Top 6 Best Mini Overdrive Pedals On The Market (October 2020)
The best mini overdrive pedals are considered the simplest of all guitar effects pedals. Almost everyone uses or has used one. Overdrive pedals occupy a very specific niche in the guitar universe. They’re often used to massively change the tone or alter the guitars sound in a dramatic manner. The best mini overdrive pedals on the market are there to add flavour, colour and sustain to an existing sound. Something that was often achieved by using a driven tube guitar amp.
What Is An Overdrive Pedal?
An overdrive pedal is an effects pedal that can preserve the tone of your amplifier. It can push your amplifier further using a clean boost. It can push it so far, to the point of the tone breaking up. Or it can wrap your tone in sustain and harmonics.
The best mini overdrive pedals on the market can give your a phenomenally dirty sound. The sound that most amplifiers just can’t give.
Overdrive pedals usually have 3 control knobs. Gain, volume & Equalization. Therefore a combination of these three controls will give you the sound you’ve been looking for.
What Is An Overdrive Pedal Used For?
The best mini overdrive pedals on the market are usually used to stimulate the drive of an overdriven tube amp. They can also be used to boost your lead signal for those times you’re looking to stand out from the rest of the band. Or simply used to add an extra depth to your rhythm or bass licks.
Overdrive pedals can deliver vintage, warm overdrive sounds for blues and classic rock and roll guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan. So if blues is your sound, an overdrive pedal is important.
How Does An Overdrive Pedal Work?
The best mini overdrive pedals are designed to add more strength into your signal, overdriving it to the point of distortion. Additional gain is added to your signal to minimize signal clipping.
Transistors and filtering emulates the sound of a guitar amp when its volume is high. As a result you get distortion of the signal and pleasing harmonic side effects.
Clipping causes the amplifier to push out more power than originally intended. Which can therefore lead to irreparable damage to the speakers. The best mini overdrive pedals give you the effects and output without the damage to your amplifier. In other words, an overdrive pedal can protect your amplifier from unnecessary strain.
The Best mini Overdrive Pedals On The Market
Finding the best mini overdrive pedal for you is a difficult task. But it’s a task that can make or break your perfect tone. Therefore an important one. We’ve found a selection of the best mini overdrive pedals on the market. Hopefully you’ll be able to use this list to narrow down and decide which one is right for you.
Wampler Tumnus V2 Overdrive & Boost Pedal
- ✔ Can Be Used As A Buffer
- ✔ Slim, Compact Design - Fits On Anyones Pedal Board
- ✔ Built In The USA
- ✔ Features Gain, Treble & Volume Knobs For User Customization
- Built in USA
- Famous OD/Boost voicing
- Level, Gain, Treble controls
- Dimensions: 1.5″ x 3.5″ x 1.5″ (38.1mm x 88.9mm x 38.1mm) – height excludes knobs and switches
- Power draw: 20mA at 9v
- 9V power jack – DC supply only, no battery connection within
There is one overdrive circuit to this day has been the most talked about, the most sought after, and the most mythical of them all. It’s big, it’s expensive, and it has certainly earned its place at the table. Wampler has painstakingly and faithfully reproduced that magical tone in all its glory in an unbelievably small package, and its name is Tumnus.
Let’s face it, not everyone has room for a four-legged beast on their board. This slender biped slips in and out of a myriad of tight situations. Now you can have the tone. Now you can have history. Now you can have it all without having to sell your prized gear possessions. The Wampler Tumnus, standing up for that amazing tone, but without the outrageous claims often associated with it.
Tumnus is a versatile addition to any setup, any style. Stack it with another pedal to help push or shape the total amount of gain, use it as a stand alone OD, or use it as a slightly dirty boost to push the front end of your amp. Even use it as a buffer, because just like the original this pedal is not true bypass. Instead, this pedal contains a buffered bypass tone legendary in its own right.
3 streamlined control knobs (Volume, Gain, and Tone) allow you to quickly dial in your tones no matter what the gig calls for. We aren’t going to claim it has magical parts, or that we sourced out 60 year old diodes that make it perfect, but we are going to say that during our research we looked at everything available and then only used the parts that Brian chose to replicate that amazing tone.
Quite self explanatory! This adds grit and dirt to the affected signal. Start with it all the way off (counter clockwise) and up the volume from unity and you have an amazing boost, it will fatten up your tone remarkably… When you bring the gain control up the glorious thickness this pedal is famous for appears – as a stand alone boost, overdrive or pre-gain boost, this is the key to finding your tone.
You guessed it, this is where the level comes from. You will probably want to start at an equal volume to it bypassed, unity. You’ll probably be surprised that this is much lower than other OD pedals, this is because one of the features of this pedal is the headroom in it to act as a pre-gain boost.
Adds top end to the signal. Once again, this is extremely useful if you use the pedal as a pre-gain boost or overdrive as it’s the top end that makes your tone cut through the mix!
A beautiful sounding pedal that takes up little room on your board. If slimline is your jam then checkout this mini overdrive & boost pedal today!
Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal
- ✔ True Bypass Technology
- ✔ Compact Small Sized Chassis
- ✔ Crushing Distortion
- ✔ Singing Sustain With Attitude
- Controller for volume, sustain and tone
- Dimensions (WxDxH): 70 x 115 x 57 mm
- Power supply with 9 V battery or 9 V DC power supply
The Electroharmonix Big muff is a classic overdrive pedal that has captured the hearts and minds of many a guitarist. EHX took the Big Muff Pi circuit and simply shrunk it without changing its rich, creamy, violin-like sustain and sound. The Nano Big Muff Pi works and sounds identical in every way to our classic NYC Big Muff Pi.
The Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi has to be one of the all-time iconic pedals, the nano has the same DNA and hits the mark. This perfectly captures the classic sound of the original Big Muff Pi. It has the convenient red indicator light, small size and clean sounding connections to make it even better. If you want that classic Floyd/Gilmour sound, this is the best way to get it on your pedalboard. Get a piece of the pi for yourself!
Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini Overdrive Pedal
- ✔ Same Iconic Sound
- ✔ Same Iconic Look & Feel
- ✔ True Bypass Switching
- ✔ Features Tone, Level & Overdrive Control Knobs
- Reissue of the classic Tube Screamer overdrive pedal
- Compact design is easier than ever to fit on your pedalboard
- Growling overdrive with excellent touch sensitivity
- Gig-ready and built to last
- Wide range of tone from 3 simple controls
- Requires AC509 power supply (not included)
Ibanez knows your pedalboard real estate is valuable. Here’s a Tube Screamer made to help you manage that hallowed ground. Same legendary pedal. Same legendary tone. The often-imitated Tube Screamer sound is back in a compact format with the Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini. One of the most acclaimed overdrive pedals ever, the Tube Screamer is known for its rich midrange growl and dynamic touch sensitivity. Guitarists at Sweetwater are as picky about overdrive as anyone, and we’re pleased to confirm that the Tube Screamer Mini has the sonic tenacity that made the original a must-have in countless guitar rigs. No matter how packed your pedalboard is, we’re sure you can find room for the Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini.
NUX Horseman Overdrive Pedal
- ✔ Gold & Silver Modes - Two Independent Pedal Sounds
- ✔ Features Gain, Treble & Output Control Knobs
- ✔ Pedal Has True Bypass & Buffer Bypass Features
- ✔ Drop The Gain To Use The Horseman As A Clean Boost Pedal
- Power requirement: 9V negative tip
- Gold and Silver modes: 2 independent pedal sound in one mini stomp box
- Controls: Gain, Treble and Output
- Voltage Converter
- True bypass / buffer bypass
NUX Horseman pays homage to the legendary Centaur pedal. There are 3 dials for primary settings and 2 modes: Gold and Silver, and it offers massive headway usually requiring an 18v input. Gold Mode mimics its classic predecessor; the transparent Gold Centaur overdrive pedal and the Silver Mode is a powered-up version with an extended gain range (Silver Centaur).
The sound is based on the Centaur’s voltage converter circuit. But the Horseman’s characteristic design is crafted with a built-in OP-AMP voltage-converter driving the 18V to OP-AMP. Higher voltage-supply orders-up more harmonics, and convincingly reproduces the sound of this unique pedal.
Clean Boost Another “classic” way to use the NUX Horseman. Very useful when used in combination with the amplifiers drive channel (or any other drive pedal). And, depending on the Gain – Output adjustment, it lets the Horseman be used as a clean boost. Dial-up a low-gain with a high output setting, and it adds mostly volume and minimal color to your sound.
Additionally, the controls can be set to distort the sound signal in the pedal, where two Schottky diodes can perform a waveform clipping. ( The germanium diodes are discontinued, we especially select the Schottky diodes to replicate the waveform clipping ) The “gain” knob is a double potentiometer (a “dual-ganged gain pot”), which controls bass and middle frequencies. Treble and volume are each controlled with separate knobs.
NUX Horseman has an optional bypass mode. You can use the pedal in True Bypass mode to keep your signal untouched when the pedal is OFF in the chain. We highly recommend to select buffer bypass mode if you have more than 4 pedals connected together; switch to Buffer Bypass mode and there will be no signal loss in your pedal chain!
A pedal full of character. Recommended for those looking for a small sized pedal with a history to it’s design and creation. The True/Buffer bypass is a great extra and will allow you to use this is many different areas of your pedalboard.
Tom'sline Engineering ARG3S Vintage Overdrive Pedal
- ✔ Boost Mode Gives An Extra Boost For Soloing
- ✔ Warm, Broad Overdrive Sound
- ✔ A Michael Angelo Batio Signature Pedal
- ✔ Slim, Small Pedal - Will Fit On Almost Any Pedalboard
- 2 different modes – boost and normal.
- Volume, gain and tone control
- Patented stop bar design on the pedal face to avoid accident move of buttons when stamping on the pedal.
- True bypass.
- Power by 9V adapter, tip negative.
- Power consumption less than 20mA.
- Slip resistance bottom.
- Compliant with RoHS regulations, FCC, CE.
- Dimension: 92 * 38 * 32mm
- Weight: 133g
- Contents: velcro stickers, manual, MAB signature sticker, MAB signature overdrive pedal
Rounding out the Michael Angelo Batio signature line of essential stompboxes is the Vintage Overdrive, a versatile drive pedal with a built-in Boost mode. Dial in a rich, saturated vintage overdrive tone and use it to play rhythm under Normal mode then switch to Boost mode to make your solos pop. The Vintage Overdrive features Tomsline’s patented stop bar design to keep your foot from messing up the pedal’s settings when you stomp on it.
Nobels ODR-Mini Natural Overdrive Pedal
- ✔ Slimline Overdrive Pedal
- ✔ Glow In The Dark Knobs
- ✔ Features Drive, Level & Spectrum Control Knobs
- ✔ Double As A Boost Pedal
- The same “Natural Overdrive” DNA as the Nobels ODR-1, but with a slightly firmer sound
- Lightweight and compact
- True bypass
- “Glow in the dark” buttons
- Controls: Drive, Level, Spectrum
- LED: Effect On
- Foot switch: Effect bypass
- Connectors: Input (6.3 mm jack)
- Output (6.3 mm jack)
- Mains adapter connection (hollow plug socket 5.5 x 2.1 mm, negative pole inside)
- Power supply with a 9-18 V DC power adapter
- Dimensions (W x D x H): 41 x 92 x 47 mm
At first glance, the control layout looks pretty standard, with Volume, Drive and Spectrum (Tone), but the way Spectrum affects the tone is a little different from the norm. The drive range of this pedal is impressively wide, going from virtually clean to a classic rock‑style overdrive. Using the Spectrum control in the second half of its clockwise travel delivers the most overdrive, as the EQ boost comes pre the drive circuit.
While I have to say that this isn’t one of those pedals that wows you when you first plug-in, after using it for a while its versatility really does start to shine through. If you like your drive on the more subtle side, this is definitely one to check out.