The 3 Best Overdrive Pedals for Rock: Buyer’s Guide

There are few things as satisfying as playing loud rock music on the guitar!

But it can be challenging to find the right overdrive pedal for your favorite rock tone.

You need to know what kind of overdrive pedal best suits your needs before deciding which one to purchase. In this article, we will review the five best overdrive pedals for rock and discuss their pros/cons so that you can make an informed decision about which one is best for you!

Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer

All-time classic.

+ Adds tightness and definition

+ Very versatile

+ Very dynamic response

Doesn’t have much gain on its own

JHS Morning Glory

All-rounder.

+ Improves the sound of mediocre amps

+ Adds tonal and responsive nuances to your tone

+ Models the famous Marshall Plexi tone

Operates only on 9 V power adapter

Fulltone OCD

Gain on mass.

+ Marshall Plexi-like tone

+ Amp-like attack sensitivity

+ Very versatile tone

Bit too much low end for some tastes

Do you need an overdrive pedal for rock?

An overdrive pedal is a great gear addition for rock music because it provides additional power and responsiveness for your guitar tone.

If you are planning to play loud, high-energy guitar solos with your band on stage or at home, then an overdrive pedal will give you plenty of sustain and distortion so that you can let loose!

Many players prefer to use a tube amp for their rock sound, but this can be hard to come by in some situations. If you are looking for a good alternative that will give you plenty of crunch without breaking your back or bank account, then an amp-like overdrive pedal or an overdrive pedal with real tubes can work wonders for you!

What are the best overdrive pedal settings for rock?

Generally speaking, most rock guitarists use overdrive pedals with plenty of gain to get their sound cooking!

The best overdrive pedals have lots of different knobs and settings so that you can get your tone just right. You should be able to adjust the gain, volume, and other settings on your overdrive pedal so that you have complete control over getting a great rock sound!

How you need to balance the volume and gain of your overdrive pedal depends on the gain level of your amp:

  • With a high gain amp: Turn the volume of your overdrive pedal up and its gain down.
  • With a low gain/clean amp: Turn the gain and the volume of your overdrive pedal up.

PS: If you’re already playing through a high gain amp, then you might want to check out this buyer’s guide on the best overdrive pedals for high gain amps

You need to adjust the “tone”/”treble” and “bass” settings by ear because these settings depend strongly on your preference.

Review: The 3 best overdrive pedals for rock

1. JHS Morning Glory

The all-rounder.

Technical details

Style: Transparent Overdrive

Range: Clean – Mid Gain

Settings: Volume, Drive, Tone & Gain Switch

Bypass: True Bypass

Power: 9 V Power Adapter

Pros and cons

+ Improves the sound of mediocre amps

+ Adds tonal and responsive nuances to your tone

+ Models the famous Marshall Plexi tone

Operates exclusively on 9 V power adapter

The JHS Morning Glory is the most versatile overdrive pedal for rock music!

Pros: Because of its in-depth tone-controls, it has an incredible range of sounds and is highly versatile. This versatility makes it the perfect fit for almost any guitar rig!

Cons: The gain range on the JHS Morning Glory is somewhat limited. If you’re looking for an overdrive pedal for rock music that you can use as your sole source of gain, then this pedal might not be the right choice for you.

Conclusion: If you’re looking for the best overdrive pedal that will give your rock tone plenty of punch and definition, then this is a great choice!

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2. Fulltone OCD: Gain on mass.

2. Fulltone OCD

Gain on mass.

Technical details

Style: Amp-in-a-Box

Range: Low Gain – Distortion

Settings: Volume,Tone,Drive & HP/LP

Bypass: True Bypass/Enhanced Bypass

Power: 9 V Power Adapter/Battery

Pros and cons

+ Marshall Plexi-like tone

+ Amp-like attack sensitivity

+ Very versatile tone

Bit too much low end for some tastes

The Fulltone OCD is an overdrive pedal that’s packed with lots of gain and a characteristic tone.

Pros: If you’re looking for an excellent overdrive pedal that can cover a wide range of gain levels, then this is the best choice! The Fulltone OCD has three knobs that let you adjust its tone and distortion to get your desired sound.

Cons: This overdrive pedal doesn’t have an extremely high amount of sustain on tap like many other overdrive pedals.

Conclusion: If you’re looking for a versatile overdrive pedal that delivers great rock sounds with plenty of gain at an affordable price, then this is the best choice!

3. Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer

The all-time classic.

Technical details

Style: Dirty Boost

Range: Low Gain – High Gain

Settings: Level, Tone, Gain

Bypass: Hard-Wire Bypass

Power: 9 V Power Adapter/Battery

Pros and cons

+ Adds tightness and definition

+ Very versatile

+ Very dynamic response

Doesn’t have much gain on its own

The Ibanez Tube Screamer is one of the best and maybe the most famous overdrive pedal in history!

Pros: This is an extremely popular pedal that delivers classic mid-gain rock sounds, as known from Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, or Jimi Hendrix. It can be used as a great addition to any tube amp, thanks to its characteristic tone.

Cons: The original version has less gain on tap than many other overdrive pedals on this list. However, the Ibanez Tube Screamer takes other gain pedals exceptionally well and is an excellent option for stacking overdrives!

Conclusion: If you’re looking for an overdrive pedal that delivers one of the best classic rock tones, then this is a great choice!

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I hope this guide helped you find the best overdrive pedal for your rock music needs! Maybe these other articles on overdrive pedals are also interesting for you!

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