Pedal Builds #3 – TS/Dist+/OCD The search for overdrive
Right… where was I?
Ok, onto some effects. Somehow, in the process of reading about loopers I came across some overdrive kits, and after a bit of reading, decided to go with a classic Tube Screamer kit. I thought the box design I did was pretty good:
Sadly, I realised pretty quickly that a TS is not really my thing. To be fair, at the time, I didn’t have a tube amp, but I do now, and I still don’t like the honky mids. I will probably sell this on eBay when I get over my sentimentality.
So I quickly tried my hand at another pedal, this time a clone of the MXR Distortion +. This has a really nice smooth saturated distortion, for crisp power chords, and it’s been on my board ever since I built it (I’m pretty sure I’d leave it just for that sparkle, actually!):
Some months later I tried leading sung worship on the electric, and I wanted to have a couple of different ‘stages’ of drive, so I had the TS and Dist + stacked. But I hated it. During the practice I just couldn’t get a sound I liked from the TS, and I literally came home and ordered a kit for an OCD clone, which I’d been reading about, and watching youtube videos of (which is practically useless when it comes to assessing pedals, actually – too many variables, plus, all anyone does is play show-off bluesy lead licks, which is not what I’m after).
I was much happier with the OCD than the TS, but I’ll admit, it’s a love/hate relationship with this pedal. With the gain turned right down it gave me some nice crunchy, just-breaking-up, overdrive (stage 1) before the Distortion + kicks in with a bit more grunt (stage 2), but that’s really not what this pedal is made for, and it’s like keeping a lion on a leash made of twine. This thing is pretty unruly, and I’ve never really managed to get it consistently to do what I want.
Which leads me to the search for a more transparent overdrive….. which I’ll cover next time.