Do you want to know the best overdrive pedals for clean amps? I’ll provide you with the information you need to find the best overdrive pedal for you!
To compile this list, I did a lot of research, spoke with pedal experts, and let my community vote!
“But what if I have a solid-state amp?”
I paid extra attention to how the pedals interact with clean tube amps and clean solid-state amps. That’s why all overdrive pedals featured in this article are well suited for any type of amp!
In the review that I wrote for each of the overdrives, I talk more in-depth about how you can best use them with different types of clean amps. I also wrote a short resume for each, so you can see if this pedal matches your requirements!
Are you not sure if an overdrive pedal or a distortion pedal is the right choice for you? This guide on the differences between overdrive and distortion pedals will answer all your questions!
- Transparent Overdrive Pedals for Clean Amps
- High Gain Overdrive Pedals for Clean Amps
- Amp-Like Overdrive Pedals for Clean Amps
Transparent Overdrive Pedals for Clean Amps
Transparent overdrive pedals are an excellent match for clean amps! They give your tone more gain while letting the character of your amp shine through. Transparent overdrives enhance your sound and make it warmer, more dynamic, and distorted.
You can use transparent overdrive pedals with clean tube amps and with clean solid-state amps! Regardless of the tube-elitism that’s spread on the internet, solid-state amps can work well with transparent overdrive pedals! You should expect slightly different results with solid-state amps and with tube amps, though.
|TC Electronic MojoMojo||Electro-Harmonix Soul Food||JHS Morning Glory|
|Price-Performance Winner!||Community Pick!||The Allrounder!|
|Transparent Overdrive||Transparent Overdrive||Transparent Overdrive|
|Low Gain – High Gain||Low Gain||Clean – Mid Gain|
|Drive, Level, Bass, Treble & Voice||Volume, Drive & Treble||Volume, Drive, Tone & Gain Switch|
|True Bypass||True Bypass||True Bypass|
|9 V Power Adapter/Battery||9 V Power Adapter/Battery||9 V Power Adapter|
|+ Good as standalone and stackable pedal|
+ Complex EQ controls
+ Voice switch for cutting/boosting the low end
– Can sound muddy
|+ Affordable Klon clone|
+ Responsive and tube-like dynamics
+ Great pedal for stacking
– Not much gain as a standalone
|+ Improves the sound of mediocre amps|
+ Adds tonal and responsive nuances to your tone
+ Models the famous Marshall Plexi sound
– Operates exclusively on 9 V power adapter
|Buy the TC Electronic MojoMojo on Amazon!*||Buy the Electro-Harmonix Soul Food on Amazon!*||Buy the JHS Morning Glory on Amazon!*|
1. TC Electronic MojoMojo
The price-performance winner!
The MojoMojo by TC Electronix is a reliable, transparent overdrive pedal for guitarists who want to enter the world of overdrive pedals without breaking the bank.
You can use it for everything between low gain and high gain sounds. That’s why it’ll find its place on any pedalboard!
The only potential downside to the MojoMojo is that it can sound muddy because it has much bass frequency. However, for this price, it still exceeds expectations!
Thanks to the complex EQ controls on the MojoMojo, you can precisely dial-in the tone you desire. It’s still easy to set up and plays perfectly with other pedals!
You can use it to drive your clean tube amp to a harmonic, bluesy breakup, or to get the warm, saturated gain, that your solid-state amp doesn’t offer itself.
It’s endorsed by Paul Gilbert, do I have to say more?
Do you want an inexpensive overdrive pedal to distort your clean amp’s tone? – The TC Electronic MojoMojo is a reliable option!
2. Electro-Harmonix Soul Food
The community pick!
The Electro-Harmonix Soul Food is an excellent Klon-style overdrive pedal for clean amps.
It’s perfect for giving your tone a warm saturation while still leaving your sound’s core character intact. It’s designed to resemble the legendary Klon Centaur pedal guitarists love for its transparent overdrive!
Are you looking for a pedal that offers light overdrive and tube-like responsiveness? – This pedal is totally worth its price!
You can use the Soul Food to give your solid-state amp some of the dynamics and warmness it might be missing. On the other hand, it’s also well suited for pushing your clean tube amp to the point of breakup.
Are you unsure whether to buy the Soul Food because of its low gain range? No need to worry! – It’s an excellent pedal for stacking because of its transparent sound!
Are you looking for an overdrive pedal that lets your clean amp’s character shine? – The Electro-Harmonix Soul Food is the way to go!
3. JHS Morning Glory
The JHS Morning Glory is the all-rounder of transparent overdrive pedals for clean amps.
It models the legendary Marshall Plexi amp sound we all know and love from guitarists like Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix!
You can use the JHS Morning Glory to dial in any tone from completely clean to Rock’n’Roll. If you need even more gain, it also takes other stacked overdrive pedals exceptionally well!
The only real downside is that it exclusively operates on a 9 V power adapter. This might be an issue for guitarists with many other pedals on their board. So you might need to buy an extra cable.
The best thing about this pedal is that it adds tonal and responsive nuances to your sound. This can help with making even less-than-ideal amps sound significantly better!
You can use this overdrive pedal with your clean tube amp to make it sound even more dynamic, warm, and responsive. It is also well suited to be used with a clean solid-state amp: The JHS Morning Glory can give you a bit of that unique tube-like tone and feel that solid-state amps may lack on their own!
Are you looking to enhance your clean amp’s tone with responsive and dynamic gain? – The JHS Morning Glory won’t disappoint you!
High Gain Overdrive Pedals for Clean Amps
High gain overdrive pedals work well with clean amps because they provide all the gain necessary for any amount of overdrive and distortion you need!
The pedals below are well suited for replacing your solid-state amp’s own overdrive. And you can use the pedals in this category to boost your clean tube amp into natural overdrive. What more can you wish for?
|Behringer VT999 Vintage Tube Monster||Boss BD-2 Blues Driver||Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer|
|Real Tubes!||Robust & Reliable!||Community Pick!|
|Tube Overdrive||Dirty Boost||Dirty Boost|
|Low Gain – Fuzz, Distortion||Low Gain – High Gain||Low Gain – High Gain|
|Gain, Treble, Mid, Bass, Master & Noise Gate||Level, Tone & Gain||Level, Tone & Gain|
|Hard-Wire Bypass||Buffered Bypass||Hard-Wire Bypass|
|9 V Power Adapter||9 V Power Adapter/Battery||9 V Power Adapter/Battery|
|+ Real tube overdrive|
+ Big gain range
+ Switchable noise gate
– Takes lots of space on your pedalboard
|+ Robust construction|
+ Versatile gain options
+ Good price-performance ratio
– No complex EQ controls
|+ Adds tightness and definition|
+ Very versatile
+ Very dynamic response
– Best when stacked with other gain pedals
|Buy the Behringer Vintage Tube Monster on Amazon!*||Buy the Boss BD-2 Blues Driver on Amazon!*||Buy the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer on Amazon!*|
4. Behringer Vintage Tube Monster
The most remarkable fact about the Behringer Vintage Tube Monster is that it’s a tube pedal. It’s clipping your signal with real tubes.
The Vintage Tube Monster has an incredible gain range, making it useful for every style, from blues to metal.
A perfect addition to your pedalboard if you’re looking for an “always-on” option to enhance your overdriven tone!
You can dial in any tone you want with the three-band EQ controls, and it even comes with a switchable noise gate on board!
It may take up much space on your pedalboard, but this is a small price to pay for the unique tone it offers.
Like every pedal on this list, it works great as an overdrive pedal with clean tube amps. With this pedal, your clean tube amp will sound even warmer and more responsive! But it’s also a great choice if you’re looking to add some tube-flair to your clean solid-state amp!
And if you want to improve the sound of your Behringer Vintage Tube Monster even further, you can always swap out the tubes.
Do you want authentic tube distortion on your pedalboard? – The Behringer Vintage Tube Monster will be your new best friend!
5. Boss BD-2 Blues Driver
Robust & reliable!
If you’re looking for a pedal that will outlive your great-grandchildren and give you a wide range of gain, the Boss BD-2 Blues Driver is the way to go!
The Boss BD-2 is a great overdrive pedal for clean amps because it can provide all the gain necessary for any music style.
The metal cases featured on Boss pedals are famous for their robustness and longevity. You’re more likely to break your foot than breaking the pedal when stepping on it too hard. 😉
The EQ controls on the Boss BD-2 are cut-only, and you can’t control the bass and treble separately. But for most situations, that’s more than enough!
It’s perfect for giving your clean solid-state amp some hefty gain or harmonic bluesy overdrive. With a clean tube amp, you can use it to boost the signal and drive your amp into distortion.
Even professional musicians choose the Boss BD-2 as their go-to gain-pedal!
Are you looking for an inexpensive standalone overdrive pedal? – Then the Boss BD-2 Blues Driver is the perfect choice for you!
6. Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer
The Ibanez Tube Screamer is a living piece of music history. Legendary rockstars like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, and Joe Bonamassa used it to create the iconic tone that made them famous.
You can use the Tube Screamer for anything from Blues to Metal. It is incredibly versatile and creates unique sounds with many kinds of amps and pedals!
The EQ controls on the Ibanez Tube Screamer are minimalistic but versatile! But you’re looking for an overdrive pedal, not an EQ, so this should not scare you away!
Many guitarists love the Tube Screamer because it adds tightness and definition to their tone by giving it a strong mid-boost. That’s also a reason why it is often used in combination with other gain pedals.
It’s a perfect match for any clean tube amp because it can boost them into saturation and provide gain on top! However, solid-state amps also benefit from the Ibanez Tube Screamer because it can provide plenty of distortion and definition for their tone!
Are you looking for a versatile overdrive pedal with an iconic sound and a characteristic mid-boost? – The Ibanez Tube Screamer is the way to go!
Amp-Like Overdrive Pedals for Clean Amps
Amp-like overdrive pedals are very versatile and tend to contribute significantly to your overall sound.
You can use amp-like overdrive pedals to modify your clean amp’s sound as they have a characteristic sound of their own.
Do you want your amp to sound like legendary amps like the Marshall Plexi or the JCM800? In that case, you should pay some extra attention to this category!
|Fulltone OCD||JHS Angry Charlie||Strymon Sunset|
|Reliable Overdrive!||Price-Performance Winner!||Community Pick!|
|Low Gain – Distortion||Low Gain – Distortion||Clean – Distortion/Fuzz/…|
|Volume, Tone, Drive & HP/LP||Volume, Drive, Bass, Middle & Treble||GF/Texas/Treble, 2stage/Hard/JFET, Configure, Bright; Drive, Level & Tone (for each channel)|
|True Bypass/Enhanced Bypass||True Bypass||True Bypass|
|9 V Power Adapter/Battery||9 V Power Adapter||9 V Power Adapter|
|+ Marshall Plexi-like tone|
+ Amp-like attack sensitivity
+ Very versatile tone
– Bit too much low end for some tastes
|+ Marshall JCM800-like tone|
+ Offers anything from bluesy Hendrix-like breakup to high-gain Brit tones
+ Perfect for Hardrock and classic Heavy Metal
– Limited treble for some amps
|+ Six unique overdrives and boosts|
+ Two effects can be stacked in series or parallel
+ Loads sound presets via MIDI-cable
– Options can be overwhelming
|Buy the Fulltone OCD on Amazon!*||Buy the JHS Angry Charlie on Amazon!*||Buy the Strymon Sunset on Amazon!*|
7. Fulltone OCD
The Fulltone OCD is an amp-in-a-box overdrive packed with lots of gain and character. It’ll make any clean amp fit for Blues, Rock, and Heavy Metal!
You can use it to provide your clean amp with enough gain for anything from bluesy overdrive to heavy distortion! This makes it very versatile and useful for many styles.
It was designed to emulate the iconic Marshall Plexi tone. You can use this amp-like pedal as an always-on option on your pedalboard to make your amp sound like a Marshall Plexi without breaking the bank!
However, the Fulltone OCD may feature too much low end for some tastes. If your amp already tends to sound muddy on its own, this could become a problem.
In terms of EQ, the Fulltone OCD behaves very much like an amp, making it intuitive to dial in the tone you desire!
You’ll also love the amp-like sensitivity this pedal provides!
It’s an excellent match for any clean tube amp, as it provides you with warm, harmonic overdrive and distortion. The Fulltone OCD is also a great overdrive pedal for a clean solid-state amp, as it adds sensitivity and responsiveness, as well as sensitive gain to your sound!
Are you interested in an overdrive pedal that makes your clean amp sound like a Marshall Plexi? – The Fulltone OCD won’t disappoint you!
8. JHS Angry Charlie
The Angry Charlie by JHS Pedals is a preamp-style overdrive pedal. It provides you with endless gain and can substitute the preamp of your amp!
You can use the Angry Charlie to make your amp sound like the iconic Marshall JCM800. Either by putting it last in your effects signal chain or by entirely swapping it for the preamp of your amp!
It has enough gain to produce anything from bluesy Hendrix-like breakup to high-gain Brit tones. And it offers precise amp-like EQ controls for you to shape your entire sound with it.
The Angry Charlie’s active three-band EQ cuts and boosts frequencies. You can use it for complete control over your tone! That’s also the reason why you should place it last in your effects chain.
For some amps, this pedal may provide less treble than needed. If you think that might be an issue in your situation, you might want to look at the other options.
This pedal is designed to work well with clean amps! It can provide your clean tube amp with endless gain and precise EQ options so you can enjoy a warm yet searing tone! It can also work wonders on clean solid-state amps as it adds sustain and a lot of clarity to any guitar sound.
The Angry Charlie is exceptionally well suited for Hard Rock and classic Heavy Metal!
Do you want an amp-like overdrive pedal that offers a warm, clear tone as well as lots of gain and sustain? – The JHS Pedals Angry Charlie is the way to go!
9. Strymon Sunset
The Strymon Sunset is the absolute all-rounder of overdrive pedals for clean amps!
It is loaded with six unique overdrives and boosts on two channels. This means you can stack two different effects with the push of a button.
This overdrive combines the sound of analog pedals with the convenience of digital pedals.
On the two channels, you can choose between three separate overdrives and boosts in total. Both channels have their own complex EQs that you can use to set them up to your needs.
The Strymon Sunset lets you customize the routing of the two individual effects. You can stack channel A into channel B or vice versa and even route them parallelly!
Via a MIDI cable, you can save and load your favorite presets so that you don’t need to alter the settings in a gig situation.
All these settings make the Strymon Sunset extremely versatile! However, this can be overwhelming if you’re just looking for a simple overdrive pedal.
It’s the ultimate overdrive-solution for every clean tube amp and every clean solid-state amp. But for beginners, it may be frustrating to fiddle with the Strymon Sunset’s many settings.
Are you looking for an overdrive pedal that fulfills all your current and future musical needs? – The Strymon Sunset can do it all!
I hope you enjoyed this guide on the best overdrive pedals for clean amps! Do you feel like there is a particular pedal worth mentioning but still missing on this list? Please drop me a comment under this post!
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Do you already own overdrive pedals, or do you want to be well prepared when you buy your first one? Then this post about how to set up your new overdrive pedal will be useful for you!