Transparent overdrives….nope


Feb 3, 2021
I am a beginner but I really like my soul food overdrive. Even if it's in front of a katana mini it sounds beautiful.


Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Oct 10, 2009
This pedal pictured below is by far the best "transparent" OD pedal I have. Only problem is, I lose it if it ever comes off my pedal board. Really hard to find.

Transparent OD Pedal.jpg

Edited to add an apology: I know that contributed nothing to the thread. Hopefully it made somebody at least grin? :)

But seriously, in one of my bands I use a smaller combo amp as a clean platform and I run a Boss OD-3. With the gain down and the level up I can push it as far as I need to go in that ensemble, which is not too drastic. Never really liked the term "transparent" when it comes to overdrives pedals.

Overdrives, they all do their thing, maybe a little differently, but they all change the voice of the signal to some degree. That's why we use them!

My big rig I use the Friedman (50 watt head) Amp gain about halfway up and only a Boss GE-7 EQ to boost solos, or if I need "more".

We as players definitely hear tons of stuff our audiences could care less about. But it means something to us and THAT matters IMO.

Whatever works for you, their are a million options thankfully, and you can make almost any of them work. :thumb:

I would really like to try the Xotic BB Preamp (I think it's called) the one Andy Timmons collaborated on. They sound nice and smooth (transparent?) on the demos I've heard.
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Senior Stratmaster
Apr 5, 2016
Italy and Switzerland
My Bluesbreaker clone is the Vick Audio Mount Pleasant too. That is great, just like the other Vick Audio pedals I have.

A buddy of mine has a Snouse Blackbox, the one with all of the extra switches on the sides. That thing is great too and it may be the nicest build I have ever seen in a pedal.

The Mount Pleasant does everything I want from a Bluesbreaker clone though.

Here's the guts of the Snouse. A work of art ;D


Pete Thorn says to add a little dirt to your amp, and it will make the OD more effective.

I'd put it in terms of headroom. Traditional ODs were designed so that they would "over-drive" and push into distortion an amp that's already on the verge of saturation. Hence the name. For some OD designs it's pretty much essential. A Treble Booster really works only if your amp is cranked. Ditto for a "Tube screamer", which kicks the mids by design so you slice through the mix during the solo (hence the name: it makes your tubes "scream" rather than "screaming" itself). That's originally the difference with respect to "fuzz" and "distortion" pedals made to add distortion to an otherwise clean signal. (And, yes, a fuzz face still works best in a cranked amp but that's another story… ;D).

Pedals like the Bluesbreaker, BD-2… are a newer breed of OD, whereby "overdrive" becomes rather synonymous with soft clipping. They're designed to work well also in a clean amp, and to simulate the sound of amp breakup. And they do! The Bluesbreaker is a lovely sounding pedal in a clean Fender amp, black or brown (and I assume tweed too).


Sep 11, 2012
central calif.
To me , it's like a "formula" , or "recipe" . Your guitar contributes to your tone . Your amp contributes to your tone . Any pedal you use contributes to your tone . You change any of these and "your" tone changes . I have maybe 60 OD pedals and several amps and guitars , each amp/guitar combination will get the best tone only from certain OD pedals . My 2 cents .

Dain Bramage

Jan 12, 2012
OK, I feel kind of "busted" on this one. During the "mod anything and everything" craze, I experimented with existing pedals as well as bread-boarding several. I would socket chips and clipping diodes and put in trim pots for bias experiments. In all of that, I may have primarily learned that I agree with the not preferring a more 'transparent' Drive, OD, or Distortion. "Blending" a Fuzz has some fun in it, but it really amounts to actually being able to distinguish more quickly the actual affect on tone because it is so much more radical. Swapping out op-amps to hear the difference a faster slew rate had mostly reduced noise ("hiss") and, pardon the expression, somewhat emasculated the punch of distort/compress emulation of a live amp pushed to the rails (as is aided by a slower slew rate recovery that has the op-amp's own personality of driven distortion/"grit" before the clipping section). Progress came mostly with experiments in asymmetrical clipping using different combinations of diodes for different ratios of clipping per cycle; I could still get great saturation with a more "natural" sounding drive. I think building an OD-1 clone with a clipping section that had a separate switch for both neg and pos cycles to choose from six sets of clippers in any combination was so subtle that it certainly wasn't worth building an on-the-fly digital switching circuit that being too compulsive about the research wasn't nearly as much fun as just playing. So, "boutique"? Get an old Rat, SD-1, Tube Screamer or MT-2. Even the old original LPB-1 wasn't transparent, it was "fat"!