There's nothing like a nice, rich blues guitar riff that features plenty smooth sustain and just the right amount of grit! And while many old school blues players might prefer to carve their tone by plugging straight into an amp, there's nothing wrong with using an amazing overdrive guitar effects pedal to get the job done. If you've been searching for the right OD stompbox that can give a kick to your blues guitar tone, you can't go wrong with any of the choices below.
While the Shur Shiba Drive Reloaded is a great pedal for pushing bluesy overdriven tones with rich sustain, it also has enough power to give your sound some serious crunch that can take you from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Angus Young with the twist of a knob. Put the Shiba in front of an already overdriven amp for amazing sustain and extra drive for searing leads. The slight midrange focus of the Shiba Drive Reloaded helps your sound cut through the mix while keeping the tonal integrity of your guitar and pickups as loud and clear as possible. The Shiba Drive Reloaded also comes with a 3-way midrange EQ switch (known as the "Smooth Switch") for added tonal flexibility. From firm balanced lows, punchy mids with just the right amount of cut and impressively smooth highs, the Suhr Shiba Drive Reloaded is a great overdrive pedal that will feel right at home on the boards of any blues player.
Ever since Bogner finally released the highly-anticipated pedal, it instantly rose near the top of the list of the best ODs released over the last few years. This Marshall inspired pedal is essentially a Swiss Army Knife of classic Plexi tones stuffed into a high-quality, durable pedal. While it might seem like the La Grange is better suited for higher gain tones, it comes with enough versatility to satisfy blues guitarists and modern rock players alike. It also features an independent boost setting that allows it to work as a clean boost, essentially giving you two pedals in one. If you want the tones of what many consider the best amp in rock history added to your blues licks, look no further than the Bogner La Grange.
One of the main reasons we decided to place the Blues Driver on this list is its masterful versatility. Whether you play old school blues that with plenty of rich sustain or modern blues-inspired rock that requires a little more grit, the Blues Driver’s huge variety of overdrive tones can deliver. But we all know that there's more to blues guitar than creamy overdrive tone, it's also about delivering a highly emotional performance through your instrument. Luckily, the BD-2 delivers on that end too as it can quickly and naturally respond to the nuances of your playing along with subtle changes in dynamics, making it tailor-made for blues. The Boss BD-2 Blues Driver is a true OD workhorse that is tailor made for today’s working musician.
If crystal clear transparency is a must when it comes to your choice in OD pedals, look no further than the Walrus Audio Mayflower Overdrive. If you’ve spent time and money trying to find the right combination of guitar and pickups for your blues sound, why get a pedal that will color over it? And while the Mayflower offers superb clarity, it can easily add a good amount of grit to your tone with a twist of a knob. Like many other guitar overdrives, it features a boosted midrange that works great at helping your leads cut through the mix, but does so with a distinctive tone that shines particularly well with single-coil pickups. The Mayflower also provides an organic and smooth breakup with settings that let you tweak, shape and boost your guitar’s natural tone. And like other Walrus Audio pedals, the Mayflower is hand-built and offers an amazing build quality and attention to detail.
While the four pedals above are our personal choices for some of the best blues-approved overdrive pedals around, there are certainly a lot more awesome OD stompboxes around. Like with any other piece of gear that you add to your chain in order to get your signature sounds, the choice is ultimately up to your ears. But if you need a suggestion or two, you certainly can't go wrongs with any of the guitar effects pedals above!
If you have any questions regarding the purchase of any of the pedals featured or any other piece of gear we carry, don't hesitate to chat with one of our friendly PAL pros by using the live chat feature below or by calling us toll-free at 1 877-671-2200!
What's your favorite overdrive guitar effects pedal for blues?