use a Catalinbread Formula No 55. It's an amp-in-a-box type of circuit, patterned after the old Fender tweed 5E3 Deluxe. It uses JFETs, and gives a warm sound.
Last edited:

EC Strat

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 16, 2018
Louisville Kentucky
Definitely look into a K-style pedal. I prefer the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe- it’s an insanely versatile pedal. You can use it as an EQ for coloring your cleans or to add grit. It’s got an internal voltage doubler so you can overdrive an amp with just the volume knob. The EQ section is very effective. And it has a hot setting for more gain. Perhaps one of the very best pedals ever made imo.

Also the Lenny by J Rockett is a fabulous clean tone enhancer / boost.

But too many Klon style pedals on the market to name that would fit the bill.