10 Best Transparent Overdrive Pedal Reviews 2021

Best Transparent Overdrive Pedals

Best Transparent Overdrive Pedals

Whether you are playing solo or with a band, the overall sound of your guitar and its amp should be of utmost importance to your final rendition. This is why transparent overdrive pedals are designed – to meet the shortcomings of your amp without killing off or affecting the natural sound of your guitar.

What are the Best Transparent Overdrive Pedals to Buy?

2) JHS Morning Glory V4 Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

  • Transparent and effective overdrive
  • Adds mid- to low-level grit to crystal-clean tone
  • Increased headroom and output
  • Compact

1) Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Distortion Food/Fuzz/Overdrive Pedal

  • Transparent overdrive
  • Boosted power rails
  • Compact, rugged design
  • Selectable bypass modes

3) J. Rockett Studio Audio Designs Tour Series Archer IKON Overdrive

  • Gain control feature as a clean boost
  • Output knob 
  • Powered by a 9V battery
  • Gain and treble functionalities

What are transparent overdrives?

These are types of pedals that offer specialize overdrive tones or crisp and clean boost drives for guitarists and their guitars. Transparent overdrives help in shaping the natural tone that your guitar and amp produces with minimal compressed sound as against a distortion.

You can call it a color or paint; you are the paint brusher while your guitar is the canvas.

Choosing the right transparent overdrive pedal is essential to your overall guitar playing success.

When shopping for one, make sure it has effects that compliment your playing style. If you are playing in a heavy metal band, you might want to consider an overdrive that has hyper-effects. This will give you all the muddiness your amp is capable of sustaining while still keeping many of the genuine sounds of your guitar.

On the other hand, if you are playing solo, you can consider going for a mild overdrive pedal, which is still capable of giving you that creamy sound you have always wanted.

Lastly, consider your pedalboard before buying an overdrive pedal. Make sure you still have enough room to mount it. If you have space, then consider the size of the overdrive pedal you want to buy and go for the one that fits your pedal space.

10 Best Transparent Overdrive Pedal Reviews and the Best Transparent Overdrive Pedal Brands

1) Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Distortion Food/Fuzz/Overdrive Pedal

Electro-Harmonix is one of the brand names you should prepare to meet on top of every review chart that talks about overdrive pedals. Coming from the heart of New York, with more than 40 years experience in delivering guitar effects, this Soul Food overdrive pedal is naturally rich in features.

You can get a buffered bypass or true bypass, options that come handy when using multiple pedals setting. The pedal features boosted power rails that offer a huge headroom boost and careful exposition. Its sound output is impressive and blazes fast with super responsiveness.

Despite being versatile, the overdrive pedal is well packed in a compact chassis, which requires very little space to store and mount. There are three standard control knobs – the Volume, Treble and Drive options. You will need a 9V battery to run this baby, plus it also comes with an adapter and the regular inputs and outputs.

The performance of this pedal is great, as it gives you a clean and pure sound boost.

2) JHS Morning Glory V4 Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

The JHS is one of the most transparent and effective overdrive pedals in the market. With this pedal, you can increase the headroom and output to function as a full frequency boost. You can add mid to low level grit to compliment the effect of your crystal clean tone as well as enhancing the quality of your amp with a superb tube-like touch response from this pedal.

No matter the type of guitar you have, this overdrive pedal will work it just fine. The Morning Glory gives you all the tonal and responsive nuance you need in a pedal, and which are not there in your amp. The good thing is that it will have very little effect on your original tone.

The new update has the front-mounted switch being replaced by a great boost circuit and is moved back to the side of the pedal. The pedal also consumes less power in the range of 100mA and requires a 9V DC negative power to operate. It is compact and will fit anywhere comfortably.

3) J. Rockett Studio Audio Designs Tour Series Archer IKON Overdrive

Boost your guitar to amp connection and sound rendition by using this pedal’s gain control feature as a clean boost. Just turn it all the way down, and you will get the clean sound that your amp has been missing for some time now.

The Archer IKON pedal requires a 9V battery to work. You will have to buy it separately because it is not included.

The IKON Archer also features an output knob that allows you to increase the output level by turning the knob to the right or turn it to the left to decrease it. The same mechanism and technique go for the gain and treble functionalities.

The reason why this pedal is described as a two-in-one pedal is down to the fact that when you turn the gain all the way down, it acts as a clean boost. But, as you introduce the gain afresh, it will then attenuate the clean signal, creating a magical blend of both sound and boost.

4) Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive Pedal Guitar Distortion Effects Pedal

The Seymour Duncan 805 is a classic overdrive that delivers a subtle boost for guitar amps that are missing such tonal rendition. You can also get a massive crunch or a positive searing tone to match or complement any type of solo you are playing.

Measuring 5.5 x 4.5 x 2 inches in overall dimensions, the Seymour Duncan is the right overdrive pedal for people looking to give an extra boost to their guitar sound. It is also ideal for players who want some substantial and harmonically rich gain that has the character of a warm tube.

From blues to country, metal and whatever music style you can think about, this pedal can give you the boost and tonal rendition to balance what your amp is missing. The design incorporates three-band active EQ, which delivers flawless control. If the front end of your amp is already distorted, this is the amp you need to push it.

5) Messner Transparet Light-Gain Overdrive

The Walrus Messner overdrive is created to ensure that the natural voice of your guitar is sustained. The overdrive pedal does this by making sure that the tone you produce is not in any way completely colored. Instead, it gives you the functionality of dialing in and out the precise level of tone you desire.

You can use the color control feature to dial in brighter tones. To do this, just turn it up, and if you want to have darker tones, then turn it down. The product features a 5 years manufacturer’s warranty against any form of defects.

You can also rely on the toggle switch to bypass the clipping diodes and its open position from the circuit, and make use of them in the closed position. By so doing, you have a wide range of breakup, from the very best of subtle to dramatic.

It is even more interesting that the color control works in every mode you can think about.

6) Wampler Tumnus V2 Overdrive & Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

The Wampler Tumnus overdrive pedal delivers versatility to any setup that incorporates its style. You can also employ it as a standalone overdrive and pair effectively with other pedals to define and shape the entire gain. The unit comprises of the popular OD/Boost Voice mechanism known for administering a slightly dirty boost that helps in pushing the front desk of your amp.

3 control knobs allow you to dial the tones and styles that you need easily. You have the Level, Gain and Treble control knobs for easy accessibility. The body is slim and compact in overall design. This means it will fit into anywhere you install it.

Another aspect of this pedal from Wampler is that you can use it as a buffer because it contains a buffer bypass tone tailored to meets its specific needs.

From the look of things, there is a lot more you can get from this transparent overdrive pedal.

7) Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pedal

So you have a conventional amp or such other unit that is unable to deliver what you want? Then get the Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pedal!

The TS808 features the exact standard square footswitch of the famous JRC4558 chip that is used in the majority of the original Ibanez TS808’s. This unit delivers that warm and natural tube overdrive sound that most other units have not been able to replicate.

The pedal features three controls–each for the overdrive, tone and level settings. Just in between the overdrive and level control tunable buttons lays a red LED light indicator that informs you about the effect and condition of your battery.

In case you are wondering how durable this could be, you can rest assured that the rugged rubber stopper and zinc die-cast construction extend the durability of the overdrive pedal. The Ibanez TS808 overdrive pedal is completely suitable for Fender guitars and as well other series. It gives that classic hump addition to your amp while defining the sound mixture you want.

It’s a nice investment for anyone in need of a transparent overdrive pedal.

8) Keeley Super Phat Mod Full Range Transparent Overdrive Pedal

The Keeley Phat Overdrive Pedal features a classic but simple look design. Its tone is a favorite choice among many guitarists. In terms of look, the Keeley is the ideal pedal you would love to have mounted on your pedalboard. The pedal renders unbeatable boost and tonal rendition for solos in funk and blues music.

Keeley’s Super Phat Mod is engineered to mimic the function of old tube amps. The pedal excels in its tube-like amp stages, including superb tone shaping circuits. The range of this pedal is full and is very responsive as well.

Once you set the gain to high, your guitar pick attack or volume control will take it from there. It also features a true-bypass, with switchable low-frequency modes that renders the best in boosting and controlling better amp output.

9) Crowther Audio Hotcake Effect Pedal

Measuring 8 x 8 x 8 inches in dimensions, the Crowther overdrive pedal is one of the best hand-made overdrives that has ever come out of New Zealand. Known as the Hotcake overdrive, this pedal features great boost and overdrive design that doesn’t alter or distort the original sound of your guitar. It leaves everything unchanged while producing a fat, crisp distortion sound without falling back on a treble cut circuit known for distorting tonal guitar quality.

There are three control knobs on the Hotcake pedal. They are easy to use, and each of the controls ensures that you have the best from your pedal.

While the Drive control will give you a thick and reliable distortion sound with some level of edge to it, the Level control knob allows you to enjoy a clean volume boost. To add some mid-range punch to your sound, the Presence control is there to ensure you have all that you need form it.

With its Blueberry voicing and low-frequency bass options, you have much to gain from this pedal.

10) Greer Amplification Lightspeed Organic Overdrive Guitar Pedal

The Greer Amplification is the type of overdrive pedal you can expect to deliver excellent quality performance. Considering that this pedal packs a lot in top quality components, plus a lifetime warranty for the real owner that buys it first, then you will understand how great it would be in performance. The pedal features a 9V battery support capability, or where that is not possible, you can then employ a standard negative 2.1mm of a power supply.

Three control knobs accompany the design, which is, Loudness, for increasing or decreasing the boosting level; Drive and Frequency knobs, for a rich harmonic and smooth clipping selection to match various styles and sound.

With this pedal, you can also set the tone to mimic the sound of an original signal, which is what is called ‘Transparent’.

The Greer Amplification Lightspeed Pedal offers the best and clearest natural feeling for guitarists in search of a natural overdrive.

Choosing the Best Transparent Overdrive Pedals

While the most expensive overdrive pedals will deliver in many areas, not all that soar in prices equate to capabilities.

The best overdrive pedal will deliver in the area of boosting your guitar and amp tone without overwhelmingly distorting its natural tone.

2) JHS Morning Glory V4 Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal

  • Transparent and effective overdrive
  • Adds mid- to low-level grit to crystal-clean tone
  • Increased headroom and output
  • Compact

1) Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Distortion Food/Fuzz/Overdrive Pedal

  • Transparent overdrive
  • Boosted power rails
  • Compact, rugged design
  • Selectable bypass modes

3) J. Rockett Studio Audio Designs Tour Series Archer IKON Overdrive

  • Gain control feature as a clean boost
  • Output knob 
  • Powered by a 9V battery
  • Gain and treble functionalities

A nice, classic overdrive should be able to supplement the sound of other pedals while filling in the missing link between your amp and guitar. The overdrive pedals we have reviewed above have all the qualities a guitarist need when it comes down to tone enhancement.

Remember that if not properly set up, your overdrive pedal might end up producing a hissing or contrary sound. Therefore, it is all down to your ear training and playing skills. You have to get familiar with sound quality and transparency.

With any of the above mentioned transparent overdrive units, you can get the benefits associated with using transparent overdrive pedals for life.